Joining us on this episode of Property Investory is Matt Jones, who made the transition from lighting technician to full-time property investor. We’ll explore how he achieved this and how you too can become successful in property investment!
Steve McKnight's book, From Zero to 130 Properties, is the inspiration behind Jones’s property investment career. We’ll go back to the beginning of his journey and he will share the challenges he faced surrounding his self-worth. We will explore how Jones invested into changing his mindset and was able to overcome what was holding him back from success.
Jones will discuss how he achieved his family’s dream of living in France, the importance of having a good mindset, the strategy he used to enter the market and how you can transition from a traditional 9-5, to being a full-time property investor.
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[15:50] Let's restructure and change things and set some goals and targets. And as soon as we did that, soon as we made some clear decisions on what we wanted, things really changed and opportunities came.
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 property developer and investor, Matt Jones, whose success has allowed him to carry out his dream of living in France with his family. We’ll explore the ins and outs of his journey, including the mindset change which helped him transition from a 9-5, to working full-time in property development.
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Property development was not always on the cards for Jones. He was in his thirties, had an established career and then one day, he picked up a book…
[0:55] All right so, basically 10 years ago, I read Steve McKnight's book, 'From 0 to 130 Properties'.
[18:43] It just kind of resonated with me, for whatever reason. And just taught me that there was another way, and it was just good timing as well. I was getting jaded at work and starting to wonder is this it? It was, you know, I told people before about the moment I had when I looked at my payback, and realise payback, and I realised I had to do 40 hours work to get three hours off, which is your four weeks annual leave traditionally.
And then once I kind of did those numbers and that formula, that's when I had a bit of a mind shift of, okay, this, this doesn't work for me anymore. I have no control over my time here. This is not good enough. And so I made that decision to change. I just didn't know how it was going to change at that point.
And that's when the book kind of showed up. And I think that's classic, you know, how things work; you make a decision in your own mind, or you get fed up with something and, and then opportunity pops up. Because you're ready to accept it, you're ready to see it happen, and that's that's kind of how it flows.
[1:04] And that was my first sort of experience with property. I was about 33 at the time, and getting pretty frustrated with my career. I was a lighting technician for 15 years, which [was] a job I love, but it was going sort of nowhere, well, [it] was going nowhere that I wanted. I was starting to realise that I didn't want to swap my time for money anymore and I didn't realise there's another way you could do that until I read that book and I decided to be a property investor.
Jones has become very successful in the field of property development and despite enjoying his work, he structures his day around spending time with his family.
[7:11] We, I get up in the morning about 6:30 and I have breakfast with the kids. So I deal with the kids in the morning. Get get their lunches ready and get them off to school, basically. We live, live close to the school so we all walk up together and just spend some time, make sure they get settled in. And that's what we did in France, and we wanted to do the same thing here.
So we have that special time in the morning and then I come home and meditate for about half an hour, and just get my head in the right space for the day. So I'm focused on what I want to achieve, I'm not sort of wasting time getting side-tracked. And then from there, that varies a little bit. I'll probably just delve into emails for a couple of hours, maybe a couple of client calls, have lunch with my wife. And it's not too much long after that before it's time to pick the kids up again.
Some days, yeah, some days we, we just get, we go and do something and then pick the kids up. Other days I'm at work right through, where I'm talking to people on the phone or assessing a couple of projects or joint venture scenarios that we're in. But yeah, try and keep it fairly structured so that I'm not sort of sitting in the office all day, doing stuff that can be done quickly. And I just kind of like to structure my time so I can get back to doing what I really want to do. Not that I don't enjoy the property side of things. It's just I enjoy being with my family and doing those things more. I just try to make sure I'm doing that.
Jones’s childhood took place in some beautiful locations, however he had no influence to go into property development.
[12:57] I was born in Melbourne, and south of Kew, which would be great if I had some property in Kew, that's pretty cool place now. Lived there till I was about 14 and then we all moved up as a family to northern New South Wales. Lived in Banora Point there. I went to school in Murwillumbah, and lived on the Gold Coast from there. When I moved out of home, about 18, lived on the northern part of the Gold Coast, and went overseas for a little bit. Did like the backpacking thing for a little while, and then came back and lived in Mackay for a few years.
[16:31] I had no influence whatsoever. There was no one in my family that did property. Yeah, zero. Didn't even read a book. Wasn't taught about it at school, you know, had no concept that, had no real idea about money either. I remember being overseas and when I was doing the backpacking thing, I was probably about 23 and I had a credit card. And I didn't quite understand how credit worked then, which seemed sounds bizarre.
But I remember, I remember being, it's actually in France, of all places, I was great picking there. And I was living off nothing and I was eating potatoes and tomato sauce for dinner and boiling up eggs on baguettes and just had zero money. And it was, I remember ringing the bank, I was ringing Westpac—reverse charge call for some, some banking thing. And they said—the lady said to me on the phone, 'Oh, I see you've gone over your, your credit card limit. Would you like us to top that up a bit?'
And I'm like, 'Yeah, thanks. Yeah, that's really nice of you, thank you very much'. [It] went from $2,500 to $4,000 or something, and all of a sudden I had money. I'm like ‘Wow, this is great’ and then I got back. I'm like, ‘Okay, I got to pay this back now, right? I get it’. And so, which is, it's kind of bizarre to think about that now. And I think that's purely because we weren't taught that sort of stuff at school. We weren't shown how to manage money, and that's nobody's fault.
It's just kind of how it was, or maybe I wasn't open to listening, learning about it. But yeah, these days, I'm very, very focused on it and trying to teach my kids early about how to manage it, and how to leverage off it and how to use it.
As a child, Jones was always motivated to make money.
[20:14] My first job, when I was 12, I was working in a butcher shop, cleaning, cleaning dishes. And then when we moved up to Queensland, I got another job in a butcher shop. I loved it so much. And did more cleaning dishes was 12, 14, or whatever. And, and then, I was a pizza delivery guy. I worked in a few different fruit shops, fruit and veggie shops.
But then yeah, once I got into theatre lighting—that, I really loved that. I did that in work experience, and then I started at the Goldcoast Star centre. I was there for a number of years. And you know, I love the job. I still look back on it with fond memories— that, it was a great time in my life. Very creative, great people to work with, got to see lots of shows, bands, opera, and rock and roll and ballet and touring around the country, little bit overseas.
So it was just a fun, fun job. It was just that it didn't matter how fun it was, it was still going to be: ‘I've got to do 40 hours to get three hours off’. And that was the turning point.
Committing to Property Investment
After deciding to jump into property development, Jones left his job as a lighting technician.
[1:28] I pretty much quit my job a couple of months after that, which is probably the worst thing I could have done at the time. But I was very gung ho and wanted to get straight into it. I joined Steve's mentoring programme at the time, [a] results programme. And yeah, he said about learning to become a property investor. And from there, I've learned quickly that I needed a job to actually pay the rent and the credit card bills and things, and actually borrow money to buy property.
Jones’s realisation that he still needed a consistent income led him to another job.
[1:59] I became a postie for a couple of years. And it was a really good transitional job.
[5:22] The beauty of the postie thing was that it allowed me to have some more headspace to work out. I think property investing is a full-time gig really, if you're going to do it properly. And people try to do it with a full-time paid employment. It's pretty taxing if you've got your own social commitments and family and whatever else, then it's not always sustainable.
So you kind of do need a plan of transition, if that's what you want to do. Some people are happy in their job, want to keep doing it; that's fine. But if you do want to be doing [it] full-time, you need to find a way to get to that point. And that doesn't mean you have to become a postie. It could be you have long service leave, or you would go down to part-time, or you start working from home or maybe you have an online business that's not so, doesn't require you to be somewhere at a certain time. There's lots of ways to do it. It's just having a plan to get there.
[2:05] It's, it sort of cut my wage in half but it doubled my headspace that I had available to learn how to become property investor, start doing deals and just transition myself away from full-time work. And I did that for two years. I went part time in the last kind of six months as a postie, and then I left it all together in 2007. I haven't been back to full time work ever since.
And yeah, in that two years, I was in the mentoring programme. I started up my own networking group that went on to become quite large and still is today. And I started off doing renos, you know. That was really all I could get my head around at the time, was just by reno-sell. And yeah, I did it the hard way, I guess. Doing everything myself in those days, thinking that I could save money by being handy and doing it.
And it took me like nine months to do a renovation, and then I was burnt out. After that, I had to go and go on a holiday. Went to Thailand for a couple of months with my brother and spent a lot of profits over there ‘cause I was just burnt out from the whole thing.
Jones was forced to rethink how he invested due to the exhaustion that he was facing. This is where his career took off.
[3:11] Restructured my thinking and how I was going to go about things from there, and that's when I got into subdivision—which is where things really took off for me. And [I] worked out that I could, I could do one or two deals a year and not have to work in you know, as far as swapping time for money goes as an employee. And yeah, it kind of just kept going from there.
We got into larger deals, joint venturing. My property networking group grew into a point where it became a business—not a huge business but another stream of income, I suppose, and started creating some of my own resources around based on my own experience with different strategies with renovation, subdivision, development, joint venturing.
This allowed Jones, his wife and their two youngest children to embark on a new adventure and move abroad.
[3:58] We kind of stepped back from all that again and took a couple years off and decided to take our family overseas to France, to live for a while and get a cultural experience and just, you know, do what we wanted to do when we got into property—which was kind of [this]: work less, but have experiences.
And we love to travel. And at the time, our kids were four and two, I think at the time. So it was kind of a good time to go overseas and do that before they started school. And yeah, we immersed ourselves in the French culture over there and learnt the language and the kids went to school and had a great old time.
Starting From Scratch
Coming back to the start of Jones’s property investment and development career, he was inspired by Steve McKnight's book, 'From 0 to 130 Properties'. From here, he joined McKnight’s ‘RESULTS Mentoring Program’.
[6:21] I was starting from scratch and it was kind of like doing an apprenticeship, I guess. During that mentorship, [I] went for 18 months, but there was still, you know—you don't really learn it till you actually go out and do a deal. That's when it all sort of happens for you, when you have money on the table and there's risk and you make mistakes. And that's just the way it goes.
With property investing, you're always sort of problem solving. And yes, if you can get into that position where you're doing them and still supporting yourself so you're not under pressure to make those deals a raging success and that's a great way, I think to, to transition into that world.
When it was time to apply what he learned in the mentorship program, Jones invested into basic renovations.
[24:26] Old properties, sprucing them up. Paint job, new kitchen, new bathroom, put a deck on, maybe re-roof—those sorts of things. Bit of landscaping. And then just putting it back on the market, which I found to be hard work. I kind of don't really like doing reno's now unless it's part of a bigger strategy. Because I really think renovations [are] more about just buying really well, and then the reno is really just creating a product that somebody wants. But I don't think that reno is what creates the profits, [but it’s] more just buying really well.
[25:02] And yeah, that led me into subdivision—where there was a reno component and a subdivision component. So, there might be a 1-into-2. Did a number of a kind of battle axe sort of blocks, where there's a house at the front of the block, a large backyard, and a side access potentially. And we just cut the block in half, sell off the land at the back, and then renovate the front house. And then we'd rent that house for a while, pay down the loan on that, and then be positively geared.
And then eventually sell that property at the right time—which worked really well. We just kept repeating that strategy for quite a while, because it seemed to be fairly low risk and easy to manage. So that, the first one actually did while I was still a postie. So I could still do that sort of nine-to-five job and manage this subdivision project. And once I made more money in my deal, then I was in a year doing postie work, I realised, ‘Okay, well, I don't need to do the postie thing anymore’.
And then we kind of kept moving on from there, replicating that strategy. And [we] just kept it really simple, where we were kind of just flipping it like we were with the renovations, but taking the money and pulling a bit of a wage out of it, but then putting the money back into the next project.
Finding success in his first property investments meant that Jones could fully commit to his new passion.
[26:54] As soon as that first deal made $50,000, I left immediately, because I didn't like the postie job after a couple of years. It was, like when I started there it was a bit of fun, and scooting around on a CT110 delivering mail was cool. But after a year, 18 months, it wasn't that enjoyable anymore. So I was looking for any opportunity to get out of that.
And yeah, I knew that the time that I was spending at work as a postie was just wasted. I mean, it was just not worth my time. And the feeling of leaving that job and knowing that I could focus all my time on finding deals and doing them was just like a weight off my shoulders. I just was so excited because I enjoyed doing the deals, and now I could do them whenever I wanted.
[27:52] You know, I wasn't, like as a postie I'd get up at five o'clock [in the morning]. [And] I was at work at 5:30 a.m., I'd be sorting mail, delivering mail. And I busted my butt. And then coming home at three [o’clock] in the afternoon exhausted and then trying to do property after that, it's not sustainable. And so once I left, that just opened up a new world of understanding how, you know, what you can achieve by not being at work.
And I'm not recommending anyone just go and quit their job. You need to have a better plan than I did in the beginning. But it definitely—I can never go back to it. I just said, [it was] a very, very poor use of my time. Not just because of the work, but the travelling to work, the thinking about work before, the stress, taking it home.
[28:43] It's, when you equate that down to an hourly rate, it's probably half of what you think you're actually earning. And once you equate it down to that and see what you can achieve with one property deal, it's just a numbers game in the end; it just kind of made sense.
And yeah, there's going to be pressure to go and find deals and make them successful. Because, when you’ve got a job, you just get up and go to work. And it's one page; it's pretty straightforward. But in the beginning, I suppose that most people would feel that pressure to succeed. Because if you don't, then you don't eat, you know; you don't pay your bills.
But I found that that made me even more resourceful and made me think creatively how am I going to fund these deals—that sort of stuff comes up. And so it's a fine balance, I think, between not getting sort of caught up in the fear, or the anxiety of not knowing when this deal is going to come through—or is it going to come through? Are you gonna be able to make a profit? Are you going to be able to live off it? And that fine balance between that and then also the freedom of not going to work and having more time, obviously, to go and focus on this sort of stuff and learning to do deals.
Early on in his new career, Jones discovered what worked for him when developing.
[10:54] Joint venturing became really important for me early on. Because I was on a postie wage, I couldn't borrow any money from the bank. So my very first deal was a joint venture. I didn't really know it at the time. But my cousin was—we had a company in [a] trust structure. She had a good wage. So I basically put in the time and a little bit of cash, and she put in the servicing, a little bit of cash. And we just split everything 50-50. We did that for a number of deals. And then we both sort of had different goals, went different directions and I had to find joint venture partners again.
[22:20] So it was about finding people that were the same sort of risk profile, same sort of personality, had the right resources to contribute. And building up some trust and making sure you're working with people with integrity. And just kind of had a pool of people, I suppose, that I worked with, from time to time, based on what the project was, and what sort of funding was required.
[22:45] And those people just came from relationships that I had already [met], through, particularly through my property networking group. Just by being around other people that were doing things in property. Just through chance, I suppose—or I wouldn't say chance, but just being open to what I was looking for. And usually when you do that, the right person shows up.
And then yeah, that just went from doing my own projects and having people fund them, along with myself funding it. But then the more we did it, the more we realised there was, that it's better to leverage off other people's money and preserve your own or put yours in when you really need to—to use more as a backup. And then from there, I built some good relationships with colleagues that were doing medium to large property development, which was right out of my league. But they'd become good friends, and I'd [seen] what they were doing.
And so, when there was an opportunity to invest with them, I did. And that kind of, those relationships continue to grow now. We still do the same thing—where we can invest in their project and derive some sort of income from it or, or use our superfund to do things or whatever kind of works. There's always something going on. It's just being around it and being open to contributing when it suits.
Career Highs and Lows
Joint venturing is a key tool that Jones uses, and from it, he has learned a valuable lesson.
[30:39] It was one of my earlier joint ventures and, for me, it was about finding people that had the resources to contribute to the deal and that I got along well with them, that I trusted and are friends. And so we did a deal with some people. And I probably wasn't as good at doing joint ventures then and wasn't clear about the importance of communicating properly, understanding roles and responsibilities, that sort of thing with joint venturing.
And so when you don't have that, things can go off track really easily. And that's where things go pear-shaped with joint ventures—where there hasn't been a clear delineation between who's doing what in the deal—and resentment can build from that. And eventually, conflict didn't get to that point for us.
[31:35] But it was just managed not very well. And I take responsibility for that. That wasn't a great outcome. But it taught me a lot to focus more on the personality of the people that you're going to be joint venturing with, rather than just the resources they can contribute—because you want it to be a fun experience. You want to have a good time. And focusing on the person more than the money—it's become really important.
So in understanding how they react under pressure, you know. What stresses them out? What happens? Because people often change when money goes on the table. They can bring fear around it or they can bring stress. And that fear or stress can affect the project in a funny sort of way, even if they have no control over it; it can still affect the project.
And so, we just get really clear on who we're working with now and how they might react under certain situations. Because a property deal has ebbs and flows, and you need to be able to be fluid with that, what's happening in the market, and what the deal is doing and the strategy you're implementing.
[32:45] So you want someone on board that is happy to do that that's not too detailed and too structured. You want someone that you can work with who is happy to change direction from time to time and understand that there is risk. You know, things aren't always going to go perfectly. So yeah, nothing too crazy about that.
But it just did teach me a lot about how to do joint ventures well and how to be really upfront with everything and look at all the worst case scenarios, get it out on the table really early, and have real clear paperwork on who's doing what throughout the project. And what happens if there is a conflict? What happens if the deal goes pear-shaped? What are you going to do? What's the fallback plan? How are we going to react in this scenario?
And that is really, really important, I think with any joint venture now—more so than what they're contributing to the deal. Because you want it to be, you don't wanna lose friends or family over what you're doing. It's just a property project in the end, and you want to come out of the end feeling good about it, obviously make profit, and be able to move on to the next one and choose to do that if you want. And if it hasn't gone so well, you didn't like the process, then you can close the book on that one and open another one with another partner or another deal.
That was one of Jones’s career lows. Now, let's explore one of his career high points…
[35:55] The biggest aha moment for me really is just understanding that mindset was—well, let's take it back. I would probably go back to, you know, year three of me doing property investing—where I was doing deals and I wasn't making any more money than I was in a job when I was a theatre technician. So when I was in theatre, I had a lighting manager role for the last couple of years, and I was getting paid $60,000 a year. And at the time, that to me, that was a lot of money. I was like, 'Wow, I'm doing really well, I got $60,000-a-year job'.
[36:35] And so when I left that job, that to me was my benchmark. And that was just a belief system around that. And so I was doing deals, and no matter what I did, I couldn't make more than $60,000, and I was really tracking money for years. I'd track every cent. I'm very good with spreadsheets and things, and I like to analyse that sort of stuff. And so I track all my expenditure. And I’d look at it and go, ‘I can't make more than $60,000’—you know, almost to the dollar. It's just not working out. So that was a massive aha moment. In that I had to do some work on my own—my personal development.
And Steve said that to me really early on, and I didn't really listen at the time. He just said, 'Matt, property investing goes hand-in-hand with personal development'. And he probably saw that in me at the time that I needed to do some work on myself. And for me, it was just about ‘No, no, no, just just show me the numbers. Show me the strategy. I just want to get out there and do it’.
[37:34] And so I did that. I ignored his advice. And I just went out and did it, because personal development to me at the time was probably too scary to look at—in case it uncovered something that I didn't like about myself, potentially. And so I just focused on the strategy, finding deals, crunching the numbers, doing deals. And that I had this blockage around what I thought I was worth—and I thought I was worth $60,000 a year.
And so I had to go away and focus on, and do some work on myself. And I ended up getting a coach on board to help me with that specifically. But that was definitely a turning point for everything. Not just in property, [but in] a lot of things in my life at the time, where I just need to go and sort out a few things. And there was nothing—there wasn't anything terrible. I had a wonderful childhood. I just had a few belief systems that I picked up along the way that didn't serve me anymore, and they were affecting how I was moving forward. And I couldn't move forward in any way until I dealt with it.
[38:36] So I spent 12 months doing personal development. And at the time, I remember thinking, ‘Cool, [I’m] just going to go do a course and tick that box and move on’. And I realised after that 12 months, that it's actually a lifelong thing. It just goes on and on. You're constantly coming up against challenges and hurdles that you’ve got to get over in life. And now, when I think about it, I get excited about it.
When I first did it, it was very scary. And I would procrastinate and turn away from it and didn't want to do it. But I pushed myself through it. And now, I have the tools to work through things when things get scary. And in fact, I just get excited about it now. In fact, if there's something that I'm doing that's out of my comfort zone, then it's like ‘Great. You know, I know there's going to be good things on the other side’. Because I know when you grow, you just have these massive breakthroughs. And you become a better person, whether that's a better partner, a better father, a better property investor, better money manager, better whatever, you know—you just get better.
And for me that's what drives me: To be better at whatever I'm doing. So yeah, that was a big aha moment to realise that it's me holding me back and I need to work on me. So I went away and did that. And then yeah, things changed big time with my property investing and with my life in general. And now I continue to do that.
To this day, I still have a coach that helps me with certain things—not as much personal development. But there's still stuff that crops up where, ‘Well, that's a bit scary. It's outside of my comfort zone, and I might need a little bit of help with that’. And then I'll go and get it. And so, I can move on quickly.
Coming up after the break, we’ll explore Jones’s current strategy and we’ll delve into the details of how he overcame mindset challenges.
[0:37] I brought on a— I actually went looking for someone to help me with it.
We’ll hear about the personal habits that contribute to his success…
[19:38] I've already noticed a change in me doing it over that time.
And that’s next. I’m Tyrone Shum and you’re listening to Property Investory.
A New Take on Strategies
We’ve already explored how Jones got into joint venturing and how he used it to build his career. It continues to be a key strategy for Jones. However, he is now using it differently.
[8:17] Because we've been overseas for a couple of years. But there's a bit of a strategy to it. I mean, at this point, now, we're just looking at ‘Okay, what's the next move as far as deals go?’. But we're also even more mindful now of what we want to do with our time. We're very protective of that.
So yeah, that strategy has to fit in with us now. Whereas it was kind of the other way around before, where it's just, you know, ‘Let's just make this work, let's get it happening’. Now, we've kind of come full circle with the joint venturing, where before we'd have people putting into our projects. Now we can do it—put money into other people's projects and get a return from that which is great.
Along with joint venturing, Jones is now trying out a new strategy of holding on to some properties.
[9:18] It's something that we left out of our wealth creation strategy. And that's a little bit of a regret at this point. Because at the time, we were just kind of surviving. We were just getting in there, flipping it, building up the capital base, so that we could get into bigger deals. And now, [in] the joint venture scenarios, it's more about, ’Okay, how do we hold something?’. [In] each project, we need to try and keep part of it, rather than just get a return on our money or we need to end up with an asset basically, so we're building that.
So we've kind of started again there a little bit—with building a portfolio. And looking back, I think yeah, we probably should have held more along the way. But I was so focused on active property investing strategies, [that] buy-and-hold just wasn't in my realm of thinking. And so now, I encourage people to have a good mix going on where you got some good long-term properties there in your portfolio, but you've also got the skills to implement active sort of strategy so that you can manufacture your own profit or your own equity to do the things you want to do now or build a bigger capital base for other projects, or whatever that is.
But yeah, having something ticking along in the background, I think, is really important. And I think we've overlooked that a little bit. It's been more about the now rather than the future, and that's just something we're adjusting now. And we'll just probably fast-track it a bit more in the coming years, I would think. So that we can leverage off that later.
These strategies have assisted Jones on his path to success. However, there were mindset obstacles that also needed to be overcome.
[0:37] I brought on a— I actually went looking for someone to help me with it. So I went to different seminars—same way as I got into property. You know, you kind of read books and go and listen to people speak. And I did a bit of that, with the personal development side of things. And [I] went specifically looking for a coach that could be one-on-one with me. Because I really believe in paying more and getting that one-on-one attention to get faster and better results.
So I met Jill McIntyre, who I'm guessing some of your listeners might know. She's based in Melbourne, and is a life coach—but a whole lot more than that. She's a property investor and does a lot of business coaching as well now. So, I found her or she found me, whatever. It was fate.
And I just went through, like a programme, I suppose, of 12 months, which involved me talking to her on a regular basis and delving into things that were holding me back in whatever way that we mentioned that, you know, the $60,000 thing was based around self-worth. And some stuff around what I learned from my parents, or what I didn't learn from my parents, as far as money management.
[1:56] There were other personal sides of things with my life around commitment. And my parents were divorced at one point, or, obviously, a number of years ago. And that kind of affected how I went about things, in relationships. Turned out to be a really positive thing. My parents are good friends now, and we're all really close. But at the time, it kind of affected me in a way that I had trouble committing to somebody else. So, [we] worked through that at the same time.
And it was all kind of interrelated, with not just about property but [also] just the way I was approaching my life, and the things that I was doing to sabotage myself. [I] just had to have them addressed. And so yeah, it was just working with Jill one-on-one and discussing those things, and try[ing] to understand why I was doing them. And I think, once I had an awareness, firstly, [about] what I was doing and also why I was doing it, it was quite easy to kind of break the habit—and because they weren't things that I wanted to be doing.
I wanted to be married; I wanted to have my own family. I wanted to be a father. And so, I was just holding myself back in that area. So, it was really empowering to go through that process even though it was scary in the beginning. It was very empowering to get through the other side. And I'm very grateful to Jill for helping me do that. And we still talk now, to this day.
[3:29] Even just a couple of weeks ago, I've just been taking on some one-on-one private mentoring clients, which is another level for me, as far as educating people goes. And so yeah, [I] brought Jill back in. [I go] 'Hey Jill, [I’m] doing something different here, it's a little bit out of my comfort zone, but I'm really excited about it. I just think I need a little bit of adjustment'. You know, [it’s like] when you go to an acupuncturist or something, you get a treatment. ‘I think I need a bit of treatment here, Jill. [So] we'll chat about this, because I want to make sure I do it right.’
And it's more of a fun thing now; it's more about an exciting thing, rather than in the first year that I was with her. Every time I had a phone call with her, I was scared out of my wits. Because I knew that she was going to push my buttons and uncover things I didn't want uncovered. And you know that that was part of the growth, to go through that. So yeah, it was—[I’m] very grateful for that experience.
Jones believes that with enough determination, anyone can work through their mindset challenges.
[4:55] I know it's—everyone can do it. It's not something that's anything special. It's just if you want something bad enough, you know, and you make a really conscious decision that you want that, then that's all it is, really. Everything after that is pretty easy.
I mean, there's challenges with it. But once you've made that decision, that you kind of have that fire in you, that you want that really bad, more than anything else, and you can't leave, you can't go on, until you have that, and [then] that's all you need to get going inside you to have to make that change.
So it's not about the logistics of finding a coach and doing the programme. It's about making a really clear decision, you know, emotional decision, in your own heart that ‘This is, the person I want to be’, or ‘This is what I want to do. This is how I want my life to be’. And once you're clear on that, there's nothing [that] can stop you. You know, [I] use that scenario and lots of sections of my life now where [I] just get clarity. It's clarity [that] leads to the power of doing it.
Having a good mindset is crucial in property investment, which is advice that Jones has heard from the beginning.
[6:26] Probably [it’s] what I mentioned about Steve before—where he said, ‘Property investing goes hand in hand with personal development’, I've also heard from other mentors. Nhan Nguyen said to me once about mindset being 70% of the work, [and] the strategy is kind of 30%.
Strategy is not rocket science. Anyone can learn how to go and subdivide property. It's not hard. The thing that holds people back is the emotional blockages or the fear around doing something or… Once you get hold of that and understand what yours is—because we've all got something; some big, some small—once you understand what that is, you can go out and resolve it. Then that is where the success lies, I think. It's not in just learning more strategies or doing more deals, or… It's just having that belief and that understanding of how powerful your mindset is.
Chasing New Priorities
Today, Jones has a priority of finding fulfilment and happiness.
[11:47] It’s about buying experiences now. Because, I remember, I think it was Brennan Nichols. I heard him say that we have—he may not have said it first, but it stuck in my mind when he said, is that we have—4,000 weeks on this earth on average. And then you could even say you got 4,000 weekends.
And so when you break that down, you know—I'm past halfway. And I kind of get into that, it's kind of, [it] might sound a bit morbid, but I like to sort of project myself to that point and just think, ‘Okay, would I be happy with the decisions I’ve made? Would I be happy with what I've achieved?’ Or, and not just from a financial point of view. But for me, the priority for me is being a father and a husband. Am I the best father and husband I can be? And that's over everything else.
[12:40] So, we kind of started basing our decisions around that happiness or that fulfilment, rather than the amount of properties we had or the amount of money we had in the bank. And I'm not saying that's not important. It is. Because that is what allows you to do amazing things. But it was just getting more clarity around what excited us and what we wanted our kids to experience, [and] what we wanted to experience.
One experience that Jones and his family couldn’t pass up was moving to France. Their time abroad also equipped Jones with some new skills.
[13:07] That was just something that was really high on the list for us. And it may not be for others. But for us, it was just really clear. And it was about putting everything else aside and going, ‘Well, stuff it, you know. That's what we're doing’. And it's a risk, and it's going to be a bit of a challenge. But when I'm on my deathbed, I really don't want any regrets. I want to know [that] we gave it a crack and we had a good time. And yeah, that meant we earnt less money over that period. But we got to do what we wanted to do. We bought [in] an experience.
[13:40] And really, financially, it wasn't that hard. It was quite— I mean, we spent a lot less money living in France than we do in Australia. And we had a four-pack of, you know, a stash of money that we had there. If everything went pear-shaped if deals fell over or whatever, we could still remain there. It was, we're fully funded. But we wanted to do it in a way where it was kind of sustainable—where you know, the meetings that I had, the networking group meetings, they continued to run.
We could still invest in other people's projects. I built my membership site on my website and did more work on that to make it more professional and more content-rich. So, there [were] things that we did while we were away that kept things going [that] meant we didn't have to dip into our savings. We could sustain ourselves as we were but living on the other side of the world.
And that was kind of part of the challenge as well, if we could do that. Because we knew if we could do that, then we could do it anywhere, and we could do it again and again. So, for me, that was a big learning curve as far as restructuring everything that I did in Australia, because I had to think about, ‘Well, how will I do this in France?’. Every single thing. And it was probably 18 months or two years of us restructuring that and bringing in people to help u, and investing in better systems, and building a better foundation for everything so that I can hand things over to other people to do things for me.
[15:17] And that was a real process for me too, because I had to learn how to delegate better. You know, I was a bit too onerous. And that was, that had been a weakness of mine in property investing. In the early days as well, it's something that I had to address where I was very, didn't want to work with anyone, just wanted to do it myself, didn't just— [like] ‘Just let me. Let me go and do it’, you know. I just work better by myself.
And property investing is all about teamwork. You know, you need to have great people around you. And I had to change the way I approached that. And then I had to, I had to re-address it again when we had to restructure our business and learn how to delegate and outsource and get people to do things. And because we had that drive to go and live in France and have this experience, it was a lot easier.
Because we had our tickets, we had the date that we were going, it was like, ‘Well, now this time next year, we're going to be sitting in France. And we want everything to be running as normal. So I really need to, you know, pull my finger out and make things happen so that we can do that’. There's a real incentive there.
Small Steps Towards Change
Jones has some personal habits that he thinks have contributed to his success.
[17:59] I've kind of done meditation and a bit of yoga, a little bit, over the last 20 years. Just on and off. But I've never had any sort of structure with it and consistency. And I'm a big believer in doing things consistently. Over a long period of time, I think you get massive growth in whatever you're trying to achieve by just doing it consistently.
And I hadn't done it with meditation before. I knew it was an important part of my life, but I hadn't been able to work out a way of doing it every day. And I just got on to this smartphone app, an app called ‘Headspace’. You might have heard of it: Headspace.com. And it's just a great, well-structured app that I've used probably for the last year, I suppose, now.
And I just religiously do it every day, for half an hour. And it just sets my day up, you know. It just puts me in the right frame of mind. And I'm always learning something about how to be present, how to make good decisions, how to communicate better. It's just this constant input every day, and I love it. I look forward to it. It's just that little piece of ‘me time’ that I kind of put back. And it allows me to do more, I think. And yeah, I've got a long-term view of that.
My goal is to be doing it for 10 years, every day. It's been one year so far. So, I've got a long term plan [for] that, and I think that's what it takes with that sort of thing. And I've already noticed a change in me doing it over that time. Just little things, nothing major. But just enough for me to go ‘Yeah, this is really good for me’, and I'll continue to do it for as long as I can.
As well as meditation, Jones also has a habit of reading. This habit inspired his career and continues to better him.
[20:22] A couple of key ones—’Think and Grow Rich’, ‘Richest Man in Babylon’. Those ones that everyone should be reading, those sort of wealth creation books. Lately… what's something I've read recently? Not a property investing book, but it was a great read. And [it] affected me in the way that I go about life. It's called ‘The Experts Way’ by James Klobasa.
[ItJ just came out late last year. And he's based on the sunny Coast actually. And he's more of a digital economy expert around online businesses and that sort of thing. But the value in the book that I got was the way that he measures his success based on the happiness that he has in his life or the fulfilment that he gets. And he talks a lot about his—he’s coined the phrase—‘kid vision’, where you spend, go away for like, four hours, and go and to sit down and work out what your kid vision is.
And that's basically going back to your childhood. What excited you then? What did you think you were going to be when you grew up? With just having that sort of kid-like approach to your dreams and goals and not having any sort of boundaries around that, and getting in touch with it, and then focusing on and recreating, or creating what your perfect day looks like.
[21:48] So getting really clear on what that is, when you get up in the morning. You know, you get up, you meditate, you have breakfast, you spend time with your loved ones, you do, you go surfing. What's your perfect day? And it's just little chapters like that throughout the book that I really resonated with, because it helped me go to another level with striving for that perfect day, you know, getting that every day.
Because I think it's a constant balance that we have trying to fit everything in and have fun and work and do the things you got to do—but still finding that balance. And I find it a daily thing that needs to be worked on. So I found that I resonated really well with some of the stuff that James talked about. Definitely worth a read. Whether you're into online businesses or not, I think there's some, most of the book is really about creating a life for yourself that you want—manufacturing the life that you want to live and getting clear on what that is, and then going about implementing it.
Jones is now applying the lessons learnt in ‘The Experts Way’ book as he is adjusting to the Australian lifestyle after living in France.
[22:50] That's worked really well for me at the moment, because of the transition we've made coming back to Australia. And that, you know, the French lifestyle was very, I wouldn't say ‘laid back’; it's just that they like enjoying the finer things in life. And they tend not to embrace efficiencies and a lot of things, you know, like internet and Eftpos, and you know, just these things that we take for granted that we use that keeps our lives simpler most of the time.
But they focus more on communicating with friends and family. And it's kind of like, how, if you think back 30 years, how your life was. That's kind of how it is there now—sort of thing where kids go out at night and play till six and seven o'clock at night, and they're safe. You know, there's no shops open on a Sunday, and they have these long lunches every day of the week. Everyone. Tradeis, business people, friends, family. They sit down for lunch every day for two hours, have a bottle of rosé and talk. And there's no phones, and they just interact. And there’s real community spirit.
[23:57] So, coming back here, I've found it to be very fast-paced, and, you know, ‘Go go go! We work hard, we play hard’. We don't stop for lunch; just get in and do it. And so, for us, it was a bit of a culture shock because we were kind of like, ‘Whoa, hang on guys. Slow down, slow down’. So we're trying to find that balance now, where we're really efficient here, we've got great things and the technology, and we utilise that but also stopping and spending time with each other and putting the phone away, not looking at Facebook and social media and stuff, and just go, 'How are you going?'.
Let's just have a conversation and sit down and have a nice meal together. Those things were really really special over there and we're trying to incorporate that back in our own life here and just get that balance going, which I think is something that we miss because life just moves so fast.
[24:53] I tell you what, it is hard to leave it once you’ve had a taste of it. In the beginning, it was challenging, because it was too slow. And when we got there [in France] things were, things [took] a long time there. There's a lot of red tape; there's a lot of paperwork. You know, if everything goes on, works by snail mail, you know, there's, you pay for your groceries with a chequebook a lot of the time.
It's just slow, slow, slow. And for the first few months, it was like, ‘Come on guys, wake up’. You know, ‘Embrace the internet; embrace these things’. Yeah. But then we kind of got it. We're like, ‘Okay, you guys actually got it right here. You're focusing on the important things that we're kind of forgetting about’. And they're very forthright in holding on to those things. And it's good. It's good. I think we should embrace some of that stuff. But yeah, just getting a balance is [an] important thing.
Thank you to Matt Jones, our guest on this episode of Property Investory.