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Jackie Tomes and David WigramLast on the show two years ago, we welcome back Jackie and her husband Dave. When we last spoke, they had built a portfolio worth £1.5 million with an annual rent roll of £100,000 and £40,000 of net profit.

Two years down the line, they are here to tell us how they built a business that lets them go on holiday every six weeks. Yes, you heard that right – every six weeks Jackie and Dave unplug for a week take off for some well deserved R&R.

If you want to hear how they got started in property, listen to episode 105 for a full recap.

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2 Years of Property Progress

Jackie and Dave built a good, working model in South East London. They were achieving a 7% yield when they first started growing their portfolio, but over the years property prices went up causing the yield to lower. With new rental calculation caps coming in, Dave started to analyse new areas of potential.

After many spreadsheet assessments, they settled on Margate and even moved from their London home. In a moment of roundabout genius, they decided that renting their home made more sense than buying. It allowed them to reinvest the capital gained from selling their London home and because they already had an established portfolio, getting further lending without their own residential mortgage wasn’t a problem.

“When we make a decision we’re pretty good with just getting on with it.”

When they moved, they stepped up their game and decided to do their first commercial conversion. Jackie remembers just how hard it was. Because they were new to the area they struggled to find reliable contractors. After an immense amount of effort, the project was completed successfully.

“We realised how much higher risk it was converting commercial buildings.”

They rethought their business plan after this experience and have decided to stick with what they know – blocks of flats and single lets.

Defining What Success Means to You

The pair began to take a good, hard look at their business strategy. A key linchpin for them was defining the meaning of success. The goal was set: One week of holiday for six weeks of work.

Jackie and Dave aren’t driven solely by money – to them, freedom and time is more important. They started off by trying to do too many things without realising that each was a business in itself. Everyone is obsessed with multiple streams of income, but you can only develop one business at a time. Once you’ve systemised your model, you can then start with other streams of income.

Jackie has realised that her most powerful word is “no.”

“You need to say no to stuff. You can’t do everything. It’s very easy to think everything is better than what you are doing, but you need to plan ahead. If you set time aside for a specific project and a new opportunity comes along, you need to be strict and have to say no in order to achieve real success.”

Sometimes you’ll need to sacrifice the financial side for the lifestyle you want. That means saying no to opportunities that could earn you money, but ultimately cost time.

They also map out their calendar 12 months in advance to make sure they don’t over commit themselves. They colour code their different income streams and the phases of their projects along with their holidays, and spread the work out so it doesn’t get overwhelming. They use this system to plan everything from networking events to property buying schedules.

Success for Jackie and Dave means time off. They take one week of holiday for every six weeks of work and add a weekend getaway in between. It keeps them recharged, exited and on their best game.

“In property you do epic stuff and you want to be on your best game. We’ve become less creative as a society because we never sit without our phones and spend the time getting bored.”

Key Advice for Lifestyle Design

  1. Jackie and Dave divide up business tasks according to areas of speciality. If there is a conflict, the person in charge always has the final say. Using this clear division of roles and responsibilities, they successfully navigate the treacherous waters of being married and working together.
  2. “We didn’t realise that while we were buying houses we were building a business” – Jackie laments their initial lack of focus and how it cost them excessive effort.
  3. If you are starting out, it’s going to take a lot of work. You need to put in the grunt work, the key is to remember that your business is ongoing — its a process. Making a plan can help you work smarter to take control of your time.
  4. You can make money from all of the property strategies — HMO, buy-to-let, commercial conversion — but not at the same time. When you start out you need to focus on one area to be successful.
  5. “Hope is not a strategy… you have to start planning for that amazing life now” – Don’t wait around for a plan to fall in your lap, you have to make it happen.
  6. “You wanna be really stubborn about it, it’s your life” — When planning your time, you can’t let outside influences sway you. The result is unhappiness and dissatisfaction.
  7. “We don’t want to feel that business is a drag… EVER” – Jackie’s key takeaway, she always wants to wake up excited for the day.

Get in Touch

The best way to get in touch with Jackie & Dave, and find out how they can help you achieve freedom through property is via their website, www.jackietomes.com