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David ShamszadDavid Shamszad is an accomplished entrepreneur and the CEO of SG Real Estate — a full-service real estate firm based in Berkeley, CA, specializing in property management, sales, leasing, and development.

With over 15 years of experience in the dynamic world of real estate, David has developed a strong entrepreneurial spirit that has helped him successfully navigate the industry’s challenges. Over the years, David has worked with numerous clients, honing his skills and expertise in real estate investments, developments, and management.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • David Shamszad opens up about overcoming mental health and substance abuse challenges
  • The most harrowing moments in David’s life and how he faced them
  • Tracing David’s entrepreneurial spirit back to his childhood candy-selling ventures
  • David’s entry into the real estate industry during the difficult economic times in 2007
  • The impact of the pandemic on the real estate market
  • David talks about the benefits and value of EO membership

In this episode…

Are you looking to build a successful real estate business, but you’re unsure of where to begin? Do you want to learn from someone who has overcome personal struggles and persevered in the face of adversity?

The path to success is often filled with challenges, and overcoming them can be a crucial part of the journey. David Shamszad’s story of battling mental health and substance abuse and building a thriving real estate business is a testament to resilience and determination. His experiences in real estate, entrepreneurship, and personal growth can provide valuable insights for those looking to create their own success story.

In this episode of the Rising Entrepreneurs Podcast, host John Corcoran sits down with David Shamszad, CEO of SG Real Estate. David shares his journey through personal struggles and the challenges of starting a real estate business during difficult economic times. He also discusses the importance of mentorship, his experience with EO, and how he navigated the pandemic as a real estate entrepreneur.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:02

Welcome to the Rising Entrepreneurs Podcast where we feature top founders and entrepreneurs and their journey. Now let’s get started with the show.

John Corcoran 0:13

Alright, welcome everyone. John Corcoran. Here I am the co host of this show and check out our archives for other great interviews of smart CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs of all kinds of companies around the Bay Area and beyond. And of course, this episode is brought to you by EO San Francisco. EO San Francisco is the local chapter of Entrepreneurs Organization, which is a global peer to peer network of more than 16,000 influential business owners across 200 chapters 60 plus countries that if you’re a founder, co founder owner or controlling shareholder of a company generating over a million dollars a year in revenue and you want to connect with other like minded, successful entrepreneurs, eo is for you. And so you can learn all about it by going to, and I am John cork and I’m the co founder Rise25, where we help b2b businesses to get clients referrals and strategic relationships with with your strategic partners using done-for-you podcasts and content marketing and you can learn about us at Alright my guest here today is David Shamszad he is the accomplished entrepreneur. He’s really deep in the real estate world is the CEO of SG Real Estate and he is a number of years member I think about five or six year member of EO San Francisco, if I have a crack I see you shaking head. Yeah, he’s really passionate about real estate, has a great entrepreneurial story with lots of highs and lows over the year. And so really excited to talk to you Dave. And and let’s start with the story which I’ve heard you tell before. You have been very open and vocal about your struggles with substance abuse, and with mental health. And there was a story of kind of the breaking point, you were out night of drinking. You ended up home, but you don’t even remember getting home and you wake up in the morning. You look around hungover of course, and you can’t remember getting home, you find your car out on the street, and you don’t remember parking it there. And it was just kind of this experience that really kind of shook you to your core and ended up helping you in your journey towards sobriety. Tell us about that experience in your own words and how it really kind of shook you and forced you into sobering up.

David Shamszad 2:34

Yeah, yeah. Um, let’s go back even farther. So why was I flares out drunk drinking so much in the first place. In my early 20s, I started struggling with episodes that I didn’t understand what was going on at the time. Yes, pendulum swings between emotional swings. Yeah, big time, emotional swings between feeling depressed to the point of not being able to get out of bed not being able to have a conversation with you. Taking a shower in the morning, to euphoric highs, with not needing to sleep for a week, spending every dime I had, and then putting the rest on a credit card, partying, everything you can imagine.

John Corcoran 3:22

You said it was in your early 20s.

David Shamszad 3:26

Yeah in my early 20s. It took a while to figure out what was going on. And during a couple of the most depressive episodes I had. I was getting suicidal. And that started to come to the attention of people around me. And I actually was involuntarily taken to a hospital. A psychiatric hospital committed there for a couple of weeks. And it became really apparent to the doctors at the time, the diet that and they diagnosed based bipolar. And I’m young and I’m in my early 20s And I don’t really have the same understanding of what bipolar is that I have now and 20 years ago, a lot of people really didn’t. So I eventually I got medicated. Yeah, they zombified me a little bit, which just to kind of make the safe

John Corcoran 4:20

It takes a while, correct me if I’m wrong to find the right mix that works for most people. And you have Bipolar, is that correct?

David Shamszad 4:28

Oh, yeah. Yeah, no, I, I was a guinea pig in there for a couple years. And they they put all kinds of stuff into me like anti psychotics mood stabilizers, antidepressants. To figure out something that would the first job is okay, let’s just keep the guys safe. Make sure that harm harming themselves. Yeah, yeah. So I left and I was medicated, but I didn’t want to I didn’t want to reflect on it. I didn’t want to understand I just wanted to move on. Say, Okay, I’ve got my pills in me like I’m fine. But I wasn’t you get theirs. I really wasn’t okay. I was unwell. And then I started self medicating. Right. So now I’m I know I’m bipolar, but I don’t want to deal with that. And I don’t want to really think about what that means. And to distract myself from it. I was either working or drink, drinking or getting high, or popping pills, excuse me popping pills. And I did that for years. I did that for years and years. went to jail a few times had blew up destroyed a lot of relationships.

John Corcoran 5:38

You fot into fights and things like that. Yeah.

David Shamszad 5:41

Yeah, yeah. It was bad. And several years into that quite a few years into that. We get to the point where you started the conversation. My, my partner had left, she was cheap. She couldn’t wait around for me to figure out what what was going to happen to me. And if getting phone calls in the middle of the night from jail, that that just wasn’t something she didn’t need to do. I was at a real low point. And once again, as I had was like, seven years prior, I was kind of ready to get swallow holes. Like I didn’t I didn’t really want to continue to be here.

John Corcoran 6:23

And did you stay on the meds? Or? Yeah, sometimes people like stop taking them?

David Shamszad 6:28

That’s a great question. Yeah, I was definitely erratic and inconsistent with the meds. Because when I would if I stopped taking them for a few days, like I feel a little high sometimes. And I thought, like, Okay, well, let me let me go with that for a few days. But then everything that goes up comes down when it comes to taking care of yourself and your mental health. And if you have, if you have bipolar or depression, and you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re going to pay for it sooner or later. And so yeah, I would, I would skip my meds for like a week. And it was great until it crashed. And then I spent just as long feeling like, despair, pretty much. So I’m at this low point. And at that point, when you’re drinking as much as I was drinking, like blacking out isn’t really you’re blacked out when that when alcohol touches your blood like it’s was so it was so easy to blackout. My memory had just was so completely gone. And it was, it was a night out. I couldn’t really get anybody to come out with me. But then a lot of people had been sort of wary of how much I was drinking so string about myself that a bar ended up blacking out. And last thing I remember was just having a cigarette outside of a bar, and then the next morning and woke up like you said, I know how I got home. I didn’t think I could have possibly driven until I found my car keys and I noticed that oh man is was blood all over my car keys. And then I look in the mirror and I realized that I’m all cut up not just great. Almost blood on my clothes. And I’m starting to freak out a little bit. I figure okay got into fight probably if something happened

John Corcoran 8:21

Is there blood or someone else’s blood kind of thing?

David Shamszad 8:24

Yeah, I’m sorry, people will shit was was my car, you know? And I’m like, there’s there’s no way I could have driven home right? Then I started worrying that maybe I did. And so I’m wandering around the neighborhood and I’m looking around the neighborhood. Go a few blocks through the fog. It was foggy that morning. So it took you know, only see three cars in front of me. Every time I got to a new car there was there was tension that it was going to be like I’d see the silver bumper on my car. And sure enough, I found it. You know, I’m pressing the little clicker to find a car up and sure enough, I find my car. And I mean, I’m like devastated. You know, driving drunk is something that scary stuff and I’ve been doing it I’ve done it. I’ve done it countless times. Yeah. But never quite like this though. This is pre Uber days, right? Yeah, it’s pretty early days since like 2010 or so. So it gets in my car and all sudden like oh my god there’s there’s blood in the car. I just blood on the on the handle to my door. Oh, one side and it’s it’s inside the car on the steering wheel on the visor. And I’m freaking out. I have it mine. I hope to God it’s mine. I think it was going online. I’m trying to see if there was a hit and run. You know, I don’t find anything. So I’m like, okay, yes, this is mine. But, man, it’s amazing that that I didn’t know myself or till Santa. And that next day, I knew like I knew they’re going to be they’re going to die, or a minute, or I’m going to turn this around, like there was there was no, there was no other outcome. And it became pretty clear like, you live like that your luck runs out sooner or later, you don’t get to go the whole distance like that. And I just had a moment that I felt, it became absolutely obvious to me that there was only one way out alive. And that was just to stop. I was just stopped drinking cold turkey dead in my tracks. And I sat down the next morning, and I found every email every person that I knew. And I wrote everyone an email and said, I need your help. I need to stop, I’m going to stop. And I need you all to know, so that you can be there and encouraged me, if you see me go to the movies with me for a walk. And out of there, they react to that. I mean, it was terrifying hitting send on that. Right? That’s, that’s a tough one. But I was desperate. And I felt like if I’ve let myself down so many times, what if I make this commitment to everyone else around me? You know, so that, so that really got some skin in the game? Because I don’t want to let everybody down. And people were incredibly, you know, you I got a flood of responses back and everything from you know, this is this is the best news I’ve heard, you know, in years, and I’m so happy for you. I’m gonna be there every step of the way. Let’s go to the movies tomorrow. Let’s go to foods. Everything that you’d hoped for, right? Yeah.

John Corcoran 11:42

Did you seek out any program? Did you go to like a detox program or anything like that, and some hold you accountable.

David Shamszad 11:50

I went to Kaiser has a chemical dependency recovery program. And I went there and I met one particular clinical psychologist to her. She’s an angel. As far as I’m concerned. She’s someone that showed up and helped save my life and helped convince me that I could actually do it. Yeah, give me It helped me make a game plan. Because like, it’s easy to imagine. Well, you can just not drink today and then not drink tomorrow, then not drink today after that. But when you need a drink, and every day in every moment that you’ve accustomed yourself to meeting one and giving yourself one. It’s a daunting, formidable task to imagine not having that drink when you need it. She helped me figure out a way to do that.
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