REFRAMING PRODUCTIVITY IN YOUR PROPERTY BUSINESS

Quite often it’s not more new information that we need, but instead what we need is being reminded of something we already know that we will now commit to actioning. Would you agree?

This post is prompted by a discussion I had during an online coaching call I was hosting this week. That conversation led me to look up a post I wrote over 3 years ago, and I wanted to share it again and refresh it as the message is so impactful for people starting and growing their property investing business.

A few years ago I learned a new definition of ‘productivity’ and I’d like to share it again now and possibly challenge your existing perspective with it.

For decades (and no doubt generations) we humans have scoured productivity books and resources in search of the silver silver bullet to magically help us get more of what we want done. I’m not sure how many books have actually been written on the subject but a quick search for productivity books on amazon brought up over 30,000.

It was brought to my attention by one of my mentors in the US that we can typically sort productivity into 3 main categories, as follows:

#1 – WORK HARDER – so in other words increasing the output. For example in your property business this might be going on more property viewings per week, speaking to more agents per week, sending more letters direct to landlords, attending more networking events etc

#2 – WORK SMARTER – this would include time saving productivity hacks. For example in your property business this might include hiring a Virtual Assistant to help with admin, engaging a sourcing agent or two, batching similar work tasks, implementing systems and processes to prevent duplication and to automate some things. 

So those first two categories are logical, and everyone knows about them. What about this 3rd category however? This one was a new way for me to look at things when I learned about it in 2018, and it’s a game changer…..

#3 – BE BRAVER – maybe you are surprised to be reading this 3rd category, but have a think about what kind of action it includes – typically this would involve some kind of bold move, asking for something, risking your ego in some way. So in your property business for example this could be anything big or little that you are doing for the first time- it might be phoning a commercial agent for the first time, it might be asking for money from someone, proposing a creatively structured deal to a landlord direct, asking a prospective contractor guest for a commitment before you have a property. It might be posting a video on social media for the first time, doing a presentation, asking for an introduction….you get the picture. 

There are so many actions that will require a property investor/entrepreneur to have to draw on some courage in order to initiate something -actions that are uncomfortable to take at first. To be clear, I’m definitely not referring to any form of reckless bravery where one might leap before looking. What I’m referring to are the kind of interactions with other people that we may fear and hold back from. These interactions (that typically involve asking) may not take a long time, they do require drawing on a few seconds of courage, but once done could dramatically change your outcomes for the better. On the flip side you’ll also know that if you don’t take that uncomfortable action, then things won’t change. You’ll know exactly what these kinds of things might be in your property world.

IN CONCLUSION

The definition of productivity should be tilting towards this 3rd category because as my mentor put it, “Courage is the entrepreneurial force multiplier”. To be more productive we must optimise for courage. In many cases being courageous doesn’t take long, hence why it ranks so highly on the productivity scale 😁.

Ask yourself, what is the most courageous action you can take in your property business this week?

PROGRESS UPDATE ON OUR SHOP AND UPPERS

This week Chris and I did a site visit to see and discuss progress with the flats being built above our shop. 

It has been a few months since my last visit so it was great to see the progress. 

Shops with upper parts are frequently discussed in the investor community so we thought it might be insightful to share the progress of one we are doing now. This is a nice little example as it started out as one commercial building of a shop with first floor storage space, and we are converting the uppers into 2 flats. 

I’ve recorded a video to show the uppers mid-build to provide some visual context [excuse the poor videography 😊] and below are a few points to share our rationale and approach to this one.

Progress update part 1- Flat 1
Progress Update Part 2 – Flat 2 in attic

*What informed the search in the first place? Without a search criteria you can very quickly become overwhelmed in the sea of rightmove and similar websites, searching for something that ‘looks cheap’.

*It was building relationships with a handful of commercial agents that gave us enough understanding of which commercial clients were looking for space where, and what size.

*With a few strategic conversations and meetings we were able to define a search criteria.

*It was the Specsavers criteria that led us to find this property and even though they had changed their mind when we pitched it, our initial diligence gave us multiple options with this property, and that’s what gave us the confidence to proceed.

*After viewing we found out 3 local businesses had expressed an interest to the selling agent to let the building, and if the large space didn’t let we had understood there was a big demand for workshop space which could have been created with the rear section, leaving a smaller retail front to let.

*We developed a relationship with one of these local businesses and worked with them to agree a shop layout – we upgraded it to suit his long term vision for a bakery with retail shop and cafe at the front and storage and distribution at the rear. 

*On viewing, the upper parts lent themselves very logically to create a spacious 2 bedroom apartment, and when we discovered the height of the attic space there was definitely enough to create a 1 bedroom apartment up there. So, if we’d wanted there would be an option to sell the resi and keep the commercial for no money left in. However we are choosing to keep both as long term income producing assets. 

So that’s a brief update from one of our projects. What kind of projects are you working on at the moment?

PASSIVHAUS: HOW TO BUILD A HOUSE THAT ACHIEVES A 75% REDUCTION IN SPACE HEATING REQUIREMENTS

This week I recorded a conversation with my friend Mike Cruickshank who has project managed and consulted on multiple house builds designed and built on the Passivhaus principles. 

In this recording you’ll hear about how building homes following the 5 key principles of Passivhaus will reduce heating requirements by 75% or more. We invited questions in from the property community so all of those are answered – your questions like:

How do the build costs compare to a standard build?

How is a passivhaus viewed by lenders?

Are these standards being built into apprenticeship frameworks/standards?

….and many more. 

This conversation was great timing for me as I didn’t know much about Passivhaus standards and now a know a good bit more so I can investigate further how this approach may apply to a new build site that Chris and I have acquired. 

Oh, and look out for the ice box challenge that Mike talks through right near the end – it’s a fun and tangible case study to highlight the impact of Passivhaus principles.

ARE THE CHALLENGES WITH BUILDING MATERIALS EASING UP?

Anyone involved in building projects this year will have experienced the challenges of longer lead time for materials and increased costs. 

Over the last few months you would have seen headlines like the below:

“Construction Materials Shortage Sees Materials Prices Rise 14% in a Year”

“Shortages: A perfect storm of cost burdens”

So where do things stand with it now? And what have you been noticing?

In one of our catch up calls this week I thought it might be helpful to share what Chris is experiencing on the front line as he project manages the creation of 2 flats above our tenanted shop.

The picture attached shows dormer windows being created (thankfully on a clear day 😊) in what will be a large 1 bed flat.

Here are some summary points from Chris:

*Over the past 2 weeks we have seen building materials start to become readily more available and stock levels the merchants have been starting to get back to a more normal level. 

*In the last year timber and insulation has increased by around 40-50%

*In a mid to large sized refurb or conversion project materials will roughly account for about 40-50% of the cost while labour will make up the other portion. So, by virtue of the fact that building materials have increased by 20-60%, it means that even if labour remained the same, we need to budget for around a 25% overall increase for our projects compared to a year ago. 

*Plasterers have increased their rates slightly, at least in the central belt of Scotland – so when we were used to paying £9-10/sqm for plastering we are now being charged £11-12/sqm. That’s about a 20% increase, and we don’t reckon plasterers are making any more margin, rather it’s to account for their materials costs increases.

*Some main contractors are now starting to charge for tenders, however we both think this is actually a good idea and will lead to everyone in the process taking it more seriously and being more professional.

Why Has There Been Shortage of Building Materials?

The construction materials shortage can in part be traced back to increased building and home improvement activity in 2020, particularly during the first lockdown. 

The lockdown led to a slowdown in the production of materials from some factories in the EU, and supply chains have remained stretched ever since.

Combined with this, construction output reached a 24-year high in June, the fastest rise in construction activity since 1997, as reported in June from IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS). But demand is not being met by supply, and suppliers’ delivery times have lengthened amid severe shortages of construction products and materials.

Some additional reasons include:

Lack of lorry drivers – All regions report hauliers/HGV/LGV drivers are in short supply and very difficult to recruit, which is contributing to longer delivery times particularly away from major transport routes and urban areas.

Supply of raw materials – This is stemming from a combination of increased global demand, the slowdown and in some instances, factory closures, outside the UK.

Brexit related – The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) said in May that Brexit-related complications have squeezed UK timber stocks, as 80% of the softwood used in building comes from Europe, and 90% of the softwood used for new build homes comes from the continent.

What can you do about it?

Plan as far as you can in advance to ensure you aren’t caught out by shortages or sudden price rises.

When doing your due diligence and analysis in your spreadsheets, be realistic and make sure you are happy with how the property stacks up with a little higher budget on the refurb. 

What observations on the building materials challenges can you share from your current projects?

WHAT IT TAKES TO GET STARTED IN PROPERTY….AND KEEP GOING

Are there certain messages you’ve heard from multiple different influential people, repeatedly over the years? There must be something in that right? Otherwise we wouldn’t hear it and read it so frequently. Sometimes it takes hearing a message for the eighth, ninth or even tenth time and for it to be packaged up slightly differently for it to really sink in. More on that in a moment.

This week was Mastermind week – 4 days of working with small groups of property investors at various stages of their journeys, drawing on collective intelligence to help people get from where they are to where they want to be. 

There was one recurring and prominent topic/question that came up this week, and that was to do with ‘HOW’ ie HOW do I get started or HOW do I get to the next level. That might be in the context of getting started from scratch, or it may be in relation to already having some BTL experience but getting started in a whole new strategy.

Since I love masterminds so much, the 4 days of property masterminding has been followed up this weekend with 3 days online for the virtual Mastermind World Summit, delivered by Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi. 

I have scribbled down so much gold in my notebook from the wisdom of big Tony and the other speakers. In reviewing my notes there was a clear message jumping out at me because of the recurring topic we’d been discussing in the property masterminds about what it takes to get started [and then carry on].

So, what does it take? Well, as I say I’ve heard this kind of message many times over the years but the words from Tony and a few other speakers this weekend have framed things clearly and powerfully so I thought it would be helpful to share them. Afterall, with 105 companies and a revenue of $6bn/year the big man has got a bit of credibility 😁. Tony and the other speakers were talking in the general context of getting started in business and I was filtering it all through the perspective of property, and it’s 100% applicable.

Below I’m going to paraphrase a selection of my notes from Tony Robbins, Dean Graziosi and Lisa Nicholls so you can benefit from the same message, packaged slightly differently, to find the one that resonates with you.

So to remind you, that recurring topic/question that came up was ‘How do I get started property investing.

NOTES FROM TONY ROBBINS

We need to beat what Tony calls the ‘tyranny of how’. He calls starting with how the kiss of death. How doesn’t matter, what matters is WHAT YOU WANT and WHY YOU WANT IT.

If you try to work on how first, you get uncertain. Instead you need to get certainty first in WHAT YOU WANT and WHY you want it, then you can turn your energy and commitment to the learning and being resourceful. In other words, reasons come first and answers come second. 

So in the context of property – if you want to earn £5K per month from property, WHAT is it you really want, and WHY do you want it?

Tony said, ‘the most costly thing for people is to figure out how’, he was referring to how to be perfect. But perfect is the lowest standard because it is impossible. You don’t have to be perfect, you just need to start. 

Let’s say you’ve made the commitment and investment in your property education, now you need to be putting that into action without stressing about being perfect or making any mistakes. There is no one successful in property who hasn’t made a lot of mistakes. So don’t judge yourself too soon, commit to the journey of apprentice to mastery. 

‘When you don’t feel ready, that’s when you’re ready.’

The 3 Forces of creation

#1: FOCUS – the power of absolute clarity and commitment (in other words what you want from property and why)

#2: MASSIVE ACTION – effective execution is the cure all (what Tony was saying here was that if we try something and it doesn’t work, we need to get back up and try it again with a different approach, and keep doing that until we create a result. Too many people stop 5 feet from the goal. 

#3: GRACE – appreciate the gifts in your life, all the things you haven’t had to make that have been give to you because ‘money won’t make you rich, gratitude will’.

What does it take to carry on and be successful long term? MOMENTUM

‘Momentum makes it easier to make success than it is to fail’.

So how do you get momentum I hear you ask – there is nothing like progress to get momentum. Consistent incremental progress that you see, acknowledge and measure. What progress are you measuring in your property activities?

NOTES FROM LISA NICHOLLS [Best-selling Author, Founder and CEO of Motivating the Masses]

Getting started is about conviction over your convenience.

‘We all struggle from impatience but we don’t get fruit by standing over the seed and watching it’.

Sometimes you don’t speak with certainty (when starting out) because you haven’t figured out the how yet. But don’t get confused and caught up in the how when it’s still time to talk about the what.

You’ve got to get sold on the what so the how can show up. Sometimes you get so consumed with the how too early and you get creative constipation, and you don’t create. 

Get sold out on the what then go figure out the how, and that how then becomes non negotiable’.

So in property terms that ‘how’ could be the skills, systems, techniques you can learn from others that you commit to actually implementing consistently because you’re committed to the WHAT with your personal reason WHY. 

NOTES FROM BARI BAUMGARDNER [founder of leading live events business]

‘It starts with enrolling yourself, enrolling yourself in your vision – knowing you are meant for more and taking the steps to become more starts with taking uncomfortable action. That’s when you seek out education and systems modelled by others who have figured out. But there is no magic injection, you have to learn the steps and then take action, have to exercise it like a muscle, everyday, every week. Tony refers to the 3 steps of immersion, repetition and implementation to get mastery in anything.’

IN CLOSING

So there you have the same message packaged up 3 slightly different ways. Does one of those strike a chord with you or give you a lightbulb moment? Which one?

THE FIFTH PILLAR OF PRODUCTIVITY (HINT- IT’S COUNTERINTUITIVE)

In previous posts over the years I’ve shared the FOUR PILLARS OF PRODUCTIVITY – in essence the four cornerstone ingredients for productivity and goal achieving. These were introduced to me several years ago and I’ve been employing them each week since in my property journey to set and work through mini goals that contribute to the bigger ones.

For anyone looking for a quick reminder, the Four Pillars are:

  1. SPECIFICITY
  2. MEASUREMENT
  3. DEADLINES
  4. ACCOUNTABILITY

This week feels like an appropriate time to share a reminder of the Fifth, and counterintuitive, Pillar of Productivity. This crucial and often overlooked contributor to productivity is…..

PLAY

It’s fitting because I’ve just spent a week being fully immersed in a fantastic family holiday and, therefore, disconnected from emails and busyness.  

No matter what our age, we all have an inner child that enjoys PLAY, and it is actually counterproductive to ignore that. As I’ve gradually come to learn from one of my long time mentors, it’s super important that we don’t try to optimise every minute of every day. You’ll know if you fall into this trap of listening to podcasts whenever you move/travel, trying to multitask, and attempting to push for every minute of your day to be optimised for maximum business output and personal growth.

If you can relate to that at all, I get it. I’m the same. We are only trying to become the best version of ourselves. Indeed that’s my highest value.

However, as I mentioned, I’ve gradually learned from Peter that play is important too, and actually a key part of keeping us productive. He showed me that ‘the latest science has actually proven that Playing – like a child – is a revolutionary brain hack that stimulates your neurological growth*. It also unleashes powerful focus and motivation.’

[*Dr Stuart Brown has devoted his career to a meta-analysis of “Play” research in humans and animals, by sociologists, biologists, psychologists and neurologists. He found (among other things) that Play – in both kids and adults – directly correlates with increased brain neuron density and executive function. Play literally makes you smarter.]

So, it’s actually “optimal” to not always be optimised.

I’ve learned that it’s crucial to allow yourself some time regularly for unstructured, non-improving, joyful activity. The kind of thing that’s innately interesting, where you lose track of time AND lose your sense of self. The kind of thing that your seven year old self would’ve loved to do.

So what’s the benefit of all this and why is making time for play so important for productivity?

  • Disconnected time away from the business actually makes you hungry to get back into producing mode and working at being the highest leverage version of yourself in moving your business forward. I can honestly say I’m hungry to get back to business next week.
  • Having let the proverbial ‘inner child’ out to play I can happily put the head down and focus on the hard work for another 90 day sprint without feeling frustrated or the higher risk of procrastination had I not taken time out.
  • Changing up my environment and routine for a week has removed me from the day to day blinkers and made way for some creative thinking thanks to inspiring sights and new conversations- for example it reconnects me to a big goal Chris and I have to build a spectacular properties where we can host mastermind retreats and gift holidays to causes that are close to our hearts – ie families dealing with cancer can come away to create wonderful memories.
  • I’ve continued to feed the virtuous cycle – ie when we spend money on experiences with loved ones it not only creates wonderful memories but it inspires us at a different level to continue to produce results and create a life we are proud of for our family.

I am returning home excited and energised about beginning a new week of incremental progress with our SA and development businesses. This week ahead is a particularly exciting one as Chris and I have 4 days of masterminding with awesome property people.

In closing, I’d encourage you all to be intentional about scheduling time for PLAY, even better, let us know what you’re planning to do.

SUMMER PSYCHOLOGY FOR YOUR PROPERTY BUSINESS

ARE YOU A WORK MARTYR? Do you feel like you can’t afford to take time away from your property business otherwise you’ll fall behind and have loads to catch up on?

Or maybe it’s the opposite – are you taking loads of time off and have lost momentum with your property activity?

The summer is a wonderful yet challenging time for many in property, and in any business for that matter. It’s a challenge because we don’t want to lose all the great momentum built up over the first half of the year, nor do we want to miss out on the fun to be had when the sun comes out.

SInce we are right in the middle of the school summer holidays, for many, I thought it would be helpful to share some psychology and tactics that can help beat these challenges I mentioned. These are things that I’ve learned through mentors and have been consciously practising for several years. I don’t always get it spot on but these things have certainly helped provide me with a healthy reframe for holiday time and helped me keep momentum going over the summer period. 

To start with here are a couple of psychological reframes for summer:

#1: GO ON HOLIDAY 

Yes it sounds obvious, it’s summer time after all, but you’d be amazed at how many people don’t actually take holiday ie statistics for unused holiday days in the employed world are shocking. Not wanting to take time off or thinking we can’t afford to take time off is unhealthy. Just like top athletes incorporate rest and recovery as part of their elite training regime, we need rest and recovery in our property businesses to perform at our best.

Lets say you are project managing a conversion project, or running a busy SA business – if you keep pushing everyday in the business you are at risk of burning out or at the very least resenting what you are doing because you’re missing out. We need to learn to let our inner child out to play by taking time off, then when we get back to work that inner child stays quiet for another chunk of time so you can focus and be your most productive self.

#2: HOLIDAY PERSPECTIVE

Don’t associate holidays with ‘lost time’. This is crucial, and it’s a mental battle I wrestled with for some time. You don’t want to have self talk when you return from holiday of ‘I need to get caught up, I’m so far behind’. That kind of thinking will only train the brain to think that, ‘any time I go away I have the pain of having to catch up’. Instead we have to tell ourselves that time out is part of our high performance and on return it just needs to be a standard week, and unread emails will be worked through gradually. 

SOME SIMPLE SUMMER TACTICS

#1: PLAN YOUR PLAY – get your holidays as well as the local trips and meals out planned and in the diary.

Every summer Darren Hardy shares some great video messages on this same topic and he often shares this anecdote from the late Jim Rohn who used to feel that when he was in the office and it was sunny he felt guilty that he wasn’t at the beach with his family. And when he was at the beach he felt guilty that he wasn’t in the office. He therefore felt he wasn’t being any good at the beach or at the office. Here’s the lesson from Jim,  

“When you are at the office, be at the office and don’t be thinking about the beach. Then when you are at the beach, be fully at the beach.” – Jim Rohn

And we can’t do that unless we have already scheduled the time off. With the fun activities scheduled it releases us from thinking about them at work and we can be fully focused.

#2: STAY CONNECTED WITH YOUR WHY AND YOUR TOP 1-3 GOALS FOR THE QUARTER

I’ve found this really helps keep me focused ie on the books I choose to read and to stop me going down rabbit holes in terms of exploring property ideas that aren’t related to those top 1-3 goals.

#3: WRITE OUT YOUR PICK UP POINTS

What I’m referring to here is to write out exactly where you want to pick up a piece of work when you get back from a holiday. So for example if you’ve had your head deep in some due diligence and deal analysis then write yourself a little note that will make it quick and easy to pick up where you left off.

#4: DISCONNECT AND BE PRESENT

I said this in point #1 with Jim Rohn’s quote but saying it again now because your kids will thank you for it. As part of being disconnected fully present whilst you are away, set things up before you go by managing people’s expectations, ie let people know you will not be responding to things, set your out of office on, voicemail on etc.

#5: WRITE DOWN IDEAS THAT POP INTO YOUR HEAD

Write down big picture ideas so you can get back to being on holiday. Holiday ideas are often like ‘shower ideas’, in other words ideas can pop into your head when you are relaxed that could be a new or more creative angles to approach things in your business. Be sure to write those down so you know what to do about it when you’re back at your desk. You want to get those ideas out of your head so you can get back to being present with your family and the holiday. 

#6: DON’T FORGET THE POST HOLIDAY REFRAME

When you get back to work remind yourself that its not about making up for lost time, focus on having a standard week and that gradually working through emails etc will be part of that. 

Here’s to your summer. Which of these summer tactics and reframes resonates most with you?

[Image credit: Dreamstime.com]

HOW YOUR PROPERTY BUSINESS IS LIKE RIDING A BIKE [FROM LANDS END TO JOHN O’GROATS]

The journey that is property investing has been assigned many analogies over the years to bring colourful similarities and comparisons with things we can relate to. 

Since Chris and I have been on the road over the last couple of weeks – literally pedaling every day for 10 days, I thought it fitting to make this week’s post a video from part way through our Lands End to John O’Groats cycle trip. 

I had plenty of time to think on the bike, just no time to write. So, here are 10 logical links I thought of between a property business and cycling that I hope serves to remind us (myself included) of what is important to optimise your journey… whether in cycling or in property. 

Sometimes there will be long tough climbs where you have to work extremely hard and just get your head down and push, sometimes it’ll be flat but still need some pedalling to keep moving, other times you can cruise down hill and catch your breath! Either way, it’s a journey and we have to keep on moving forwards- on the road and in property.

So, 10 points coming up…No. 1 is to Start with why…..for this journey our big why that was driving us forward was to raise money for Cancer Research, because cancer has impacted our families, as it does for so many. If you’d like to support our cause please donate what you can here:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tsen-tsim-tsumi-rich-chris

I had attempted to post this video blog midway through our journey but the wifi strength at the places we stayed never quite made it happen. Now with the journey completed on Wednesday, Chris and I can honestly tell you that as we pedalled onwards day by day each and every donation and message of support helped spur us on, so an eternal thanks🙏🙏🙏 for all those, please do help us keep raising our donation amount to help fight cancer 😊❤️. 

P.S. Hope you like the backdrop, it was stunning in the Lake District. 

Which of these 10 points resonate most for you in your property business?

THE CRUCIAL INGREDIENT FOR PROPERTY DEALS THAT MELTS AWAY FEAR AND UNCERTAINTY

Often, it’s not new information we need but rather being reminded of what we already know, so that we then go on to use it.

I first shared the post below exactly a year ago following a week of masterminding. Chris and I would normally be facilitating mastermind tables this week but on this occasion we’ll be cycling the length of the country from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money for Cancer Research. [If the cause strikes a chord and you’d like to sponsor us please visit our page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tsen-tsim-tsumi-rich-chris ]

So, back to this post, I chose this one to share this week as I’ve invested a higher proportion of time this week in the preparation for the trip, plus I feel the message is just as relevant as when I first shared it. In fact I might argue that it’s timeless. Here it is….

I have huge respect for, and affinity with, those who are committed to using property investing to create more of the life they want. If that’s you, then we are kindred spirits. This is the journey I’ve been on since 2007 – it’s what I strive for and what I find great joy in helping others with too. 

Every month I am fortunate enough to be in the position to mentor people on their property journeys, by facilitating powerful mastermind groups. I absolutely love holding mastermind days, the magic that comes from tapping into the group intelligence to help overcome obstacles or add fuel to the fire of opportunities….there’s nothing like it. 

I recently worked with two such groups and there was a very clear and obvious theme underlying both days that needed to be addressed. It was one of uncertainty – uncertainty about which property strategy to focus on, about where to start, about how to start…and a range of other secondary questions that flowed down from these. 

This is where knowing about and implementing a simple but powerful change of perspective can melt away that uncertainty. I wanted to share with you a snapshot into what we were talking about because I’m confident that either you’ll learn something new, or you’ll be reminded of what you already know that you can now go out and use.

THE CRUCIAL INGREDIENT

To help explain this I’m going to quote from MJ Demarco’s Millionaire Fastlane – “The winning premise of business is simple yet often forgotten by most business owners: Businesses that solve needs win. Businesses that solve problems win profits. Selfish, narcissistic motives do not make good long term business models.”

The most important message in the Fastlane book is this – “Stop chasing money and start chasing needs”.

Those seven words you just read really can change everything, especially when applied to property. [I know this from personal experience because it was the key change that allowed us to pivot out of a failing serviced accommodation business and start a new profitable version of it.]

So how does this all relate to property and the mentoring conversations I was having this week? 

Well let’s put into context the quandary many find themselves in at the beginning of their property journeys – ‘How do I make money from property when I don’t have any to invest?’ Or ‘How do I know where to start?’

This is where the perspective change outlined above comes into play – to answer questions like these we have to switch the focus away from chasing money and instead focus on chasing needs. 

This powerful pivot in focus led us into productive conversations during the mastermind session that shone light on the path to making that first bit of income through property deals – for example we discussed:

  • Finding niche audiences that require short stay accommodation, matching them up with existing serviced accommodation operators and charging a fee.
  • Finding time poor investors in your area and offering your time to source, analyse and deliver shortlisted property opportunities for a contingent fee if they invest.
  • When it came to questions about finding and working with JV investors we discussed how the same principle still applies ie by asking questions to figure what needs/problems the investor has in relation to their cash in the bank that you could help solve with certain property deals. 

I hope this subtle yet powerful distinction can serve those reading this as it has for me – this change in approach really is like moving out of the dark where you were trying to make decisions with no information and feeling fearful; and into a well lit path with the information you need to make optimal decisions and feel confident.

What I am touching on here is the core philosophy that guides everything we do in our property businesses. It guides how I mentor others and its what I wrote about in my book Predictable Property Profits.

In closing, ask yourself, how can you ensure this crucial ingredient of serving a real NEED is present in your property deals?

Have a great week ahead.

5 MISTAKES THAT HAVE HELPED ME GROW IN PROPERTY

Are you more interested in the struggles or the successes of people in property? 

Whilst out cycle training with Chris for our Lands End to John O’Groats ride our chats cover a lot of ground – from strategic thinking, goals, funny films, health, life, property business…all over the place. One of the conversation topics that came up this week was discussing mistakes we’ve made, and how those mistakes while painful in the moment have helped us grow into the people we are today. 

I think it’s quite common for people to hide away their mistakes and keep quiet, perhaps because we pick up through school and society that mistakes are bad. However, looked at through a different lens, deep down we know that mistakes that don’t threaten our life and health are actually good for us. We know we have to experience them to grow.

So, in acknowledgment of that I thought instead of talking about a hotel viewing we did this week, why not talk about some mistakes that have helped me become who I am in property today. I hope it can help others reading this reflect positively on past mistakes too.

In no particular order, here’s a quick reflection on 5 mistakes that, on reflection, have really  helped me grow.

**I bought my first BTL investment because it ‘looked cheap’ compared to London property, where I was living at the time. I had no understanding of the property itself, the local market, no understanding of leasehold property (something that would lead into a load of hassle with this property). I was just desperate to get started. A little bit of basic property education and taking the time to really understand what I was buying would have helped me select a different property…but now I know that 😊

**Trying to multitask at weekends by attempting to do some property work related things whilst simultaneously trying to look after/play with my young kids. Total failure! I later realised that you have to be fully present and focus on one thing at a time, otherwise both you and your child end up being frustrated and the worst version of yourself. Learning to schedule and my week effectively and factor in appropriate time for business, family and health has been huge. It took me a while but I learned that when my kids asked me to play/do something with them that I can say yes to them first, explain that I’ll play with them for X amount of time and then return to the property stuff. That way I can focus fully on the kids, even if only for 20 mins, and then get back to the property task.

**In 2014 I tried my hand at creating a software product for executive recruiters. That was a 3 year struggle to finally arrive at the conclusion that the business was totally out of alignment with what I wanted to be doing. I chose that path for the wrong reason – wanting to make money as quickly as possible. I learned there’s no point doing something just for the money, the entrepreneurial roller coaster is tough enough as it is so it will serve you so much better to allocate your time and energy to something in alignment with your highest values. For me, this is where I found serving people through property is where aligned in starting and growing businesses. 

**When Chris and I first formed a business partnership and started to invest in our property education we got ourselves well and truly overwhelmed with shiny penny syndrome. All of the property strategies were appealing to us and we were trying to execute about 4 different strategies all at the same time. We were busy idiots scraping the surface on multiple property strategies rather than immersing ourselves and focusing on one thing. After a few months of this we finally realised the importance of FOCUS and committed to doing one thing for at least 6 months – that being rent-to-rent serviced accommodation. It seemed so difficult to say no to all these other exciting property strategies in the early years but now I know it wasn’t a case of saying no never, it was simply no for now because we had to give ourselves the bandwidth to focus on one thing for long enough to get some meaningful learning and progress with it before adding anything else. Chris and I have since been able to layer in those exciting other strategies in a more measured and strategic way. 

**This one is probably my favourite mistake because the lessons that came from it have been so powerful and lasting – it was getting started in rent-to-rent SA based on nothing more than guesswork and hope. Well, that first outing with 4 SA properties didn’t make us any money. It did however teach us some incredibly valuable (although painful at the time) lessons that led us to start again with a new approach built on finding the demand first. That new approach was born out of a painful experience and the necessity to find a better way. It was the sharp realisation we needed and I’m so grateful for it because we have used those lessons to start and grow a profitable wee SA business [if you’re interested I’ve written about that journey of failure to success in my book Predictable Property Profits https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1527253732]

So, those are 5 mistakes, amongst many that I’ve made but I feel these have contributed most to my growth along the property business journey. 


What about you – what’s been your favourite mistake in property? 😊