Originating as a side hustle, six years of hard work has allowed Smith to grow to be ranked in the top 1% of realtors in Oklahoma City, along with gaining attention across the state and earning recognition nationally. 

(Featured photo: OCCC Professor of Political Science – Markus Smith – Courtesy photo)

When it comes to business, OCCC has a great platform to help students and current and future entrepreneurs gain an understanding of tactics used within the field. 

Not only that, even faculty members like Prof. Markus Smith can resemble role models for those who want to go on business ventures themselves. 

Smith’s suits and ties are like Superman’s cape. 

At OCCC, he is a professor of political science, but outside of campus, he runs a real estate business. 

When it comes to real estate, Smith and his team “primarily focus on helping [their] clients” buy and sell properties. Their success allows the team and the clients to become “dear friends for life.” 

“Whether it’s primarily residential homes, single family homes, we do business…I’ve done land deals before too,” Smith told the Pioneer. 

Originating as a side hustle, six years of hard work has allowed Smith to grow to be ranked in the top 1% of realtors in Oklahoma City, along with gaining attention across the state and earning recognition nationally. 

Markus Smith published his first book in 2021 (Courtesy Photo).

In a similar perspective, local business owner and OCCC student Desiree Sanders developed her two businesses as a passion and a side hustle. 

“I actually have two small businesses. My first one is a hair business that I started probably about five or six years ago…then I have another business, I make bold like glam mirrors with the flowers and the lights and everything,” Sanders said. 

Sanders enjoys her hairstyling venture, but currently has her focus on working to build her custom mirror business. 

The mirror business started off with just a simple mirror that was for personal use, but after it gained attention from a friend of hers, it just took off from there. 

“I made my own mirror, the first mirror I ever made and she thought it was really cute, and wanted to order two mirrors from me…her just being interested, I was like ‘you know, I could turn this into a business’. And I did,” she reflects. 

When it comes to success, both Smith and Sanders enjoy positive feedback from clients. In Smith’s case, with his success, he’s been able to give back to his communities, such as being a sponsor for O-trip’s food pantry, assisting families during the holidays, even funding scholarships for other colleges.

“I’ve always lived by the motto that if I bless others, I will continue to be blessed. And I truly believe that,” Smith states. 

For Sanders her feeling of success thrives from the genuine happiness of the people she helps. 

“If it comes to me doing their hair, like when they look in the mirror and they’re super happy…I know that I did a really good job. Or normally, when I do mirrors, I take it to the client so I can see their fresh reaction. And I haven’t had anybody disappointed. ” she states. 

“It’s kinda just about trading happiness, for me more so than monetary values.”

Bringing the focus back to Smith, it wasn’t easy for him to accomplish everything he has done. 

Coming from the east side of Oklahoma, also known as ‘the hood’, he was living a life that could’ve caused him to end up either dead or incarcerated. But as he grew and hustled, he managed to surpass the struggle. 

And with that, he has one hell of a story to tell. 

Desiree Sanders – OCCC student and local business owner (Courtesy Photo).

Speaking of his story, he wrote a memoir titled: “Journey Through the Hoods: From Poverty to Ph.D. to Million-Dollar Real Estate Agent” where he reflects on his past in an inspirational manner. 

Although he was hesitant about writing the book at first, he had a feeling someone would feel a sense of motivation from his story. 

“I had one dear friend of mine…And I remember she said that I need to share my story, that she believed that my story would save lives. When she put it like that…that was kind of the final push for me to say, you know, let’s do it,” Smith reflects.

After publishing his book, it actually hit Amazon’s Best Sellers List. Along with that, his agency continues to remain in the top rankings of realtors. 

Markus Smith’s recent book, Journey Through the Hoods: From Poverty to Ph.D. to Million-Dollar Real Estate Agent (Courtesy Photo).

From the perspective of an experienced business owner, if Smith could give advice to small business owners, it would be to “be prepared”.

“You have to be disciplined, you have to be accountable. And you have to work extremely hard. And I believe that if you work hard at anything, you can achieve and you can be successful,” Smith states. 

For Sanders, she’s received a lot of advice when it comes to her brands, but some of the best advice “sounded super cliche.” Although it may be a cliche, such advice is commonly heard because of its universality in many different applications of business and life. 

“The best advice is not to give up and you just keep pushing for what you want. If you believe in yourself, you can make it happen,” Sanders states. 

Her mirror business is only a few months old, but Sanders has high hopes for the venture. 

“In five years, I hope to keep creating good, happy memories for people…it would be cool if I can maybe have a boutique or something with my mirrors on it,” Sanders said. 

Whether it’s real estate, custom mirrors, clothes, even foodie activities, businesses come in many different shapes and styles. 

Anyone can be a business owner, and everyone has the opportunity to create something original to their taste. As long as the host is willing to put energy into their venture, they can receive that same energy in the form of success. Time, effort and patience are all virtues.

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