Staying in one lane and making it count

Sitting in a hospital bed, Jye Read knew he had to change the way he ran his business. Here, the OBrien Mornington up-and-comer tells Kylie Dulhunty what he did, why he did it, and how it won him a significant industry award.

What a difference 23 months makes.

In January 2018, Jye Read was down on his luck.

Stuck in a hospital bed after being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, the OBrien Real Estate agent knew something had to give.

Call it a cliche, but the then 22-year-old knew this was a make or break moment.

What he did next would either sink him or see him rise to the top of the pool.

Luckily for the man from Grantville in Victoria, it was the latter.

“I had to fundamentally change my business,” Jye recalls.

“I was a one-man-band and I was everything to everyone.

“When I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, I took a month away from work. I was in the hospital.

“That’s when I put on an executive assistant, not by choice but because I had to.

“I didn’t have the time to do the hours I had been doing previously.”

Support from OBrien Real Estate co-founders Dean O’Brien and Darren Hutchins was swift to follow, and it was Darren who gave Jye a piece of advice that has stuck with him.

“He spoke about staying in one lane,” Jye says.

“He said I had the ability to service buyers and sellers, but I couldn’t do that if I was spending five hours a day bombarded with paperwork.”

With that in mind Jye, who sells out of the Mornington office, put his partner Nikki Cengia on as his executive assistant and about two months ago Lachie Beekman joined the team as a property consultant.

“The moment I knew I had a team and that I had more than just myself to worry about, that hunger and fire inside me grew even more,” Jye says.

“I need to provide for a team, and I have to make sure there are enough listings and enough sales, not just for me, but for a team of three.

“I can’t have an off day or become complacent.”

It’s safe to say Jye, now 24, hasn’t had too many off days since then, with his business now triple what it was.

That’s one key factor that saw him take out high-performance real estate coach Josh Phegan’s Changed Agent Award this year.

“From the time Nikki started until I applied for the award, GCI went from $240,000 to $660,000,” Jye says.

Josh Phegan says this year’s field included incredible agents who had excelled in their markets but it was Jye’s dedication that saw him take out the award.

“Jye’s attention to the numbers drove his commitment to never stop improving,” Josh says.

“He showed how adversity could be used as fuel to live a better life and become a better agent.”

While Jye is fully focused on his real estate career now, he readily admits it wasn’t necessarily his first choice of profession.

After finishing school at Wonthaggi Secondary College, Jye headed to Melbourne for university but soon found the city lifestyle was less than the perfect fit.

He started out studying exercise science before contemplating sports journalism and then switching to a sports management degree.

“I grew up riding motorbikes on farms,” Jye says.

“I didn’t gel with inner-city living.

“I enjoyed the content and what I was learning but not the university lifestyle.”

After a stint laying bricks with his dad to get by, a contact from his local football club knew of a position at a real estate agency in Koo Wee Rup.

Jye soon felt it was a career he could do for the rest of his life, but in a remote office there wasn’t a lot of work and transaction numbers were low.

Jye knew it was time to bite the bullet and he contacted Dean O’Brien through the agency’s website four years ago, when he was just 20.

“My career in real estate could have been very short-lived,” he says.

“I could have gone back to being a bricklayer, but Dean and Darren believed in me.

“I think they believed in me more than I believed in myself.”

Jye says it was mentoring from Dean and Josh that helped set his star soaring.

A 30-day intensive course with Josh covering booking appointments, listings and sales led to his best listing month in April 2018 and his best sales month in May.

Jye also uses Josh as an accountability coach, and has the next two years of coaching already booked in.

He attends the annual BluePrint conference and had weekly sessions under Dean’s mentorship as well.

As Jye grew in confidence and skillset, those sessions pushed out to fortnightly and then monthly.

He knows Dean is still always on the end of the phone as well.

“The first piece of advice Dean gave me when I started was that good people make great real estate agents,” Jye recalls.

“He’s given me book lists, he’s talked with me about health retreats and health and fitness and helped me buy my first investment property.

“He’s taught me that there’s more to life than listing and selling.

“He’s taught me to be a better person.”

Dean says in Jye’s four years with OBrien Real Estate he’s watched him go from strength to strength and witnessed him put together a “next level” business plan.

“Jye would be up there with the best learners in our business,” Dean says.

“His need for knowledge is so strong, and his willingness to implement what he learns straight away is unbelievable.”

Jye has taken a holistic approach to preparing a business plan, which is not just filled with sales targets but also with health, fitness, holiday and family goals.

The plan also includes the goals of each team member so they can work collectively to achieve them.

Jye credits his grandmother with giving him another slice of golden advice that he still adheres to.

“Not everything in life that counts can be counted,” he says.

“In terms of figures I do have a goal of reaching GCI of $800,000, but I’d also like to rank in the Top 3 in the O’Brien Real Estate awards in 2020.

“Nikki and I would like to start a family and Nikki wants to do a personal training course outside of work.

“Lachie would love to go to England and Spain to visit family by the end of 2020, and one of my other big goals for next year is to do an Australian road trip up the east coast.”

Dean’s advice for those planning for 2020 is to set KPIs, soft goals and hard goals – but to review them regularly.

“Too many people write them down at the start of the year but don’t look at them again,” he says.

“In our business, we have two days of planning at the start of the year followed by one day every quarter, half a day per month and 45 minutes every week.”

Jye says learning from other agents across the industry has also stood him in good stead.

“When I was employing staff, I spoke to Tom Hector who taught me that if you build a game plan, you need to let your people put their own goals in the plan” he says.

“That way you’ll have them motivated from day one.

“It won’t just be words on a wall; it will be a motivating and driving force for every team member.”

Show More

Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.