A message from our CEO & Founder, Joseph Chou
When it comes to big decisions in life, which often tend to involve your career or finances, a lot of people make decisions based on the short-term gains to be had.
For example, in deciding on a new job, they focus on their starting salary, or limit themselves to a geographic location, as opposed to thinking more broadly about what type of opportunity is being offered. They are not thinking about: how far will I be able to go with this organisation, what’s the culture of the workplace, who will be in my team, who will be my manager – who will I be able to learn from on a daily basis? Because the people around you can have a far greater impact on you than many other factors.
It’s the same in property; do you buy based on the discount you’re receiving, or are there other more important factors that you haven’t considered yet?
Throughout my career, and in my experience both in business and as an investor, I’ve come up with 3 key factors I believe people should always think about before making a big decision.
Will this bring me closer to my goals?
Whether it’s a financial goal or where you want to be career-wise 5 – 10 years from now, think about your long-term goals. Then ask yourself, will this decision bring me closer to my goals? Will I be moving forward and is this the right direction? Or will this decision have no impact, or even take me a step back?
Will this help me to grow as a person?
In making your decision, think about whether it will allow you to learn more about a particular area, or about business or gain a new life-skill. Will this decision help to make you a ‘better person’ and continue to grow and develop?
Will this decision put me in the way of more successful people?
Our circle, the people we associate with, have a lot to do with where we’re going to be in 5 years. Consider whether this decision will help you to meet and associate with people who are more successful than you – who can lead you closer towards your goals. Will you be surrounded by problem solvers or negative people who may hold you back?
My life changing decision
In 1998, when I was first starting out as an investor, I attended a property investment seminar with another company, and I had a chat with the presenter at the end of the event. I learned he was a successful property investor and found out more about his portfolio. I was in a position to invest, and he eventually sold me on the Sydney suburb of Burwood.
I had the choice of going to a local agent who could have also sold me a property in Burwood. In fact, my wife suggested that we go shop around, talk to some other agents, and have a look at a few different properties.
And to be honest, had I done so, I may have found a property with a better floorplan, I may have bought something cheaper – because the property I ended up buying was at the top of the price range for the area. I may even have been offered a discount by another agent – be it perceived or real.
But I chose not to do that. Because I figured out that if I bought from someone else, then all I would achieve was to buy 1 property that I liked. A good property and perhaps for less money.
But this particular person that I met through the seminar, ended up becoming my mentor. He offered me a path that I had never known existed. The association with him, led me to purchase not just 1 property, but 7 properties within 12 months.
It also led me to a thriving career in property, and to become a bigger investor. Through him, I was also introduced to a wider range of more successful people. At the time, I mainly associated with people just like me: similar income, similar homes in similar suburbs. Making the decision to follow him, put me on a different path; it changed my life dramatically.
It’s never too late
Another great example is my former customer and now business partner Linda Lu, MD of Ironfish Burwood.
When I sat down with Linda about 15 years ago, she was 48 years old. I was already a successful investor, and she was interested in investing in property. So I offered my services, not just in terms of property, but I also told her that if she became my customer, I could help to put her on a different path in life.
She initially didn’t take up my offer. Two years passed and not much had changed. She still had dreams but no idea how to get there, and with a greater sense of urgency, given she was now 50. She came back to consult with me and this time she was more long-term focused. She wasn’t thinking about floorplans anymore. She not only bought two properties from me, but I also became her mentor.
Now as an Ironfish MD and partner, she is not only a multi-millionaire, but she is a great business leader, who has had such a huge impact on the community. Extremely successful, high-net-worth individuals take time out of their busy schedules to take her out for lunch. She also has other substantial investments.
She bought property from us, we had no discount to offer, but we did change her life.
Had she not made that decision, then now, 15 years later, she’d probably be retired, already living on a pension or part pension. Today she has achieved her financial freedom, but more importantly, she’s so excited about the future – the next 15 years of her life and beyond – to have the opportunity to mentor and guide so many more people, both staff and customers.
I’ve had to make many big decisions in my life, and probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make was quitting my diplomatic career back in China and migrating to Australia to start from scratch. Having a stable career, some success, knowing that my parents were so proud of me, and then all of a sudden, having them worry about my financial security and my future. This was one of the hardest decisions for me – but it also turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made. Hopefully in sharing some of the key things I’ve learned about the decision-making process along the way, will help you make the right decision for you, and take you where you want to go in life – that little bit faster.
Joseph Chou travels regularly around Australia speaking at a variety of events including property investment seminars and workshops. To book your seat at his next speaking engagement, visit our seminars page.