Guest InterviewThe Elevate Podcast - Hosted by Samantha McLean

Tara Bradbury – Building A Rent Roll From Scratch

Tara Bradbury, the Founder of the BDM Academy, has, over many years, being someone who has immensely raised the profile and status of the role of business development manager.

In this podcast, she shares not only lessons from her time as a BDM coach, but also now in the role of business owner having this year started a PM business from scratch.


Download the action guide for this episode with more links and resources at https://eliteagentelevate.com


Episode Transcript

Tara Bradbury has over many years been someone who has immensely raised the profile and status of the role of business development manager. Her major accomplishments have included successfully securing an incredible 268 listings in one financial year and signing 30 new rental listings in one month. She’s also the Founder of the BDM Academy, a training group many of the top BDMs have used around the nation. With more family and less travel a priority, she started her own property management only business in her hometown of Hervey Bay using new tech available and this business is completely paperless.

In this episode, we talk about how Tara is setting up from scratch, how she is marketing her new business, the little things that have counted in growing her rent roll from zero and how she is now managing BDM Academy, Active Agents and family life. We didn’t even get around to this episode in talking about the fact that her PM business doesn’t have a trust account, but that could be another chat coming up in the future. As those of you know with Tara, she’s incredibly generous in her knowledge and there are tons of practical and actionable tips that you’d going to make notes on. If you need to catch up on any of our episodes, you can also sign up to our traditional newsletter extra while you’re there and we will send you each and every month all the good stuff, all the tips from all of our show guests, which generally amount to hundreds of ideas and light bulb moments, which can help you take your business to the next level. Go to EliteAgent.com/Extra.

Welcome to the show, Tara Bradbury.

Thank you for having me, Sam.

It’s awesome to catch up with you again. It’s been a while since we’ve caught up face to face. You’ve done a heap of things over the last few months. First of all, how have you been?

It’s probably been pretty obvious on social media. The travels reduced quite significantly. I’ve been able to have a bit more time at home and still working with coaching clients online remotely, but I’m ready for that change. It’s been a few years of having the BDM Academy in operation. It’s probably not surprising to many that you get itchy feet and think, “What’s the next direction for this business or what’s the next direction for me?”

The exciting thing for you, in case people aren’t aware, is that you started a rent roll of your own up in Hervey Bay. You referenced the fact that you were traveling a lot and you wanted to stay at home more because you’ve got a couple of kids. How has it been going back on the tools?

For me, if I could use one word, it’s that I’m so much more curious compared to when I was previously working back in the industry. I feel the reason for that is that I have got to muck around with them on a level as a trainer. It’s easy to say, “I can see what this can do so that’s what you should do.” It’s great because I feel like there are no excuses for anybody out there. Being back on the tools again, there are still the same problems. There are still times when technology can fail us. I still don’t believe that there’s one perfect program out there. The reason for that is because property management is changing faster than they can keep up with in my opinion. What we have is impressive compared to when I was involved in the industry several years ago. That excited me to see that you have the ability to create. Because the BDM Academy was online, I had the ability to do the same thing with the property management business. There are lots of different steps that got me to seeing Active Agents. It certainly wasn’t an overnight idea. It’s probably twelve to eighteen months of different discussions and things that came together with it. It’s the best year to do it for anyone that’s also out there reading, doing a startup. There is so much opportunity.

Tell us a bit more about Active Agents because always there are people reading that are thinking, “I want to start my own business. In property management, it’s a bit of a model that you can be a property manager, you can be anywhere in the world and start a business. Talk me through a little bit of what you were thinking when you started Active Agents and what a model you’re using and why?

The first thing I was thinking about was that I’ve received an award in our area for the BDM Academy as an online business. I continue to connect with others in the area that were finalists in that award and were doing similar things. I thought, “It’s time that we could test and see if you can do that in property management.” That’s when I decided that it’s something that I can do. I had to refine the model down. One of the problems is that we do have a lot of great techs that are out there and a lot of it’s all cloud-based. To a point, there was a point of difference there. There certainly is, but it couldn’t be just all about that because I’m in a demographic where sometimes it’s joked around newlyweds and nearly deads. We have quite a diverse demographic where we’ve got a lot of wealth in our retirees here in the area. There are a lot of young professional business people like myself that are successful. They also have investment properties as well.

I still remember back to when I was growing up with my parents. It was always, “If you’re going to buy an investment property, buy on the Fraser Coast so you can see it.” It’s very traditional feedback that you were getting. That’s passed on through my generation still. I knew that there was an opportunity there that I could rebuild again on relationships that I’ve had in the past. That process, however, has been very interesting because I haven’t created referral relationships with all of them. I found that some of them have changed and headed in a direction that’s not in line with what I want to do with Active Agents, but there are still quite a few that I’ve made some new ones.

I wanted to go back in and heavy on that referral side because of my traditional experience that worked. It’s obvious in my pay package and what I’ve developed in presentation for our marketing and web presence is that we haven’t had anyone effectively push the executive property investment market here in Hervey Bay. It probably seems quite bizarre when we’re over 65,000 in population. When you look online, you can consistently see that the properties for us in our top end, it can go up to as high as $600,000. They’re the properties that I’m focusing on and renting within under three to five days. To be fair, we do have a fantastic vacancy rate, but I saw that was my main focus on the niche in the beginning, was to present myself that way in the marketplace and show them how the marketing can be done so that they can stand out.

You’ve niched yourself into an area so that your marketing messages don’t have to appeal to the masses. You’re definitely targeting a certain demographic. Has that made marketing your business and getting you more well-known easier?

It has and it hasn’t because I very easily get excited by DSM. I go, “Yes, we’ve put that on Facebook and we’ll go.” My husband is a bit more realistic. He’ll look and go, “I love that idea, but let’s not do that right now. We’ll hold onto it and we’ll reassess.” His help has been fantastic with that because, to be fair, he probably understands Hervey Bay specifically better than I do even though I’ve lived here. He’s worked with his client base since he was out of high school as well. He’s had that ongoing involvement. That’s helped in the way of what we’re doing with the marketing. It was hard in the beginning because there were properties that I missed out on. For us, the fees that we have been charging, we’re getting those fees.

I’m not negotiating. I’m not willing to negotiate. I’m out of it on that. I went through many moments like most business owners do, where you think I’ve to grow. I feel like I’m at a stage where there are still moments of ups and downs. Overall, I know the market I want to target and the people that are involved in that market. If I have to wait and if it takes a little bit longer to get growth where I want to, it’ll keep coming in where I need it to. That’s what I’m finding. There’s a wave of, “I’m not getting anything and I’m pushing with my calls.” I’ve got three listings and then two entry condition reports and I’m trying to scrape in time and happened to have to go to Adelaide for the training. It’s still the same. There is still uncertainty and for marketing, it’s testing all the time, especially on social media.

I was going to say to you, what has been most successful because again people will be reading and they are thinking about starting up their own business. If you’re going from scratch, what are the marketing methods that you think are best now that you’ve tested them?

I have and some of them have taken off more than I had anticipated. With one in particular, I had to turn my notifications off because it was so disruptive. That particular day was a post that we did about Hervey Bay. I got the idea when I was over at the Perth event for our RETG where I saw a radio station that did it and I screenshot it to Shane. I sent it to him and I said, “We should do this for Hervey Bay because everyone will love it.” I knew it would be popular. We gained over close to 12,000 in reach. We had businesses that were connected with some of those posts that shared it on their profiles and they had up to 40 shares on some of them.

It made me realize very quickly that I’ve understood my market well. That’s not going to work for everybody. I don’t feel that would probably work in either city. It may or may not. It depends on who’s following you. That works well for the following that we have picked up on. What I recognize very quickly is that we also have a very strong tenant following. We’ve been presenting our properties to market first on social media, which I have seen other real estate businesses do that. I certainly can’t make the claim to fame. I think Lisa Novak, as an example, might be one. I’ve seen her doing in sales and I thought, “That’s it. I’m going to do in rentals now too. Let’s go.”

Because I’m doing virtual tours, I have four particular photos, a virtual tour. We put that on there first and I’ve started to build up a good tenant database. I tenant-matched them. There’s one in particular where we still haven’t released that property to the property pools yet. I’ve got two that are ready to inspect it before we even get to that stage because we still got a three-week gap before it becomes available. Where the investors have the ability, I’m encouraging them to test that and they’re loving it and getting great responses.

Was it like a quiz or something like that? I’ve heard about these quizzes going viral so that’s what you did.

I’ve got a few more so feel free to watch this phase if you want to see the next few that are coming out. Let’s see if they’re as popular. We picked 21 key things that were relevant to those who have lived in Hervey Bay. My husband, Shane, is one of very few that was born in the Point Vernon Hospital. He had that listed on there, were you born in the Point Vernon Hospital? Have you walked the pier? Have you been whale watching? Have you gone to Fraser Island? There were reasonable ones to get. There were silly ones. Some were a bit more strategic as well that you would have had to have been here for the last 50 years.

There were some cool things on there. I knew it would be popular, but I didn’t anticipate how many would get involved and want to tell us how happy they are with no prize to share as well. It would have been a week and a half later, we did another post where we would have been lucky to have a quarter of the engagement. We gave away a $100 voucher to one of our restaurants at the Vineyard and we didn’t get the same response. I don’t mind that because it still had engagement. We did have to do a bit of spending to push that one because it didn’t get the engagement we wanted. It’s all trialling and testing. We know that a particular approach wasn’t right for the followers. We’ll go on and test the next one. We all think that we’ve got to do a big spend. We’ve got to put this money into it. That particular post had no incentive for anyone to share it and it didn’t go crazy.

It’s a big lesson on social media and we found that too. When someone’s interested in something, it’s a zero-dollar spend. I’m very proud to be part of that community. There are probably areas on the Central Coast where I’m from that would be the same. Did you ever go to the old church at night and scare yourself silly?

A true local knows that. I certainly can’t take the credit for it. Shane was a massive contribution to some of the things that he had listed there, but it would’ve been seen the people behind this brand knows the area. That was the winning point.

The other thing that you said in the middle of all of that too is that you’re not advertising on the portals initially. You’re putting the property on social and tenant-matching through your database. How does that work? Who does that?

I will have the photos done and do edits where required through Box Brownie and utilise them. I’ve done a few virtual staging that was needed as well. I’m trying to find someone to book a photographer here. During the virtual tours, we had Tom and the team from Virtual Tours Creator. I knew straight away that I had to release that with our property management here because we didn’t have anyone in that space. What that’s allowed me to do is that I can put them on social media before they hit the property portals because they can see those select four images that we put in the tile and then it’s got the content about the property as well along with the virtual tour link included in that post so they can have that walk through experience.

Based on that, they can say, “I liked this property. When’s it available?” Because we’ve got such a low vacancy rate to the point of even under 1%, most of the time, they can pre-apply, which I’ve had that happen as well. We can have the application processing before the property is vacant. It’s a faster turnaround time for the investors as well. I find it’s more proactive. Now that my CRM is built up because I started with no content at all, the property portals have 100% helped on that side because it’s allowed me to have an agent box, have them automatically go in there. The moment that I have a property, I can still search for a price range there. It brings up the list of those that are tenant-matched to that price range.

I connect with them directly. There were ten that I sent out, the property that I’ve got coming up at Crawford Drive. I’ve sent that to them. There are two of them that have responded back and said they’d like to inspect based on the virtual tour. I’ll give them a call and follow up, book that in and do the viewing there. We’ve had one that’s rented before going to the Property Portal. I still love Property Portal because it gets me exposure to my marketplace. At the same time, if I can do it quicker, that’s a better result and a better investment for that landlord as well. They don’t have to have as big a spend.

I can see where you’re calling the business Active Agents because what you’re describing they’re proactive. A lot of other people’s heads will be spinning reading this I imagine. Do you think it’s because of the size you are that allows you to pivot and provide such personal service and move so quickly? What are your plans for growth and how will you maintain that personal touch?

My target is I should be ready by Christmas time for a team member for two reasons. One, you push yourself harder when you’ve got that person to work alongside that you’ve made that investment and gone, “You’re with me full-time. Let’s go. We’ll keep the growth happening.” Beyond that, I can push the numbers as high as possible. A lot of the programs that I’m using and testing and being curious have allowed me to create a process that’s systemized in protection for the investor, but a great opportunity for all of those people who trust that experience being the landlord, tenant and tradesperson.

Marketing through social media is about trial and testing. Click To Tweet

When I do secure, the tenant and I confirm and send the response back to say, “Your property is approved,” I’m onto it with the tenancy agreement, all of the attachments that are required and that goes out to them via DocuSign. They can sign that up prior. I go through that process with them from wherever I am. If I happen to be in between appointments, I’ve got the ability to go through that with them while I’m doing that. For me, because I am mobile and I’m working from the home office, I open up the home for them on moving day. I spend that time with them on the property versus having them come and meet me, whether it be at home or at a coffee shop and finding that’s working well too because they’re ready to move in. They want the keys. They want to get started and settled. They have the tenancy handbook that I go through. They’re all set up. They’ve already paid their two weeks’ rent, their bonds are all sorted and they’re ready to go.

I remember the days when you had to go to the real estate and pick up the keys. You flipped that on its head as well.

That’s an extra service offering that I know it’s getting talked about around town. I want to keep doing those things that allow that conversation to keep happening. The thing that excites me so much about what I’m doing is that I had quite a few different agents that I talked to, not just in Hervey Bay but across other regional locations. They said, “You’ll never get them to fill in an online application.” I just don’t offer it. I’m probably fortunate that we’re in a market that is quite buoyant and moving, but I will send them the message on the phone or show them how to log in and set up that process for them and show them how easy it is.

If you want your clients to use the technology and embrace it at the same level that you do, you have to prepare to do short-term pain, long-term gain because you will get the long-term gain out of them. I have them all registering the maintenance through the back of the program. The communication behind it is fantastic and it’s simple. They’re registering maintenance. I challenged and I asked other agents out there to feel free to share their feedback as well as part of the podcast. The tenants are registering maintenance in the evening because that’s when they remember to do it. They don’t have time to think about it during the day. I don’t want them to run the risk of trying to get me on the phone and not because it’s too late from an evening and they don’t lodge that maintenance. I’m finding that a lot of the stuff comes through in the evening.

You’re setting it up so you’ve got the tenants at the forefront of your service equation so that they’re going to feel like they’re happy that they’ve been looked after and the cycle then continues. CRMs, you mentioned that you started with zero contacts and a nice fresh database. Somebody with 10,000 contacts might be thinking, “I wish I could go back to zero contacts and set this up well.” I know we’ve probably all been there at one point or another. What’s your advice on setting up a database from scratch? How do you think it is the most efficient way to get data in there so you can get what you need out of there?

For me, my primary focus was to make sure I did my launch in three stages. The reason for that was to try and balance out my time between Active Agents, real estate training group and the BDM Academy. It’s allowed me to go into stage three, which is very exciting. In the very beginning, it was just about getting the message out there. I went to as many networking events and opportunities that I could and gauged and decided on where my best value of investment of my time is. I’m probably more savage with that than what I was when I was an active BDM. The main thing I put that around too is that I have a family. I have two daughters and a husband that I can’t be out every night. I’m very selective and very heavily invested in that time for those groups that I’m involved in. That’s the first section.

We released the end of April. In May, things were happening. June was the real, “Let’s get it out there now properly.” Every single week there would have been two meetings a day across five days a week, and potentially stuff on the weekend. The coffee that I drank was nuts. That was from builders to developers, project managers, engineers, florists, general people in my community, anyone that wanted to listen or hear about what I had to offer. To be fair, if there was someone that I had met once before or knew of, I went and connected with them and shared whether it be to share a business card or say, “I wanted to update you with what I’m doing.” Tradespeople, that was another successful post that we did where we put a post out to say, “We’re looking for tradespeople.” We had the community going in and tagging trades to connect with me.

I filtered them through those first and I’m still coming across things where “I need an air conditioning company or I need a locksmith.” The people that I need along the way. I’m starting to still reconnect with other tradespeople. I’m constantly not panicking about the fact at the beginning of how much new business that I was signing. It was more about making sure it’s designed effectively to take on the growth when it starts pumping in. I feel the growth is steady. With the work that I’m doing, I can say January 2020, it’s going to continue to go gangbusters with the buildup that I’ve had of people getting reviews done, not quite ready to make that change yet. They’re just sitting there in my database to keep connected with.

I would suggest to anyone that’s starting from completely from zero, you will feel massive pain and frustration for that first two months very easily. You have to keep pushing through it. Keep telling everyone what you’re doing because you’ll be surprised about the people who will come back to you and say, “Tara is now doing this. She’s doing real estate now.” You have to talk to everyone possible to the point where I’ve changed gyms and I’ve been talking with some of the other people in my class there. One of the ladies has come up to me and she needs to buy a unit. I’m not selling property, but my referral partners do. That’s been a great opportunity. I still put myself out there as a real estate agent and primarily it’s advertised purely property management. Anything that you want to talk about real estate, come to me and I’ll put you in front of the right person. Those messages are going well and it allows me to feel more confident because I am getting referrals in. I have got something to give back to them and that’s been good too.

You’ve almost become a human search engine. Instead of people trying to find stuff on Google or whatever, hey can come to Tara and that way you get to build relationships. Even if it’s not about you, it could be about you in the future because they’ll remember that.

It’s still Tara real estate. Active Agents is there and people are getting it, but everyone still needs to realize it’s a person to person experience. It’s that relationship. As the team gets bigger, the team members will have that same relationship with certain people that I may not. It doesn’t scare me. I need to empower that and continue to encourage that and find ways to keep that motivation going with them.

We’ve had a lot of conversations on the show about the human connection in real estate. Property management does seem to be a place where things are evolving very rapidly. You’re an online outfit or you are dealing with humans and it’s more of high-end experience. How do you see that all playing out in the future? Have you got any ideas on the way where that will go?

If I use an example, I know it’s not as popular in Queensland, with our rental applications, there are quite a few that we can choose out there for processing. It means that we can have complete automation from the point of when they apply for the property. References are being processed. I’m personally using tenant options alongside one form and using both of them. Behind the scenes, it’s doing all that work for you. I had six applications on one property, and the one person that was approved, I’ve called to get them confirmed, approved and everything. I’ve got these five other people there that I’ve thought, “My heart broke. I can’t send them a text message. I can’t send them an email.”

I’ve called all of them individually and taken that time. It wasn’t very long to say, “I’m sorry that you have missed out. Can you please go through your requirements again because I know that this was an important decision for you?” They were blown away. For some of them, it wasn’t even over 60 seconds of their time. I know that for a few of them they’ve gone and found other properties, but if we don’t do this as agents in the industry and we let the tech keep doing the work, absolutely we’ll let all the private investors websites take us over. That’s a choice as an industry that we’re making.

I’m choosing to allow the technology to allow me to be more efficient in what I do, be effective and not miss those things that I know my personality would miss if I was in control of that entire process and use the strengths that I do have to communicate. That’s the risk that I see in the industry. If you are someone that is still finding yourself in the office and hiding behind that screen and not picking up the phone, you are going to do yourself out of a career in property management. I certainly won’t be in my lifetime that I plan to be in it. Who knows when that’s too? I’m several years in, so I’ll wait and see how that goes.

Let’s talk a few tactics like some actionable stuff. With a startup, what does your day look like? How are you structuring your day to make sure that you remain productive?

I hit the phones straight away in the morning, whether it be that moms come to do pick up and she’s off doing adventures with the girls or if it’s drop off to daycare. I will have at least two or three people that I know that I need to call and I start making those calls before I go into heavy with the emails. I find that for me, it allows me to be more productive with my communication during the day. Otherwise, it’s easy to get stuck and stay trapped in the office and get distracted by doing things, whether it be searching online for opportunities, it’s very easy to get stuck in that space. I always try and make sure that I have a referral partner meeting booked, whether it be that I’m going in to catch up and take them for a cup of coffee or if I’m meeting up with them. I’m still mucking around with my set expectations of KPIs for new business. That’s for me mainly because of the balance of a few businesses.

Ultimately, it’s always on top of mind for me. It’s always the biggest fear of what more could I be doing because I do expect that the businesses in my marketplace are already researching and trying to find different ways to be different. I have to continue to develop that. The stuff that you see will continue to change with what we had projected of offerings. You need to be as competitive as possible to the point where your plan of attack, you’re aware of what’s happening out there. I was sitting in a session where he was talking about the traditional way of real estate agents looking through the newspaper and seeing what their competitors had for sale. I get that they’re there. I’m not stalking them. I watch to see what they’re doing so I know what I’m up against, but I don’t give it too much time. That’s lost time that many property managers and especially BDMs in an area need to be careful of. You’re not connecting the first up and consistently throughout the day with people in general.

I called 37 builders and have built relationships with three of them. I did not have one of them yell at me on the phone or tell me, “No, I didn’t wish to talk to you.” I went in with the conversation to say, “Who I was, that I’ve started a property management business in Hervey Bay. I wanted to say if you found over the last twelve months that you’ve had a high level of investors purchasing through you for the bills that you’ve been doing.” That was a question of experience and there were so many of them that that wasn’t the path that they were going down. The ones that I found were well worth it. Those calls took me at least half a day to get through all of them by the time I researched everything. Don’t expect that it’s going to be a quick fix answer and you’re going to have everything that you need at your fingertips. You’ve got to look and go, “What was my time investment for the day?” If it’s not connections, especially around a startup business, if it’s not face-to-face and over the phone, you’ve got a big problem.

It’s an expression I’ve been using a bit, “Keep your eye on your own paper first,” which is instead of trying to look it up, what other people are doing, keep your eye on the prize and work out what is valuable to you. If something happened in the second half of the day, at least you’d have the good stuff done. What about technology? What are your three favourite productivity tools? What’s on your phone that you’re loving, for example?”

Marketing through social media is about trial and testing. Click To Tweet

I do most of my property management on the phone or through my iPad. I use Managed. Everything that I connect into that is what I’m using as my main hub for property management. I’m also using Inspection Express. They’re on my phone as well. Agentbox is an app on my phone and Tenant Options, which to be honest, a lot of these things that I’m using, I encourage my competitors to think about using as well because there’s no point in saying, “There’s a mixture of offices in our area that are still server-based.” They need to think about changing into the cloud and not be as fearful of that. They’re ones that I’m very vocal about, I promote and that I use. They allow me to be on the road and be effective. That was the thing that I’m enjoying most and I know that being in a complete role of a property manager isn’t my long journey as such.

I love working on projects. I love doing new business and that referral work. I will be certainly adapting that and I’ve made that very clear to my clients that have come on board. I’ll sit outside of the property sometimes. I’m there fifteen minutes early for an appointment. I can go through and do some work. We do have nothing to complain about. We can continue to pass on feedback and encourage opportunities for direction because we’re on the tools. What we have is impressive in property management.

We talked about Facebook a bit and you talked about the quizzes. Is there a particular app that you use for the quizzing because there are a few of those viral contests things out there?

Before we use Canva like everybody else. You can do searches on there. They bring up different activities and fun things that you can change around and make relevant to your marketplace. A lot of my marketing posts will be done through Canva. I find that for me when I’m picking up on ideas and suggestions to have on as postings of activities, I’m researching through Google and thinking, “What would this crossroad one look like or what would this one look like?” We see what other people have posted as well and trying to create that into more of a space that’s relevant to the marketplace.

You talked about Facebook. Is there any other social media liking? Everyone is saying LinkedIn is pretty good. Do you like that one as well?

I love LinkedIn. I’m confusing my followers unfortunately because I’ll post stuff about trying and then I’ll post them about being an active real estate agent. It’s probably the one space that for me, I don’t personally feel like I’ve mastered effectively, but I definitely get lead generation from there. Still predominantly on the training side and I haven’t probably gone in as heavily on the real estate side yet, but I do agree that there’s definitely a huge opportunity there. I need to master what Tara Bradbury is going to look like with both titles.

I remember some years ago that was a challenge for me as well, running to two careers, which was pretty tricky.

Instagram is good. We have over 5,800 followers and over 1,600 on Facebook. I am not all about the followers, but the engagement is quite good. I’m happy with what we have there. On Instagram, I have 320 or 322. It’s probably still one that I’m testing still more so. For me, the main value that I get from Instagram is in the stories because you can see who’s opening the stories and the engagement continues to increase, which is good. One of the highest openings that I had for the Active Agents business was over 100 on one particular story post that I did. I’m happy with that when I can get that value across.

I’m still by myself. If you look on to see videos that I’m doing on there, I’m literally using the BIGVU app, which is another app that I use. Teleprompter is another one. I know that I heard about that through you guys with the Elite Transform Program. I put a second 45-second script in there. I know where that strip’s going to finish to the five-second countdown. I try and make sure I’m smiling at the start and at the end and doing quick videos of different snapshots or properties that way. I’ll continue to do that until I have that next person on board to be able to assist or potentially create a budget around that. It’s not perfect, but it’s getting a message out there. It’s fun, effective and encouraging, and not just with engagement in the posts.

The posts that you are finding are most effective on Instagram are the videos?

Yes, it’s more effective long-term. I’m looking and checking the engagement on them. I’m finding, I might go back to one that was two weeks prior. It may have had over 100 people might’ve viewed the video. I look at it again and it’s over 200. I don’t know if it’s traditional across everyone’s profiles. There are people that when they are going to the wall, they’re watching a few videos and scrolling through and taking in some more video to see what else I’m doing. It’s always about the wall, isn’t it? Making it look pretty. That’s always been my pain point. I’ve designed using the same template from Facebook and then putting that into Canva and you’ll see a big white sticker with a lease over it and it has a story underneath.

I don’t share the address location with the post as such. As an example, I had one that least for $550 a week, four-bedroom property with a pool and everything and the word leased is in big text. Underneath that, it says, “Family moving from Canberra. Looking for a lifestyle change and can’t wait to live in Hervey Bay.” That’s what it says in the actual image. People can follow that and go, “That’s exciting.” There have been others where they’ve moved here for work, which I find is an interesting pain point in our area specifically where people feel that there’s not enough work in the area. It’s been quite refreshing to have quite a few tenants that have secured work here and they’re moving to the area. It’s bringing more people here. I try and encourage more positivity to educate other followers, “This is happening and it’s here right now.”

People should check out your Active Agents Instagram following by the sounds of it.

Feel free to pass on feedback as well. I always love it when people do so.

You’ve shared so much with us about setting up a new business. I always love chatting with you about that. If there was one thing that people could remember from this episode whether they’re setting up or whether they’re in an established business, what would you want it to be?

We talk about having passion for the industry, loving it and making sure your clients can say that. You can’t feel them if you don’t love them anymore. They’re going to pick up on that quickly. I find that part of the reason I feel that every single person that I talked with and engagement with can see that in me is because I am truly excited and curious about all the stuff that I’m using all the time. I feel like I have to tell everybody about it. Even to the point where I show my husband is sick of when I say, “They’ve done this upgrade. They’re doing this now. How amazing. Now I don’t have to do this step anymore.” Those things excite me. If that was my one piece of advice, whether you’re a startup or you’re an established business, I can’t harp on that enough, the fact that you need to embrace what you are using.

If you’re not happy with what you’re using, then start to do some serious research and make that change. If you are happy and you don’t feel you understand it, book that session with whoever the provider is. Yes, some of them may charge you for that, but it will be the best investment that you have made and you will feel more effective. Your team will feel more effective and you will be a better example within your marketplace and your clients will see that within you and within your team as well.

That is a problem too. People have all this stuff and they don’t use it to its full advantage and it goes by the wayside. You’ve finished a series of events for property managers. Will you be doing that again?

Kasey and I are still very much in discussions as to what it will look like for 2020. The reason why is because we had a fantastic year, but it’s time for a change in what we’re doing in that space and the market needs that change. We want to spend this time and lead up to 2020 to digress and get that feedback from our attendees and also from previous years and make that decision as to what it will look like in 2020. For me, the traditional style, which has been effective over the last few years, even prior to getting the real estate training group together, needs a bit of a shakeup and it’s the same in property management as well. You’ll certainly hear from us when we have that sorted.

We know it’s something we want to continue. We’ve got to make sure it’s in balance with what we do. Separate to that business being the real estate training group. I know that people do get it and some that don’t get it, but it is a huge amount of work to put together events. It’s not just about taking tickets sales and there’s an event here. There’s a lot of ideas and thought processes that go around, whether it be speakers, content, competitions and all these different things that come together. We need to make sure that we establish our time effectively. It continues at the same level that we consider a high level as well.

I’m sure whatever you do together will be amazing because it always is and you’re going to have so much more to talk about as well, like having set up your own company. I’m still in awe of the fact that you are juggling both. Tara Bradbury, thank you so much.

It’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me, Sam.

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