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Key Idea: Take A Flying Leap

Ebby Halliday exemplifies the successful payoff for a calculated--and self-financed--risk.    

Key Question:


The little girl from a Kansas farm come to be the most high-powered real estate persona in the big city of Dallas because she took a couple of flying leaps. She accepted a transfer to Dallas when it was offered by her millinery employer. She then accepted the challenge offered her by a home developer. He said, "If you can sell these crazy hats to my wife, you can surely sell my crazy new houses." Knowing nothing about real estate, she left the safety of her paycheck to sell and earn commissions only. To her credit, she had a savings account. Ebby lived carefully within a budget. Then by investing some savings, she grew her nest egg. This way when she saw an opportunity to quit the paycheck game, she was ready.

Think about it

Where should you leap next? Have you played things a bit to carefully? What should you do to position yourself to take the next calculated risk to grow?

Clip from: Ebby Halliday built a business and a legacy.

Dallas: Ebby Halliday is a legend in this city.  She started her business in 1946 with nothing but the love of her family. Classic Americana, this is a rags to riches story. She went from the Great Depression to create a multi-billion dollar business.  She is truly one of today's pioneers and quiet heroes. .Today she has over 1500 independent realtors, hundreds who have become millionaires on her watch.

Ebby  will tell us how she broke through the gender barriers long before there ever was a feminist movement, how she found the person who replaced her at the top and why she gave the company to her employees.

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Ebby Halliday Real Estate

Ebby Halliday, Chairman

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Take A Flying Leap

EBBY: ...up on the sixth floor. It was wonderful to be transferred to Dallas at that time. It was still aglow with the afterglow of the centennial. The leadership of the town had declared an end to the Depression.

(Excerpt from videotape of parade)

EBBY: (Voiceover) So it was an optimistic atmosphere. I made lots of friends and lots of customers. And one of my customers was married to an oil man who had invested in a new type construction called insulated cement and had built 52 of those houses. And the experimental houses were still sitting there. He sent word by his wife, `If Ebby can sell you those crazy hats, maybe she can sell my crazy houses.'

HATTIE: Oh, I love it! I love it.

EBBY: So I turned in my resignation and headed for Walnut Hills.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) It was a good decision, even though it involved taking a risk. Did you not feel scared that `What if I can't do this' or did you just think `I'll go back,' because so many people today would love to work for themselves, but they're afraid to get away from the paycheck.

EBBY: Yes. Well, I had saved $1,000 in all that time. Had to have my tonsils out, noticed the doctor, Dr. John MaLaurin's nurse was bringing information on the stock market while I was under the knife, and so when I got my voice back I said, `Dr. John, I've saved $1,000. Where can I invest it? I want to parlay it up, turn in my resignation and go into business for myself. I've had an opportunity to take over a group of houses.' He said, `I don't advise women.' I said, `Why?' He said, `If they lose, they cry.' And I said, `Well, try me.' And so he suggested cotton futures, and I was able to get into the cotton futures market and had parlayed it up to $12,000.

HATTIE: You were rolling in it, girl.

EBBY: So that was my stake to go on a straight commission project.

HATTIE: All right. So this is advice you would give anyone who wants to start a business, and that is have something in the bank.

EBBY: Especially today. I think more businesses go down the drain because they're underfinanced.

HATTIE: But I have to understand this. Didn't you have to go back and learn more, fill in some gaps, get some education, learn what real estate's really about?

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