Image of Business Instructional Facility

Aug 11, 2020 2020-08 Accountancy Alumni

Real estate entrepreneur advises on affordable housing, career transitions

Gies College of Business alumna Danielle Pierce (ACCY ’01) predicts that when it comes to the affordable housing crisis in this country, we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.

“It was already an issue as the recession began to set in earlier this year, and the pandemic has exposed the depth of the problem,” said Pierce, an accountant turned entrepreneur who was recently named one of Ft. Worth Business Press’ 40 Under 40.

Danielle PierceRecent legislation has been passed to put a hard stop to evictions and mortgage payments, but those measures are temporary and only address a percentage of the affected population, she said. “It’s going to take the combined resources of federal legislation, local government, and community resources to effectively counteract this downward spiral of affordable housing.”

Pierce runs Platinum Fieldworks, which specializes in the repair and maintenance of real estate owned (REO) properties in Texas. She also created Real Estate Profit Lab to advise others on how to create a steady revenue stream by obtaining contracts to repair and maintain REO properties. The combined companies generated more than $1 million in revenue in 2019.

Pierce, a first-generation college graduate, said she got her first taste of business as a caddie, a job she found on the bulletin board in the principal’s office.

“The golfers talked about business and their wives, in that order,” said Pierce, who turned her experience into a Chick Evans Scholarship at the University of Illinois. She worked full time at Meijer grocery store and third shift at IHOP with a full course load to cover expenses.

“My business education taught me how to think and focus. It was the first time I was exposed to people who were super competitive. It highlighted how much I had to learn,” said Pierce. “I discovered that environment matters. Networking matters. Exposure to new ideas and people from different backgrounds matters.”

Pierce began her career as a corporate auditor but quickly determined it was a bad fit for her personality and outlook on life. She said she struggled for the first several years as an entrepreneur, trying to figure out life outside of corporate America. Eventually, she turned to business coaching and refined her offering over time. Pierce is now a member of the Forbes Real Estate Council.

“I would have had a significantly easier transition had I done more reflecting about how to make a profitable business model and less complaining about my corporate position,” she said. “By nature, I’m riskier than most. I’m just wired that way. I’ve learned not to let fear stop your progress. If something goes awry you figure out how to fix it.”

She advises anyone looking to make a career pivot to entrepreneurship to be realistic about the challenges of being your own boss and make sure you have a specific plan, money saved, and a network of people in the arena you want to pursue who are on the same page as your vision.

“Beware of shiny object syndrome. It will cause you to move forward in fits and starts. If possible, use your current salary to fund your dream. Surround yourself with other entrepreneurs. Quick pivots are rare but even in this economic environment there are opportunities to change and grow.”