Natasha Collins, NC Real Estate
This week we are truly excited to introduce you to our newest inspiring individual Natasha Collins, the Managing Director of NC Real Estate and facilitator of Supercharge Your Wellbeing at Lionheart (we recommend exploring both as soon as you've finished this). Natasha talks to us about her unique entrance into the property industry, her empowering challenge to start her own company and how she lost the fear of things going wrong. Hopefully, you enjoy reading this as much as we do!
Hi Natasha, thank you so much for talking with us this week. To start and before we get down to the details, could you briefly explain your career journey so far?
In the third year of my undergraduate degree (in Geography & Computing), I took on a job at a Lettings Agents pretty much full time. Whilst I was there a client introduced me into the world of surveying and arranged for an interview for me in London, which I got and continued surveying thereafter.
I worked for 7 years in Asset and Property Management and during this time I also completed my Masters in Real Estate through UCEM / University of Reading and became chartered.
After working myself to the bone, I took a career break to work out what I wanted to do. I ended up starting my own firm of Surveyors: NC Real Estate, becoming a Lecturer for UCEM in Property Management and pioneered Supercharge Your Wellbeing through LionHeart.
So, with such fantastic experiences behind you, what advice would you give to a young person starting their career in the industry?
You are awesome, go do whatever takes your fancy. You can change the world.
If someone tells you that you aren't ready, but you feel ready, believe that and go find the opportunity elsewhere. There are unlimited opportunities, you've just got to find them.
You do not have to work every hour under the sun. There is a world to explore, people to enjoy and so much goodness which you have to absorb. Look after yourself first (It took me so long to learn this!)
Don't try and be someone else or do what they are doing - you will miss incredible opportunities. If something feels right do that. If it doesn't say no.
The APC process isn't to be feared - if you strip it right down, if you are good at your job, understand the processes and have made a conscious effort to understand RICS guidance you have a good shot.
Ultimately just do you. It's an exciting industry with unlimited potential. Be brave and do what makes you want to show up and be the best every day.
DISCLAIMER: I have to also tell myself this advice daily - it gives me the strength to go out and keep persevering even when times are tough.
Speaking of perseverance, is there a time when you've made a mistake in your career and had to pick yourself up and learn from it?
I started a company and thought it would be a breeze!
I invest in property and had made a lot on restructuring my portfolio the year before and then blew it all on my business without thinking about plan or strategy. I hired the wrong people, took the wrong advice and eventually my website got hacked… great start! To top it all off, I was feeling miserable that things weren't going the way I wanted it to, so things started swirling out of control (My wellbeing flew out the window). Thousands of pounds in debt, and lost I went back to basics.
I put a stop to everything, fired all my service providers (which was so difficult, I have no HR training), handed back the keys to my office and pushed pause. I defined what I wanted my business to be, look like and do and then took over everything myself. I nurtured my subscribers, re-vamped my brand and started to be true to what I wanted to do going forward and created a Members Club for property investors and landlords. Within 2 months my business was making a profit, all debt paid off AND I had got rid of all the ties that had previously kept me stuck.
Now I have a business that I can run from anywhere in the world, on my own timescale. I learnt that building a business takes time and it has to come from the right place. I had to be me to find the right clients. I also had to learn every part of my business to be able to outsource jobs. It was revolutionary. It's a massive joy running NC Real Estate now and it is a reflection of how I want the property industry to be, honest, open and transparent and full of love and passion for the built environment.
Here's the thing - no one died, I would have never learnt these mistakes if I didn't go so full on at the start. I'm proud of my achievements and reflect on that daily and maintain my wellbeing routine (which is hard in the darkest of moments) exercise, journaling, dog walking and surrendering (my I Surrender box was full!). I've also lost the fear of things going wrong… it's always going to happen I'm human. As tough as failing is, it means you've tried and now have to go in a different direction. There's always going to be a learning experience so if you've messed up ask what you can do to improve next time. Or if you work for yourself then just keep trying, there is a sweet spot, that perfect storm where things work out, but it's also different for everyone so run your own race.
We could not have asked for a better answer! Now for some quick fire questions just for fun.
Before a meeting I always... Grab a pen, listen to some uplifting music so I feel ready to bring my A game.
What do you wish someone had told you at the start of your career?
People will always show you their best side, not the huge amount of effort, the failures and stress that they've had to go through to get where they are. Success is hard and you never get to where you want to be as you will always move the boundaries so enjoy the journey!
And finally, who is a person that really inspires you and why?
Oh my gosh… no one person that I can think of right now. I'm inspired by different people daily. But, I am loving Jen Sincero's books at the moment...
Thank you so much again Natasha for taking the time to speak with us and share some of your amazing experiences (and the top tip about Jen Sincero)!
We really hope that you've enjoyed reading this interview this week. Be sure to look up NC Real Estate and Supercharge Your Wellbeing. Also, follow Natasha on linkedin to stay uptodate with what she's up to.