Today, I thought I would go into why I entered the property market to begin with
You see, when I was 17 and while working at McDonald’s and doing my HSC, my future brother-in-law – a developer – said two things that changed my life: “You can only ever make real money working for yourself” and “McDonald’s really is a property development company … they just sell hamburgers on the side”.
As I was flipping those burgers I was thinking “there’s got to be more to life”… and as I tried to work out what he meant by McDonald’s being a property developer I enrolled in a Bachelor of Construction Economics. The course led me to becoming a quantity surveyor.
Before this I never really had an interest in property so his advice certainly steered my career path, because it was during my degree back in 1993 that I applied for a cadet role at Washington Brown. Now I own the company.
A few years into my work at Washington Brown, aged 25, I wrote a thesis on property depreciation, and thought that this could be a good business opportunity.
This is where part of the advice kicked in. You never make real money working for someone else. So I left Washington Brown, and my mentor who then owned the company, and I started my own quantity surveying firm, Property Depreciation. I did that for about a year and half, and once my old boss at Washington Brown saw that it was successful, he invited me back as a partner. I haven’t looked back since.
The worst advice I ever got
In hindsight, I should’ve stuck to what I know – property. But the allure of buying shares in a company that you don’t own, then sitting back and letting that money grow, was appealing.
Fast forward to the Global Financial Crisis and hey presto it wasn’t so alluring after all! I have always found that letting someone else make money for you ends in tears.
To me, investing in the stock market is the easy option, unless you know what you’re doing.
And while letting someone else make you money can work, I would rather back myself. Whether that’s investing in my business or trusting my property skills to know if an opportunity is likely to pay off.
So my own advice is invest and nurture what you know best – you.