What drives you to keep going in property? One of the fascinating questions that serial entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist Jay Dhillon poses to Mark for The Business Mentor Podcast. They talk about Mark’s childhood in Singapore, how he got into property and the rights and wrongs of politics and property in 2019. Listen here for a conversation on learning from two experts in property, and business.
What are you doing at the moment? I’ve got three projects on the go at the moment. Our biggest project is just under 100 flats. I’ve got another project, with a commercial tenant on the ground floor with some residencies above. I’m doing lots of different things, with various different projects.
How was your childhood? I was born in Singapore and came back to England when I was around 12. I went to an international school in Jakarta in Indonesia. Jakarta is a crazy city, pollution, and people everywhere. I learnt the local dialect and played outside with the other kids in the area. I’ve found that to be a really useful experience in dealing with very different types of people.
Private schools give you a bigger network and a bigger outcome. The difference between the mindset of the private school, and the local college in the area is massive. The people I met at college are all doing more vocational things like dentists, doctors, and solicitors. Whereas the private school went more into business, and are earning lots of money. There is no right and wrong, but if you have the opportunity to invest in your children you can.
The academics are really useful. If my child wants to go to university, I’ll encourage them to but at the expense of life skills, I think that’s wrong. I think if you can have academic skills, and have business skills, rather than just what a textbook says then that’s even better.
In 1997/98 it was like the gold rush, and the market was ripe. My father had worked across the globe and met a lot of business people. He knew that business and property was a good route to go down. My friend had made over £70,000 on property and even without planning permission added an extension. I got really into property books, videos, learning loads. I met a local letting agent who’d figured out which properties were good to buy in Peterborough, which is where I started really.
I’d bought lots of properties abroad especially in Eastern Europe and Florida. So I thought that when they would enter into the EU there would be an increase in the middle class and the property values would go up. What I didn’t realise was that I didn’t know the local knowledge. It’s really exciting to have international property, but the yields are really low, and the maintenance will be very high. Everything that you’ve learnt in the UK is wrong abroad, and you have to learn it all again. There is lots of corruption in various different places around the world, and it’s really difficult to work out the local rules if you’re not from there.
Treat your property as a business, so systemise it. The one guarantee in business is that it will change. If your systemising your business, doing monthly management accounts, and getting your viewings and inspections sorted then you are going to find it easier to adapt to the change. You’ll find it easier to grow your business because you are able to find out what is working and what isn’t.
Do you think the middle class now are being hammered, so you need to grow all the time? You need to grow otherwise you are in decline. If you carry on doing what you’re doing and not grow, then you will fail. We’ve had various changes in the legislation, and it will all happen again. Make sure you get a really good accountant, who’ll be able to save loads of money for your tax bill.
Let’s talk about Jeremy Corbyn if he did get into power what would happen? People were concerned about the Labour party before but Tony Blair turned out to be quite a light touch. He says he will introduce rent control, but hasn’t given out any specifics on that. Dependant on how that is introduced could be positive or negative. He says he is going to nationalise, water, and rail. With big companies, he says he will give 10% of the shareholders to the staff, but I don’t know how that is going to work in practice because they are so divested. I don’t think he will be a sustainable model. The debacle that is the EU is costing the country millions in decisions not taken, and uncertainty.
Which property/business strategies will work in 2019, and why? In business and property it’s best to find what you love and what you’re good at. If you’re good at marketing then build a business that needs that skill. Build a team around you who are good at the things that you are not good at. It’s better to do what you love rather than what’s hot in the media at the minute.
What drives you? What keeps you going? I like driving income, and rent roll, I like having a bigger and bigger wall of money to hit the back account every month. I find that very exciting, more than the value of the properties. I get a lot of pleasure in learning from others in the training business we have. We are able to have choices, travel and buy the right house that I want.
Where would you start in property now? I would buy single lets, under £140,000, probably stuff that has been built in the 1970’s. West Midlands, and in the North are probably best rather than in the South. Cut your teeth, and make some mistakes before moving to HMO’s. You don’t have to move up, just do what you enjoy.
What mentors have helped you? There have been loads of different people over the years. I have a lot of friendships who’ve done lots of different things, often in their 50’s and 60’s who have been there and done it all. I had more informal type mentors.
‘My background was really good for helping me deal with lots of different people.’
‘There were other people at boarding school whose family owned big businesses.’
‘Through those years I learn loads and loads about business.’
‘I think the network is worth everything.’
‘Private school kids all wanted to go into business.’
‘We are a reflection on what we have been taught.’
‘Network is your net-worth.’
‘You can’t learn everything in a textbook.’
‘Take the calculated risk.’
‘I got really really excited with property.’
‘Everything that you’ve learnt in the UK is wrong abroad, and you have to learn it all again.’
‘It’s really exciting to have international property, but the yields are really low, and the maintenance will be very high’
‘Investing in the UK works.’
‘You do end up making more money in markets that are more efficient.’
‘There is one guarantee in business is that it will change.’
‘Systemisation is key.’
‘You have to be growing otherwise your declining.’
‘The value of getting a good accountant is priceless.’
‘Accountants are not a consultant unless you pay them to.’
‘Do your own research, and take your questions to the accountant.’
‘I think Corbyn is going to go on a spending spree.’
‘I think it will be an unsustainable model.’
‘Politicians have been telling so many lies.’
‘Theresa May is like the school teacher keeping it all together.’
‘If you are making products, uncertainty on the price of your produce., is unacceptable.’
‘Uncertainty is affecting business everyday because of Brexit.’
‘I like driving income, and rent roll’
ABOUT THE HOST AND GUEST
Jay Dhillon is a serial entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist based in the UK with a proven track record of growing businesses from start-up to success- and helping others do the same. From humble beginnings, Jay grew his first business from 0-500 employees and three locations, racking up sales of over £30 million – all without any investment other than a small amount of savings. The business went on to acquire major clients such as Landrover, Jaguar, Toyota and New Look, to name a few.
Its huge success inevitably brought about outside interest and at the age 33 Jay eventually sold the company to a London investment firm in Doyen Resources. Today, Jay owns several businesses in different sectors and helps entrepreneurs achieve success.
A calling to give back and help others led to Jay being chosen for the highly-coveted role as a Prince’s Trust mentor, where his achievements were marked by a personal invitation to Buckingham Palace to meet Prince Charles.
After helping several young entrepreneurs to success as a mentor for the Trust, Jay’s burning desire to bring his wisdom and knowledge to a wider audience ultimately triggered the concept of The Business Mentor Podcast.
Jay feels that anyone can achieve success in business with the right advice and mentoring and is now sharing his knowledge with his growing audience via his podcast.
In the UK alone 95% of business fail within the first five years and Jay’s aim is to reduce that number.
Backed with the hard-earned knowledge and experience from his time in business, The Business Mentor Podcast will share Jay’s personal business lessons as well those of other successful entrepreneur guests who share their wisdom and secrets on the show.
Mark Homer is an entrepreneur investor. He has worked with investment since he was 15 years old using the laws of wealth! He is a spreadsheet analyst with an impressive following from major publications including BBC Radio, The Wall Street Journal, The Independent, as well as co-authoring the UK’s best-selling property books. Mark has always looked for the best investment vehicle, and at the end of 2007 with Rob Moore the co-founder of Progressive Property his joint portfolio produced more profit than any of the other investments he’d tried in the last ten years, combined.
CONTACT METHOD – Mark Homer
Contact Method – Jay Dhillon