When I started in property, I was almost £50,000 in debt.
I’d tried my hand at a few businesses; art, architecture and pub landlording, but none of them were a real passion for me.
My university debt compounded and times were hard.
A gallery owner who was hanging my work invited me to a property networking event.
I kept turning him down because I said “I don’t have the money”, and “I don’t know enough about property”.
He countered that “every master was once a disaster”, and that “most people on the rich list are in property”.
That was good enough for me, and there at my first event I met my business partner of 11 years, Mark Homer.
He had experience and money, and I had time, enthusiasm, a desire to learn and work hard. We bought 20 properties together in our first year, using his deposits.
Then we recycled all the cash through property growth and remortgaging, and went again. Then we reinvested our own profits.
Then we went to external private investors. Then to commercial banks. We now have over 700 properties we own, co-own or manage.
I became a millionaire before my 31st birthday, less than five years after my depths of debt.
5 steps to success
I believe most people could achieve this too if they follow the right system. Here are the main financial lessons (and mistakes) I learned along the way:
1. Have a clear financial plan and money bucketing systems
Apportion what percentage of your income you will live off, save and never touch, invest with and spend to enjoy.
Never break these rules and reduce the percentage expenses and increase the other buckets as you earn more money.
I went from 120% expenses to income ration down to 30% (before kids and school fees!)
2. It is never too late to start but always too late to wait
Get perfect later, start investing and learning now
3. Continually invest in yourself
Listen to podcasts. Read books/audiobooks.
Go on courses and get mentors who’ve been there and got the results you want: the more you learn the more you earn.
4. Be helpful
Once you are out of debt and earning fair money, focus on how you can help others, create meaningful products for them, solve their problems and continue to innovate (I was too self-focused when in debt)
5. Hang around the right people
Your network is your net-worth. Ensure people inspire and lift you up.
If people drag you down, let them go. Your net worth is the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
My final thoughts
I started learning about money and investing seven years later than I should have. I believed I couldn’t do it and as an artist didn’t have the skills.
I didn’t feel worthy of money and felt if I were too business focused I’d be screwing people over changing them and people wouldn’t like it.
All of these beliefs were wrong (but real to me).
Don’t make the same mistakes I did. Follow the five points above and keep on keeping on.