Monika Tu is one of Australia’s newest reality TV stars, but that doesn’t mean her success is only just starting! She’s been a mainstay in the luxury Australian property market for decades— and even before then, her larger than life personality and both people and marketing skills have helped her up her sales game continually for most of her life.
In this episode, the founder of Black Diamondz Property
Concierge and reality realtor star on Luxe Listings Sydney opens up on her fast-paced and exciting lifestyle. She certainly sells luxury, and while she lives what she sells today, it wasn’t always the case. She shares her experiences growing up in southwestern China, the university degree she holds that you may not expect, and the business she used to run that you likely remember well— if you have a ‘Laser’ sharp memory!Timestamps:
00:42 | Where It All Started
04:17 | He Just Smiled and Gave Me a Vegemite Sandwich
12:27 | Stepping Back to the ‘60s
15:13 | Taking the Opportunity
17:43 | The Floppy Disc Days
20:45 | Money= Properties
24:46 | Ready For Her Close-Up
27:05 | ‘What Can You Do?’ ‘Anything.’
00:57 | Invest in Structure
06:44 | A Calculated Risk
09:46 | Maccas Run
13:58 | ‘You Make Too Much Money!’
21:05 | Role Models and Real Estate Agents
24:39 | Trust the Professionals
29:30 | A Home, Not a House
39:21 | Giving Back
Resources and Links:
[00:14:53] And they said, 'Oh, you should come!' I said, 'Me? Where?' They said, 'Australia', and I said, 'Where's that?' I went to Europe and Germany, I couldn't even speak English. They said, 'You know what? I'll give you a discount fee to Asian [people] and you can come study.' Everybody loves a bargain, right? Here we come.
This is Property Investory where we talk to successful property investors to find out more about their stories, mindset and strategies.
I’m Tyrone Shum and in this episode we’re speaking with Monika Tu, founder and director of Black Diamondz Property Concierge and reality TV star on Luxe Listings Sydney. Despite her humble beginnings and many stops and starts along the way, she’s overcome the odds time and time again, leading her to run a company that now turns over $300 million a year.
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Where It All Started
Real estate reality shows have been steadily gaining popularity over recent years, and Luxe Listings Sydney is one of the newest— and most popular— kids on the block. Monika Tu entered the show in its second season, thanks to her success with high-end property agency Black Diamondz Property Concierge. However, her success didn’t come overnight.
[00:00:42] I came to Australia 34 years ago, at the age of six. So if you do the math, you know how old I am. It is an incredible journey. [I came] to this country from China without any knowledge of this country or any language skills, and started really from scratch, right?
[00:01:04] As a student, [I started learning] English and again, because of the hard work— and we can talk about that a bit later— and then start[ed] a business in IT. So working, of course, from like a practice marker, washing the dishes, and etc, etc. And to start the IT company, and if you read all the media's talking about, I used to work in other papers market have a bum bag, right, just really silly computer products.
[00:01:08] In 2007 I retired from that business and had a break. And [in] 2009 and started thinking about really... so at the age of 45 [I started thinking], 'Should I retire? Should I start something new?'
[00:01:52] Then it comes to my mind. And I started Black Diamondz, the real estate [company], I called it Black Diamondz Property Concierge. And it's just been phenomenal. And yeah, so it's a great journey. It's only about... I think shortly about 12 years in the market, and highly successful for your audience. Our turnover yearly is about from $200 million to $300 million a year. So it's a long journey. But again, you know, it's property.
Tu certainly keeps herself busy, working eight to 12 hour days regularly. Luckily for her and her clients, she sees it more as living her dream than as the hard work it really is.
[00:03:07] I don't think it's working, right? It's just I love what I do because of course you just smell the success. You're surrounded with all the incredible properties and the people, so it excites me every day.
[00:03:20] I get up [at] normally seven o'clock in the morning. And a lot of real estate agents [get up at] five o'clock, oh my God, no way, right? So seven o'clock in the morning. I have to make sure I have a good sleep, and beauty sleep, right, so I look great.
[00:03:34] So seven o'clock in the morning I’ve got my training with a personal trainer four times a week, just to keep me fit. And training [takes] about 45 minutes and then [I] start [my day].
[00:03:44] [The] first thing I do is I look at my social media [and] my emails. I'm even among five social social sites: Instagram, Facebook, Chinese we have a WeChat or we'll have the Red Book. Oh my God, five of them, I have to check every single one is working or is a messages and have to reply of course to emails. And then I start my personal training journey and after that a quick breakfast, Vegemite and avocado on toast. So true Aussie.
He Just Smiled and Gave Me a Vegemite Sandwich
[00:04:17] You're a true Aussie. You're an Asian eating Vegemite sandwich.
[00:04:27] 34 years in Australia. I was telling myself, 'So what is this Vegemite?' So I think if I want to become a true Aussie, I have to love Vegemite. Now, [I've fallen] in love with Vegemite. If I travel back to China or overseas, I have to have a tube of Vegemite! [People will ask], 'What the heck is that?' I say, 'You know what? I'm Aussie. And it gives me a lot of vitamins and energies'.
[00:04:55] My day [with] clients is really hectic. Real estate is really time consuming [and] is really demanding. So I have real estate, of course, I do a lot of social activities we're going to talk about a bit later. And I do a lot of charity [work]. So from probably nine o'clock in the mornings I have my team meetings until about 2:30 to 3:30.
[00:05:18] [At] 3:30 I will shut what I normally do in real estate and I start doing interviews, like, for example with your guys, and so all my social plannings. Prepare for my dinners, parties, you know, this kind of stuff. Leisure, I eat out, like, seven days a week. That's the way I communicate with people.
[00:05:40] It's a long day. And I finish up, 6:30 is normally my dinner. So if I have an opportunity to meet my clients, vendors, and buyers, I would do that. And I go to bed at about 11:30 [or] 12:00, sometimes 12:30 because of [the] time difference as I talk to people from overseas. So I make sure every email [and] every WeChat message is returned. And then I sleep [at] about 11:30 [or] 12:00. It's just crazy. But I love it, I love it, so much energy.
Despite retiring at 45 years of age, Tu is still going strong over a decade later, strengthening both her physical and work-related muscles each and every day.
[00:06:42] I think when you retire at 45 is really depending on what other things you want to do. So I [will] just give you an example. Before my other business in IT, I worked seven days a week. On a weekday, Monday to Friday, [I was] working in the company and [on] the weekends I would do the markets. I remember [being] physically and mentally exhausted. But you're young, you know, you're young, you still have good legs. I have bad knees, right? I worked so hard.
[00:07:10] But again, I focused on the permanent people I had to look after, to take care of. My family, my staff, and my staff's family. So it's a full commitment.
[00:07:21] But after 45, 'Okay, I'm gonna just go back to the market, do [it] seven days a week'. I probably cannot do that anymore. But what I did is I still work seven days a week, but I choose some career. For example, I go for dinners. It's always about dinner, right? I eat anyway. So what about if I meet the people [for dinner]? And I learn so much from them.
[00:07:44] Just to let you know, if you Google me, Monika Tu at Domain real estate, whatever, my average selling price is $14 million. So the people have the money, let's say around about $10 million, they're very successful people. Just sitting down with them. It's not about the business, just learn something from them.
[00:08:03] I think every successful [person] [has] a story behind them. So you learn so much from them. Do you think it's work? Not meeting them, having dealt with them is [a waste] of time. So you go home, have another Vegemite, you cannot do that, right? So you cook.
[00:08:18] And so for me, I just don't go out there meeting them, learning from them. So that's a different way of working. I still work seven days a week. On Saturday and Sundays I do private views. But again, I don't see it as work. I see it as my passion, right? I want to get the job done. I just open people's beautiful home, prepare them for the next tour to come in.
[00:08:38] If people can buy that kind of property, obviously, [it] doesn't matter the vendors or buyers, they're very, very exciting people. So that's the attitude towards my profession. So that makes me feel really pumped up every single day. Right? It sounds crazy but I think it works.
Meeting new people and learning their stories is part and parcel of the job, which she revels in and values highly.
[00:09:36] I'm just so different from other talents, but they're amazing. For me it's always about storytelling. So it's always about really learn[ing], what's the design ideas? Why [did] you build this house?
[00:09:50] All the real estate is very transactional. For me it's not just a transaction. Of course we'll have to get it sold. But we make friends. And it's friends for life. It doesn't matter if you're buyers or vendors. Just by being surrounded by them, I think it's a blessing for me.
[00:10:06] So now, probably 80 [or] 90% of my listings are coming from repeat customers. So they bought from me, they sell through me. Or they never bought from me, but they saw me [and] how I worked with them, even though they haven't bought anything. When they think it they say, 'Monika, you're the right person'. My brand is not suitable for everybody. But a lot of people really understand where I come from. And they will work with me. So it's just so exciting.
[00:11:01] You think about our name, Black Diamondz Property Concierge. You [wonder'], 'What do you mean? Are you like, hurry people's backs? And, you know, also, yeah, we do depends how much is the property is worth. I'm kidding!
[00:11:14] A concierge is service orientated, it's really all about service. But some services are very costly. You need to spend time, you have to have the right team around you. But after 12 years in the industry, I think it's proving to be successful. At the beginning people don't understand why you would do that. Right? Why are you writing a reference letter for children's schools? Why are you making a deduction for other businesses? To connect to people? Why do you do that?
[00:11:43] So you know what? You just have to give first, and then the ones, oh, my gosh, what you do? So you want to deliver that vision or service? And hopefully, God bless one day, there will be business. But again, I think it's proving we're very successful because I set our vision, I set our goal, this is what we want to achieve. And healthiest in the industry. Just look [at] what we have done. It's incredible.
Stepping Back to the ‘60s
Tu steps back to share her own story, starting with growing up in southwest China in the 1960s.
[00:12:27] It's called Guizhou Province. It's a very small province. In China it's like a third tier, it's like a third world country, right? Third tier of province.
[00:12:39] My mum's family, and my dad's family. So we were very wealthy before the revolution, but you know, obviously, everything's taken away, and we've come really poor. But we consider ourselves very rich, because our family [has] a very rich culture.
[00:12:57] So we always love music, love literature and stuff like that, even [if] we didn't have anything. So at the age of 15, if you know a bit of China's history, that cultural revolution is officially finished, so we got the opportunity to go to university.
[00:13:14] When I was 15, I passed the state exam. So I went to study a language, which was German, it's called German literature. So at the age of 19, I finished university, I became an interpreter. It wasn't, like, a really good job.
[00:13:32] Now you think back and say, 'Oh my God, that was a fancy job at the time'. It was 1982, before all you guys were born or whatever. I'm going to be 60 in August, I'm so proud. I have become, I don't know. My parents, I'm the only child in the family. So the best thing was your parents give it to me is the freedom.
[00:14:03] I quit my job within the government and I moved to another province called Xinjiang in 1985. The Xinjiang just open to the war is the first special zone, economic zone, where they will come, they're worse than investment.
[00:14:18] So I was [the] interpreter to bring a project together. And Xinjiang in 1985, at the time, [was] the biggest joint venture in Xinjiang. And I think the total amongst, like, $30 million US. Now you're thinking, 'Oh my God, that's it?' That's it. So now the company [is] public[ly] listed, it's very successful. So I did very well back in China.
[00:14:38] But there's one opportunity in 1988. So you know, Australia [was] open to [recruiting] Chinese students to come to Australia. So I helped [one of the schools] to recruit students back in China. I couldn't speak English but I could help, right?
[00:14:53] And they said, 'Oh, you should come!' I said, 'Me? Where?' They said, 'Australia', and I said, 'Where's that?' I went to Europe and Germany, I couldn't even speak English. They said, 'You know what? I'll give you a discount fee to Asian [people] and you can come study.' Everybody loves a bargain, right? Here we come.
Taking the Opportunity
[00:15:13] So [on the] 8th of March 1988, I came to Australia. I studied in language school in Melbourne. But I couldn't get a job. Because you couldn't speak English and it was just so hard. I tried to work in the restaurants, babysit, you just name it,. Every job I had, [after] two weeks I'd get sacked. I'm good at it.
[00:15:42] Just imagine you have a really prestigious job in China. You come here with nothing. And then you have to start from zero. It's not about money. We have always survived, right? But it's about psychologically. How can you overcome from top to bottom with nothing?
[00:16:03] Now I think back and I really admire myself. My parents, the best thing they gave to me [is] the advice: Take the opportunity. If something is not going according to your plan, you always can come back with us. So that's the best thing they give it to me. So that's what I give to my daughter.
[00:16:20] Okay, you take the opportunity in life, you try your best you can, and hopefully it's going to work. If it doesn't work, we're here for you. So that's the best thing they ever given to me.
[00:16:29] They didn't give me money. So we didn't have money. Nothing, seriously nothing. So I worked all the world jobs. I still remember all the restaurants. I just came back from Melbourne yesterday. I still say, 'Oh my God, I used to work in that restaurant!' Before they sacked me I just resigned. It's a very, very humble background.
[00:16:51] I [came] to Sydney in 1992 and the standard is you're working in a computer shop and you know, like, on the weekend again, I tell you, 'You know what? I need to make a living'. So I bought some stock and started sending a floppy disc. You guys didn't know, you're too young.
The Floppy Disc Days
Laser floppy discs and CDs were the peak of technology at the time, and Tu knew how to capitalise on a safe investment. Despite not knowing much about how Laser’s products worked, she wasn’t going to let that deter her from smashing sales quotas and launching her career to a new level.
[00:17:43] I started in computer shops, right, I started working there and so that other weekend, I take some of the floppy discs as Lanza CDRs and to the market. The owner of that computer shop said, 'Monika, you're so good, right? Why don't you come and work with me?' I said, 'Okay!' And at one point I ended up marrying him. He was my boss, but we're still friends.
[00:18:05] So [I married] him, and we grew that Laser business from the corner shop in Surry Hills, and plus Paddy's Market and all the markets to an international company. So Laser is still very, very strong. I'm still part of the company but I'm not involved at all. So that's how we grow.
[00:18:23] You never know. You come to a new place, [a] new situation. But how can you make the best out of it? I know nothing about IT as you can know, we're just struggling with a little bit like, 'Oh my god, Zoom, blah, blah, blah'. But I work with the best people around me who understand.
[00:18:23] I'm very good [at] sales and marketing. I never knew I had the skill, but when the opportunity came to me, I really work[ed] hard for it. But I never stop. Even though I reached the peak of Laser and I never stopped thinking about what's next, right? How can I grow personally and professionally?
[00:18:59] So at the age of 45 in a company is in good hands is from a corner shop to a corporation. So now we have a branch in New Zealand, Hong Kong, China. It's a multimillion dollar company and it's in a professional hand. I said, 'Okay, time for me to retire'. That's how I retired from that business.
[00:19:19] Because I'm not corporate trained. So if I just keep staying in company maybe there was something growing, to be honest, right? You give me like a accounting you know like a particle SAP. I said, 'What the heck is that?' ASAP Oh my God.
[00:19:22] So sometimes you just have to let go. Leave it to the professionals. My managing director [has been] with us for, like, 18 years now. And my personal assistant for 24 years now. Oh, by the way, my ex husband, my business partner now, we started this together. So I think it's a phenomenal journey for that company and they're still growing stronger and stronger and stronger without me. So I'm so happy.
[00:20:02] So how many people does Laser currently employ as of today? Would you know, roughly?
[00:20:06] I don't. I think it's probably over 40. Maybe more, because they employ somebody in China as well for product sourcing, to do the OEMs, we manufacture a lot of products for other brands. I'm sure we'll have, like, Harvey Norman and Big W's and all these major brand[s]. So they do really well. So I don't interfere because even though I'm part of the shareholder, I shouldn't be interfering, right?
[00:20:34] But by saying that back to your listeners, and the one of the success we have to share with you is about a property.
[00:20:45] Now we have warehouses in Alexandria, also because we buy the property when we grow the company. I'm Chinese so if you have money, you buy properties. And if you have a business and we want to have the property as owner occupier, so we don't have to pay rent, my God my mind is still back in China. We don't want to pay rent, we just want to have our own.
[00:21:09] So we're very good in terms of investment in warehousing. Because we have the warehouses, we use the warehouses, and of course, for example, the Alexandria warehouse is already rezoned as a residential. So obviously, you can see the value of that one has increased,.
[00:21:27] And also the one we have in Macquarie Park. So Macquarie Park, when we bought it, [it] was just a pure warehouse. Now it's probably in a rezoning plan. So you have to see that you'll have a railway station now. Macquarie Shopping Centre is one of the biggest shopping centres.
[00:21:43] So I think that's a big chunk of our— in terms of wealth, it's a big chunk of ours, because we invest really, really well. And very conservatively, because we're using the place, but now we think, 'Oh my God, if we buy more, maybe it's gonna work'. So we're happy, we don't want to overspend, over commit.
[00:22:05] It's my investment way to make me feel very comfortable. I don't want to over invest, I don't want to over expand, but one step at a time. Now, the investment product become the bigger portfolio than the business itself. Put it that way.
Tu steps back to take us on a journey through her humble beginnings, jumping to her arrival in Australia as a 26 year old in 1988. In typical Tu fashion, she landed several jobs which kept her both on her feet and run off them.
[00:23:18] In Melbourne, [in] the daytime, I was very fortunate to get a job to teach typing. Even [though] I'd just learnt. I just don't type, I can teach and I started English at the same time. So I worked as a babysitter for a dentist. I worked in a couple of restaurants, that's what I do, just some odd jobs to keep me going to pay the rent.
[00:23:44] Again, I was very fortunate. That's what I love [about] this country, it gives you opportunities. It's not because of my language, it's because [of] my experience.
[00:23:54] The RMIT in Melbourne, the International Trade, the faculty, it gave me a scholarship because I'd been working in tourism internationally because I have experience with a bit of a trade from my background in China. So they gave me a scholarship, so I started under international trade and [I was] sponsored by the Institute of Import and Export Australia.
[00:24:22] I studied international trade for a year. And I couldn't find a job. Oh, yeah, well one thing say this is really good. So, I never knew I [could] sell. My family, we're like scholars. We're working as interpreters. I never would ever think about selling. So I got so stuck. 'Oh my god, what am I going to do', right?
Ready For Her Close-Up
[00:24:46] And then this company approached me and they said, 'Monika, you know what? So you love a [beautiful] look at yourself. You should start in selling the cosmetics'. I said, 'Ooh, okay!' So I was involved with a company called Mary Kay from America, it's direct selling. I just got involved with that company as I bought a few pieces myself and started talking to my friends.
[00:25:08] Within a few weeks I was wearing a pink jacket because everybody [came] to my door. If you don't want to buy, you have to sell. I have to teach them how to sell it. Right? If you don't buy a lipstick or cosmetic [product] from me, and you have to be one of my members downline. I do so well, my God! Thank God. [I realised] 'Oh wow, actually I can sell!' And that's Mary Kay.
[00:25:30] And then we'll start with the company with a legal generousity insurance. So I bought one myself and you know, I still have it. They sell the company and they shouldn't mutual whatever and I start selling. 'I'm a good seller, I can sell!' That's how I started.
[00:25:49] Really, really interesting. I never knew I had the talent in it.
After a handful of odd jobs, realising her sales talents, and growing her self-confidence, she moved to Sydney to combine her skills in a new market.
[00:26:14] You wouldn't believe it. Like, I couldn't get a job. So I try— and this is a funny story! I said, 'Oh my god, I can sell'. Obviously, I'm quite good looking. And I'm working really hard. And nobody gives me a job! I tried to apply for... at the time I [came] to Sydney it was 1992. I could speak English a little bit, right? So a little bit worse or similar to how I speak now, right?
[00:26:37] I tried to apply for a job with a council. They said no. I tried to get a job with a jewelry shop. They said no. And there's a woman from Taiwan. She has one of those duty free shops selling art books. I said, 'Can I work for you, selling art books at Paddy's Market?' She said, 'Oh, okay, maybe.' It was $46, I remember, for Saturday work. I said, 'You know what? I would take it. Seriously, I would take it'.
‘What Can You Do?’ ‘Anything.’
[00:27:05] Guess what? She said no to me. So I just couldn't get any job. But thankfully, one of my friends I knew back in Xinjiang, his name is Raymond Penn. I [will] thank him forever. I said, 'Raymond, can you please give me a job?' He said, 'What can you do?' Because he never knew I [could] sell. I said, 'Just anything really'. And he employed me for $160 a week. What a bloody ripoff! But anyway.
[00:27:36] And so I can think about my rent now. I'm, what, 20 or 30, right? So $160, but I just had to work. So I worked for him during the week. And the weekend, I said, 'You know what? Can I borrow some of your floppy discs, and I can go to the market to sell [them]?'
[00:27:56] He was kind enough to give me, you know, some properties he lent to me on consignment. So I [sold] and I paid because I don't have money to pay for the stock. So I worked for him for $160. But I still make a commission for everything I sell. I think I make about $300 or something like that.
[00:28:15] And the weekend market really helped me. It's quick money, I don't have to pay for it. I just pay for the [expenses]. And so the market is doing so well. And Raymond's company has closed and I borrowed some of his stock. I said, 'I go to [the] market already. Why [am I] only selling the floppy discs? Maybe you can borrow something else'.
[00:28:38] So I borrowed from a company called Aroma Computers. If any of your audience come from Surry Hills, you will know.
[00:28:45] So I borrow[ed] some stocks up my god so he's been his home as a whole. 'Can I borrow some stuff from you?' And I borrow[ed] some copy coders, keyboards, mice and stuff like that, like a mousepad. So I took most [of the] stock to the market. Oh my god, but [the] market stall from one table to like six tables or something like that. So that will come up people that helped me. I'd become the queen of the market with my bum bag.
[00:29:24] So I miss that borrowing stock from everybody else and Fridays so I don't have to disturb their business. [On] Mondays I return[ed] everything I didn't sell and I paid them whatever I sold.
[00:29:35] Wow. That's a great model.
[00:29:37] I know! I became queen of the market. So this is a good story.
[00:29:47] Raymond, he owns this Aroma Computer thing, right? And I didn't have a job [from] Monday to Friday. He said, 'Monika, you're such a good salesperson, why don't you come work for me during Monday to Friday?' I said, 'Yeah, no problem. So how much will you pay me?' He said, '$300'.
[00:29:59] $300 was not bad in 1992. [He said] ,'But everything you sell I'll give you 10% of [what] you sell. You get 10% commission. I said, 'No problem!' Guess what? [In the] first month I made $4,000 in commission! I picked up on like just smash[ed] on a phone call. You know I know so many people, right, from the floppy disc thing. But who has got more to offer? You have the copy holders, you have, like, oh my God, hard drives and all this, the cables and stuff like that. So $4,000. After about maybe six months he said, 'You're such a good salesperson'. He was single, I was single, we should keep the money in the family. So we got married.
[00:30:44] That's how you make money, just get married. And we went from that computer shop called Aroma and they have another name called NASA Technology for wholesale, right? So we grow that corner shop to a multinational company which is Laser. Then we start buying the warehouse in Alexandria and that bought one in 1997 and I bought another one in 1998. So we'd become the distributor for Kodak, Verbatim, TDK, the number one distributor in the world.
[00:31:24] How did you come up with the name Laser? Because obviously you had those two brands initially.
[00:31:45] It holds a company called NASA Technologies. You're producing, like, a mouse keyboard. How can that be NASA technology, right? Okay, so this is really funny. There's a friend of mine and he has a brand called Laser. So his name was John D, he's an importer of a floppy discs. I bought so much from him. And he said, 'Monika, you know what? You can just have the brand'. He says, 'I don't want to do business anymore. So you can just have the brand'.
[00:32:18] So I bought his whole stock from Hong Kong and the brand is called Laser. Laser is quite an interesting name, it's something to do with the technology. But you know it's a common name people remember. You know what? Let me just reach the name of Laser. So all my floppy discs. Unfortunately [I] don't have any more left, otherwise it will be so fun to look at.
[00:32:39] So it's called Laser brand, but a lot of you knew about [the] Laser brand. And then remember that the floppy disc transferred to a recordable CDs? And that have a laser? So I've got my own brand. That's another story about Laser.
[00:32:55] So Laser recordable CDs [were] overtaking a lot of famous brands. I'd become the queen of recordable CDs. We sold so many, I'm the number one distributor for Kodak in the world. It was, 'Oh my God, how?' But that's another story. But because I always pay on time and because I work so hard, but just a joke for you, I never recorded one CD in my life. I don't know how to record it if I can sell, right?
[00:33:23] That's all that matters! Get somebody else to do it.
[00:33:25] You push it in and you press a button and [it] comes back. I don't know which button to press, but I'm the number one seller for my CDRs. Laser is everywhere you can see. A lot because you haven't ever used a CDR called Laser, I tell you, you're very good because it never have a parent copies.
She acknowledges that she’s been on a very interesting journey and that she has been lucky, but there have been many other elements at play as well.
[00:34:10] That's an interesting journey, right? But in saying that not everything is like, 'Oh my God!' You've just been very lucky. IT is because of CDRs. I just also see myself as lucky, so everybody's lucky, right? So why would very well have number one you know of course you have to have or is that I think your integrity is vices that all customer focus and you do the right thing.
[00:34:33] You'd be fair to everybody but we work so hard, seven this week. Seriously, the Monika Tu, you look at me now right so you know, seven this week with a bum bag. That's my life for seven or eight years. But you know what, we'll come with nothing. So we grew up with nothing so because of a bit of little bit luck.
[00:34:52] But luck comes, you know, like with the hard work. Is that right? Of course we're intelligent. We're smart. We have to work smart [at] the same time. So that I think that work ethic really [got] us to where we are today. That really lay[s] a foundation of how we can be successful. Anybody less than expected to have a young audience. There's no shortcut. There [are] no shortcuts. You have to work. It doesn't matter. You know, you speak English, no English, you're Asian, you know, Australian or any part of the world. You know hard work is probably the number one.
By the ‘90s, Tu had established herself as a sales magnate and was taking the computer world by storm. In doing so, she’d procured two warehouses, which were just the beginnings of her career in property. Between then and starting Black Diamondz in 2009, she’d purchased a family home and a handful of additional properties.
[00:00:57] At the same time I purchased quite a fair bit of investment properties, but I made a mistake all along, right? So if I didn't sell them, it's just regrettable how we sold [them].
[00:01:10] Everything we bought, thinking about 1995 [or] '96 [or] '97 [or] '98. Don't even think about the prices, they're very good compared [to] what's happening right now. [The] warehouse obviously has grown. So we have a couple of apartments and our own home. But we sold our home because of the divorce.
[00:01:38] To sell a portfolio is really important. But one of the mistakes... I don't have to mention where, how, [or] how much, but the things that I tell you [are] a lot. Because I'm Chinese again, you know, you buy.
[00:01:50] But one of the mistakes we made, I think let's focus on [the] mistake, right? So if you buy some [in] 1994 [or] '97 [or] '98 [or] '99— it's already a gold mine, right? One of the mistakes we made is because we came from overseas, we have no sense of the tax structure. Because we didn't know how to structure the tax. Like, you buy from your Super fund, you buy from trusts or you negative gear is because we're so busy selling floppy discs at the market.
[00:02:24] That happens for all the migrants, we just don't trust other professions. Now I said, 'My God, if I have a good investment consultant, or good accountant, would you have a good accountant, or tax accountant?' So we can put that structure really well. That structure will look after us for the rest of our lives.
[00:02:44] But because we were like, 'Oh my God, we pay so much tax every year, we'll just sell'. And then I spend all the money just traveling, buy[ing] the nice coats, bags, and jewellery.
[00:02:56] We're still doing okay, I'm not saying that. But just the mistake you learn along the way. We should have a beginning, have a structure of the investment structure, which migrants... now I've met a lot of my vendors, 80 [to] 90% of my vendors are Australians. Because, you know, people have $20 [to] $30 million properties.
[00:03:20] And to learn from them, I feel like if I have to go back 10 years, because one of your questions, I would really have to really open [my] mind to pay a little bit more fee to the professionals to structure properly.
[00:03:35] So think about that. 'Oh my God, damn, I shouldn't have sold that'. Right? But you know what? So we'll learn [from] the mistakes. I learnt my lessons and hopefully my daughter would never make the same mistake. And that was continuing investing, right? So hopefully it won't be changed.
After her biggest learning lesson, she realised something had to change. Moving forward, she applied what she had learnt and now surrounds herself with an invaluable team.
[00:04:34] I think in terms of investment, property is the best thing. Especially in this country, right? So for the luxury properties, I have already witnessed, like, six years [or] seven years already doubled. Like, some of the Eastern suburbs [have] already more than doubled. It's crazy. We just had the property, she bought it for me [in] 2016 for $2,100,000. I just sold [it] for $17 million now.
[00:05:00] And then there's another property in Killara. And she bought it for me for $9.6 million. So it's only about what, six [or] seven years time and $16.5 million and it's already sold.
[00:05:13] You look at the international market, because the way international city, right? We're always attract[ing] new migrants [to] come to the city. And it's still prices that [are] really reasonable compared to like, even Shanghai or Tokyo or New York, or Hong Kong or Singapore. So I think the price is still quite affordable for a lot of [people]. I'm a specialist in international buys, put it that way.
[00:05:37] For them [it] is still very, very attractive. I think, if I do have the money, now, I'm still looking for opportunities to buy myself. But of course, you approved through the trust of through different entities rather than just a personal name.
[00:05:52] In China, I'm surprised, I paid everything, that's stupid. What does it mean to have negative gearing? [I] never learnt, only about [the] last 34 years, maybe last 20 years, oh, negative gearing. You said I paid off everything. So we're proud of it. But our stupidity. I can be stupid too. I might look very smart. Right?
[00:06:16] But just saying that, now we have a team of, like, my professional accountant, professional tax accountant, lawyers, like, everything is planned. And I know, you know, I'm going to be 60 years old. And I have a Super fund, obviously. So we planned properly for the next journey for [the] next 100 years. I'm kidding.
A Calculated Risk
[00:06:44] I'm curious now, because you've gone through such an amazing property journey, not only from investment, but real estate, do you have one particular or any aha moments where you've gone, 'Wow, this has been a huge success for me', or, 'It's helped me along my property journey'?
[00:07:01] I think I've been very fortunate. Everything I buy is amazing. So for example, the warehouse. For me, I'm very conservative in terms of investment, but I'm very fortunate. So for example, the warehouse we [bought]. So I never take the risk. Every risk I have is more calculated.
[00:07:25] I don't want to overcommit, because I want to have a good life. So my portfolio will [always be] cash I can access when I need it. So from the travel, because I look after my parents, somebody is sick, something is always there, available.
[00:07:41] And that would mean my lifestyle as well, because I don't want to, oh my God. So one of my friends has got 72 properties, right? And he didn't even want to spend money to look after himself. So this is the point because I saw so many of them. So I will always have cash components, I will have the properties. And the properties, probably we're talking about, maybe 60% or 70% of my portfolio will have something in shares. Because shares [are] very lucrative. It's very funny. And it's so exciting, right? So you can see the changes, you can see the graphs coming down.
[00:08:13] But for me, I still like the properties because something is tangible. And this market, and I will continue to invest in properties. For example, my warehouse, very exciting. So it's going to be rezoned. It's a massive land in Macquarie Park. Macquarie Park is just definitely the upcoming area. It's fantastic. It's really exciting. That's the best decision I've ever made.
[00:08:41] And also, I think one thing I learnt is— if your audience are more Australian they probably already know. So Asian investor[s] or Asian migrants [are] very different from the Western [investors and migrants]. Because all my vendors, what they do is the best [and] the biggest investment is in their home. Again, they buy the home. Beautiful, they invest in the home.
[00:09:06] Guess what? I just sold a house [for] $45 million, which is [the] 2021 national record. And they bought it 21 years ago for $9 million. So 21 years later, they don't need anymore, $45 million tax free. But for all these 21 years, they enjoyed the property. They have their children grown up there, their grandchildren come and stay.
[00:09:31] Now they're 70 [to] 80 years old, they just move[d] away. Buy a beautiful penthouse for $25.5 million. The life is fantastic.
[00:09:40] But with Asians, this is a little bit different.
[00:09:46] My friend Dan has 72 investment properties, but his life is different. He invited me to McDonalds to have dinner.
[00:09:55] If you invite a celebrity real estate agent, Monika, to have dinner, probably a McDonald's, that's inappropriate. But he's such a lovely person. I said, 'How many properties do you have?' [He said], 'I have 72'. I said, 'Did I hear you right? How many?' '72'. I said, 'What's the point of that?'
[00:10:22] For anybody, me, I will invest [the] majority of my asset[s] or money into the property I live in. So I have an amazing life and one day I'm gonna sell it. So it's gonna be tax free. We pay a lot of tax, right, that's taxable. So that's something I think we should [do]. If you have any people not doing that, you should definitely do it. Because I see this example every day.
The real estate industry has many different avenues to explore, with the luxury market being just one of them. Tu is clearly a talented salesperson, so it made sense for her to gravitate towards selling luxury properties.
[00:11:36] I mentioned about my marriage that broke down when I just left the business, but we're still business partners. I met my husband, and he's much younger than me. And he [has] a passion for real estate, right? He said, 'My God, we want to do something together'. And I said, 'Okay, let's see what we can do'.
[00:12:01] So [the] number one thing is how to get into real estate, he loved it. I said, 'If I have a husband, or boyfriend at a time, so we get on really well. So I have to support him’. Right? That's another topic. A few times around your marriage. Do you have to support your man, right? You know how hard it is to sell real estate. So I can sell IT, a product I don't know [anything] about . Right? So real estate [is] literally selling itself. It's how you present it, how you get the right audience comes through the door. I said, 'Okay, that's a good business'.
[00:12:32] And for IT, you have to buy, you have to develop, you have to sell, you have to sell through until you have the warranty. That's almost like the six steps to success, right?
[00:12:41] With real estate, it's much easier. You don't have to buy to sell. I thought, 'Wow, that's a good business model'. And we have to use your skills of understanding of the buyer's psychology to make sure that property you have appeal[s] to the right audience, which is me, sales and marketing.
[00:13:00] And so why real estate? Why luxury, right? At the beginning it's a joke, right? I think you're probably the first one to know, this is the truth. I never have any listener[s], I don't know how to sell real estate. But I have friends.
[00:13:17] One of the friends [had] a good development in Canterbury. So he's a Chinese developer, he's [a] very nice guy, introduced [to me] by the bank. His property, at [the] time was [worth] $400,000. This is 2009. Okay, $400,000, not too bad, is it? It's like a split level apartment. And one there and that's it. Okay, let me just sell it right. How hard is that?
[00:13:42] I was driving my S500 at a time, right, no more big cities, BMW and [inaudible]. I drove there. And they said a couple [was] coming here. I just explained to them the house. You know, ‘This is the floorplan, this is how much [it costs]’. They loved it. They loved it.
‘You Make Too Much Money!’
[00:13:58] And then this guy said, he went out to go and pick up the cheque. And he [came] back and [asked], ‘Monika, is that your car outside?’ I said, ‘Yeah, it is my car’. [He asked if it was an] S500. I said, ‘No, no, no’. [He said], ‘This apartment is too expensive’. [I asked], ‘What do you mean?’
[00:14:11] [He said], ‘Look at your car you drive. There must be too expensive. You make too much money’. I said, ‘This is my first property. I didn't make money from selling property. This is my first thing’.
[00:14:24] And he said, ‘Seriously, if you don't reduce [the price by] $20,000 [to] $30,000, I'm not buying’. So that's a wake up call for me. If I drive my Mercedes to sell [a] $400,000 property. People [perceive] there's nothing wrong with this. ‘Oh my god, you're too expensive’. I'm not! I didn't make money about selling properties. This is my first property.
[00:14:45] So I've come back to my husband [and] said, ‘You know what? I do not want to drive another brand’.
[00:14:53] ‘I don't want to compromise my lifestyle. I’m poor. I'm not successful. I’ll sell you this one cheap[ly]. I think it's just the wrong market’. So you know what? Maybe I look at all the prestigious agent[s], right? I look at, you know, like, you have Mark Ross LJ who [has] got, you have, like, a bill properties. I'm looking at all of them, looking at the John McGraths and the eastern suburb Bill Maloof. You know what? They're so successful. They’re amazing, right? They're not Chinese.
[00:15:23] Okay, I look at myself, I say, ‘You know what? I'm Chinese, I speak English and understand. I don't have to sell Chinese. I'm just saying this is a marketing picture. Who cares? Anybody can buy it, shoot me the check, I’ll sell [it] to you. For me to really stand out, to find a niche market, it’s about who I am. Okay. So I'm a Chinese [person]. I speak [the] language. I'm highly successful in business, I understand when new migrants come to this country, I understand what they need. Because when I need help, nobody's here to help me.
[00:15:55] It's not helping me just buy the property. Help me to understand the culture. Help me to understand, you know, the schooling, education systems, and tax, everything, right? I [told] my husband, ‘You know, what? We should target the market, which we focus on deliver[ing] a service rather than selling properties.
Armed with a brand new business plan and the confidence and expertise to pull it off, Tu got straight to selling, starting at home— literally.
[00:16:15] So thank God, if people believe in what we deliver, they will buy from us. If you don't buy from us, okay, too. So once we change that brandings, change our goals, and change our target market, we're successful. So [the] first property I sold was my own house.
[00:16:40] I sold that one, I think [for] close to $5 million. Because I didn't have any listing. A second one was over $13.5 million dollars, at the most. I said, 'Wow, that's where I belong'.
[00:16:52] Because I understand when the wealthy high net worth, international buyers come to Australia, what they're looking for. Price is not a problem. They want to find the right area, [the] right property. You have to understand what they're really looking for is about becom[ing] a community member in this world, in Australia. So they will be part of it. How can you help them?
[00:17:16] So that's why [in] all my stories I do, there's so much in terms of helping people and helping them, especially in the financial topic, just needing them up to a giving circle. We use that word, you know, it's not just in a wealthy member, it's valuable for the community. So that's my story.
[00:17:38] Over the 12 years, obviously, I have a lot of respect within my community, the Asian Chinese community, and also the Australian business community, so they [know] exactly what I'm doing.
The Australian property market is certainly like no other, and is especially popular with Tu’s main clientele. She knows the reason that is, and it isn’t the one you may think.
[00:18:46] I think the reason people come to Australia is definitely not because it's cheap. Not at all. It's because they want to look for a home outside, for example, Southeast Asia or China. Australia [became] really popular [in] this part of the world because, I think, number one, [the] Australian community is really welcoming. They come here and never feel like they're outsiders. I used to go to Chinatown, is 'Oh my God, why can I use chopsticks? Is that common?' So you feel that you're already part of this community, so you're no problem.
[00:19:24] So you can have the most authentic any [style of] food. Thai food, Korean, Japanese, Chinese food here, so you don't feel like you're [an] outsider. And it's so close to other parts of the world. For example, China is only about two hours [time difference], Japan two hours time difference. So it's actually easy to travel outside China or Hong Kong.
[00:19:44] It's just such a good country for people to migrante [to]. Just for your audience, if you are not Australian residents, you cannot buy properties. Just saying, right? You have to buy only the brand new investment. So for them, they want to buy a home, they number one, they have to become a resident or permanent resident.
[00:20:06] So they choose Australia as their home outside of their own country. So that's [the] number one reason. [It] is because the community is fantastic, [the] economy is good, and people are really friendly. And yeah, that they see a lot of opportunity in this country. As well as business, education, and the rest, right, so that's the reason they are here.
[00:20:26] Then they're talking about properties. The property doesn't matter, so if you have, like, $3 million to come buy something, $5 million, $250 million. So we have lots of different offerings. It's definitely not because it's cheap. Definitely not.
Role Models and Real Estate Agents
Tu has achieved a multitude of success throughout her years in business, including her real estate career. While she doesn’t have a particular mentor, the person she considers closest to it is very close to home.
[00:21:05] For me to have a lot of challenges in life, for example, like, the marriages, the leadership, a lot of challenges in life. But one thing I learnt is that I like a guy called Anthony Robbins.
[00:21:21] He's just absolutely incredible. I've been through all his courses, or go travelling with him around the world, because that gives you such empowerment to know who you are, right? So this is like my mentor by far.
[00:21:38] But another person is probably my husband in my life, because it's really interesting. My husband is a Christian. And he's [an] Orthodox Christian. And, you know, like, I'm from China, I would never have some, like a religious background. Even my mum is like, she says she's a Buddhist, but I think it's just superstitious.
[00:22:00] So we're not from, like, [a] very religious background. But with my husband, he is like a role model in my life. So with him, our business, and so many challenges along the way. But with him being a Christian, has really helped me to overcome a lot of obstacles or a lot of challenges in life. He's the one.
[00:22:20] And professionally, of course, we have a lot of good pupils, I just watched what they do. I'm a quick learner, right? I'm telling you, real estate is not that hard, right? Seriously, compared to selling insurance [it] is much harder, right? So it's not about there's a lot of good real estate agents I can look up to. So I learnt from them, I watch what they do. And so that's how I learnt.
[00:22:45] I think my biggest impact in life will be my husband right now, even though he's much younger than me. I think Christian realities [are] something I'm really interested [in]. He's, like, a living example. Right? Guide me through all this. Without him, it's not possible. So real estate, it's really difficult. It's not hard to sell. It's just the journey. It's hard, like you said, it's a male dominated industry.
[00:23:14] That alone, you're talking about luxury property. There's so many, I don't know, hundreds of thousands of real estate agents. And so many agencies, and those people [have], like, 40 years in the industry. They play golf, [they've] grown up together. How can you enter the market? Yeah, I think it's a pure blessing.
[00:23:58] If you look back, say 10 years ago, what do you think you would have said to the Monika Tu [from] 10 years ago?
[00:24:04] I think, if I look back 10 years ago, I was talking to Tanya and I just thought, 'Oh, my God, you know what? I wish I read more'. Because they know it. Because [we grew] up in a cultural revolution back in China, so we didn't have a book to read. So all my high school is like, we don't really study. But I was lucky to be very smart to get into university, right, have a high in a tertiary education.
[00:24:31] But we just have a really weak background in terms of learning, to be honest. I wish I could just read a bit more.
Trust the Professionals
[00:24:39] And also in terms of investment, I wish I could trust more with the professionals. So you [are] really working with a plan that remembers what you said. I'm very blessed because I'm a good person, I work really hard. But if I have a plan, and now I start planning at the age of 60, my retirement, whatever that is.
[00:24:58] But if I have a plan at the beginning of my professional journey, I do worry it will be a bit different. I don't know if it's better [or] worse, but definitely better I think. So I wouldn't make the mistake of, 'Oh my God, I sell all these properties' because I was just scared of tax, right? Because I didn't plan properly.
[00:25:16] So yeah, not 10 years even 20 is in a bag. That's what I will be doing. I think learning an open mind to learn from the past. And yeah, I have a mentor. Yeah, that's important. I didn't have one. Otherwise, I just wouldn't regret it. What I have done. And just read more, study more and trust the professionals.
[00:25:44] Say in, say, five years time, what are you most excited about on your journey? Whether it be real estate or buying investment property? Or even just building your home and your family?
[00:25:54] I think the next five years, in terms of my personal journey, I think it's like... seriously, I don't know what's happening. Because this show, Luxe Listings show, is one of the top shows for Amazon Prime, internationally. If you watch the show, you know I'm the only, you know, like, old [person]. Young kids on the block. They're, like, 30 years, whatever. But the oldest person.
[00:26:22] I never thought I [would] be like a celebrity, to be honest, I don't even speak English properly, right? So it's just overwhelming. And it's [a] good show, it's not one of these shows, it's a really good show. I just want to be open minded to see [where] this journey is gonna take me.
[00:26:42] I get asked all the time, how can I mentor some people? I cannot do [it] one by one. I'm thinking about studying my master class. So how to build yourself, build your personal brand, how to sell to Asians. Cup of Legos. There's a couple of skill set[s], right? So we like to share with everybody else. And to master class.
[00:27:07] Selling, keep selling. Because I think the good things about real estate [is] if you're 80 years old, you can sell. If you choose to work, you can. Because the older you are, the better you get, right? Because you get to know more people, more skill. Just depends how good are your knees, right? I'm definitely here to flatline. So that's also a problem.
[00:27:35] In terms of investment, one thing you know, me and my husband, my husband's younger than me, much younger. For me, I'm really comfortable [with] my investment portfolio right now. But I want to invest a lot of money into my home, because I'm just building my home. So we'll just start with a budget to build a home. So for my learning from the past.
[00:27:55] So your home is the best investment you can ever have. Remember, once you retire, once you think it's too big, you want to sell, is tax free, right? So I can look after my daughters, husband's family or my family, whatever that is. So that's why we invested in our own home. And maybe, I don't know, I invest in them for maybe not right now. But invest in my home, because you can do so much about you.
A Home, Not a House
The luxury home market is one like no other, with sky high prices to match. Tu lets us in on one of the secrets behind how she achieves those eye-watering prices.
[00:29:30] The skill of a real estate [agent] is I'm [not] selling just a house, I'm selling a home.
[00:29:40] We have this house in Castle Cove, it's typical, right? The house is built really well. So obviously the vendor has massive[ly] over capitalised on this home. Because the next door proposed $3 million, another one, $2.5 million. So their home is asked for $9.5 million. This is not the most beautiful part of Castle Cove. I've never heard about that street, by the way. So you know, like, it's really, 'Oh my God, what is it?' So you build a castle in the middle of [the] desert, okay. So you have to, obviously, appreciate.
[00:30:10] So, as a good agent, I [went] there, I said, 'Brooke, if I market this house, I should go the bigger view, right? If I go and market his home as a house with a view, I think suicidal'. People come up, 'Where's the view?'
[00:30:25] But what's inside, I take a long time to understand why they want to spend instead of $150 per square of the stone, why $350? Okay, why [would] you want to put a lift could be $100,000, about $250,000? So [if] you understand the brand, the idea behind it, then you [will] be able to sell.
[00:30:49] So then you identify the market who is going to buy. You watch the show, and I promise [it] is not because I'm promoting a show, [it] is because the vendor, they have a love story, because the owner has been paralysed for three years. She wants a lift, which is a little bit faster without the noise. And she wants something from the fireplace from France. And that is a love story. Whatever she wants, the husband will make it happen. She just want[s] her to live longer.
[00:31:22] Okay, and now that she's fully recovered and [it] is [a] love story. So just imagine. If I sold the views, 'Oh my God, what is the view?', right? $9.5 million in this street? Where is Boundary Street, you know? If you know the Upper North Shore. And it's, like, undersea is not sexy. I hope my buyer's not listening.
[00:31:43] If you sell to a person who will join into a love story, so if you're trying to sell my car, you know that particular glass and the chandeliers for me, Rhino rice, is like a miracle. I just want that colour, that look. And he travelled all the way to Milan to get that thing, right? She had a dream of a fireplace, and he made it happen.
It’s not all business and dollars for Tu, who loves a love story as much as the next person. The fireplace warmed her heart just as it warmed the home itself.
[00:32:08] So you see the love behind a story that touches everybody. So whoever buys this house, they walk into the house they feel like loved is all surrounded by love, number one. Okay, people need love, right?
[00:32:20] Number two. So if the people [have] got so much money, but don't have time, they should buy this house because every single piece, I can name it. I know how much that costs, where that one comes from. Okay, so if you have lonely rich people, they want a beautiful house, somebody [has] already done that for you.
[00:32:37] Maybe their location is not perfect. But who cares, right? I use the firefighters view. So that's the selling point, but it's not selling a house, we're selling a home with a story.
[00:32:49] Last weekend, we just saw everybody come here in the areas you're talking about. $6 million [to] $7 million is a maximum. But I managed to get a Chinese buyer. She loved the details for $9.5 million, but they reject[ed] it. Okay, I sold it to another person who desperately needs love. Okay, $9.8 million.
[00:33:12] So, the rationale is not about the price. Because again, your agent [is] going, 'Oh my God, next door, sell this'. But every house is very different, is different facing, different interior. We're not seeing apartments, which is a mirror image, there's no mirror image. A good agent really take[s] time to listen and to find out by tak[ing] extra time to find a buyer who [will] fall in love with what we're selling.
[00:33:39] Love is priceless, right? How can you okay, and for the law, you know, we're still working yet and this buyer’s desperate for love. Perfect. And she's so wealthy and she doesn't have time to do anything. That's why we were sending how big is the house? Was it was inside every single pieces of the house where that comes from.
[00:33:58] So it's not an easy job but if you are king, if you take your time to lesson and you're [a] really good marketer, because everything about marketing, a house will sell itself. So how can you get people to come into the door is about a strategy behind it.
[00:34:13] So I call myself to my very friends as I'm a strategist rather than a real estate [agent]. Everyone can sell property, but at what price? Who's gonna buy it? So we're the storyteller, so we're the strategist and at the end of the day, God bless, hopefully somebody will come here just fall in love with the property and then we get the best results. So the people like Simon, 'oh my God'. You know what? Next!
[00:35:10] It has to be a win win. Okay, you have to be the heavy vendor number one will work for [the] vendor. But it has to be [a] happy buyer. So when people buy that, that's women to the relationship, right? So we don't sell square metres, you cancel that. But you know what? It was scary to have a price, like, last story? Priceless. So she's so happy to be there. The buyer is still my best friend and actually bought two houses from me already.
[00:35:17] That was wonderful. Wonderful. Well, Monika, I know we've already touched on this part of the aspect which you kind of touched on earlier about luck and hard work. And I want to sort of just delve a little bit more and understand the reason why you said. But because you've achieved so much great success, you've got a successful real estate business, you've got amazing clientele and stuff. How much of it do you think it is because of the luck that you've achieved? Or how much of it is due to skill, intelligence and hard work?
[00:36:07] I think intelligence is... you're kind of born with it. There's a few ways to be successful. You have to be intelligent, you have to be hardworking, and other things. You have to have integrity. Okay, and then luck comes last.
[00:36:27] Everybody's intelligent, but it really depends. You found the area you're smarter in. If you want me to be a [a mathematician] or a doctor, you know what, I'm not going to be intelligent because I want to cover people in the wrong place.
[00:36:40] But you haven't found what you're good at. Everybody [is] intelligent, you know, my cleaner, she's amazing. She's very good, organised. So she's intelligent in what she does. And so that's born with it. I've already found the right industry for you. So like you said, you have the passion, you have the intelligence, whatever that is, you just have to be realistic.
[00:37:03] So you've forced me to be a doctor, like any Asian parents want. Or an accountant, shit, I don't even know one plus one, I have no idea, right? Just saying, right? Intelligence.
[00:37:15] Integrity is something you can work on. Integrity is inside you. If you have a belief, you [are] surrounded with good people. And that's really important. Hard work is essential. Some people [are] so smart, so good, but just lazy. It's not going to work.
[00:37:34] For luck, I think luck is probably only 10% of it. I really believe [if you] are ready, luck will come to you. So you just have to be ready. Okay, I think everybody's lucky. People come, 'Oh, my God, I'm not lucky'. And I'm just like, 'You're not ready'. Have you got those three things already? You found the right industry you're in? Right talent, right? Do you have the integrity? You know, it's not just about selling the product. How many I sell, right? What is the real essence of [the] Black Diamondz brand on my brand? It's about giving back, it's about service. Right? Is that right? No, it's not about how much money, [but] how much I am. Of course I have to make money to be able to give back. It certainly is about hard work.
[00:38:14] So [there are] few things you can control. And the luck you cannot control. You just have to pray to God's command. But you will, I promise you, it will come.
[00:38:24] So I never knew I'm a salesperson. I've never never been in real estate. But I'm a typical example of all the three things I can control. The last thing I just can't pray to God. Seriously, just pray, right? So I think luck is only about 10%. Yeah, the rest of them [are] 100%. You have to work. 90% you can work. 90% you have to work out. You just have to get ready. You know when you are ready. And the luck will come.
Tu is passionate about giving back, and holds a lot of charities close to her heart. Her compassion knows no bounds and she’s happy to share the love whenever and wherever she can.
[00:39:21] I think at the beginning of our professional career, so we always think. I learn from an engineer, obviously, you have to have a goal setting session, right? Just in case you're very successful. So what is your ultimate goal, right?
[00:39:36] So my ultimate goal is always about giving back. Because that's so rewarding. So you know, if you don't have, you cannot give back, right? So if your ultimate goal is going back, [it] doesn't matter what journeys and what hardship, what challenges [you have] along the way and the mistakes you make, but doesn't really matter because the ultimate goal is not wrong.
[00:39:53] Okay, so if you're not wrong, what can be wrong? So you can fall and you can get up and do that again. So that goes really, really clear. So, what me and my husband will want to do as much as we can to help. But by helping, people talk about, 'Oh, my God, I'm giving, I'm giving'.
[00:40:14] So giving time is sometimes not enough, right? So because I think you have to really, as a true leader, you have to give money, your time, your knowledge, and everything else. So you have to set the example.
[00:40:25] So my role is about, I give, I can lead up because I'm so influential in this community. I want to [be] a good influence. So I don't tell them how to give, but I just lead up, people watch me, and hopefully it will follow. And it's been very successful.
[00:40:41] I'm an honorary ambassador for MCM, Museum of Contemporary Art. I have a passion for arts. So I turned a passion into always business or I don't have time for passion, right? So I'm helping the creative Children's Centre [raise] funds for that purpose, because art can change people. It can change, especially children.
[00:40:59] I'm also the ambassador for CO dare to cure. So this is for Children's Cancer Institute. Three years in Iran, I used to raise money for [people who were] homeless, and Vinnies CEO sleep out, I was the top fundraiser [in] 2016, and 2017 and 2018, and New South Wales and internationally.
[00:41:20] And now I'm also involved with the Children's Hospital, go dinner Committee, which is [a] very privileged job to [give] the money to the Children's Hospital.
[00:41:33] Now I tried to just make sure because I want to do a good job, but it's really hard to do everything. And by doing that, of course, we were hoping church, but we shouldn't have done it just given but that's what I do as well.
[00:41:49] Giving is such a rewarding journey. I'm just like I said, sometimes people like me, don't like me, I don't really give a shit to be honest. Because I just do my best. I'm very lucky, everybody helps me because I'm so funny.
[00:42:03] But doing what I do, I think maybe I'm not perfect, but at least my goal is perfect. I work towards that goal, hopefully, if all my followers, once they give and you give a little bit as well, I promise you it's really rewarding.
[00:42:21] Because when you're able to give, and it's not new, the receiver's lucky and you're lucky. I'm lucky to be able to write. So this is my journey.
[00:42:31] And again, play a role. I'm not really a community leader, but I've got so many followers. So that younger generation or older generation, I just hope that they watch what I do. I hope I have a positive impact for everybody who follows me. It's not just the Asians, it's not just the Asian community and Australian community as well. I got so many followers.
Thank you to Monika Tu, our guest on this episode of Property Investory.