My first employer said to me, “University has taught you how to learn – now it is my job to teach you”.
Whether it is at university or on the job, I believe each one creates a learning experience. Even if the learning is not what you expect or like. This allows us to grow and contribute more to our next role. After all, if we just kept doing what we always did we wouldn’t move forward.
My first job was a real eye-opener. I was one of the first two women to legally work in underground coal mines in NSW in 1989 as a mining engineer. I didn’t expect the reception I got – 300 men went on strike! The law had only just come in and that is how they reacted to the news of my arrival. It was their entrenched traditions and attitudes towards women in mining. And to think all I was worried about was feeling claustrophobic…
What I can tell you was it was all uphill from there. Not only did I learn a lot in the time I worked with my ‘crew’ but they did too. The ‘old timers’ had expert knowledge and tips to pass on which enriched my learning on the job. I became not just a contributing crew mate but ultimately a better engineer from having worked with them and learnt from them.
On the flipside, I taught them that gender didn’t matter, that if you were willing to learn, motivated and determined to succeed, you could become the expert. They even began asking me for marriage advice!
I enjoyed 18 years in the mining industry with the last ten spent as an explosives engineer. Blowing things up at the end of the day is the ultimate stress release! Yet what I have carried through with me since is my knowledge of risk assessment. It has armed me with the self-confidence to start two successful companies. Not to mention my incurable, insatiable quest and curiosity to know more and to be better…
‘Transferable skills’ is a term you may have come across and for me, it was feeling empowered to transfer my knowledge of risk assessment (learnt through mining) across to buying my first property. I used those skills to help me assess risks as I was scouring properties. What I mean is, I considered what the risks could be, the likelihood of something going wrong and the consequence of that happening. Then asked myself in what capacity could I minimise the risk? If I couldn’t see how, then I moved on to the next property.
In a few short years, I developed a further risk mitigation technique and a fall-back plan to make money with every property I purchased. Throughout this time, I bought over 120 property books and attended many seminars. I wanted to know what people did wrong, so I could shortcut my way to property success.
This lead to the development of the Trid3nt Strategy ®. Essentially working out how to buy below the market, renovate to add at least $2 for every $1 spent and then buy in an area with all the criteria of suburbs that have shown great capital growth in the past.
In 2005 I was ready and excited to share all this with the world, but my plans came crashing down.
There was no way I could teach how and where to buy property and get professional indemnity insurance that would protect my portfolio. Again, I was always thinking of potential risks. So, I found a back door – mortgage brokering. If I was as a mortgage broker, I could talk about property as much as I wanted and organise the finance to suit the long-term goals of my clients.
As with mining, Mortgage Brokering is also a ‘traditionally’ dominated male industry and from experience, I knew there would be some tough times and most probably moments I would need to muster that same strength to show I deserved to be here. Some of my friends thought being surround by men would be a dating mecca but I was there to learn and had a family of my own to think of. As they say in Alaska, ‘the odds are good but the goods are odd’.
Being the eternal engineer, I drew up a document with 30 different questions which I put to 30 different mortgage brokers. Questions ranging from what phone plan they were on? How did they find customers? Did they have a niche market? Through to what piece of equipment could they never do without? From that, I developed an industry best practice, found a successful mentor and Investors Choice Mortgages was born. It has grown into success today winning Australia’s Mortgage Broker of the Year several times over.
However, I still didn’t feel satisfied, I knew my true passion lied in helping everyday women and men relieve money pressures by creating wealth through low-risk property purchases so they could get on with life. As a mother, I know everyone’s time is precious and I needed a way to deliver fast and effective learning – online learning was the key. Again, I sought the best mentors I could and with difficulty finding authentic property educators in Australia, I joined a mastermind based in the US.
Your Property Success was born in 2012 followed by a book, Your Property Success with Renovation: 2 properties, 1 renovation, $1million in the bank, and The Ultimate Guide to Renovation Course, other mini-courses and podcasts.
It has been a massive journey from my mining days through to my current mortgage broking days – both traditionally male-dominated industries. However, what has stood the test of time is the self-belief in my actions and my motivations. The belief that my purpose is to share what I learn, and to learn more so as to help as many people as I can.
I do fundamentally believe that everyone deserves to be rid of money worries, so they can get on with what is important to them, find their own work/life balance.
Having that “WHY” at the centre of what I do has and continues to allow me to focus on how I can best serve the community and how I can share what I know. Everyday.
Seeking to engage and connect with the best mentors I can find and understand their knowledge and expertise allows me to learn. It allows me to take the necessary steps to create a successful property portfolio and business.
That in turn, allows me to help everyday people do the same.
As for female empowerment, I may have pushed the ‘girls can do anything boys can do’ a bit much to my 8-year-old son as he often says ‘you know boys can do anything girls can do but have babies’. But, I was the first female mining engineer to work underground – and all the workers went on strike – so I knew from early on that being a leader and creating a path forward, no matter how difficult would assist girls who followed.
Jane Slack-Smith is a respected author and educator, experienced investor and Director of award-winning Investors Choice Mortgages. She is also Founder of Your Property Success online education teaching homeowners and investors to find the right property at the right price.
Jane’s mission in life is helping everyday people realise their financial potential. Author of Your Property Success with Renovation: 2 properties, 1 renovation $1million in the bank and co-host of the podcast Your Property Success teaching you simple strategies to achieve long-lasting financial security.
Jane is a regular property commentator and has been featured in the League of Extraordinary Women.
For more information www.yourpropertysuccess.com.au