Josh Morrissey on why real estate is all about enjoying the ride

When Josh Morrissey started HIVE Property Canberra he wanted to create a fresh agency that ditched "cookie-cutter" real estate. Now, three years on, the agency is setting record after record. But the father of two says the most fulfilling thing of all is having a beautiful family to share it with.

Josh Morrissey lives his life by a simple yet poignant philosophy.

“Success without fulfilment is the ultimate failure.”

If you think those words sound familiar, you might have heard US Life and Business Strategist Tony Robbins utter them.

But for Josh, the director of HIVE Property Canberra, those words weave through every facet of his being and perfectly summarise his holistic approach to life and business.

“You’ve got to have a sense of fulfilment along the way,” Josh says.

“That all comes back to your why – why you’re doing what you’re doing.

“You can’t lose sight of that because then you’re not enjoying the journey. 

“All the money in the world won’t solidify anything; you’ll just have more money.”

Josh doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk, and he is crystal clear on his ‘why’.

HIVE is born

Josh started HIVE in 2018 with the vision of creating an innovative, high-end brand dedicated to service and adding value to the lives of vendors and buyers.

He didn’t want HIVE to be “cookie-cutter”, but to buck the traditional “industry process” and foster agents who think outside the square.

“We wanted fluidity with the brand,” Josh explains.

“We wanted to be nimble. We didn’t want a franchise. We wanted to create something completely fresh, completely new and something that people could get excited about.

“We wanted to create a brand that people would be excited to work for.”

Along with sounding “really cool”, Josh says the name HIVE perfectly describes how the agency operates – smooth on the outside, busy on the inside.

“Honeycomb is the most geometrical shape and pattern in Mother Nature,” he says.

“And the (bee) hive is probably the busiest. If you look at it on the outside, it’s smooth, like our brand, but inside we’re a bunch of crazy little bees.”

Record performance

If the proof is in the pudding, then Josh and his team will have dessert on tap, with the agency going from strength to strength in the past three years.

Josh says the team has set more suburb records, eight in total, in the past year than any other agency in the nation’s capital.

The latest realestate.com.au figures also show they’re transacting about $200,000 higher than their competition.

“All of the agents that have come to HIVE have tripled their business,” Josh says.

“It’s been achieved by the way they negotiate. It comes from the way you position yourself in the market… not from a brand point of view, it’s positioning from a negotiation point of view and the return value that the seller’s getting from you and your skills to generate them more money.”

Josh says the way HIVE platforms its properties, leverages digital and negotiates, emphasising transparency and education, makes it different to other agencies.

“There’s no fluff and no BS,” he says.

“So if you’re negotiating on either side from an educational point, from the get-go, with the buyer or the seller, you create a lot of trust equity. 

“In that trust equity, it’s really easy to have a hard conversation around price or value.

“If you’re quantifying value through that trust equity process, the price will always take care of itself.”

The anti-agent

The term “anti-agent” has been used to describe Josh many times over the years, and he says rather than it being a negative thing, it simply means being down to earth and finding his point of difference.

If you take a quick peek at his Instagram profile you’ll see property photos interspersed with snaps of his family and his other passions – boxing and motorcycles.

Josh says all of the training available in the industry is an excellent launching pad, but agents should then focus on being themselves.

“Find out what you’re good at and just do more of that,” he says.

“Stop trying to do what everybody else is doing.

“Find something that aligns with where you’re trying to go and what you’re trying to do and discover a place that fans your flames and allows you to be yourself.”

Business-wise, Josh wanted HIVE to be an agency that offered premium service and educated buyers and sellers on negotiating, value points in the market and a holistic approach to transactions.

As a husband and father of two young children, Josh’s personal “why” is equally simple.

“Real estate is fulfilling because of the lifestyle I can offer my family,” he explains.

“Real estate for me, the end game, my why, is always that I want a healthy life of substance, and I want to give back in life.

“I want to have a family, I want to experience life, and I want to travel, and I want to enjoy all of those things.

“It’s really good to have a ‘why’, but a ‘why’ without intent is just a dream.”

Setting high standards

Like most major cities in recent times, Josh says stock is tight in the Canberra market, prices have been climbing, and there’s a lot of competition for listings.

He says there’s been talk of some agents over quoting to win listings but warns that agents who rely on such strategies will struggle when the market turns.

Instead, Josh says it’s critical that agents seeking longevity in the industry adhere to high standards and internal processes.

“Those who work to an internal process, which we teach a lot at HIVE, will always prosper because you’re working to an internal base of systems and standards and diligence through good and bad markets,” he says.

“So when the market does turn, your growth trajectory shouldn’t change.”

One of the key tips Josh gives young agents rising through the ranks is to work in blocks and prioritise their tasks.

Josh has an ideal day he works to, which sees the alarm clock ding at 5am, followed by a gym session and breakfast with his wife and two kids.

In the office, he makes calls between 9am and 11am, when his mind is “freshest”, before cleaning up and clearing out his emails and then hitting the road for appointments in the afternoon.

“After 1pm that’s when I’m out doing deals,” Josh says.

Family first

Josh says he makes it home by about 6pm each night to eat with his family and bath the children.

When he’s at home, he puts his phone down and does his best to stay present and enjoy each moment.

“There’s no point writing millions of bucks and just blasting through the market when you can’t sit down and enjoy it with your family,” he says.

The ‘no phone unless he’s at the office’ tactic also helps him “win the morning”, which usually has a positive flow-on effect.

“I don’t do anything work-related until I’m in the office because otherwise, I think you’re starting the day on the defensive,” Josh says.

“You’re looking at an email, you’re trying to problem-solve before you’ve even woken up. The cortisol is running a million miles an hour, and it’s just not a good way to start the day.

“So just turn your phone down or lock it in a box.

“If you win the morning, you win the day. You win the day, you win the week. You win the week, you win the month and so on.”

A multi-faceted approach

Another invaluable strategy Josh has used with great success is not putting all of his eggs in one basket.

HIVE is a multi-faceted, Canberra-wide agency covering projects and residential sales, along with property management.

“You should always have a broad range in your business so that one (arm) can compound and fade into the other,” Josh explains.

“You should never have just one stoke in the fire; you should always have multiple things going at the same time.

“So if things fall off, you’ve got other things to go into.”

On a more micro, individual agent level, Josh says when he was new to the industry, he “worked in triangles” and selected three suburbs he became an expert in.

“It’s like triangulating a signal if police were trying to find your mobile phone,” he says.

“I’d always operate in triangles because it gave me a three-point understanding of value within a region, rather than just a suburb.

“As opposed to just being an area expert, I could move between the areas.”

Josh is clear about his goals for the next 12 months, starting with consolidating on the past three years’ amazing results.

This will involve refining and streamlining HIVE’s standards and processes, with the common focus of improving customer service and the value they offer clients.

Another office is on the cards, as is another property manager and another sales agent.

Over the next three years, the HIVE team hopes to increase its rent roll to 1000 doors under management.

Josh says a personal business goal is to sell a $15 million property, while outside of work he hopes to help build halfway houses for wayward youth.

Outwork yourself

Just as Olympic gold medallist Simone Biles competes against herself, Josh’s final piece of advice is that agents should outwork themselves to achieve continual growth.

“You need to have a plan and then whatever you’re doing now, add 20 per cent to it,” he advises.

“If you take the time and the care and the diligence to invest in yourself and the right knowledge, and the right people and the right training, and you’re proactive, not reactive to the market, you’ll do well.”

Josh also urges agents to be honest, to treat others with respect and to keep front of mind that real estate is a people business and houses are just commodities.

“Don’t focus on the money, the cars and all that bullshit,” he says.

“Focus on doing a good job, on creating a reputation for yourself and becoming the best at what you do.

“You’ve got to get up anyway, so you may as well get up and be the best. Don’t get up and be 60 per cent of yourself. Get up and give 100 per cent of yourself.”

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Deputy Editor at Elite Agent.