It’s often said that the path to successful entrepreneurship is never a straight line; rather it looks more like a scribble on a page going in multiple directions until the line finally breaks away…emerging triumphantly in an upward motion. Where will it end up? What heights will it achieve? Although it’s impossible to predict the future, when you’re part of Team Sperano, the only place to go is up.

Sketching the Path
As a teenager, Sebastien Sperano wanted nothing to do with the real estate business. Instead, he set his sights on life as an artist. “I really wanted to be able to use my hands and eyes to create art,” he says. Around the time he was dreaming of the artist lifestyle, his father, Robert Sperano—then in his 40’s—decided to make real estate a second career. Robert’s father, André Sperano (Sebastien’s grandfather), was already retired at the time but decided to try his hand at real estate as well, simply as a hobby. The two senior Speranos launched successful second careers in real estate, while Sebastien made the move to Florence to study Art at Accademia Italiana and perfect his Italian.

“When I returned from Florence, I realized that my love for the arts was one that I could use in a subsequent business, but I didn’t envision a future working as an artist,” says Sperano. Weighing his options, and on the advice and coaching of his grandfather, he decided to take a real estate course, but only under two specific conditions: he would take his course without telling his father and if he decided to pursue real estate as a career, he would sketch out his own path into the world of real estate.

With his real estate license in hand in 2004, Sperano was excited to start a new chapter in his life. “Right out of the gate, I wanted to do things differently than I had seen done before,” he says. “I also didn’t want people to think that the only reason I would find success in real estate was because of my father’s work.” Sperano decided to work independently from his father, stepmother (who also worked in real estate) and his grandfather.

Filling in the Lines
He set out to build his team, and partnerships gradually formed over time. One such partnership turned out to be more than business. It was during this time that he met SeyLac Try, who eventually became his wife and business partner.

Despite wanting to do things his own way, Sperano has had several mentors over the years. “The beginning of my career was guided by Jocelyne Harton, the Broker/Owner of Remax 2001,” says Sperano. “SeyLac and I both owe her a debt of gratitude.”

By 2011, Sperano has began to build up a system that worked for his business, but he felt somewhat uninspired and as if he had hit a plateau. He began planning his exit strategy which came in the form of an investment property purchase in Chicago.

A pivotal moment came shortly after when he was introduced by a well-meaning lawyer to a group of upscale clients as “the best salesman in the world”. It was meant as a compliment, but in that moment, Sperano had a sudden realization. “I was so much more than a salesman, more than just someone who sells homes,” he says. “I knew I was more and could be more than that, I had travelled, I speak four languages…I have so much more to offer than that,” he says. “And that’s what solidified it for me; I needed change.” Sperano began actively investing in properties and believed that he was on the cusp of redesigning his career’s direction.

When his wife, Try, found the perfect office space in Vimont where they were living at the time, the couple decided to buy the building in 2013. It was at this time Sperano and his team decided to shift their strategy from doing business ‘anywhere with anyone’ to becoming much more locally specialized. “We became THE brokers of the area and that’s when we started to create connections that were more relational as opposed to transactional,” says Sperano.

Getting involved in community events and fundraisers became the backbone of their strategy. “We found that we could make much more of an impact in our community through what we do,” he says. Sperano continued to travel and learn from other brokers who had built a sustainable business model, each time applying what he’d learned and putting his team’s own local flavour on it.

In 2013, upon his return from a real estate seminar in Quebec City hosted by Georges Bardagi—a renowned expert in the field—Sperano again found new direction and inspiration. He decided to put into practice much of the new information he gleaned at the seminar, and one of those elements was putting out a video series that he called “From the Broker’s Desk”, with the aim of simply reaching out to an audience in an authentic manner. No bells and whistles; just real talk.

The response to these videos was so positive that he used that momentum to reinvent himself once again with renewed enthusiasm. Sperano would go on to shoot many more videos over the years that followed, even while travelling, meeting new people and learning about how they operate their businesses. He attributes this success to what he learned at Bardagi’s seminar, using the success of that team as a benchmark to aspire to.

Following the success of “From the Broker’s Desk”, Team Sperano now had a following, and would continue to build that loyal, local following for the next two years. Armed with a new direction and large investments in media visibility from 2015-2017, it seemed all the ducks were planted firmly in a row.

Manipulating the Shadows
In the fall of 2017, Sperano was preparing to take a month off to spend quality time with his wife and children when he found himself plagued with headaches so intense that he ultimately took an MRI test. Doctors found a lesion in his skull that they could not explain, and Sperano spent the next two months undergoing a series of tests to determine the root cause or get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, results were inconclusive, and he faced the decision of cancelling his family trip to Costa Rica, or travelling anyway, despite the uncertainty. Sperano decided to take the trip with his family, not knowing what the future held.

Upon his return to Canada, he met with a neurosurgeon who performed a PET scan, but results would take five months to come in. As a result of the uncertainty and the inevitable waiting game, Sperano yet again changed course, this time with a new driving force. “For the rest of that year, I lived as if I was going to die AND as if I was going to live forever,” says Sperano. “I started saying YES to everything in business and in my personal life.” He continued shooting “From the Broker’s Desk” videos, travelling for business and with his family while still building his team.

It was during this trying time that Sperano developed what he calls his core values: Family, Fitness and Finance. He took an avid interest in health and fitness and provided his team opportunities to do the same. He organized team-building activities and fitness-centered events, which eventually led him to organizing his team’s first major real estate, sales and motivational event called Summit 6288 in 2017.

Even when he had no idea what his future would hold, Sperano would be reminded of a gift he received from another mentor of his, Michel Bolduc. Bolduc had given him a Bluenose sailing ship model kit as a congratulatory gift for having obtained his Broker’s Certification. Hidden inside the box, which Sperano didn’t open until years later, was a note that said, ‘To Captain Sperano, Happy sailings with your new diploma! When there’s no wind, row’. The old proverb remained top of mind for Sperano during those challenging times.

Fortunately, after months of waiting for a firm diagnosis from the PET scan, Sperano received the news that the lesion on his skull was benign. That same year, Sperano was awarded the Medal of the National Assembly by MP Jean Rouselle. “That was an amazing moment and it actually helped to validate what I stand for and the values we have built as a team,” says Sperano.

Adding Dimension
When the global pandemic hit in early 2020, Team Sperano was yet again faced with another heavy dilemma. Due to government decree, business was forced to come to a grinding halt for two months, but rather than throw their hands up in the air in despair, Team Sperano got to work. Using their strong work ethic, innovation and creativity, the team set up 3D modelling for virtual viewing of homes, agents were able to work from home, and during those very challenging two months, Sperano kept in touch with his ever-growing team via video conferencing and good old fashioned phone calls to make sure everyone’s morale remained high.

Once business was permitted to resume, Team Sperano emerged bigger and better than before. In just a few months, with the help of Sébastien Girard (one of Sperano’s external operations consultants and partners), Team Sperano has doubled in size. “The values of the team define who we are and absolutely dictate who joins the team,” says Sperano. Like the captain of a ship, Sperano firmly believes that the Three F’s (Family, Fitness and Finance) are the values that help steer the ship in the right direction. “Agents gravitate toward us because of our authenticity and what we’re about.”

In addition to the team’s expansion, Team Sperano’s HQ now operates in a much larger office building, once again thanks to Try’s instinct and keen business sense. Team Sperano’s new office space (3000 square feet) is the result of a partnership with SQUAD Coworking, whereby a total 7000 square feet of modern office space and facilities is shared with a slew of other professionals, such as lawyers, builders and designers.

The Masterpiece
Much has changed since Sperano first set out to create his own path to success in 2004. His career and personal life have taken him on plenty of adventures with a fair share of twists of turns. His grandfather and father have now joined Team Sperano. With a strong team behind him, Sperano feels fortunate to be where he is today, including being able to spend time with his wife and two young children.

Despite nearly 16 years in real estate, Sperano feels as though the model of the last five years have truly defined the direction his team will take. “If it’s only been five years, imagine five more. Our goal is to continue to grow the team and become one of the strongest teams in North America,” says Sperano. The team currently offers a partnership program—the first of its kind in the industry for team models—and Sperano says there’s still more to come. Associate Partner Chantal Assad and Junior Partners Joseph Cammisano and Michela Iacovella are amongst the first to benefit from the program. “With the patience of a decade, it’s amazing to think what we can create.”

Bringing all the accomplishments to date into focus, Sperano reflects on what has gotten him here. “Developing ‘From the Broker’s Desk’ helped me connect with people from all over the world and it has been viewed by over a million people,” says Sperano. “By highlighting other people’s talents, passions and skills, I have shaped my own vision and have helped grow our connections and reputation nationally and internationally.”

Growing a team is not without its challenges, but Sperano believes that his team has found a winning recipe. “We want to deliver the best experience for our clients, by making sure that every member of Team Sperano is uplifted to their full potential, and we do that by making sure they have taken care of their family, their fitness and their finances…ultimately taking care of themselves,” he says.

Sperano explains that though some team models are wary or cautious about giving the spotlight to team members for fear that the member will become too ‘competent’ or no longer need the team, he prefers to look at it from a different perspective. “I’d rather do everything to develop the full potential and leadership of each individual in order for them to stay, not because they need me, but rather for the alignment of a common goal and vision, set by a collective effort,” he says. “This breeds individual success.”

Is the artwork of a lifetime ever really finished? Does the artist ever believe the masterpiece is complete? Much like the lines on the path to entrepreneurial success, with all the twists and turns and tangles, at some point the protagonist will emerge victorious, steadfast and with clear direction: the only place to go is up. “Our purpose drives our passion,” says Sperano.