( ENSPIRE Business ) Insight on International Business and Entrepreneur Journey
ENSPIRE Contributor: Gabrielle Maya
Makeda Smith is taking her Licensed and Unbothered®️ Conference to Punta Cana, DR this year. It will be from June 9 to 12. This is the 5th Annual conference she has held. A Chicago event now going international, Smith is teaching women-owned businesses how to network and build global businesses on an international scale.
Makeda Smith is the CEO of Savvy Chicks in Real Estate®️. She has been a real estate agent for seventeen years and has four years of creating a growth space for business owners. The theme for this year’s conference is “Billionaires in the Making”, one hundred women will be engaging in workshops, property tours, and speaker sessions from Valyn Cole Lyons and Linda Clemons. Makeda Smith’s focus is to educate these business owners on how to network internationally and expand their businesses worldwide.
Her goals for all invited guests are to learn how to gain a real estate license and properly network with countries outside of the United States, build a global brand, and develop streams of income that are sustainable. We have taken the time to ask Makeda Smith herself to go more in-depth on her real estate experience, her international experience in Dubai, her creative process for these conferences, and what to expect from the Licensed and Unbothered®️ Conference.
How did Savvy Chicks in Real Estate®️ come to fruition?
Savvy Chicks in Real Estate® was birthed by my fellow women in real estate who began to reach out to me to ask for marketing and business advice just because of what I was doing on my own social media pages. I was going live, posting educational content, hosting live challenges, creating ebooks, writing blogs, etc. The more agents and non-agents reached out to me, the more I pulled away from my actual real estate clients. I decided to make Savvy Chicks in Real Estate® a thing by incorporating it in 2017. Every year, we have grown beyond my expectations. Who knew just a vision I had to start a marketing agency for women in real estate would evolve into me having a Global real estate network of women from Chicago to South Africa and much more? It’s a testament that when you take the first action step, God will take care of the rest. You just have to keep moving even when you don’t see the entire picture.
What are three things you learned in Dubai and how are they implemented within the Licensed and Unbothered®️ Conference?
In October 2022, I had the opportunity to have my first international speaking engagement which changed everything for me. I learned in Dubai that if you can envision it, you can create it. One of the highlights of my tour to Dubai was Palm Island. This man-made island did not exist until the visionary The Sheikh CEO, Mohammed bin Rashid Maktoum assembled a team of experts that were each skilled in their area of expertise to bring his vision to life. This one man dared to create something that didn’t exist so that he could make Dubai the number one destination in the world. Others told him what he envisioned couldn’t be done. When people tell you what can’t be done, you must turn around and show them how to get it done.
Between 1995 and 2015, Dubai increased its GDP from $11 billion to $101 billion. It raised GDP per capita from $16,000 to $42,500 during the same period, all while reducing the contribution of oil revenues to its GDP from 18% to 1.2%. These numbers are akin to a development miracle when it comes to economic diversification and growth. Every country in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and now even Europe, is chasing such development goals. Dubai’s economy today is mostly driven by services, including trade, transportation, logistics, retail, and tourism, as well as light manufacturing and real estate. Trillions of dollars worth of real estate now sit on a manmade island that did not exist in the early 90s and started with a single vision. That’s the vision.
My husband and I always look at real estate, whether it’s in the United States or abroad, to learn what types of properties are trending, and at what price, all the way to finding out what the local requirements and laws are. In Dubai, I learned that certain properties only allow you to have ownership for up to 90 years. It goes to show you how you must first study a country, its culture, and its laws before starting a business or building a real estate portfolio. Our conference plans to go deeper into how to build a global business, how to market yourselves globally and build a global network around the world.
What has changed within the business industry in 2023 that you feel this information will be a game changer?
Since 2020, the U.S. economy showed us how unpredictable it was, especially when the pandemic had spread across the world. Afterward, in 2022 and 2023, there was inflation, increased interest rates, and now, a looming recession. When I read a book called Play Bigger, it discussed multiple billion-dollar companies like Apple, Uber, Google, and Microsoft that are now conglomerates in our marketplace. One thing I saw that they all have in common is that they have global businesses. They started in the United States and went abroad. These are companies that are on Forbes’s top 10 billionaires list. If these companies started locally and went global, it made me look at the fact that we are playing too small with our business and real estate portfolio. There is a whole world out there for us to dominate. What has changed?
I no longer have a local mindset, but a global one, and I’m sharing that with everyone I know.
According to Makeda Smith, “Each year we hear success stories of those who have started multi-million-dollar businesses, own hotels, and more…simply from the resources and information shared at this conference. Whether you’re in real estate or another industry, growing your business in this space is inevitable”
What makes your conferences stand out above any kind of business training programs and seminars?
What makes our Licensed & Unbothered® conference stand out from any other business training conference is the women that we have in the room. In the words of just one of our attendees, “I’m Speechless! Being in a room full of black, like-minded women pouring into you, sharing their experiences, with no competition. Just completely elevating each other has taken my motivation to a whole different level.” She went on to talk about the type of women that we had as speakers from hotel owners, top producers across multiple industries, and mindset coaches that push billionaire potential, CEOs of multi-million dollar companies sharing their failures and successes. Our speakers are just as transparent as I am about their journey. Our conference is the place that allows professional women in real estate to see multiple ways that they can increase their revenue, start new businesses, acquire existing businesses, and more. There is also a spiritual connection as well where we can talk about faith, real estate, and business all at the same time. One minute we are crying, cheering each other on, taking notes, and coming up with our plan of action to run around the room because something these ladies heard activated them or confirmed their next step. It’s just different.
Licensed and Unbothered®️ can help these business entrepreneurs gain an understanding of how to network internationally: including lessons on body language training facilitated by an expert when conducting international business meetings and property tours.
What can the attendees expect from the keynote speakers, workshops, and property tours?
This year’s Licensed & Unbothered® conference is our 5th anniversary in Punta Cana in the International territory. Our ladies can now expect implementation workshops where they can put into action what we have talked about for years before leaving the island. I want them to walk away that weekend knowing that they got so much accomplished from starting their trademark process to getting business funding, property funding, new business credit, creating their global brand to buying or investing in their first hotel or commercial property, creating their sales funnel, create new marketing strategies, plan for retirement and so much more. Our Keynote speakers are some of the best in and outside the real estate business. One of our Keynote speakers is Valyn Cole Lyons. She lives in the United Kingdom but has a brokerage in Atlanta with over 100 agents along with another brokerage in Florida, all while living abroad and having global investment properties. We have an exclusive Live & Unfiltered 90-minute Sales Mastermind with non-other than Body Language expert, Linda Clemons. She has trained major corporations, celebrities, and the FBI on non-verbal communications that will help our ladies with negotiations on all levels.
I recently became an International Real Estate Sales Agent in the Dominican Republic. I have seen firsthand why Punta Cana is one of the top 10 destination places in the world.
Some properties can be purchased by foreigners from as low as $100K. One day of our conference will be completely dedicated to having boots on the ground, allowing our attendees to see the real estate investment opportunities available in the area. There will be a variety of beachfront properties to hotel-style villas that can be purchased as vacation homes and used as short-term rentals for an additional stream of income. I want these women to see that playing on a global playground when it comes to building a business and a real estate portfolio is wide open for us. In 2023, we are playing bigger around the world. Real Estate is a global market.
Can you explain your creative process when creating these safe conference spaces for your attendees?
Funny you asked because people ask me all the time about being a speaker at my event, and I tell them that I have to pray about it, and I’m so serious, even if it sounds cliche. Prayer is considered in my event planning process for putting my conference together. I come up with the overall vision for the conference and find speakers that fit into that theme. I want speakers on my stage who have a community-over-competition mentality and can pour into our ladies from an abundant mindset.
For example, last year’s theme was “Possess The Land.” It was all about expanding your territory, but I also knew for the ladies to expand their territory, we have to get out of our own way, and we have to see people that have actually done it. So, I had speakers on the stage who owned acres and acres of land, women who could help with funding the land and real estate deals, and women contractors who could help build the actual real estate on land right down to the decor.
I gave my event decorator, Mo Creatives, my vision of bringing the land indoors, and she created something so breathtaking that attendees are still talking about it today. We had trees literally coming up out of the middle of the table. We had black tablecloths that represented the land and the dirt, green chairs that represented the green grass, and the trees had white leaves that represented an overflow and just being fruitful and multiplying. It was magical.
Those who have been invited can look forward to Makeda Smith along with Valyn Cole Lyons, and Linda Clemons who will be a big part of this event. These women should prepare for valuable wisdom, and picture-perfect business scenarios, along with a Wakanda-themed celebration, and more in-store. If you are a media outlet interested in covering this event, please contact Darian Shorts at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more updates and real estate information follow Makeda Smith’s Instagram. To view the first day of the event views the Youtube sneak peek below.