Now there’s been a few property management industry disruptors around in recent years. Some have succeeded and many haven’t. Mainly because what they have to offer is either cheap fees, poor service, or software that just doesn’t work. But very few have taken on the industry and taken a shot for change, based on the simple lifestyle and values, many property managers want to live and do business by until now. There’s been a few disruptors, and some of them have stood the test of time, like the cloud-based software systems, for example: Others like virtual property management agencies haven’t.
I’m not knocking anyone here because I think change is amazing. It’s great. It’s how we all grow and evolve. And the digital world has opened up so many more opportunities for building businesses, and sometimes it’s actually hard to keep up with all the new things. My guest is Amanda Waipo, she’s a single mum from New Zealand who overcame her fears and courageously dove in and became a partner in an independent real estate startup. She found herself newly single when she was just seven months pregnant with her youngest child. But despite her personal world falling apart, she took a brave leap and stepped up her professional life. With a love of everything, systems and processes, Amanda has taken her skillset and combined forces with her business partner to forge one of the fastest growing property management brands in their region. Homely is determined to be more than just another property management business. They have lofty plans to disrupt how traditional businesses are run, but it’s not based on fancy tech or budget fees. It’s based on a holistic approach to property management where effort, values, and lifestyle rain supreme. Where property managers are rewarded for building their own portfolios, growing their own businesses, and achieving their own financial freedom without the stress, guilt, and burnout. According to Amanda, if she can build her own business as a single mum of three, you can too. So, take a listen to her inspirational journey.
HOW SHE GOT STARTED IN PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
‘I’m a mum of three gorgeous children. I started in property and property management back in 2012 purely because I was looking for something that was going to give me a career path and a career opportunity. I have been in love with it ever since. I worked for 10 years in the industry, learning as I went and adapting as I went around. I learnt what it is that a good property management company should be providing and taking all those learnings as we go and creating something that would benefit a lot of people, I guess. That’s why I decided to join Homely. Over the years I’ve always had this weird little hobby of creating documents, building processes and bits and pieces just in my spare time around property management because it’s something that I have a passion for. I just thought, you know, one day I might be able to use this and do my own thing if I ever need to. And that day kind of came around, which was really exciting, and I got to be a part of Homely and bring that information and all my little weird hobbies to the table. So, it’s really exciting.’
HOW DO YOU JUGGLE A BUSINESS AND THREE KIDS ON YOUR OWN?
‘Well, I have a great relationship still with my ex-husband. So he does help out quite a bit. So, on Tuesdays and Thursdays he deals with the children so I can look after myself, do all my appointments and anything that I can I make sure I can schedule for those days like inspections, meeting up with tenants for other reasons, visiting properties if they’ve got work happening at them with contractors. Anything I can do really to get out there and meet people, networking groups, I do those on a Tuesday. It is just really making sure I’ve got some good time management in play. I always make sure I keep my Wednesdays free because if I don’t do my house stuff on a Wednesday in the middle of the week, by the weekend, it’s just insane. So, I’ve got my Wednesday and I’ve got Saturday or Sunday to do housework and to catch up with washing and all those bits and pieces. So really it’s just all about balance. And as I mentioned earlier to you, Tuesday and a Thursday morning, I start my day at the gym. It gets my mind clear; it gets me pumping for the day and it’s something that’s for me that helps me be a better property manager for my clients.’
THE JUGGLING ACT IS REAL
‘I mean, as I said, I do try to do everything on a Tuesday and Thursday, but you know, property management doesn’t always work that way, especially when someone’s needing an appraisal, or some type of urgent situation has come up. So, if my kids aren’t at school, then they’re with me. They know that, you know, mum needs 20 minutes to go do an appraisal and they just sit in the car, and you know, entertain one another. My oldest is 14, so looks after the nine month old. She’s at babysitting age now, which is perfect. So that gives me the opportunity to still do those things that I need to do. And it does teach your kids I guess, what hard work is, and they benefit from me doing those appointments. So I guess it’s a learning for everyone. I’m not in it on my own. My family is my support network, and my kids are aware of that. If mum needs to work, mum needs to work and I’m doing it for them, so I can give them their better future.’
ADVICE FOR OVERCOMING THE FEAR OF STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS
‘I mean, I’ve probably never been able to really, or without feeling guilty, leave often and get my kids from school, or pop down and watch them do a sporting event that they’ve got at school, like their cross country or athletics. To be able to have that freedom and to be able to work around my own hours has just been totally different. When you’ve worked in the industry for 10 years and you’ve never done it this way, it’s so freeing and it’s really changed my wellbeing. I’m actually really happy in what I do. It’s actually made my job a real passion for me now. I’m really enjoying what I do, and I think if you don’t feel that way with property management and being able to have that balance and that wellbeing, you probably need a change and just go out and do it. I mean, it is scary, financially as well if you are a single mom. But get yourself a part-time job and go from there, work out what it is that you need on a minimum to support your family and get that. Whether it be looking at a cafe or doing some night shift or you know, something to be able to earn that income so then you can gradually work away at your business and get to a point where you can then let go of that job and focus purely on the business to build. And it’s really achievable. It’s really achievable and you’ll be surprised how many people that you’ve met in the past that will see you go out in business and start just gravitating towards you as well.’
A NEW WAY TO DO PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
‘I guess one of the reasons I actually wanted to do Homely as well was to shake things up a little bit. I think the industry in New Zealand needed some change. I mean, we’re only small at the moment, but we have big plans to grow. So, one of the concepts that we’ve come up with is that anyone who comes to work for us are not just property managers, but they’re independent property managers. What that means, very similar to the same setup as a sales agent. They have I guess the branding and everything that we’ve created over this time. The inquiry that we’re now getting through our website, all that kind of stuff. They have that to help them build a portfolio that’s going to work for them. Another thing actually with our setup is that we will only ever manage 80 properties. That’s it. That’s all you need to do when you’re an independent property manager and able to have that flexibility and wellbeing. So, with, with saying that one of the big things about being an independent property manager is that you are independent, you work for yourself in regard to who you want to bring on as clients and the types of properties you want to manage. But you have all the support, the software, the documentation, everything you need around you that Homely will provide and giving people the opportunity to now do that without covid around, even though, you know, it’s still around, but we’re not in lockdowns. It just has that ability for people to be able to balance their life better, pick their kids up from school, spend more time on their wellbeing, so that they can be better at their jobs.’
‘What we’re offering is the ability to manage probably less than what a lot of property managers out there manage for a higher income at the end of the day by being an independent property manager. But you have to do the work to get there. Which is what we are hoping will make property managers, I guess, more invested in what they do, which means they’re most likely to stay around for longer and will stop that cycle of the two-year turnabout of property managers. You know, burnout’s a real thing and it happens, and owners are left with a new property manager every year to two years at the moment. So, it’s all about keeping that burnout low and people on long term.’
NO GOING BACK NOW
‘I know people that are still in it, and I honestly make a point of contacting them all the time and just checking in, because I know a lot of them. Being in the industry, you don’t always get those check-ins from the people around you at work. Whether it be management or just other team members just saying like, ‘Hey, how are you going?’. Just by asking someone that can really change their day and it can really make them happier in their job and when we are ready to put it out there to bring on these independent property managers, I guess it’s going to be something that they might actually be, you know, drawn towards. Because I’m telling them how my day is at the moment as well, and my day and compared to their day is totally different. It’s like we’re not even in the same industry. Um, the work that I do and the work that they do don’t, doesn’t even compare anymore.’