My real estate story humbly started very similar to many others fresh out of school with a big opportunity to use my Pitmans Typing certification acquired in 6th form typing.
I’ve undergone traineeship with Australia’s biggest brand at the time working in a medium-sized office on the front desk. After learning the ropes and diligently attending the REIQ traineeship program, I graduated from front desk to property management. Six months of what could only be described as learning curves and reality checks followed as I quickly realised property managers do not get paid enough despite of it being “one hell of a job”!
My “time to shine” came. I’ve “done my time in PM”. I have learned the importance of giving notice and the implications of not following “to the letter” of the law and I was ready to take on the world in my brand new sales role! Get ready world, here I come!!!
Next was my transformation role where I’m pretty sure my amazing principal thought giving a near retiring salesman a young enthusiastic PA to do all their hard yards might inspire him to get his head into the game and out of the boat magazines he had delivered to the office weekly.
First, I came up with a list of “what not to do” as advised so appropriately by our network youth program coordinator.
1. Don’t fall asleep at open homes.
2. Don’t pick fruit off vendors trees while on stock run.
3. Don’t show up to appointments late only to enjoy a cigarette on the sidewalk before walking in let alone smelling smoke.
4. Don’t forget to proof your half page ad in the courier mail and then blame your PA for wasting the client’s marketing money.
5. Don’t eat food from client’s fridges.
And the list went on……
Now, whenever I look back on those experiences, I still remember how the struggle felt like. But I also realize that… those were the best learning experiences and training grounds one could have ever have in this business. Not only did I become the best and most efficient rubbish bin cleaner, I also mastered the art of hustling. On traineeship wages, I was able to afford to pay my rent, car, maybe a bottle or two of passion pop, a new top for the weekend, and groceries to hopefully last me until next payday.
On Wednesday evenings if I was feeling lucky, the new office girl and I would have dinner together. She’d bring her can of tuna and sweet and sour sauce, while I’d supply the two-minute noodle and onion as we both scraped out anything left in our cupboards eagerly awaiting payday. This was my first year in real estate and you know what… I LOVED EVERY BIT OF IT!!!
When my principal finally decided my “mentor” really did need to retire and maybe I should be left to my own devices, I was permitted to list my first property. I’d trained for this, listened to every speaker under the sun, attended appraisals with other agents, and I’d watched their success and noted the failures. And I kept telling myself, “I CAN DO THIS”.
Pandanus Street… I remember it well! I suited up for the presentation in my favourite dark brown pant suit that I’d had on lay by from Katie’s. I was prepared and I was pumped up! I jumped into my bright ??? Holden Barina with its bald tyre tread and I had the music blaring. I was running on pure adrenalin – I was READY! Just as Haesley Cush had said, I turned down my stereo as I approached the street and I slowed down to a respectable speed. I arrived way early so I decided to do a lap of the surrounding streets to making sure no “for sale” boards had gone up in the last day. I was 100% prepared. THIS IS IT!!!
God knows why the O’Briens entrusted me with the sale of their 3 bedroom low set brick home, I must have covered my nerves with nervous energy and contained my anxious vomit until I got back to the office bathroom. But I had it! My first 22a!!!
The next 6 years seemed to have just gone by. I got married, worked, worked, and worked some more, until I finally had the opportunity to make a change from salesperson to licensee and sales manager. At 24, that was a huge goal for me ticked. I left an amazing principal and everything I’d known on the parting words “I wish you all the best, but I just don’t think you are ready”. To this day, I am grateful that we parted on that phrase, as it served like a fire in my belly that kept me working on myself, improving, striving, and persevering hard to prove I was ready and I COULD HAVE IT ALL!!!
I surrounded myself with amazing mentors, networked my backside off in my core area and with my company, attended every event, training, and opportunity. I got to meet new fabulous people who inspired me to reach for the stars. Time flies when you’re having fun and as many career women know, this can take a huge toll on a marriage. At work I was being inducted into top 10% in the international network (yipeeeee) and at home I was a passing ship in the night with my then husband. I followed my heart and my husband, starting afresh in a new marketplace after almost 10 years in the same suburb. Now I can only look back and shake my head in awe of my once held market share.
I knew no one and didn’t even know how to pronounce the suburbs in North Queensland but you know what? Why not… what’s the worst thing that could happen…. I’d have to go back to Sandstone Point, I knew everyone there and I’m sure as hell that they have not forgotten me yet!!!
My previous zone manager had started calling regularly, checking how life was up in NQ and sharing their exciting tales of buying RE/MAX Australia and New Zealand off the Americans and the huge head way they were making in steering the company. I knew of RE/MAX mostly from the movies, I’d been rolled a few times by very sharp polished RE/MAX agents over the years on listings, but I was most intrigued by the entrepreneurial orientation of the model.
One day they asked if he could show me the numbers! I remember a tear rolling down my cheek as I saw a multi-million dollar figure sitting in front of me. That’s how much I would have made as a RE/MAX agent doing exactly the same GCI since I’d been fully licensed at 24. But like most people say, it’s very rarely solely about the money… there’s usually something else.
I continued to work hard and play hard, I think the straw that broke the camel’s back was me waking up in the front door way one morning, all work and no play makes for one hell of a bender. My marriage was over and I was ready to make a change! I knew that this chapter was over and it was the right time to make a move – deep down I knew I could have it all but this wasn’t the way I was going to get it.
RE/MAX called again they were persistent and I say they wore me down but in truth that was the most exciting turning point in my career to date. I would embark on a new skill set, I would be pushed so far past my comfort zone that I couldn’t even see it anymore. Corporate life was something else, a new model, ALL of these new concepts and ways of looking at business, introductions to amazing and inspirational performers and my phenomenal new mentors that challenged everything that I thought I knew, business to business sales, not just mums and dads or in the case of Sandstone Point vendors, who would “be carried out in a pine box”.
I remember having a conversation with the now director of RE/MAX Australia about how I would have it all, happy family, thriving career and best life. A mantra I hold close to my heart every day. Happy, healthy and abundantly wealthy (that last one I’m still working on…lol!) My dreams and ambitions were growing and I was witnessing an entirely different world. I travelled throughout QLD meeting with some of the BEST operators I had ever encountered, many of them became RE/MAX members and others still close friends and valued connections, the thought of having my own business went from a small seed that had been planted when I left my first job to something real and tangible that was right there within my reach.
The real opportunity presented itself last year when I was selling an existing business. The principal was wildly successful and after 18 years, she was looking to hand over the reins to new blood and concentrate on her core sales business. What an opportunity!! I had a new baby I’d been back from maternity leave for under 6 months, again it meant a huge challenge and a massive change. MY OWN BUSINESS – a team of 17, the opportunity of a lifetime!
The decision was made, the deal was done. We were buying a business and not just any business, but one with existing successful and driven salespeople. How could I possibly add to this? What could I do to take it to the next level… holy crap! REALITY was about to set in! No more cushy corporate gig, I was back in the game in a real way!
The last year has been insane (in a good way) our team has gone from 17 to 41, I’ve been reminded that Property Managers are worth their weight in gold. We have done some pruning, had every hurdle and hump to cross in the last 12 months, we have been scammed and spammed yet we stand still. Our vision was to create a world class business – this remains the same to this day, to have a culture of phenomenal people who will go the extra mile.
Our ongoing plans for growth and development are what makes me jump out of bed every morning (even in the mornings when I’ve been up all night with a teething baby). The mum life juggle is its own hilarious story of Vegemite toast smeared on my work shirts and turning up to daycare drop off with no shoes! But that’s how a working mum’s life is supposed to be, right?!
The last year has been the most challenging, jam packed, craziest year. But I can truly say without a doubt… I WOULDN’T HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY. I learn something new every day in my business. We adapt and change as we implement new strategies, we look for efficiencies and are always trying to up the game. Our people are going from strength to strength and we continue to attract THE most amazing team members.
I’m so proud of all of them. Culture is our number principle, because what I believe that we are nothing without the amazing people in our business. And to retain quality, you should re recruit your team every day.