Updated: Jul 23, 2021
"I realised that I was going to have to step up my game or forever remain an armchair enthusiast"
1 - Why ?
Life comes at us fast. We are raised with an idillic philosophy in mind that you will first choose your career, you will then gain the education you need in order to begin said profession and you will ultimately retire after a long successful life of being the master of your craft. "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth - Mike Tyson" It is important to first pinpoint why you have reached this stage ? This will help shape your goals going forward and give you the drive to succeed when times are tough. I am willing to put my word on the line here and say that between 99% and 100% of the people reading this, at some point on their journey, have been smacked in the mouth by life (hopefully not Big Mike though). This comes in many forms but it does happens to us all, in one way or another. I have certainly had my fair share and this is ultimately what has driven me towards a path that will allow me take full ownership of my direction of travel, and also that of my family. This path is property development.
2 - Mindset At the beginning of any journey, you will be skeptical. Those around you will be even more skeptical having potentially seen your previous endeavours not going to plan. Property development in many peoples eyes is a risky game and one that is only played by the rich and famous. However, they have also probably used the phrase "Safe as houses"at some point to explain how secure something is. So which one is it, risky or safe ? The first thing you need to do is realise that while these people may want the best for you, they won't necessarily join you on the journey and therefore their opinions in this respect mean very little. So stop asking for it. Instead, begin networking and surround yourself with the people that are already doing the things you want to achieve. More so, find someone who does it very well and copy them ! There are many tools around in this day and age to allow this to happen which really is massive to anyone starting out as a developer (or any business for that matter). Linked-in, Facebook and Clubhouse to name a few. Create yourself an online presence early! By being here, on this blog, I can guess that a high number will have property based goals or interests, but I do believe the above applies to any profession. It can be tough accepting that those close to you may in fact hold you back, but until you realise this, that is exactly what they will do. It is a huge mindset shift, but only one of many required to really get going!
3 - Knowledge is key. What you don't know, you don't know. Cliche central I know, but I have heard the above statements more times during my property journey than I ever had before. They are both bang on. I have mentioned in previous blogs about my journey up to this point as a sole trader where I bought, sold, renovated, rented and let. I now look back on these days and fully accept that I had such a small insight into the real property market at the time, Its fair to say I stumbled blindly through it all. A real change came for me when guarding the Tower of London. 12 hour shifts sat in a pokey security office (directly above the Crown Jewels) proved to be perfectly timed and I decided it would be now or never to find out how the hell people were adding all of these properties! Youtube has hours and hours of free content and this would become my treasure trove of new information. Once I had found subject matter experts that I could comfortably sit and listen too, I was all set. Steve Green (Market leader, Ex Royal Engineer and a very straight talker) Steve had been on my periphery already having seen him on Facebook due to mutual friends and the military link. I also quickly became aware of Jamie York (Another market leader and also straight talking). These would both soon become my whole nightshifts entertainment as I set about watching hours and hours of videos, ticking off all of their available content. I was also running 10km each day for the duration of my trip to keep my body exercised, but I felt that I gained far more at night while sat in the worlds most uncomfortable swivel chair! Two specific videos had a real impact on my way of thinking early on, so much so that they are linked below and I would highly recommend that you give them a watch.
Steve Green - Asset vs Liability This video was the first time I really sat and debated the idea of assets vs liabilities. I am not ashamed to say I opened the video with a preconception that I was going to take absolutely nothing from it because my bills were mapped out fully in my notes. "I know my own finances thanks mate" .. I was wrong.
Jamie York - What is BRR (And how it works) Once I started to get my head around the financial side of life (realising I actually had no clue) I decided to also find another SME that I could listen to comfortably, so that I could cross reference all of the new information that I was now taking in. I soon came across Jamie York and this video in particular stuck with me. It was a concept I had never heard of, and in truth, it totally blew my mind. I think I also rewatched it at least ten times ! This does form a huge part of my current business model.
While the above two videos proved a catalyst for my learning, I did make my way through the entirety of their online content in order to give myself a better understanding of both the market itself, and also the processes being employed in order to be successful. Adding to this, my 10km shuffles around the London Eye were accompanied by podcasts such at The Property Podcast, Property Magic Podcast and The Property Rebel. My brew breaks and downtime were also spent reading books such as No Money Down and Rich Dad Poor Dad. All of which are readily available. Dedication does underpin all success in my opinion, but when you find something enjoyable, as I did during this learning curve, it seldom feels like hard work! Once I was comfortable in my own knowledge (and had spent a scary amount of time analysing Rightmove, Zoopla and Streetchecker) I realised that I was going to have to put my money where my mouth is and step up my game, or forever remain an armchair enthusiast.
4- Mentor I have already mentioned my strong belief that you should copy a market leader in your chosen field. If you do so, you will do very well to be worse off than where you started. It is an old belief, brought around by school rules, that it is wrong to copy. It is another belief that will hold you back. For me, this is often closely coupled with the idea that life is a competition, another common one that I particularly despise. I decided, due to the links mentioned above, aswell as the eagerness of one of my colleagues conducting his research at the same time, that i would join him in signing up to Steve Greens PIA 3 day course. I am certainly not here to sell the course, simply to say that the importance of this course on my progress in particular can not be underestimated. From a personal perspective, it validated all of my research and provided serious clarity to many gaps in my knowledge. In truth, I had my reservations right up until the moment I sat down on day one but I can confidently say that this was entirely misplaced. The investment in myself that I made when signing up to the PIA was easily the best investment I have made to date. Infinite ROI. There are of course many mentors and programmes available, but my strongest recommendation would be to just go for it! Get as near as possible (legally) to someone smashing your chosen field and glean as much of their story, methods and mindset as you possibly can !
5 - Act I established my business immediately after the PIA course and set about networking in a major way which I continue to do daily. I have a great team around me now and while I am admittedly new to the business side of life, I continue learning and growing each day alongside Black Dog Property Development Ltd.
I am in the process of establishing an LLP that will allow me to scale my ambitions hugely and bring some of my short and medium term goals to fruition.
I spend a lot of my time talking to people about property, whether that is through enquiries the business, on Facebook or simply being asked “how’s the venture going mate?“. Always be ready to chat and don’t be ashamed to tell people what you’re doing. You are a property developer already, even if you haven’t acquired that first property yet.
In short, I fully immersed myself in the world of property with a view to reaching my set goals, but I do accept that I still have a long way to go. A fantastic podcast I listened to recently stated that you should never actually reach hour long term goal if your goals have been set correctly. Instead, once you are far enough down the line, your life will already be immeasurably better off and new, higher goals will now be in order !
There is of course far more to my journey than I could ever fit into a simple blog. Your network really is your net-worth and many fantastic ideas were had over a brew. If you would like to chat further about something you've seen, something not contained or even something read between the lines of this blog then I would love to hear from you. Thanks for reading!