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Lessons Learnt

How The Property Brothers Built Up A Real-Estate And Entertainment Empire One Brick At A Time

Drew and Jonathan Scott didn’t just get lucky landing their high-profile gig on HGTV — they worked their tails off for it. The actors / real-estate moguls share their success secrets with Kelsey Humphreys on “The Pursuit.”

Kelsey Humphreys

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If you don’t already know Drew and Jonathan Scott, you probably at least recognise their matching handsome faces. After all, they have been everywhere in recent years, starring as HGTV’s (Read TLC in South Africa) – Property Brothers.

What you may not know is that prior to landing their highly successful television gig, the brothers built a successful real-estate and development company.

Their knack for branding and business, in addition to their passion for both real estate and entertainment led to the formation of their own production company, multiple reality shows and celebrity status.

It’s easy to see the entrepreneurial spirit in actors, musicians and comedians who have to make their own way and build their own brands. But these brothers were born true entrepreneurs. They started their first business at the age of 7, selling decorative hangers to an American paraphernalia store in Japan. They sold so many, in fact, they had to enlist family members as employees in their operation.

Related: Forget Stock Markets – Think House Flipping

In college, they realised they would need a way to fund their acting careers, so they decided to try their hand and real estate – and flipped their first property for a R500 000 profit.

Another business was born. They kept building their real-estate business for years, all while auditioning, writing scripts and producing their own indie projects. After years of auditions, multiple show ideas and a failed stint on a series called Realtor Idol, the evolution of what is now their entertainment empire began.

Drew and Jonathan Scott took a break from shooting in New York City to share with me their four keys to success as both entrepreneurs and entertainers:

1. Don’t wait for opportunity

The-Property-brothers-real-estate

As is common with most successful people, the pair have no time for excuses. In fact, ditching excuses altogether is Drew’s biggest advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Jonathan added, “No one is busting down your door to make you a success. You have to show people you exist. So many say, ‘I’ve tried everything to break into this business!’ and they’re sitting at the bar. When we were trying to break into the business, we were never sitting – we were always getting our name out there.”

They emphasised the importance of creating your own opportunities, continually marketing yourself and growing your brand and business.

2. Don’t blend in

Amercian-realtors

Standing out is something businesses need to do in a marketplace, just like it’s something entertainers must do in their industry. Jonathan insisted, a key to success is to make people remember you.

“What’s your hook? How are you different from anybody else out there?” he says. “We focus on our brand and our reach and show people that we’re not isolated to real estate. Make sure that you’re always growing.”

Related: Top Tips on How to Flip a House

He explained that anyone can start growing their personal brand within their community or city:

“With the Internet, you can get your brand out there, and it doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money.”

3. Don’t get comfortable

Famous-realtors

Drew’s personal mantra explains just how hard the duo works – Continuous effort is the key to unlocking your true potential. They explained that they grew up on a ranch, which instilled in them the value of working for every single dollar.

“If you really want to reap the rewards of a successful career, be willing to put in the hard work,” Jonathan said.

Drew added that the early days included long hours creating their own content: “We were doing 100 hours a week – networking, producing our own content, doing anything we could.”

Part of working hard means preparing religiously. Jonathan reminded me that just one bad audition can seal the deal on a person’s career.

“It’s not that you have to be in the right place at the right time. You have to be in the right place at the right time and be prepared.”

The pair still hold to this mantra, rarely taking a vacation and having to work to schedule in any personal time. Some may say having to pencil in time for friends and family is a bad thing, but Drew disagrees.

“If you want to get the most out of your time, if you’re pursuing something that you’re passionate about, you have to have balance, so scheduling your personal time is part of a busy lifestyle.”

4. Don’t get discouraged

Realtors

The odds for new businesses may be bleak, but the odds of becoming international entertainment superstars seem downright abysmal. Jonathan, however, says that that’s not true.

Related: What You Need To Know To Become the Next Property Entrepreneur

“Ninety-nine percent of [other actors] aren’t treating themselves as a business. If you’re working hard, pushing your brand the way you should, you will succeed.”

Drew and Jonathan say that they are living proof that if you work hard toward what you want to do, you will succeed. “If someone tells you that you can’t do it, go out and find five ways to do it,” Drew says. “We never gave up on anything we wanted to do.”

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Image source: HGTV

Kelsey Humphreys is an entrepreneur and journalist on a mission to inspire and equip you for success. She is the creator of the Pursuit Planner and author of the Amazon bestseller Go Solo. Catch her interviews with today's leaders on her show The Pursuit.

Lessons Learnt

Taking It To The Malaysian Market – Karl van Zyl Of Antipodean Café

Karl van Zyl approach has always been logical and simplified and he highlights three principles that he believes to be critical in the food and beverage industry.

Dirk Coetsee

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Karl van Zyl has a 17 year history in the food and beverage industry in South-Africa and now applies his skills and knowledge in the extremely vibrant and competitive Malaysian market. I had a very interesting conversation with him to explore both similarities and differences of both markets and to share his accumulative learning of this industry to those entrepreneurs considering to open a restaurant or café.

He has a history working for the Mikes’ kitchen and Fishmonger groups in South-Africa fulfilling a range of roles from being a General Manager to Operational Manager. Currently he both manages an well-known Café called Antipodean and facilitates the opening of new cafes’ in Klang Valley, Malaysia.

Karl shared that his approach has always been logical and that applying sound basics has always served him well. Would you eat the food served at your restaurant and really enjoy it? Posing questions such as the aforementioned to yourself as a restaurant owner or manager helps you to be aware of the quality of your operation and to always keep the customer in mind when making decisions.

One of the key learnings that he shared was to get a very good and experienced team of waiters together that has previous restaurant or hospitality industry experience. He strongly advises quality over quantity when it comes to waiters and fondly remembers one of the waiters that he managed whom could take orders from a group of twenty people and remember each order from the top of his head.

It is not only about quality of service to the customer but also when there is a small but quality team of waiters operating then their earnings are much higher and they will feel valued and happy as opposed to a large group of waiters competing for relatively small rewards.

Related: What Comfort Zones? Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable Says Co-Founder Of Curlec: Zac Liew

Karls’ approach has always been logical and simplified and he highlights three principles that he believes to be critical in the food and beverage industry:

  1. Quality of food
  2. Quality of service
  3. Pricing.

He adds that in addition to the above principles your location should of course be in area with very good ‘foot traffic’.

When the entrepreneur venturing into the food and beverage market considers the right suppliers it is a critical factor to go and visit their facilities, thoroughly check their quality and enquire which other quality brands they are supplying in addition to buying at good prices.

In his view comparing the Malaysian food and beverage market to the South African market there are a lot more Malaysians eating at restaurants than in South Africa. One of the reasons for this is that there are a lot of ‘street café/restaurant’ options with quality food at a very low price due to the restaurant not being air-conditioned and making use of for example plastic chairs and tables.

Personally the author has found much more twenty four hour food options and countless varieties of food compared to the South African market. If you are awake and hungry at 3 am in the morning in Kuala Lumpur, no problem! You also will not be limited to only 24 hour fast food options, almost any type of food that you desire will be available that is if you know where to go off-course.

Related: Don’t Be ‘Outside Standing’ On Your Own Exponential Growth Says Serial Investor, Jimmy Phoon

As a matter of interest Karl regards the prices of restaurants in general in Kuala Lumpur to be better than in South Africa and holds the service levels in KL in higher esteem due to it being more ‘personal’ and customer orientated. He believes that South African food matches the quality of Malaysian food but that there is however much more variety of food available in Malaysia.

Karl pointed out that it is possible to have people from all five continents represented in one night at a restaurant as the food culture in Malaysia is very diverse and so is the cultural phenomenon in general in Kuala Lumpur.

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Lessons Learnt

What Comfort Zones? Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable Says Co-Founder Of Curlec: Zac Liew

Zac Liew was offered to be CEO and Co-founder of Curlec at the age of twenty six and took up the offer knowing that he would be engaged in a steep learning curve. Curlec is a FinTech company that is redefining the customer experience for Direct Debit.

Dirk Coetsee

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Botanica Deli, Bangsar South, Malaysia a vibrant environment where a number of entrepreneurs and office workers go to meet and have great food and coffee. I walked into the Deli to meet a man that might just possess the ‘entrepreneurial gene’ if indeed that gene exists.

Zac Liew always wanted to venture onto the exciting yet challenging playing field of entrepreneurial ventures having his dad and mother as examples. His father a lawyer, whom ventured into property development and his mother whom started the first chain of liquor stores in Malaysia.

His parents’ ventures interested him from a very young age and helped to ignite the entrepreneurial fire in this very young CEO and co-founder of Curlec. Zac is a qualified lawyer whom also did a stint in the banking industry but at all times he had a burning desire to do something entrepreneurial and always had an interest in tech.

To him tech was always logical and simply made sense within this ever changing business environment within which we as entrepreneurs launch our start-up ventures. He also enjoys the challenging demands that the tech environment places upon his problem solving skills.

Related: Brian Tan Of FutureLab.my – Bridging The Knowledge Gap Through Social Learning

The Creation of Curlec

curlec-malaysia-mobile-appZac Liew was offered to be CEO and Co-founder of Curlec at the age of twenty six and took up the offer knowing that he would be engaged in a steep learning curve. Curlec is a FinTech company that is redefining the customer experience for Direct Debit. They are the first Malaysian software company to enable online Direct Debit payments in Malaysia. One of the core principles that Curlec was founded upon is to Build great tech that solves a basic need.

Zac together with his co-founders Steve Kucia and Raj Lorenz found a simplified and effective solution to collecting money on a recurring basis. Normally recurring billing and collections is a big issue for SMEs’ and other options were exceptionally costly and timeous.

Zac pointed out that the size of the issue of recurring collections exceeded all expectations and that is one of the reasons that their start-up phase has been successful and gained very good traction in the market.

Curlec has a razor sharp focus on only two products which enables them to focus on giving a great service and customer experience. Curlec cuts through the normal levels of bureaucracy of big companies and has a laser focus on their customers.

How does this apply to start-up entrepreneurs?

Create a product or a system that is simplified, very user friendly, cost and time effective, and more importantly that solves a very challenging issue within the market place that adds great value to customers. Underpin this by being customer centric.

I asked Zac to enlighten me on the key learnings of his journey thus far and also share success principles that has served him well in business and in his life in general. He pointed out that he believes that every entrepreneur should get comfortable with being uncomfortable and venture outside the boundaries of their own comfort zones.

‘Be comfortable with making mistakes’ he says. Get feedback learn from it and integrate the useful feedback in your thinking and in practically applying solutions.’

As business and life has a natural and general ebb and flow to it persistence is a key factor to your success. Accept challenges as they occur and realise that the mind of the entrepreneur should always have a problem solving focus. As a fan of combat sports, Zac shared the following quotes that resonates with him:

“The more you seek the uncomfortable the more you will become comfortable” – Conor McGregor

And

“I have been training under the dark lights so that I can shine in the bright lights’ – Anthony Joshua

Related:  Zac Liew Channeling The Fire Of Authenticity: Asia’s’ Top ‘YouTuber’, Joanna Soh

As a writer I have always been fascinated by the wisdom imparted by philosophers and masters of their respective fields. I am even more excited and hopeful for our future when I hear wisdom ‘rolling of the tongue’ of a twenty six year old entrepreneur:

‘Be idealistic in your ideas but be pragmatic in actualising them. If things are not working out do not be stuck in that. Take what you can learn from your experiences and move on.’

Tech has the inherent power to reach the far ends of the world seamlessly and when we have more and more tech entrepreneurs solving big consumer issues and thereby making this world a better place we can be more and more hopeful of a better future.

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Lessons Learnt

Don’t Be ‘Outside Standing’ On Your Own Exponential Growth Says Serial Investor, Jimmy Phoon

Serial investor Jimmy Phoon is proud of his and his team at Alps Global holdings in achieving a $300 million valuation.

Dirk Coetsee

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It was a usually warm and humid afternoon in Malaysia as I walked into the foodbar at Fashion library in Kota Damansara, to meet a man who has a deep understanding of leveraging capital mechanisms in order to achieve exponential business growth.

Serial investor Jimmy Phoon is proud of his and his team at Alps Global holdings in achieving a $300 million valuation. He doesn’t speak to the ‘wrongs and rights’ of investments as he believes there are many ways in approaching an investment opportunity. He does however, firmly believe in the MOC (Miracles of Capital) organisations’ (of which he is a senior alumni member) approach to exponentially grow a company and having a clear exit strategy such as selling at a desired price or publically listing the company.

Jimmy enthusiastically highlighted the difference between them, as he names it a ‘feasible’ and a ‘bankable’ business investment. In offering a simple differentiation between the two terms he explained that ‘feasibility’ simply means that the business is making money, whilst ‘bankable’ means that the business is not only making money but that there is a clear succession plan and exit strategy in place.

As an experienced international entrepreneur and investor he recognises that a vast number of entrepreneurs are very well versed in the market mechanisms of their respective industries yet not equally adept at the capital mechanisms that underpins the exponential growth of companies. He points out that when a company has very good management in place, has a clear and attractive dividend policy to its shareholders, and in addition a well-defined and practical exit strategy it will increase the appetite of investors in general.

Related: Business Leadership – Learn How To Embrace Change

He describes the MOC to be an international platform to teach the mechanisms of Capital to entrepreneurs and investors. The MOC is the trifecta of business incubation, acceleration, and investment. One of the core principles of business investment that the MOC teaches and which Jimmy firmly believes in is collaboration between companies and entrepreneurs.

This means the willingness and openness to merge your unique skills as an entrepreneur, the unique offering of your company, profit and loss, with the skills, products and offerings of other companies with the end goal of exponential growth of a newly formed company. This approach can create a big win for all involved.

But what is ‘Outside Standing’?

The aforementioned discussion led to Jimmy sharing one of his favourite sayings:

“Be outstanding or outside standing” – a tongue in the cheek way of saying that by truly understanding and applying both the mechanisms of the market and capital you can experience the exponential growth of your company or alternatively by not fully applying both mechanisms it is then highly likely that you will be a witness from the ‘outside’ to the exponential growth of other companies and unfortunately not your own.

Jimmy’s’ accumulated learnings allows him to assist his team in building an ‘IPO’ compliant company that is formed with a collaborative approach towards a planned and well executed exit. That is part of his mind-set which is to do ‘big things’ and keep a distance from ‘small things’ for as an investor this man is always after exponential growth. He fosters a creation mind-set which is to create a bigger picture through leveraging and combining market and capital mechanisms.

One of the key ‘take always’ for me as an entrepreneur is to be much more open to collaboration in order to add value to others and in turn receive value such as exponential growth. Understanding the market mechanisms within your industry is not enough to multiply business performance, taking a keen interest in the capital mechanisms at play will take major strides towards actualising your bigger picture.

Read next: Entrepreneurship: How To Develop Your ‘Great Idea’

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