A duck and a dream

I had the pleasure of watching arguably the world’s best magician David Copperfield live in Melbourne recently. The magic itself was awesome...

17 reasons you should always carry a book with you

1. As someone who used to spend a lot of time waiting for real estate clients to show up – I know that clients / appointments / people in general are often late...

Reality Television your way to Success

I think I’m one of the only “motivational speakers” (not that I call myself that) who will openly admit that I watch television. I watch bad television too… even… dare I say it… reality television.

Where is the love?!

One of my businesses, Elephant Property, works in the notoriously under appreciated category of residential property management. The old adage in property management...

The power of the word

I’m quite distraught. I was eating my personal trainer approved afternoon snack of 12 almonds (my suggestion of 12 Tim Tams: not approved)...

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I decided in 2014 that my focus was actually going to be to start to focus. I adore business - the ins and outs of it, the ups and downs - but I got a feeling in 2014 that if I wanted to really live up to the potential I think I have - I'd need to find my one thing and focus on it rather than attempting lot of things at the same time. Ever had that feeling? Like you're not doing all that you're capable of... that's been me. I am over the moon at what I have accomplished so far in my life, but I see that I've not yet really stretched myself to my limits and I've not yet had the impact I know that I can.

To that end, in late 2014 I sold my real estate agency Elephant Property and saw it merge back in with my former real estate agency Harcourts. I hope our happy Elephant clients and team members find a beautiful new home with the Harcourts Launceston team and I wish my superb business partner Megan Hampton the very best with her new and exciting role as the new state trainer for Harcourts.

In early 2015 I sold ReallySold - an online business I created to give assistance for the frustrated real estate advert writer and I wish Kristi in the US all the best with her reinvention of the service.

We are currently looking for a buyer for Baby Teresa - my passion project with the amazing Sammie Appleyard - where we sell funky organic cotton baby outfits and accessories and for each outfit we sell we donate another to a child in need.

Why the need to clear everything out? Focus. I've recently launched what I feel has the power to be the most exciting incarnation of my business career yet: Up Loans with Carrie Twine (my former Elephant Property buddy and business partner and sister soul mate).  Check us out on Facebook here.

A brand new industry for me - and really an industry in it's infancy overall - mortgage and finance broking has seen me on the steepest learning curve of my life. And I love it. Every day I'm pushed to new limits, every day I'm helping people. To open hand written cards that call me a "miracle worker" blows my mind and reconfirms for me that I'm on my path.

This is my first blog post in a long time (another thing I cleared out in 2014 to really focus on what I wanted for the future). I want to use this post to state my intention, to set my goal clearly, loudly, unashamedly and I would ask anyone reading it to keep me accountable.

I see this industry as a phenomenal space for anyone who knows how to hustle and self motivate - but especially for young women. I was told by our industry body the MFAA that on average females outperform their male broker counterparts, and yet we are still very underrepresented in this industry.

I want to create a business at Up that gives hundreds of people across Australia - especially young women the opportunity to be in business for themselves, to create not only unlimited earning potential but also an income stream that continues on via trail income whether they're working or not. Having myself taken time off from the workforce to have my children and to travel - I am so passionate about giving other people the ability to do that whilst still earning an income you wouldn't believe it!

I also want to empower those hustling, amazing, passionate people who will work with Up to be able to feel the rush Carrie and I feel in helping first home buyers secure the start of their financial future. There are very few things that equal having someone tell you that you've just given them the ability (when they'd previously been knocked back for finance) for them to buy the house that they will raise their future kids in. I want to show others how to change someone's financial fortunes by restructuring their debt to save them tens of thousands of dollars, to help them buy another investment or to more quickly pay off their current loans.

I am pumped. I am where I am meant to be. I can't wait to share my new journey with you.

Want to chat with me about getting a loan or doing a quick check to see if your current home loan setup is the right one for you? Love to - email me at my first name @uploans.com.au or if you're reading this blog post on your email, just hit reply.

Want to know more about being part of Up - be prepared for me to talk your ear off and give me a buzz today.

Want wish me well? Yes! Please do - this is exciting and scary and I would so welcome your well wishes - twitterfacebook or email me (my first name @uploans.com.au).

PS - part of being a mortgage broker means listing all sort of exciting information when I post now like the fact that I am a credit representative (CR No. 465864) of BLSSA Pty Ltd (Australian Credit License No. 391237) - exciting right!

By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A little break

Hello my lovelies.

I've been a little quiet the past couple of weeks with glaring diary notes staring at me saying "write blog!" "post blog!". And yet my pen (you know, if I actually wrote with one) is dry.

I'll be back and writing more no doubt at some stage. Until then I want to thank all of you who have read my posts / books and general ramblings - especially those who have taken the time over the years to let me know the posts you've really enjoyed (or even just to point out that the Leaning Tower is, to my great disgust, not made of Pizza).

While I go into a self imposed hiatus stripping back a few things from my life for a while I want you to stay utterly fabulous (I know you will).

xx Kirsty

By Kirsty Dunphey with 2 comments

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Law of Reciprocity

The Law of Reciprocity is as simple this: do something nice for a decent person, and they'll want to return the favour. 

It's one of my favourite universal laws and I see it in action all the time. 

Nowhere better than this hand written card I received around Valentines day from a local Beauty Salon I've never before patronised.  

The card says "Happy Valentines day Kirsty. The team at Beauty Plus have selected you as one of the hardest working women in Launceston. We wanted to reward you with a free 30 minute massage...."

Instantly. I know this salon. I remember this salon. I feel good will towards them and all they've done so far is compliment me and offer me something that will cost them half an hour of one staff member's time - but could lead to a long term customer (and in this case, one who talks about places she loves a lot). 

Limited cost, big potential payoff. I love it. And the law of reciprocity means I'm unlikely to take them up on their half hour massage offer and spend nothing else with them. It also means that they've wowed me enough that I'll share the story and give them positive word of mouth that way. 

And for the cynics out there who know that I'm unlikely to have been the only person to receive a card for Valentines Day -  you know what, it doesn't matter! Provided they haven't gone overboard and my entire facebook feed is teeming with Launceston's "hardest working women" - the recipient, me in this instance, can still smile and feel special - and let the law of reciprocity do it's thing. 

By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Exasperated or Elated the Choice is Yours

"And so I'd email them... and then 2 or 3 days later they'd call me back!" my client exclaimed, exasperated when describing another service experience to me. 

We discussed at length the two key rules for communication (in my opinion). 

Firstly - when a client contacts you - if you can't help them straight away - acknowledge them! A simple email back to say - hi, I got your request and I'm searching for the answer - or I'll be back in touch on XX date - would have been all this client needed. 

And rule 2, clients give you guidance as to how they like to be communicated with when they contact you. If a client emails you, unless they specify otherwise, they probably want an email back. If a client phones you, they probably want to be phoned back. 

Now - this one's a hard one for me. I'm an email junkie. It works for my lifestyle, it's verifiable, it's totally time appropriate for me (meaning I can get a lot of contact done after kids are asleep). BUT - if a client calls me and leaves a message I pick up the phone and call them back. The only exception being if I can't reach them - I won't leave a rambling voice mail message, I'll simply say - I've tried to reach you, I'll email you through all the answers (and on the email I'll say how they can phone me if they'd like to chat). It's a slight compromise - but I've always tried to contact them in their preferred method first. 

So - to recap:

Rule 1 - acknowledge if you can't answer straight away. (And then diarise your next point of contact even if THAT too is to say you haven't got the answer yet, but you haven't forgotten about them).

Rule 2 - communicate with your client in the method they show you they want to be communicated with. 

By Kirsty Dunphey with 3 comments

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The power of the pen

I eagerly ripped open the tiny envelope my husband had placed in my hands. It's not often we get mail sent to our house and it's always a treat to see a pretty hand addressed envelope when I'm pretty sure it contains a card. 

You see, I love cards. I've just sent out a manifesto asking for no presents for my 35th birthday - which rolls around in a few days requesting a hand written card (and listing a few "non-present" alternatives for those who I know won't be satisfied with just a card). 

But back to cards - I love 'em and I'm sure I'm not alone. 

And this card was even more special than most due to it's complete unexpected nature. It was from one of my husband's friends. We've met 3 times in person. Once in Canada (where he lives), once at his wedding and then a few weeks ago when he and his lovely wife stayed with us at our home. 

The card was beautifully written (not unexpected, as this chap has a way with words that lead me to crown his wedding speech "un-toppable") but it was the mere fact that he'd thought to send a card that floored me. 

The card thanked me for lending him my husband (so to speak). They'd been on a boys fishing trip the weekend before and the card said he knew there were extra challenges with me being at home with our two little ones and just how much these sorts of trips meant to him with him living out of the country and just how appreciative he was. Not exactly what you'd expect from a 30-something guy without kids of his own eh? 

This card will be remembered and, you can bet, if my husband is needed on another boy's trip for this thoughtful friend, he'll be handed over willingly. 

One stamp. One piece of cardboard. One envelope. Huge power. What can you do with that arsenal this week? 

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Flex it up

Once a week we buy lunch for our team. Today I had a gorgeous oven baked fish fillet on a salad with rustic cut chips. Last week a gourmet burger. The week before that burritos. And so forth…. My tummy is rumbling just thinking about my favourite work day of the week.

There are 8 of us, sometimes more and we ask for just one tiny special thing. We order about a week in advance. When we get our lunches (we have them at our weekly meeting) we don’t want to spend a whole heap of time figuring out who’s lunch belongs to who. (I also absentmindedly forget what I’ve ordered 9 times out of 10). And so we ask wherever we get our lunches from to write our names on each order (we provide the names of the person with the order).

You’d think it’d be a simple request right? Not so much. 4/5 places get it right, and we reorder from them typically doing an order once every 6 weeks from the places we love. And for those that can’t find a sharpie? One order – and then we move on.

When we requested names from one place the answer was “yeah – we used to do that, but we can’t anymore”.

I’m all for having systems and ways of doing things that work in your business – but I’m even more for common sense! When should you hold firm and when do you need to flex?

By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The power in a letter

An amazing friend’s little boy started kindergarten today. She was, understandably, emotional, excited and overwhelmed.

In watching her little man head to kindergarten – I myself find that I’ve been schooled.

We’ve all had special teachers in our lives. Someone who made something clear that was previously fuzzy, someone who made us see something in ourselves we didn’t know was there, maybe someone who showed us the type of grown up we’d like to become.

A week or so ago, new kindergarten man Xavier received a hand addressed and written letter in the mail from his teacher. It told him about her holidays, asked about his and said how excited she was to have him in her class and it included a home made story book with photos showing him what to expect at kindergarten. 

Sensational, I was already super impressed.

And then today, proud mamma arrives to drop Xavier at school only receive her own hand penned letter from the teacher along with some hand made slice. It was beautifully written acknowledging everything these parents were feeling and made me tear up. It ended with:

“Thank you for entrusting your child to me for the coming school year. I will do my very best every day to be your child’s guide in learning and exploring this bright new world they’ve just stepped into”.

This teacher has made an instant connection with pretty much every child and parent in that class by doing something both unexpected and very kind yet not particularly costly or unwieldy.  

This teacher is totally making me re-think some of our customer service initiatives in house to try and replicate the instant emotion and rapport she was able to generate. I hope I’m able to do that, but more so, I hope my two girls are lucky enough to have a teacher like this in their lives!

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, February 13, 2014


"Finite" is my key word for this month.

You see, I used to believe that my possibilities were infinite. I could do or be anything I wanted. I could work on as many different projects as I wanted. I could travel as far and wide as I wanted.

These days, I think it’s since having children, some things are now finite for me (whether I want to admit it or not).  It’s been a three-year adjustment process and I’m still learning to cope with it.

Prior to children if I wanted to set out on an overseas trip on a day’s notice, or start three new business ventures in a month it would push me, but it was totally do-able.

Now – my life is less about infinite possibilities and more about determining what the highest priority items are that I can fit into my finite space, finite time, finite mindspace.

It’s about learning to say no to things - which I find hard. I’m a person who likes to say yes. But in saying yes over the past couple of months I tried to be and do too much and it didn’t work.

My brain went into overwhelm and something had to give. For a little while it was my sanity.

So this month I focus on finite. Doing and being the best at a finite number of things instead of being mediocre at too many. I shall, I guess, continue to be a work in progress. 

By Kirsty Dunphey with 2 comments

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Inspiration comes in the most unlikely of places

I'd like to thank the pre-teen series of books called "The Babysitters Club" for helping me become the entrepreneur I am today. 

For those of you not a female approximately my age, let me give you a quick rundown on the books. Basically 5 young friends start a business babysitting the kids in their local area. They market, they service clients, they come up with initiatives, they manage junior staff later on down the track. Basically they run the whole gamut of being an entrepreneur and all before they turn 15.

It may not sound too riveting, but as I discovered in a catch up with girlfriends the other day (where every one of us was obsessed with the books) this colourful collection of pre-teen tomes was like heroin to us twenty plus years ago.

While our adult selves might more closely relate (or at least wish we did) to a Carrie or a Charlotte (a'la Sex and the City), our pre-teen selves all had a corresponding character in the Babysitters Club. For those of you familiar with the books you won't find it surprising that everyone immediately pegged me as a "Kristy". She's the creator, the president, the loud and bossy one. Hrmm, ok, it's a fairly close approximation. 

But Kristy taught me just as much as some of my favourite business biographies have. She taught me the challenges in managing a team, how to systemise, the importance of structure and order. And what's more, she opened my mind to the fact that running a business was possible at a young age. 

Now Kristy and her gaggle of friends might be nothing more than words on a paper, but they helped spark something in me. Something aspirational and something that inspired action in me.

It makes me so thankful as a Mum that my girls (3 years and 8 months) already both love to read. Who knows, they might read the Baby sitters club when they're older and be inspired by Claudia to be an artist instead of following my route! I don't mind - inspiration comes from the most unlikely of places - if you're open to it. 

By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hate networking? Stop trying to "get"

I’ve always cringed at the thought of networking events. I rarely carry business cards, I dislike getting business cards thrust at me and I’m kind of (despite what you might think if you met my business persona) shy and would prefer to be home in my pjs and ugg boots.

This week I was watching a seminar by photographer of women extraordinaire Sue Bryce (www.inbedwithsue.com) and she said the best thing I’ve ever heard on the concept of networking.

Stop trying to “get”.

Don’t go into a networking event – or any form of networking for that matter looking to get something. Instead – look to give.

In Sue’s words, think “how can I help you?”

She’s a photographer, so in her earlier days, she would look to offer her help –in photographing and in turn, because reciprocity just works that way, those people she photographed in PR or other local businesses would then, after loving their shots, want to refer her to their clients.

How can you help? Never, what can you get.  

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, January 23, 2014

But I don’t know where to start!

We’ve all been there – the work has slowly but surely piled up, the emails have gone unanswered, and every time you turn your head it seems you’re just being bombarded with more to add to the “not-done” pile – in short, life is out of control.

I recently worked with a friend who was in just this situation and even though she knew she was rapidly falling further down the rabbit hole her issue was, she didn’t know where to start.

So – where did we start?

Well – I wanted to have a one day action plan to get her back on track. Not everything could be accomplished in one day, but everything could be organised and planned in one day.

Only – so we could get off to the right track we started our one day – at about 7.00pm. Now I’m not advocating working at 7pm every night – but when things have gotten to panic stations, being in the office or your workspace at a time when no-one else is might be just what you need.

Step 1. Find and organise the clues

It took about 2 hours, but the very first step was to categorise every “clue” in her office. They went into various “piles” of clues (in no order within the piles). The names of some of these piles were:

·           - Leads for new clients
·           - Random pieces of paper / post its / messages
·           - Personal stuff
·           - Files / checklists
·           - Current clients

Remember, you don’t need 30 post it note squares and 25 pens, minimise the amount of crap on your desk and you’ll minimise the amount of clutter in your brain. Keep what you need immediately within reach, logically store anything else, throw out everything you can that is junk and donate to your office stationery cupboard anything else.

Step 2. Use the clues to generate a plan

So then I took each of these categories and roughed out a plan for the next day allowing spots within the to do list for checking email, confirming that day’s appointments etc.

Step 3. Get an early win

By the time we met first up the next morning there was already a sense of order to the office.  But the list was still terrifying with it’s 9 scary dot points. What we needed was an early first win. The first item on the list was small, it took less than 10 minutes. As lame as it sounds, I invoked a rule whereby we would high five every time we had a “win” (ie: every time we took an item off that list). In the first hour the first three items had all been high fived and we were working on item 4.

Step 4. Throw multi-tasking on it’s ass

Part of the problem, I’ve found, for when everything is getting on top of people is that they’re trying to do everything at once. Multi-tasking is a farse – try and do everything and you’ll get nothing finished and more importantly nothing finished well.

With our little 9 point list – it was clear what we were working on at any time. When we were working on following up every client lead (that’s right, every one) – we weren’t checking email and we weren’t focussing on any of the other 8 points.

Step 5. Rinse and repeat

Pick one thing, do it, complete it, high five, move on to the next.

Systematically work through your list.

Step 6. Remove the memory

As you work through your list – be smart about it. For us in this instance, ever time we followed up a new client lead we put it into a categorised folder and diarised the next follow up. No need to have to “remember” to do anything.  Life is stressful enough without having to wake up at 2.00am because you forgot to do something you were relying on your memory for.

Step 7. Stick-to-it

And finally - being organised, especially if you’re the type of person (read: me) who gets disorganised, isn’t something that will naturally happen if you get organised. You’ll need to keep check of it. Maybe you diarise to clean your desk and remove the clutter once a week, maybe you set aside a time each month to meet with an organisational mentor within your organisation and get 100% on track. 

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New project launching tomorrow - tune in for nix!

Hi All,

Just a quick one to let you know my new little project http://somewherelive.com/ is launching tomorrow at 9.00am (on the East Coast of Australia) with a free live stream of customer service guru Glen Coutinho.

It's going to be nice and interactive - anyone watching can tweet questions, comments, thoughts with the hashtag #somewherelive and I'll be your voice in the session (along with a live audience).

If you're in real estate - it's got to be a must, if you're in business for yourself - I'd strongly recommend it if you want to enhance your customer service and if you're in sales in any form - WATCH!

I'm very excited, a little nervous and keen to have your thoughts and feedback!

So - to watch, just register at http://somewherelive.com/ and click "watch live"tomorrow!


By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Red licorice

My husband and I were reminiscing about the sorts of presents we used to get our parents when we were younger. He fondly recalled one year when he got his dad red licorice as a birthday present. He told me he couldn’t have been more excited to get this awesome gift for his dad and that he was so positive that his dad would love it. Now, knowing my father in law, I’m sure he gave every impression to his young son that he couldn’t have been more excited at the gift – but my husband realizes now that it probably wasn’t the ideal present for him. You see, my husband made the classic mistake of giving what he would have liked to have received.  As a child, the idea of a big present of red licorice was the stuff of dreams, and that’s why he chose it for his (much loved) dad.

Simple childhood mistake right? Not so much. I bet you, like me, make this same mistake in your adult life all the time. I bet your sales pitch is heavily skewed to how you would like to be pitched to. I bet your staff management and reward techniques are those that would work beautifully if you were managing yourself. And if any of you have read the book “The 5 Love Languages” you’ll know how easy it is to show love and appreciation for your partner in the way that you’d like to receive it.

So – my homework for you today:
   - Grab a copy of The 5 Love Languages if you haven’t read it. It’ll change your life.
   - Analyze one area of your life in which you think you might have a red licorice skew and try and enact some changes. For me –it might be the way I reward my staff at work. I’d love to be offered extra opportunity for travel, training and money – but I’ve got to remember the staff that would respond equally well to more time off work to pursue personal interests, or having the company get involved in a charity that is important to them or public praise of their work. 

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Testing the Tagline

I’ve been emailing back and forth with a girlfriend in real estate who is about to get her car branded up. She’s a clever cookie – so she got her branding mock up done and then sent it out to a bunch of people to get their opinions and thoughts on what she’d missed or could change.

One of my suggestions was that she needed a tag line on the rear window. Since then every car with tag lines on their rear windows have been jumping out at me and I’ve been busily snapping photos and sending them to her.

She’d brainstormed some ideas – but when we sat down today we mulled them all over. I wanted my friend to leave with something concrete - so I said she wasn’t leaving until we had 3 taglines to test.   Effectively trapped in my kitchen we both just started rambling to get our 3 taglines to test.

Why would someone want to use Jane as their real estate agent? What were her best features we wanted to emphasize? What did we want to avoid? How were we going to get something that didn’t sound super cheesy, but that was something that you’d remember and would make you pick up a smart phone and make contact with Jane.

We also googled for our inspiration –steering clear of other real estate agent’s taglines. We got started with #2 below on a list of websites with taglines for charitable organizations.

In the end we came up with 6 taglines to test – knowing which one we were both super pumped up about, but wanting to see what other’s opinions were.

1. The go to girl for real estate
2. The agent for the home you cherish
3. Not your typical real estate agent
4. Jane Crawford - A fresh approach
5. I can put a value on your home - but never on our relationship
6. Jane Crawford - exceptional agent, mediocre runner (and a whole series of these cook, gardener changing them often)

So how could we test them? Sending them out to Jane’s friends was a good start – but we also wanted unbiased opinions from people who don’t already adore her. Thank you facebook. We posted the taglines asking for feedback on a real estate group and also on my facebook page  (https://www.facebook.com/KirstyDunpheyEmail/) - a couple of hours later and 50+ comments were received. Voila instant feedback.

Overwhelmingly we had our suspicions on what we thought was the best one confirmed and Jane’s car is now going to be branded on it’s behind with “exceptional agent, mediocre...” and then the last word is going to change every few weeks and tie in with her other marketing (letterbox drops, facebook page, newsletter etc).

A fun hours spent with a fun result. So next time you brainstorm – maybe lock yourself in the kitchen (or wherever you need to) til you’ve got at least 3 ideas – and test the immediately. 

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, January 2, 2014

How I got out of a funk

“I’m in a funk” I said morosely to my husband. He’d heard it before from me. Sometimes I just fall into “funks”. Nothing’s wrong. In fact, I’m rarely in a funk when something’s wrong (I kind of thrive on fixing problems). I’m usually just bored and lacking motivation. Hey – I’m sure it happens to everyone, and you probably have your own definition of a funk.

Contributing more to my, for want of a better word, funky-ness, lately is the fact that I’ve been more house bound that I’m used to with the birth of my gorgeous new daughter. I adore her, but I do get a little stir crazy when trapped in the house for too long. (Don’t even get me started on how insane I went trying to work from home full time after doing/writing this: urlm.in/rzaz)

So – I was in a funk. And like I said earlier, I’m a bit of a problem solver, so I decided to try a new way of dealing with my “funk”.

Every day I work through a to do list on my calendar. At present, there are 25 different things on my “every day” list from taking certain vitamins, doing certain exercises for my constantly misbehaving back, reading a certain amount for myself and to my kids, taking a photo etc etc – as well as the other tasks that are specific to that day. What can I say – I work well with a list.

But – back the funk. To try and resolve the issue I added one extra task to the list. I don’t do it every day, just days that aren’t as “full”, days that I know I’d be more prone to falling into a funk. It is my audacious daily goal. I think I have Eric Wahl’s Unthink to thank for the idea (http://theartofvision.com/unthink - it’s a great read, check it out and also check out his cool online tool to help you uncover what kind of artist you are in the workplace http://theartworkrevolution.com/ - I’m an inventor/sculptor).

So my first audacious daily goal was to do 1000 mountain climbers (http://youtu.be/KI8u58hPam4). I had all day to do them and every time I felt a little bored or stagnant, I just hopped on the ground and did another 50 keeping track of the tally as I went. My 2.5 year old daughter thought I was insane at first and I was told sternly (as only a toddler can) to “stop doing that right now”. But by the end of the day, whenever she’d see me pop my hands down on the floor to crank out another 50, she’d join in with her own adorable toddler version which most amounted to her doing almost headstands.

Next daily goal – 2000 crunches, then 1000 calf raises then 500 tricep dips. Then I veered a little and my goal was to cook three meals from scratch in a day (I’m very undomesticated, this was a stretch for me). Then back to the more physical stuff, 200 push ups off my toes. And today’s goal – write 10 blogs (this is number 4 of 10 and I usually write just one a week).

The cool thing I’ve found? When I’ve got a goal to focus on and work on and a fixed deadline - I’m far less likely to get into a funk (so far, zero funks on audacious goal days). Second side benefit – proof positive what we as parents do in role modeling for our kids.  If my girls see me being fit, they’re going to be far more likely to do the same – likewise, when they seem me going nuts for chocolate, I think I can make the connection. Third – I’ve always known I’m the kind of person who thrives on challenge and goals. If I set myself a goal – I’m going to achieve it, even if at 11pm I’m still cranking out sit ups (hasn’t happened yet). And finally, if my goal isn’t quite enough of a stretch (my original tricep dip goal was 300) – I can simply reassess the goal and make sure it is.

Want to help me? Send me an idea for something I can use on my next audacious goal day by commenting on my blog - http://blog.kirstydunphey.com/ or emailing me Kirsty (at) kirstydunphey.com

PS - I reached my goal of 10 blogs, and, the very next day wrote two more - easily, they just came to me, and then the next day another one popped out. It seems that my rubber band of writing was stretched and found it that bit harder to go back to normal!

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Proof of the Proof

A girlfriend, very fabulous, very creative, asked me to proof a crowd funding idea she has for a business this week. She always has a fun spin on things and never likes to be called the CEO of a company.

So she’d made up a name that had a play on her business name in the job title. Only…. I had to let her know, upon proofing her presentation, that her choice of unique job title was also slang for a lewd sexual act. Oops!

Just goes to show, a simple proof read by someone with fresh eyes can pay huge dividends.

And clearly I need to take my own advice after recently sending my clients a card telling them of our recent award success that "None of it happens with you" clearly missing the word "out". Oh dear!

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Get Your Golden Rule Straight

I opened up the Hobart Mercury Property Guide recently and sat down to enjoy a luxuriating read only to be struck down moments later with a sense of irate anger.

I usually enjoy reading the “property expert” pieces in various news publications. As a real estate business owner (www.elephantproperty.com.au) and avid property investor I figure you can never be exposed to too much information about your passion or your career.

Only the article I read about the “golden rule of investing in property” printed on the inside of the cover was shameful.  This article (pictured) was written by Andrew Winter @andrewtwinter “FOXTEL TV's Selling Houses Australia - Presenter and Property Expert. NewsLtd Property Writer”. It’s my opinion that articles like this are part of the reason that people buy investment properties without doing enough research and that is what limits a lot of people to just one investment property. Anecdotal figures told to me say more than 80% of investors stop at one property. If I look at my history in real estate (almost 20 years) the stats on the investors I’ve dealt with over the years would back that up.

Now shameful is a pretty strong word – so let’s drill down on what I found so abhorrent. Firstly – Winter states that your golden rule in real estate should be don’t buy the home unless the rent equates to at least 1 per cent of the purchase price – an example he gives is $400 per week rent on a $400,000 purchase. Now simple maths aside (1% of $400,000 is $4,000 not $400) I don’t disagree with this as a general guiding principal to START with.

But then Winter goes on to say that “at $425 - $450 per week you should be very excited and buy the property immediately. Even higher? Well, book the holiday to Europe.” Utter nonsense. He does state that it’s a “rough guide”, but to advocate going out and buying a property “immediately” when it’s showing a return of less than 6% without even mentioning other factors such as buying costs, vacancy rates in the area, maintenance, property management costs and the borrower’s repayment abilities is what gets people in over their heads and leads to them making uniformed decisions.

The crux of the lunacy in this article for me was when Winter described himself as “old-fashioned” and wanting investments with a “positive cash flow”.  You know what– me too! Only I want it to be an actual positive cash flow.  Let’s take a property that Winter would is recommending we, the reader, buy immediately - one returning $425 per week on a $400,000 purchase.

Let’s look at an absolute best-case scenario:
·      -  Annual rent would be $22,100 (not taking into consideration any time for vacancy – which of course isn’t that realistic).
·      - Let’s say you manage it yourself (I wouldn’t recommend it – but hey, I’m a real estate agent) so you’ve got no management fees – but you’re going to have council rates, water, land tax - $3,500 at a bare minimum (probably more.)
·      - Let’s say you have the only investment property in the world that requires no maintenance (again, completely unlikely – but we’re looking at a best case scenario) – but you’re likely going to have smoke alarm compliance costs and other unavoidable expenses – let’s do a very conservative $500 estimate.
·      - Say you got a 4.5% loan, you’re on interest repayments only and you had 20% cash deposit as well as being able to fund all your initial costs such as stamp duty, conveyancing, building inspections etc. You’re going to be outlaying $18,000 on interest (not to mention other associated banking costs).

And this super property that you should buy immediately – how positively geared is it given all the above near impossible “best case” scenarios? It’s earning you the princely sum of $100 per year. Now sure – you’ll likely have some depreciation benefits to consider in there based on what type of property you purchase – but more likely than not, you’ll also have costs to engage a professional property manager (who will likely more than earn their fee), you’ll have maintenance issues that pop up (yes, even in a brand new property), you’ll borrow more than 80% and shock horror – that property might sit vacant a few days every now and then. That $100 isn’t going to go too far. You could look towards capital growth – something all investors desire, but it’s not cash flow.

Now – I don’t want to sound like a negative nancy. I love property investment. It is one of my true passions in life. But it isn’t a board game of monopoly. It takes actual understanding of the concepts at play. Mess it up and you won’t lose a tiny red plastic hotel – you could lose anything from a lot of sleep to a lot of your financial freedom or more.

Want to start investing in property? Here are my tips:

Whether the property you buy is negatively or positively geared – look for all the areas in which it’s potentially going to cost you money. Work out a worst case scenario (including one where your personal circumstances change – unexpected baby, loss of job, illness) and consider all the potential expenses.

Speak to a successful, real world investor. If my experience in real estate has taught me anything it’s that you probably already know one. It could be your builder, the school teacher down the road or your uncle. Do not only talk to people who have had one crack at investing, had a bad run and given it up.

And finally - don’t rely on “golden rules” presented by “experts”. Do your own research, work out your financial goals and what works for you. And if you really, really want an expert – I’d recommend Jan Somers (check out any of her books in your library or at any good bookstore). 

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Perfect is overrated

One of the greatest highlights of my life was walking out of a train station about 13 years ago. It was a cool day in January on my first ever trip overseas and the train station was in Rome. It was Colosseum station to be exact.  As I walked out of the station, the crumbling fa├žade of one of the world’s most beautiful and iconic buildings hit me straight in the face. It was an epic moment in my life. The Colosseum is not perfect in it’s preservation, we all know that, but it is still somehow absolute perfection.

On the same trip myself and thousands of others that hour alone flocked to see the leaning tower of Pisa, famed for its imperfection.

Venice, the most romantic city in the world is slowly but surely sinking further and further down into the ocean – that’s hardly perfect, but if you’ve ever been there you’ll hardly take that away as your strongest memory.

And Florence, ahh Florence, my favourite Italian city. The home of Michaelangelo’s statue of David.  And as ripped as his abs look – I doubt any man these days sculpted as such in all his glory would be happy to say it describes perfection. (Of course I’m talking about his disproportioned hands here).

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, November 28, 2013

When to leave?

I’ve had people say I was crazy for leaving my former real estate agency when I sold my share a few years back.

Since I’ve left it’s gone from being a very successful 6 agency group to the largest network of real estate office in the state. I’m so proud of my former business partner and the team he’s built and what he’s grown with the company we started. I have nothing but respect and admiration for him – but I also knew, it was the right time for me to leave when I did.

Since I sold my share in my agency, after a sabbatical from the industry, I went back into business with former colleagues and started a new real estate agency. By design, we’re smaller and we will never attempt to do what my former agency has done in terms of conquering the state in all aspects of real estate. We’ve grown slower than my former real estate agency. At this point in time in my former agency we had 5 times the revenue with 10 times the staff.

In much the same way I was able to craft what I wanted from my investment portfolio with properties 2, 3, 4 and onwards learning from the lessons from property 1 as I also did learning lessons from parenting my first child that have resulted in many things being less daunting and smoother with bub number 2, I’ve been able to shape this new real estate venture so that it better suits my needs and where I am in this journey of my life.

Would I have made a higher annual salary if I’d stuck with real estate agency number 1? Almost definitely, but I wasn’t getting half the joy I get walking in the door at my current agency – for a number of reasons.

Did I not repeat any mistakes in real estate agency number 2? Sadly, but meaningfully I repeated the exact same largest mistake I’d made the first time around. But assess and reassess it as many times as I have, I’m not sure I could have avoided it either time and still achieved the eventual goal. What I did learn was how to extricate myself from it and protect myself better.

So how did I know it was the right time to leave? How do you know it’s the right time to leave anything? When does the cons list outweigh the pros. When does the joy you’re getting become outweighed by the frustration. When does any monetary tradeoff not compensate for the gnawing feeling inside your gut saying that it’s time to try something new.

And finally – when can you push yourself off the ledge into the unknown and take the risk? That one’s the hardest.

By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What’s in a name?

Did you know iconic fashion chain Zara was originally going to be called Zorba – but ran into difficulties because there was a bar in their local town with the same name. So they kept the Z and improvised.

Did you know Adolf founded Adidas? Adolf Dassler that is – and his nick name Adi provided the basis for the name.

3M – probably best known to you for the post its sitting on your desk right now was originally called the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company! Yup – I think 3M was probably a good choice and a great example of something morphing as a company’s focus changed.

At our real estate agency we get someone calling every day asking for “Allison” – it seems voice to text likes to change “Elephant property” to “Allison Property”. Ahh well – we also have fabulous name recognition because we chose to call our business something a little different to a standard.

Lego is a combination of Danish words to mean “play well” – brilliantly (and apparently coincidentally) it’s also Latin for “I put together”.

Facebook or “the facebook” as it was originally named after a book given out at American universities to help students get to know each other.

Ultimately, whatever business name you choose is important – of course. But far less important than what you do once you’ve made that first decision. Who’d have thought we’d all be buying books from a river (Amazon), or that a surname of the somewhat obscure founding brothers would sell more hamburgers than any other organization in the world (McDonalds) or that the world’s largest online auction house was a backup name (Ebay was originally EchoBay but morphed when the domain name couldn’t be registered).

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

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