Too busy to systemise your business? Or maybe you are scared of the cost of it?

Busy deskIt was a cold, rainy day – the kind of rain that drips over your nose and down your clothes and makes you sopping wet even before you’ve stepped outside. You know the kind I mean. A fairly typical summer’s day in England!

I was sitting in our home office, when Andy walked in, cup of coffee in hand. As he sat down, I glanced across at his desk. The contrast between his desk and mine was stark. Mine – covered in all sorts of paper documents – bills, mortgage statements, letters, post-it notes of to-dos that hadn’t been done and should have been done last Friday. His – a monitor, wireless keyboard, mouse and speakers. No paper, no mess, no distraction.

He sat down and put his wireless headphones on, and I started to hear the muted ‘thud, thud’ of The Gorillaz latest album. I muttered under my breath ‘GEEK’ .. and proceeded to wade through the paper on my desk, deciding the quickest way to deal with the pile was to push it all onto the floor and use it as a new form of carpet tiles. At least that way I didn’t have to look at it. And my desk was then as clear as my darling nerdy husband’s.

‘Do you have the mortgage offer for Gainsborough Road somewhere?’’ Andy asked as he moved one earpiece to hear my response.

‘Um, yes, er, definitely, I saw it this morning’ I said, knowing that it was definitely here, somewhere. The only thing was which foot was it under?

After a search of about 10 minutes I enthusiastically pulled it out from underneath the pile and placed it ceremonially on top of his keyboard.

‘Wendy we need to talk’, Andy turned to me with a serious look on his face.

‘Oh, is the offer not what you hoped for?’ I replied.

‘No, it’s not that’ he said.

‘Ah so is it that we need to buy more coffee when we’re out?’

‘No, we’re fine for coffee.’

‘So what’s bothering you babe?’ I prodded.

‘Well, you know I love you very much Wendy, but there is one thing that is starting to drive me crazy’ he said.

‘Well I know I have that effect on a lot of people’ I said, with a cheeky grin. ‘What’s the matter babe?’’

He took a deep breath, and looked me straight in the eyes, ‘the truth is, unless we sort out our systems, this office and all this paper we simply will not be able to scale up. Your desk is a tip, you can never find where anything is and you are wasting not only your own time but mine too’.

I sat in my chair, feeling totally deflated. I had worked so hard to create a portfolio of HMOs that had given us financial freedom. We now had a regular passive income of £6k per month. The last three years had been nothing but hard work and I had the evidence to show that taking massive action, managing risks that many other people wouldn’t have the courage to do, and using other people’s money could create financial freedom. I had left my job and wound down my other business to focus on this one. Andy had also been able to leave his well-paid role as a contractor.

We were supposed to be happy.

But right now, at this point in time, the last thing I was was happy. I felt annoyed at myself, annoyed at him, and annoyed with the business.

The thing is I realised that Andy was right. Deep down, I absolutely KNEW that my entrepreneurial skills were great when it came to new ideas, growth, and creating income. But on the other hand, creating a system that someone else could pick up and use and freeing up my side of the office from all that paper that I had grown to know and love – well that was NOT within my gift.

I knew I had to change, I knew the business had to change and I knew that the only answer was to systemise.

So over the next 12 weeks, Andy and I set about looking at ways that we could create a leaner, more automated, systematic and ultimately leveraged business. We wanted to employ staff, or outsource the things we didn’t like doing. But to do this we had to start moving our erratic business practices onto a much better platform.

RESULTS

Immediately we began to notice a difference. First in the time we had. We had much more of it! The little jobs, the things that I would have had to write on a post-it note and stick on the edge of my monitor just to remember them, were gone. They were contained within a system. As long as I remembered to go to the appropriate tool, I could find exactly what I wanted when I wanted it.

Soon, this impacted our profits. We had more time so we had more time to do better deals, and more deals, and find more investment. In fact in that year alone we raised over £500,000 for further HMO projects. We bought another 9 properties, and added another £3,700 to our monthly income. There was no way we could have done that if we had been stuck behind our screens or on our phones managing refurbs, tenants or payments.

Our quality of life started to improve as we had more time to exercise, to do more with our family and to R-E-L-A-X.

This was all because we had systems.

Then the best part began as we realised that with the systems we had implemented, we could create a team to manage our properties, with marginal involvement from us. So we began to recruit – first a Lettings Manager who would run the lettings side of the business, then an Operations Manager who would run the day to day aspects of the business. This then, in turn, freed up mine and Andy’s time to do other deals and to speak with investors and to pursue some of our other passions.

So HOW EXACTLY did we do this?

In systemising our business, we both agreed that the key principles we needed in a system were that it had to be

  • Simple
  • Scalable
  • Shareable
  • Suitable
  • Secure

What were the tools that we needed and how would we decide?

We realised that the process would be a three-step process. First we had to SCOPE the business and decide how to breakdown each area, then we had to SPECIFY what our business did in each of these areas, then we had to SYSTEMISE. Most of all it had to be LOW-COST or NO-COST so that we could free up our time without taking up all of our profits.

Although I can happily use a computer and mobile phone, I am not the most technical person in the world so our system had to be easy to learn and implement. The last thing I wanted was anything that needed multiple log-ins or a computer science degree to operate.

After a few weeks of searching and analysis, Andy suddenly rose up one day from his computer chair and shouted ‘Eureka’! I’ve found the exact tool that will work to help us

  • Find properties
  • Fund projects
  • Finish refurbs
  • Find Tenants
  • Future-Proof our portfolio

And that tool is…. ? If you’d like to know EXACTLY what that tool was and HOW we used it to run and grow our business (and still do to this day) and how YOU can too ….
Click here to find out more

To your success!

Wendy

What school didn’t teach you!

When I was at secondary school it has to be said that if they’d done ‘A’ levels in Boys, Parties and Nightclubs, I would have got three A*s. Unfortunately they didn’t, so I didn’t get those results either. In fact, I really spectacularly failed to achieve what I was capable of in the subjects I chose.

 

School boy

Why was this? Well I wasn’t really interested in them. I had better things to do with my time! I saw little purpose in them long-term and they were mostly theoretical.

 

I think many people who become investors have had similar experiences to me, and find themselves having a hard time breaking through the belief that they are not clever enough, not good enough or not talented enough to do property. I wrestled with that too. Until I realised that education in the property world is very different.

 

For a start it requires you to take RISKS. There is no certainty that you will get the outcome you want. In fact you need to have the mindset of growth and learning at all times to manage this fear of failure. Secondly, it takes COURAGE – you have to put your money, your time, even your reputation on the line. People may scoff, ridicule or undermine you and you have to find the courage to believe in yourself. Thirdly you have to take practical ACTION. The theory is all very well but until you put your learning on the line, you will never become a real investor.

 

Having the right mindset and the right skill set is VITAL so that you do not get upset (as one of my mentors once taught me)! Which is why next Sunday I will be spending time on YOUR mindset AND your skillset! That’s if you will let me ….

 

You see next Sunday I’m launching a BRAND New event – HMO Fast Track LIVE. Not only will you learn exactly how to invest in HMOs – how to find them, plan them out and make them work efficiently, you will also learn how to have the right MINDSET to attract investors, to grow your business and to become financially free.

 

BOOK NOW

 

If you are SCARED, SLOW OR STUCK then you need this event to help you become BRISK, BOLD AND BRAVE!

I look forward to seeing you there – if you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch!

To your success! 

 

P.S. Look out for my free webinar training on the 20th September:

The 5 Most Powerful Questions you Should Ask an Estate Agent… and Why They Matter!

 

Finding your Power Team

What is a Power Team? And do you really need one? You may have heard a lot of people speaking about their Power Team – and how valuable they are. If you are new to property, or going up a gear in your investing, you definitely need a team of people to support, advise and work with you. Known as a Power Team because they empower YOU to be better, they undertake specialist roles that you can’t do and they enable you to do stay focused on the BIG PICTURE.

So who are these people and who do YOU need?

Optimally you will have all of the below who you can call on when you need advice, guidance and support. Some of these people you will deal with very regularly and others only occasionally. Dependant on your strategy, some of these people will become more or less useful to you. For example, we specialise in HMOs but have an internal team who manages the rentals, so we need to know how to market and sell as much as how to source property. If you haven’t identified someone in each of these categories yet, make that your goal for 2017.

Internal Power Team *who work either exclusively for Best Nest or are contracted to work with us:

  • Operations Manager
  • Lettings Team
  • IT specialist
  • Property sourcer
  • Project Manager
  • Maintenance team

It may be that you want a more ‘hands-free’ business, in which case the above list may be irrelevant for you. We’ve found that the best way to manage HMOs is to keep them ‘close to your chest’ – in other words to handle the lettings personally and grow your business through further development of units of accommodation.

External Power Team

  • 2 mortgage advisors (IFAs)
  • A specialist property solicitor – who can not only undertake conveyancing but can also advise me on transactions and structures of deals
  • Accountant and bookkeeper (can be the same or can be different people)
  • Builder
  • Commercial and residential estate agent
  • Structural engineer
  • Surveyor
  • Tax advisor
  • My mentor

These core people have access to sensitive, personal information and help us with strategy, guidance and risk. So being able to trust them is critical and their reputation and continual commitment to high levels of service delivery is also crucial. Outside of this immediate External Power Team we have other contacts within our network who we know personally and who we can pick up the phone to if we need advice, help or suggestions.

  • A letting agent
  • Planning expert / advisor
  • Marketing expert
  • Furnishings experts and Interior Designer
  • Tradesmen – Gas Engineer, Plumber, Electrician, Joiner, Window and Door fitter, plasterer, tiler, bricklaye

If you network and also test these individuals for reliability, commitment, pricing and delivery, this will massively help you grow your income from property. Knowing all these people within our network enables us to find answers to questions,  brainstorm dilemmas, and find solutions. Unleash your power by finding the right team – ‘cos when you do that,  not only will you help them, you’ll hugely help yourself too. jobs-quote