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, 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

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Staffing Secrets


I recently stumbled across a super cool TV show called “Hotel Secrets” – it’s like travel porn for someone like me who is obsessed with travel. In watching an episode today I became enchanted with Ashford Castle in Ireland (http://www.ashford.ie/) and it immediately got added to the travel section of my goal box (my form of a bucket list).

It is spectacular – a real castle steeped in history, tradition and stone. The other thing I loved? In introducing the castle, the manager took time to introduce 5 or so staff members listing how long they’d been working there – 30+ years, 20+ years, 15+ years… the list went on and on with one chap being there over 60 years.

Imagine how well you’d know your job and your environment after that time? Imagine how great a workplace it would need to be to have you stay that long? You got a sense of the character of the castle and it’s staff in the 30 seconds the staff were being introduce that was infectious. Their website even has a section devoted to the “characters of Ashford” and of course it lists the time each has spent with the castle. It made me instantly want to go and revamp our website to get more personality across.  What about your promo materials & website? How well do they convey the personality behind your brand?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The value in a dress rehearsal


My beautiful eldest daughter was the flower girl in one of the most fun weddings I’ve ever been to this Saturday just gone. And she looked picture perfect with cute little silver shoes, a gorgeous hand knitted cardigan courtesy of Nanna and a superb white dress chosen by the bride and I.

Only problem was… the dress came right to the floor so that every time she tried to walk she stepped on the dress and almost fell over. Now we’d done what I considered a “dress rehearsal”. We’d put the dress on, we’d practiced throwing fake flowers and we tried on the shoes. But silly me, I hadn’t actually had her try and walk in the dress!

It reminded me oh so clearly that for a dress rehearsal to be any good – you have to step through every part of the process as silly and minute as they may seem at the time.

Before your new staff member is let loose on any member of the public, have they had a full “dress rehearsal” with a team member or their manager right down from greeting the client, doing the full job function and then bidding the client farewell.

If you have staff members who pitch to clients for new business, get it filmed so they can (horrifying as it will no doubt be) watch themselves back in glorious detail – the best learning experience.

If you're sending out a card to all your clients - proof, double proof, have 6 people proof it (I just learnt this the hard way after missing the word "out" and telling our clients that our success wouldn't have been possible "with" them - oh dear).

And before you launch that new website have a whole bunch of people view it, test it, scrutinize it from every angle before you let the public loose on it!

By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

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