Oleg Torbosov positions himself as a simple guy who likes to read, walk, play chess, and appreciates art and architecture. But he is also a very successful entrepreneur who knows some growth hacks. For example, he wrote several books that helped them grow his personal brand and build a sales funnel. We talked about how to use the personal brand to grow the core business.
TechBullion: Oleg, how did you develop the idea for your first book?
Oleg Torbosov: I already had my luxury real estate agency named Whitewill when I decided to sum up my experience and share it with the world. I also started a Telegram channel, where I would publish chapters from my book. Writing itself wasn’t that hard, because, in fact, it was the story of my journey from being a student working part-time in a nightclub to becoming an entrepreneur. I would just find photos from the period of my life and listen to the music I used to listen to back then. And it helped me to re-live those moments and describe them from my perspective.
TechBullion: Was your book published online first?
Oleg Torbosov: Yes, I was writing it in real-time. I promised my subscribers to publish a new chapter every week, so I couldn’t let them down. So, no matter what, I needed to deliver what I promised. It gave me a certain pace. I would publish the first chapter in my free Telegram channel, and then ask people who want to read the following chapters to subscribe to my closed Telegram channel for donation. Every person could donate as much as they want to continue to read the book, but not below a certain amount.
TechBullion: How much was the biggest donation?
Oleg Torbosov: The lowest was 500 rubles (around $7), and the highest was $1000. But it kept me motivated in writing. People would organically share the free chapters, and my free Telegram channel grew pretty fast.
TechBullion: Did you do it to grow sales in your primary business, which is real estate brokerage?
Oleg Torbosov: Not at all. I admit, developing my personal brand was part of my motivation, but I wanted to share my experience and show that everything is possible. I didn’t expect to make money from publishing a book either. It just happened naturally. The publishing house contacted me with the suggestion to publish my book, and I couldn’t resist. I was surprised when my book became a bestseller on Litres.ru, the biggest Russian-speaking library of electronic and audiobooks.
TechBullion: But did the success of your book help with your sales in the real estate agency?
It definitely did. I wouldn’t say it happened overnight. It’s a long process: people get to know you, they read your story, they recommend you to each other. The people I was dealing with in my real estate business were very different from those I was trying to reach when I was writing my story. Who buys luxury real estate? Established people. But the experience I was describing in my first book “the way of one Oleg” was valuable for those out there who are just on their way to make it. But over time my audience grew, and the people who read me also grew personally and financially. Some of them became my clients in my core business. But overall, I wouldn’t say it was the source of our primary sales.
TechBullion: But what differentiates you from your competitors? Isn’t it your personal brand?
Oleg Torbosov: Yes, personal brand helps a lot. But without a professional approach and top-notch brokers my real estate business wouldn’t survive. It also takes a lot to build an outstanding team, train people, build partnerships with real estate developers, to invest in marketing. There are a lot of other components.
TechBullion: Today, you have 2 books, and your agency Whitewill also works in London and Dubai as well. Can you say that your writing career helped to develop your agency’s brand?
Oleg Torbosov: Of course it did. I am not just competing for customers, but also for the employees. The brand should be attractive to employees. My employees are my biggest asset. I invest in them as much as I can. For example, we organize dinners with the best brokers every month, and once in a while, we set up a White party for all our staff, partners, and clients. But the most important thing is trust. As I put my name out there, and my company’s brand is strongly associated with my personal brand, my name, it creates trust, it is about transparency. Speaking of which, every month I publish the turnover of our agency, and it constantly grows, no matter what. You have no idea how many people would say “you’re lying! This is impossible!” But that is exactly what I keep doing. I know that next month I need to publish numbers again, and it helps me to keep pace and be motivated about the growth.
TechBullion: Would you recommend other entrepreneurs publish books?
Oleg Torbosov: It is not something one should do, because not everybody has the time or enough motivation. But if you have something to say, and you want to share it with others, this is definitely something you should try to work on.