Five lessons I’ve learnt after one year of business

Happy birthday to us! D Residential is one year old and what an amazing first year in business it has been. Running my own business has been a lot of hard work and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It really has been the best thing I’ve done. Thankfully, I had the confidence built on years of working in the industry so going out on my own in property management felt right (despite the unexpected gift nobody wanted of COVID-19).

There have been so many little milestone wins along the way, including hitting our targets, company brochures, building up quality client lists and my professional network, and most recently, buying a company car (a black Ford Puma – look out for us on the streets of Perth!). Alongside the wins, I’ve also learnt a lot. I’ve narrowed it down to the five big lessons of our first year and I hope they help any of you considering navigating the little bit scary, but very exciting world of business ownership.

Lesson #1 – Set your hours and stick to them

After working 9 to 5 jobs for someone else’s business, setting my own hours was one of the most thrilling parts about starting my property management business. Being a mum has always required a certain amount of flexibility with work, but now I design my hours every day to be there for my boys when they need me. I drop them off and pick them up every day, and make it to their assemblies – I really love this. However, to make sure I achieve all my work requires top shelf efficiency and I set up my calendar to prioritise clients in allocated hours. I then set boundaries around both work and personal life, so during my regular hours that I’m in my office or with clients, I’m 100 percent focused. I’ve learnt not to take work calls or check emails at ridiculous o’clock because it can and will get done tomorrow. This makes owning a business sustainable in the long run.

Lesson #2 – Get your admin systems right before anything else

I’ll admit this – I spent a lot of time setting up the back end of the business! Administration procedures do take time to set up correctly and now we have a paperless system and procedures that work seamlessly that make every transaction easier. I have a fool-proof filing system, fantastic software for inspections, plus CRM and accounting programs that keep me on track.Do your research early on and choose the right admin programs for your business – It will be so worth it, I promise!

Lesson #3 – Quality clients over quantity

Not all clients are equal. It can be tempting to jump in and build your client base as quickly as you can when your business is new. My schedule of fees is non-negotiable, because I provide an excellent service to my clients and the good ones know this service is worth every dollar and more. If you start lowering rates to accommodate more clients, your value decreases as you try to maintain a huge client base. So, my advice is to prioritise those fabulous clients who know your value and pay accordingly. Don’t accept less than you’re worth!

Lesson #4 –Write it ALL down

I have become a checklist queen, because when you have multiple clients and tasks for each of them, a checklist provides great peace of mind and ensures nothing is ever missed. The brain is a processor not a calendar – so don’t rely on it to remember everything! It’s also important to document all agreements with clients, and between property owners and tenants, because “he said, she said” gets a business owner nowhere! In saying that, I’m also very mindful of what I say because every word counts in business. Be upfront and transparent from the beginning, and your relationships will benefit (this advice works for both business and personal relationships!).

Lesson #5 – Create an authentic platform on social media channels

My favourite form of business is word-of-mouth, which happens for me regularly thanks to wonderful testimonials and referrals from owners and tenants. There’s nothing like growing your business organically! However, learning how to promote your business on social media is a must-do. I was very overwhelmed by this aspect of business at first and even tried to outsource my social media management. Eventually, I knew I had to learn how to do it myself to truly capture the heart of my business and what we do. I spent two whole days researching programs and teaching myself how to use them, and now I’m proud to say it’s second nature to use social media to promote D Residential. The market doesn’t notice you exist immediately, so spend some time building your brand and following.

What I’m looking forward to in our second year…

 I run the business from my home office, which works so well as we live minutes away from the main strip. However, the plan was always to expand and lease an office, so watch this space as I’ve seen some beautiful locations recently which might become D Residential’s new home! I’m hiring too, so a fresh office is at the top of the list to progress.

We’ll also continue to steadily build our portfolio as the set up is now complete. I’ve built some wonderful professional relationships and connected with other real estate agents, so it will be exciting to see the business evolve with some partnerships in action. I have set a target and will be hustling hard! It won’t be easy, but the best things never are!

But first, I’m off to blow out the candles on D Residential’s birthday cake! If you’d like to hear more about what we do, call me on 0402 888 550.

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