Sunday, 20 June 2021

How My Past Experiences and Skills Benefit My Property Career

 

Have you met me in real life?

Do you know anything about me?

It’s very important that you get to know anybody that you’re considering working with!

So in this post, I’ll be sharing a little bit of background information into me… but more specifically, how my previous experience fed into my current property investor career!

When I was little, I wanted to be all these things at various times:

✂️ hairdresser – but too clumsy, and all my Sindy dolls had mohicans 😖 ❌

✈️ pilot navigator – but had bad eyes and likely not clevererer enough! 😵💫 ❌

👩🏻‍🏫 teacher – managed that, but that was waaaaay too much hard work for me! 🥵✅

🏡 property developer – by Jove, I think I’ve made it! 😁👍 ✅

But it’s interesting that lots of skills and things I’ve learnt along the way have all fed into helping my career in property.

ie, because I did this, or went on a night course on that, it’s massively benefitted me.

And I love learning, the latest benefit paying off is my accredited Diploma in Internet Marketing, which has been wildly helpful in building up my online presence.

So, here I go: some major skills that I learnt ages ago which still benefit me now!! 👊

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The biggest one you may know about me is that I used to be a high school teacher. This taught me a lot about patience!

But also it’s honed my public speaking skills.

I know glossophobia is the number one fear of many people… but once you’ve tried to keep smiling and be positive and talk to stroppy disinterested year 11s about Shakespeare, whilst they argue back with you, any crowd or audience after that is a breeze!

Another good skill that came from teaching was resourcefulness, and the ability to think on my feet: “Oh the interactive whiteboard screen’s not working / my photocopying’s not ready / there’s no work been left for the class I’ve been called in to cover, etc, I’ll have to think of something else on the spot” –

Makes you think of a resolution fast!

Most teachers are organised and time efficient, calm and enjoy planning and things running smoothly – me too!

Finally it’s a great ability to be able to start each day afresh and not drag resentment with you from the past.

This particularly paid off with Samantha, as no matter how disruptive she was one day, I never held it against her the next lesson. And although she was a problem for other teachers, being given a new chance every lesson led to one of my teaching career’s greatest moments: on GCSE results day, when she told me mine was the only subject where she’d earned her only grade C, and she thanked me for not giving up on her.

And thus another skill learnt: no matter their circumstances or issues, people matter!

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The next experience that fed into my current property investor career – photography skills! 📸

I’ve always been interested in photography, and have hundreds of photo albums documenting the last 30-odd years!

I firmly believe that a photograph captures a memory and freezes it in time indefinitely 🤩

So about a decade ago I did a photography course at night college to improve my skills.

And whilst I’m no David Bailey, I am pretty decent a getting a good photo shot, having some concept and thought process of lighting, framing, angles, focal planes, the rule of thirds, and so on.

This skill has been particularly useful for photographing my property projects, both to document the transformation process and as rental or valuation photos for the end result.

It also helps with my social media content; hopefully you’ve seen some of my jazzy photos online!

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Here’s another way that my previous skills and experience fed into my property career….

At Leeds Metropolitan University I studied an English degree and a few years later I went on to do a creative writing course at night school.

I’ve always liked the written word, and my mum informs me I could read and write before I even went to school.

This has meant I have built up a superb grasp of many written skills, and I love to use language and vocabulary to entertain people. And I can spot a grammar or spelling mistake a mile off!

So how has this benefitted me in property?

Well it effectively means I am my own copywriter. I write the content myself for property adverts, my website, my investor email mailing list, this blog and my social media posts.

This has the added benefit of all my content and resources being authentically me!

You’re welcome to check out all my written resources on the platforms I’ve mentioned!

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Here’s the fourth way in which my previous experience fed into my current property investor career.

I have studied a range of counselling skills and psychology courses. This means I have learnt some great interpersonal skills, and have developed my ability to understand people and get on with them.

Some find it really difficult to walk into a room of strangers and begin a conversation, but I’m quite decent at networking, and am reasonably good at making people feel at ease.

Learning about counselling helped me develop patience and empathy, whereas the psychology course showed me different ways in which people think.

I love the nature versus nurture debate, and it really interests me why people are like they are, usually because of the past experiences they’ve had.

How is this relevant?

Well, I have to deal with clients, tenants, investors and contractors – people.

It’s often said that property is a people business, so it makes sense that I should continuously try and improve my people skills!

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The final thing I’m going to mention on how my past experiences fed into my current property career, is computing.

Bear in mind, I’m from a time when your junior school had just one computer between us all… and you took your one hour go on it a year, one-finger typing out a paragraph to print off! 🤣 And you weren’t taught much more about computers at high school either.

Even when I reached the Sixth Form in the late 90s, the Internet was only just starting up, and a laptop in every home was still a good few years away.

So I cajoled a friend to sign up with me to Joseph Priestley College (named after the discoverer of oxygen, FYI!), and after Sixth Form once a week, we would go and sit at their computers and learn the new-fangled arts of ‘Word Processing’ and ‘Spreadsheets’. I’ve still got the certificates to prove it!

Anyway, fast forward twenty years later, and my keyboard wizardry skills mean I can do a range of computer-based tasks which are vital to my property business.

Creating documents, templates, letters, and most importantly, those fiscal spreadsheets showing me that things are going well in my portfolio (well, mostly, barring a few evil months involving excessive repairs and maintenance! 😅)

Eeeh, who’d have thought in the last century that everyone in the future would be taught these skills at school?!?

Shame they don’t do the same with teaching kids about business, tax and mortgages!

So thanks for reading… who knew I had so many skills, eh?!

What, you want to hear more?!

Oh go on then…

…but as long as you have a go at recognising how your own skills and experiences are beneficial!

Friday, 30 April 2021

HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY TO MY BUSINESS! 5 Key Things I’ve Learned About a Property Business in those 5 Years

 




Today my business is FIVE YEARS OLD!!

I almost missed the date – can’t believe I missed an excuse to have a little celebratory party!

But what with the Covid pandemic, a party would have been limited on numbers anyway, so I’ would only have been able to invite the staff in the business: the director, the secretary, the acquisitions manager, the project manager, the finance controller, and the lettings agent…

…Me then, just me!

It would have been a VIP party of one!

 

But anyway, today my business is 5!!

 


And although I was a landlord for several years before that, five years ago I decided to make a proper business of it and start buying property within a limited company.

So in celebration, I have put together 5 key things I have learned about running a property business… here we go!


1.    IT IS HARD!

 

Don’t let anyone lie to you.

It takes way longer to build a property business than you were led to believe. It is also much more stressful, hands-on and costs a lot more than you ever thought it would!

But… if it were easy, everyone would do it, wouldn’t they?

I remember being in the property training room, learning all about this stuff five years ago. There were about 60 people there who had put four days of their time and money into that course… and five years later, only about a quarter of those people have stayed the distance, built a portfolio, and actually successfully progressed in property.

It’s hard… and that’s why most people don’t carry it on!

 

Me on the train home from my first property mentoring session...look how fresh-faced, stress-free and unworried I am! 😄😅

2.    NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS AS MUCH AS YOU

 

A harsh reality, but even the people you employ or subcontract in are (mostly!) only in it for the money. They don’t share your vision, your dreams, your plans for success, or even how you envisage certain tasks done!

So if you outsource, delegate or supervise anything, you had better be watching that those other people are doing exactly what you need them to.

The buck stops with you, and every event that happens is your responsibility. The bottom line and all end results are your fault, so you’d better make sure things get done and get done right – delegate, not abdicate!

 

My face when something's gone wrong again, as oft happens, if we're all honest!

(But on the other hand…)

 

3.    OUTSOURCE ANYTHING YOU’RE NOT GOOD AT

Remember at school, when the teachers told you to practice at anything you weren’t good at, so that you could ‘get better’ at it?          

What utter nonsense of an idea that is!

When I was a child helping my mum redecorate our bathroom, (1980s child-labour-style!) I inadvertently stuck a wallpaper scraper in my forehead (Look for the scar above my eyebrow when you next see me!)

This alerted me at an early age that perhaps DIY skills were not my forte.

And no matter how much I have practiced manual and DIY skills over the decades, I have never gotten any better, and it is a brave adult that leaves me unsupervised with power tools!

I fully accept that I am no good at manual skilled things, and what’s more, I don’t really enjoy doing them.

So what’s the solution? Get someone else to do them. Someone who is far better at it than you, makes a great job of it and likely loves doing it too – outsource! (but oversee, remember!)

 

Attempting to garden... see why I need adult supervision?!?

4.    PROPERTY IS NOT PASSIVE

Well, it might be, if you’re super rich and can afford to choose to throw money at agents to deal with everything, fair play to you!

But for the majority of people, they have to get involved with their property portfolios at some point for certain things.

For example, although my rental portfolio mainly runs smoothly most of the time, this week I have visited three of my properties for a gas safety check, a property tenancy inspection, an insulation upgrade in a loft, and to check a new tenant into a room in shared accommodation.

Luckily I quite enjoy this range of tasks… and for all three days of this ‘work’, I was back home by noon.

 


5.    PROPERTY CAN GIVE YOU TIME FREEDOM…WHICH IS AWESOME!

I have worked hard enough in the last five years to no longer have to work hard.

In the humblest way I can state this, my property income means I don’t need to work if I don’t want to.

I don’t need to exchange time for money, like in a normal job.

That is a powerful turn of events in anyone’s life.

If I’m ill, or if I do nothing, all my bills and outgoings are covered.

I’m not accountable to anyone else, and nobody is cross if I call in sick or don’t feel like doing anything productive on a particular day.

And that time freedom is a fabulous thing!

Thus, having a smooth-running portfolio means I have freedom of choice. Freedom to choose what I do with my time on a daily basis. Freedom to choose who to work with – or not!

I do get bored easily though, so when you see me doing ‘work’ things, it’s because I choose to, not because I have to. I feel very lucky!

 

 


There you go, my five big key things to share with you!

 

And yes it’s been hard, and there have been stresses and tantrums and worries, and financial concerns and sleepless nights, and early times when I thought it was all going wrong and doubted myself.

 

So five years in, we’re still going strong.

I’m still nowhere near where I want to be, but I keep going and believe that one day I’ll get there, and try my best to enjoy it as I go.

 


So as a bonus item, here’s my final thoughts:

Life happens as a result of my decisions, choices and actions.

 

And I choose to continue to build my portfolio, to create the income to provide the lifestyle I’ve got in mind.

 

Does this involve Presley Property Ltd being so successful that it enables me to afford my dream house, with my dream study-library-office?

Where a large Elvis mannequin model adorned with a custom-made rhinestone jumpsuit overlooks my red leather Chesterfield sofa, on which I sit to decide and mull over my future projects?

 

What do you think?!?



Friday, 19 March 2021

Can Anyone Do Property?

 

CAN ANYONE DO PROPERTY?


I used to think that anybody would be able to do property, But now I’ve been in the industry a few years, I’ve changed my mind. 

Hey, it’s ok to change your opinion about anything, based on new information!

So having learnt more and experienced more, I have come to this conclusion.

Being in property is not for everybody.

You need to have a certain set of characteristics and traits in order to do well in property.

When I think of the vast amount of people that I’ve met over the years, who have been all keen and eager to get cracking in property…


...And then I think of the ones that have actually stuck with it and made it work for them, sadly, it is only a fraction of people who have stuck it out.

And that’s because the truth is property is hard - despite what you might have been taught on some educational training course.

It really isn’t for everyone.

It is hard work, stressful, frustrating, and certainly isn’t the ‘get rich quick’ scheme that you were led to believe!

So here’s a few key attributes that I believe you should have if you’re seriously considering investing in property as a long-term career.

 

Key Attributes Required:


👊 A positive nature.


 

I’ll be honest with you here, the majority of days in property aren’t that great. You might get up to 10 really good days a year in property (new keys, refurb complete, new tenants), the rest are only average days or bad ones.

 

Take into account refurbishment problems, tenant or rent problems, and maintenance problems, and then acknowledge that these are all regular problems that occur on a regular basis.

 

You’ve got to have a naturally positive nature to avoid being dragged down, discouraged and downhearted by these issues.

 

👊 Resilience.

 

 It’s very important that you are able to recover quickly from difficult situations. When things go wrong, some people bury their head in the sand and avoid problems, which is not the way to go in property. If you run away and hide from issues in property, you often make the situation worse - such as a accruing rent arrears from a naughty tenant, or a leak which may then get worse and destroy the entire property.

 You’ve also got to have “bounce-back-ability” - the ability to keep going even when things have gone wrong.

 

👊 A thick skin.

 

Things do go wrong in property… often.

You shouldn’t allow yourself to get too upset by them, or take things personally, as that is a sure-fire way to make the situation worse, when emotions get involved.

Try to think logically about problems, even though they may be frustrating and not your fault.

Keep a cool head at all times, and remain impartial. It is pointless to wallow emotionally and be upset thinking “Why has this happened to me? / Why is the tenant behaving in this awful way to me?” It’s nothing personal, as it’s likely to be nothing to do with you!

 

👊 Tenacity and Determination.

 

 

It is crucial that you have a nature that doesn’t give up easily. You must never stop trying to improve or fix things, and you must do whatever is required to fix a goal.

 

This is especially important if you work for yourself, because you are fully responsible for your property and business - and no one is going to come and save you.

 

I mean that in the loosest possible terms; obviously maintenance contractors and advisors can help you fix certain things, but you’ve got to bring about those solutions yourself. A touch of personal stubbornness helps here, and an willingness to never give up!

 

👊 Finally, a couple of other traits that are important as a property investor: an ability to deal effectively with stress, patience, honesty, proactive, decisive, and integrity - if you always want to do the right thing by your tenants and investors, then you won’t go far wrong.


 

So that’s a little insight into some of the key personality traits needed in property. You should ask yourself honestly if you possess all these traits, because if not you will find it more difficult than most.

And if you don’t, hey, that’s ok too; as I’ve said, property is not for everybody.

Perhaps you could just focus your skills, time and energy on other things that you love, and invest passively with property developers, without being hands-on.

But if you really wish to get involved with bricks and mortar, vendors, agents, keys, properties, refurbishment, contractors, building materials, expensive problem fixes, tenancies, tenants, and all the associated issues, then I wish my very best of luck to you... because I know how hard it is! 😁👍



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Kellyann is a property investment strategist from Leeds. 

In her work she creates wealth for private investors through refurbishing properties. 

Visit her website for more details:

https://kellyannmartin.co.uk/investment/