What was the catalyst for you launching your business? I had spent eight years working for a large real estate firm managing leasing portfolios worth tens of millions of dollars for corporate companies and providing strategic property advice to their CEOs. I had an urge to start my own business for years but had always been too nervous and worried about the ‘what ifs’ but being on maternity leave after having my daughter showed me that even when I wasn’t sitting at the corporate desk, I still had knowledge and expertise from years of working in commercial property. My confidence had been tied to my employer and it no longer was. That’s when I decided to start my own tenant representation business but I wanted to do it differently, not follow the same method and chase the same clients as everyone else. I wanted to personalise the service, not just have a one size fits all approach. I provide people with free advice by way of a blog, rather than holding everything close to my chest. I offer property workshops to people who want to actually have the knowledge of their rights as a commercial property tenant. My focus is on small business owners and entrepreneurs, the people who most need my assistance.
What does a typical day at work involve for you? I wake early and try to shower and get ready before my toddler wakes, otherwise it throws my day out completely. We have breakfast as a family then I drop my daughter at daycare and will generally continue on to inspect properties with my clients. This can be anywhere in Melbourne and the outskirts, so I spend a lot of time in the car. Inspections will take up most of the morning and I often grab some lunch and eat it in the car on my way back to the office. I also make a lot of my phone calls whilst in the car. I usually get 2 – 3 hours of desk work in which can include lease reviews, preparing property reports, undertaking lease negotiations and the usual tasks of a business owner – financial management, PR, marketing, etc.
What are your guiding principles? When I work with a new client I always tell them that our working relationship is guided by trust. If we don’t trust each other then neither one of us is going to achieve our common goal of leasing them a commercial property on the best terms possible.
How do you make yourself more productive? Schedule everything. When I’m working at my desk I schedule my time in half hour blocks and prioritise based on client requirements. This can mean that sometimes I can’t find time to work ‘on’ the business as I’m so busy working ‘in’ the business.
What mindsets helped make you successful? I honestly, truly love my job and that keeps me going. If needed, I remind myself that this is the path I have chosen after careful consideration and it will work.
If you wanted to create an environment where motivation can thrive, what’s the first thing you would do? Provide workplace flexibility. Different people operate effectively at different times of the day, so the standard 9-5 work day may not be motivating for everyone. It’s not just about working from home, or being a working parent, it’s about identifying the abilities of your staff and utilising them at the right time. Perhaps a staff member would work better on a Saturday so they can have Wednesdays off to spend with their partner. We have amazing technology these days and we should work with that more.
Did you have any ‘entrepreneurial experiences’ as a child? I started babysitting the young girl next door when I was 12, which grew to the whole street and more! I was operating my own version of The BabySitters Club.
What do you find most exciting about being an entrepreneur? The exhilaration when I sign a new client and I know that they have chosen to work with me. Me. Not an employee working under a big corporate umbrella. They’ve chosen me because of my knowledge, experience and skills. That’s awesome.
What things about entrepreneurship do you struggle to understand? I am a dot your i’s and cross your t’s kind of person, so I can become quite anxious if I think I’ve missed something. Thankfully I have a great team around me consisting of my Lawyer, Accountant, Financial Coach and others.
What has been your most effective marketing tactic or strategy? I have hustled! If I write a blog piece or article that I think is newsworthy I am on the phone to anyone who I think should publish it! Persistence pays off.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors? I am a woman in business. I own a company. I know what it’s like to budget, to set goals and grow your business so I can really relate to my clients. I become a part of their business journey and I get a thrill when they are excited about their new office or shop because I helped them achieve that goal.
What systems/apps/organisational tools have you used to automate your business to give you more time for planning & development? I’m a big scheduler and book appointments well in advance, but if it’s not on my iPhone calendar I will never remember it. I use Xero for my finances which has made things a lot simpler, and I schedule social media posts using HootSuite.
What is the most courageous thing you’ve done in business? Starting! Taking that first step is so daunting and exciting at the same time.
How do you deal with failure? I would have started The Tenant Company years ago if I had known how happy I would be doing it, and how well received it would be in the small business community.
Looking back, what would you do differently? I would have started The Tenant Company years ago if I had known how happy I would be doing it, and how well received it would be in the small business community.
What do you love the most about what you do now? I love it when my clients are so excited about getting their new commercial property. For some this can mean growing their business ten fold and I just love that I can be a part of helping them achieve their dream.