Michelle Bourne: a shining light on Sydney’s Northern Beaches

Michelle Bourne came to real estate later in life but that hasn’t stopped her setting up a boutique agency with her husband Andrew. As Michelle explains, the “stars aligned” when they established Rightside, and now she’s focused on growing the Manly agency even further.

What was your first job and what did it teach you?

While I was at university, I worked part-time at the local video rental store, and I still love movies to this day. 

My first full-time job was at an accounting firm specialising in insolvency, so definitely the more colourful side of the accounting industry.

Insolvency can be stressful and emotional for everyone involved, and I feel so grateful to have had such wonderful mentors and managers early in my career. 

One of the key lessons I learnt while working in what could be likened to a pressure cooker, was to remain calm regardless of what’s coming at me!

How many years have you been in the industry?

I came to the industry a little later in my career. After working in professional services and banking for 15 years, I made the step into real estate about five years ago.

Did you choose property management or did property management choose you?

I think that property management chose me, or maybe a bit of both! 

I left my corporate job seeking a more flexible career path as we planned to start a family. 

My job at the time wasn’t conducive to having both a career and a family. 

When Andrew’s business partner retired, I bought into the business, and we moved to a boutique brand of our own, which is when Rightside was born!.

It felt like the stars aligned as I am more drawn to the operational and property management side of things while Andrew thrives in the sales side of the business.

What’s a special place in your area and what do you love about it?

I feel so lucky to live in the Northern Beaches as there are so many gorgeous natural spots to choose from.

Mermaid Pools near Manly Dam is lovely, as are any of the beaches, but I think that the spot that feels special to me is Barrenjoey Lighthouse.

I grew up in Palmy and remember falling asleep to the sweeping lights shining across my bedroom wall as a kid.

Later as an adult, I have walked the trail many times to enjoy the view from the top.

What’s your most memorable rental property and why?

There are so many beautiful homes and stunning coastal views around Manly, so from a pure property perspective, I feel rather spoilt!

However, my most memorable rental property would probably be when I went to a townhouse for a routine inspection and was bailed up against the front fence by two massive huskies. I wasn’t expecting that.

What key goals are you focusing on this year?

This year I am focused on driving our growth in property management organically. 

We also have some awesome team members right at the start of their real estate careers, and it is wonderful to help them progress.

Where would you like to be this time next year?

I would love to travel carefree like in the pre-Covid days! So maybe skiing in Colorado. 

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

Stamp duty.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given and how has it helped you?

Done is better than perfect.

I have been guilty of being overly self-critical and spending time tweaking something that was already good enough.

For me, this advice helps me focus on moving forward, and I get a lot more done. 

When I see something that I think I could have done a bit better, I remind myself that I did the best I could at that moment.

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