A brokerage’s success is not built by one person alone, as Jonathan Bonck can attest.

And with a little over a year of experience in the industry, Bonck, the Houston-based sales manager at the Bonck and Baker Mortgage Group division of Network Funding, is excited by the prospect of the kind of success he can build together with people close to his heart.

“I got into the mortgage industry because I wanted to build a business with a best friend of mine and help people,” Bonck said. “I love real estate, and I think Houston is one of the best places to work in this industry. My expectations were that I could leverage my real estate knowledge, network, sales, and marketing skills to get immediate success.”

The impetus of this drive began around six years ago, when Bonck “started reading about real estate as a vehicle for passive income.”

“When my wife and I got married, we purchased a cash-flowing rental property and a home for ourselves,” Bonck said. “We were both in the oil and gas industry in Houston, Texas. She quit her job and became a real estate agent. Now she is one of the top 100 producers in Houston. From that point we began doing flips and lots of rental properties.”

“That’s when I was introduced to Network Funding and my now business partner, Austin Baker. Austin was a key part of helping our real estate business grow and we developed a strong friendship.”

Bonck attributed the success of his first steps in the mortgage space to his business partner’s keen industry sense.

“Taking the leap from salary to full commission… is hard for anyone,” Bonck said. “The best piece of advice I got was build up a cash runway. This way, I wasn’t stressed [even] if it took me four to six months to start getting loans closed. This allowed me a stress-free environment, so I could focus on starting to bring in business.”

“[Among] the items I didn’t necessarily see when getting into the industry were all of the regulations, technical issues, and small nuisances that a good loan officer must know,” Bonck added. “Thankfully, having an experienced partner like Austin has helped close this gap.”

Bonck’s long experience in the oil and gas industry translated well into the mortgage sector.

“Majority of our business comes from referrals through real estate agents, financial advisors, etc.,” Bonck said. “One of my strengths is building relationships with these types of people: showcasing to them our value prop and how we can help, earning their trust, [and] then starting to get leads from them.”

A strong background in marketing also proved to be a vital foundation for Bonck’s brokerage.

Marketing is all about getting your message and solutions out into the marketplace: Making your unique selling points and value propositions crystal clear and how that helps the end customer,” Bonck said. “We have a strong digital marketing arm in our branch. We leverage email marketing, social media, and lots of video. They say that video is the only way to shake 1,000 hands a day. It’s true.”