How to Fail and Succeed At Life!
Updated: May 17
I might be mad but I decided I'm going to share some things that I've never shared professionally before… in the hope it might help somebody who feels a bit lost right now.
I was absolutely and disappointingly - bang average at school. I struggled to revise and retain the necessary information to pass exams. So when it came down to it, my results at GCSE were really poor. I still remember results day and thinking I'd messed up my whole life. I felt embarrassed at telling my parents my results and what was worse, was the feeling I knew I could have done so much better. I'm now 44 and I really feel that the 'system' in the UK is completely broke. Many successful people did nothing at school but then flourished later in life! At 17, I was lost and had these useless grades staring back at me on my CV - all my friends went to college and I went and got a YTS job on £40 a week. (Remember them?) My YTS job was gardening for the local council. I actually enjoyed it and went on to become qualified in amenity horticulture at Reaseheath college.
When I say ‘enjoy’ obviously it was no fun in the pouring rain or blizzard conditions in the winter. I don't miss not being able to feel my toes and fingers on winter days. But I did know pretty quickly that gardening was never going to give me a decent enough income.
I soon left, in the search for better pay. I wanted to be able to buy guitars, go out with my mates, and have fun on the weekend - and so I ended up doing various jobs in logistics and warehouses for a few years and went from job to job. It was slightly better pay but still nothing above average. The work was often boring and mind numbing and it was just a means to an end. I was that person that lived for my days off and fell into that trap of hating five days a week and living for two! I felt in my early twenties like my exam results really did affect my chances in life.
I regretted not trying harder and doing more. I felt like I was always just going to ‘plod along’ in jobs, I just didn’t enjoy. I couldn't see any other way for me. But good timing was on my side I met an amazing woman and luckily I managed to somehow get on the property ladder and buy my first house with my fiancé. We soon found out we were pregnant and life suddenly felt like it was finally coming together for me at last. I had my own house, I was a Dad and l had a fiancé.
But on one cold October evening, my world changed forever in a split second.
The Police knocked on my door to tell me that my fiancé had suddenly passed away. She was on her way home from a works conference, stepped off the train and collapsed. She had a fatal heart defect that cut her life short - she was just 28.
My whole world came crashing down and I went from feeling like my life was finally coming together to being completely and utterly broken and I also became a single parent overnight too. My son was a week away from turning one when this happened.
I’ll be honest this period of my life is now all a bit of a blur, I found it unbearable at times. One day led to another and another and months passed me by. I had all my dreams wiped out and taken away from me and I had this new role as a single parent to try and cope with.
I remember getting through the long days and just lying-in bed every night, thinking… What the hell do I do now? How do I move forwards and build a life again? I just felt empty and lost for a long time. It was the worst time in my life and could have broken me for good quite easily.
Thankfully, I eventually managed to get myself back on my feet and start enjoying life again, thanks to my family and friends and a lot of two steps forward, three steps back.
It was over the next few years, I decided to set about learning about property and investing. I had a passion for it and wanted to follow a passion, because life was just too short to waste doing something that did not light a fire inside me. I loved watching all the property programs on TV and loved the idea of doing houses up and converting things too.
When I found love again with my now Wife (Claire) - I decided to move into her home and I rented my home out to tenants. I became what people call an 'accidental landlord.' This was my first step into investing and property (kind of).
Later I learned about 'creative property strategies' especially sourcing and deal packaging and trading properties. It was this that flicked a switch in my head. I knew I could do this and make good money.
It amazed me that you could make money from property you didn’t own, if you knew how to apply certain strategies. I knew a few guys at this time, who were making money and I definitely found it all very interesting whenever we chatted about what they were up to.
It was also around this time I got asked to work a Saturday at the last minute by my boss at work.
No notice at all and what was worse - I'd already made plans with the kids and family. I told him enough was enough and knew that I just had to go full time in property. I never worked the Saturday and never worked for anybody else, ever again.
Not my finest hour, but the fear of HAVING to earn money - really does have a way of focusing the mind! But I don’t recommend it to anybody, let me just put that out there!
This was to be the moment my life changed again, but this time for the better!
I slowly began property sourcing and I also managed to build a small rent-to-rent portfolio that gave me income that dwarfed any day job I had ever had. There was no looking back when I got to this stage.
Over the next few years, I learned, I got educated and I focused on building my income further. I worked every day of the week for years - apart from the odd family holiday. But it never felt like work to me. I turned my hand to flipping and really loved the process of taking a beaten up property and creating something new and homely.
I also became an agent too and that’s when sourcing and working with investors really took over my life completely.
Then in 2017, along with two other guys who were also sourcers, we got together in my office one night and we decided to set up a kind of property sourcing / estate agency model and then we would franchise it around the UK and scale up.
The business model did change slightly as we got started but over the course of a few years we became the UK’s biggest property sourcing network.