Real Estate Journal

November/December 2017 edition

Since striking out on his own and opening the doors of Black Property Central Coast in February 2017, Paul Black hasn’t looked back. Here he shares some thoughts about his journey to becoming a business owner and looks to the future.

Did you always want to work in the real estate industry?

I’ve always been interested in real estate. Growing up, my father was heavily into property investment. I tagged along to open homes and investment seminars, and watched him build his portfolio. So it’s something I’ve always been surrounded by.

But when I left school, I didn’t go straight into real estate. Instead, I did a fitting and machinist apprenticeship – though I knew by about half-way through that it wasn’t something I wanted to make a career out of. I stuck it out and finished, but as soon as I was done I made the jump to real estate. That was 17 years ago.

Why did you choose to open your own agency?

It was on my mind for a number of years. My wife, Lauren, and I spoke about it a lot. We finally decided to take the plunge earlier this year and open the doors of Black Property Central Coast.

I think, in general, the opinion people have of real estate agents is fairly low. They don’t see us as ethical. I take great pride in the fact that I’ve always operated ethically and I wanted to build an agency where I could foster that same attitude in others. I want our agency to have a strong reputation for honesty – and anyone we bring into the business in the future must have that same mindset. It’s my name on the front door, so I want to build something to be proud of.

I was also motivated by my desire to build a family business. We have four sons, aged 13 down to nearly two years old, and hope that they’ll want to be a part of it in the future.

What were some of the challenges you faced when opening your own agency?

There are so many moving parts. From having all the financial and legal elements in place to setting up all the processes, systems and procedures, there was a long list of things to tick off. We also had to pinpoint our points of difference. What is it that will make people come to us, rather than go to the agency around the corner?

It’s not for the faint-hearted and one of the best things I did was invest in coaching – someone who could work with me on the journey to realise this goal. I worked with my coach for at least 12 months before opening the doors and I continue to work with them today. It’s great to have someone to bounce ideas off and whose experience you can draw on. I also spend a lot of time picking the brains of others in the industry – after all, that’s how you learn.

What key skills do you need to be successful in your job?

As a business owner, you need to be a planner. You need to put both short-term and long-term goals in place, and you need to review them regularly. From the beginning, we’ve had goals in place and because we’ve achieved some of them much sooner than expected, we’re now having to adjust and set new ones. The planning process is one of continual goal setting, measurement and adjustment.

You also need to be adaptable and embrace change. I think it’s fair to say that the one constant in real estate is that there is no constant. You can’t expect to be doing the same thing today as you were two or three years ago.

And you must always remember your “why”. There will be good days and bad days. But if you keep your “why” top of mind, you’ll get through.

What’s on the horizon for the next 12 months?

My focus will be on growing the business – listing more property and building our rent roll. I’m also looking to bring someone on to work with me, who I can mentor and help them grow a strong career in the industry. It also looks like we’ll need to relocate to a bigger office. The next 12 months are really about moving the business forward.

When you’re not at work, how do you like to spend your time?

We have four boys at home. My wife is surrounded! It can get hectic at times, but we love it. I try to sneak off for a round of golf when I can.

What’s the best advice you would give to your younger self?

Believe you have what it takes and go for it! If you consistently put the work in, you’ll succeed.