In this episode, we’re talking to professional investor in property development, Jason John Byron. He will describe how he became successful and how filming a speaker shifted his career, from a cameraman of 20 years to property investor.
You’ll hear how a severe leg injury forced Byron to change the way he approached property investing; how his first property investment was made seven hours’ drive outside of Sydney; and how “the paintbrush guy” learned that sometimes, it’s better to hire professionals to renovate your investment properties.
Jason John Byron
Within Byron’s company, he uses effective time management strategies to get the most out of his day.
I call myself a property developer because that's mainly what I'm doing. We never actually buy a property and don't do something to it. So I probably started off as a bit of a property investor/developer, but now pretty much I'm concentrating full-time on developing.
We follow a very systemised pattern. Every day we have a meeting in the morning with our team - and it’s not a big team, because a lot of them were on the outside as well - but we'll do eight-minute meetings in the morning and we'll look at our top operating priorities to get through the week. We break everything down into an epoch. So that means that this is week 38 or something that we're on and we'll go from what we have to do within that system to get to the goals that week.
So what is an ‘epoch’ system?
A lot of people are very much about a system that we run under and a lot of famous companies out there in the world run under systems. So it just makes life a lot easier to get that balance and also that communication between different parties. So if I'm just telling you, ‘I'll meet you on this particular day,’ or this happens you've been this date and some people get confused about what we're actually up to. When you're doing development, there's a time frame.
And so an epoch is the first week of the year; will be one of 52 weeks in a year. So that's where we go, ‘OK. What is our first epoch to our second epoch?’ So an epoch for us starts on a Monday and ends on the end of the last hour of that week, and then starts again. So that's how we can say where are we up to - on Epoch 38 or at Epoch 45 we've got to have another site. It makes life so much easier, especially in a team environment.
It was something that's been invented - epochs actually go from the beginning of your life from zero, the first second. You can do it in that way as well. I just found a lot of companies out there using this type of thing, because I examined some companies that have been very successful in the systems that they use and I found this was a really easy one to get on board with. Also good for setting goals. You can say, ‘In the next two epochs I've got to do these four things.’
Growing up in a somewhat an isolated area, Byron had a fun childhood.
I grew up in Sydney, on the Northern Beaches. So I used to go boating one day or surfing the next day. The very remote area though, because there was no train and the bus took an hour to get into the city. So it was one of those places - really fun place to grow up but I never really got that close to the city, so it almost felt like I was in a country town and people who live in the Northern Beaches, down in the very far end, would know that feeling.
During his education, his thirst for learning propelled him into a school that would instil strong discipline.
I’ve always been a bit of an overachiever, so I needed a lot of support for my whole life. So what's happened is that I started off going to local schools down in those areas, but then really didn't get the guidance that I needed for what I wanted out of life, especially in education. About halfway through high school, my parents realised that the teachers weren't really performing to what I needed - especially when I was really into computer studies and economics and so, they put me into a military school. That means that you have military service for a period of that and you’ve got to go three days a week to a school in full military outfit.
I went there for the computers and economics teachers and that type of stuff and it was quite a hard test to get into. But coming from that military-type exercise really taught me to be very diligent and to be problem-solving, because there's no such thing as problems in the military, it's just the solution. So I think that made a big difference in my life.
This gave him the opportunity to enter into the Australian Army, however...
When I finished from the school in Year 12, I was an NCO and so they said, ‘Well pretty much all of what you've been doing, you’re qualified to come into the army.’ So I just had to have a think back then and go, ‘I think I'm a Christian. It's a bit late.’ I totally respect the army and the way that works in the military and I loved it. But I just didn't like the aspect of having to kill someone type of thing. I kind of had to think about that back then and go, ‘I don't know, there’s a bit of a moral conflict there...’
On completing high school, he spent many years in the television industry through his father’s connections. However, he was unhappy in this line of work, so Byron began searching for a new path.
My dad was in television, so I became a cameraman when I was about 12 years old - video cameraman. So I trained from about the age of eight. But it was kind of something that my dad did and I got really good at because I had a lot of influence around me. So I kind of went straight into filming and I was also a pretty famous DJ in those days too. Both of those things, I think a lot of people look at the media industries and think there’s a lot of money in it. There's a lot of expenses in it, so it's not really a career that I think I could use to make massive amounts of wealth really - all the people underneath it seem to do all the work.
I was a DJ for about five or six years. Then I got serious, ‘I can't stay up at night and party all my life,’ so I stopped and then really heavily got into doing filming on television. And that was 20 years. I'm in my 40s now, so I changed my career to property about 9-10 years ago now because it was a thing where I got really good at being a cameraman and I was very good at filming sports. I'd always keep people in the frame and I used to do TV shows and other stuff as well. But people admire you when you're a cameraman you know, ‘Wow, you're in film and television! Sounds great,’ they’d get excited about it.
And I was good at my job. But the only problem was that I didn't love it. And this is a funny thing, sometimes you confuse how good you are at something and another external acknowledgement, with your internal acknowledgements. I thought, ‘Why aren’t I happy? I’m pretty good at this and everyone thinks I have a great shot.’ I appreciated having that talent, but at the same time, it just wasn't in my heart.
Little did Byron know that being a cameraman was what would lead him to shift his career into the property.
By coincidence, I had a guy called Gary and he calls me up and he goes, ‘I film these people who talk about property and this woman on stage walks back and forth from the stage all the time. I can't keep up with her, she keeps going out of shot and the guys I’m working for are angry at me because it looks really bad. You're the best in the industry for filming football players - you’ll be able to keep her in the shot.’ That's honestly how it happened.
I said, ‘Gary, I don’t really want to film someone indoors, I film sports.’ And he told me how much he’d pay me and it was four times the amount of what I got paid just doing intern. So I said yeah because as a subcontractor you chase every buck you can - that's the only way you're going to get wealthy and that type of mindset back then, just work as many hours, get as much as you can. because you never know when it’s going to dry up or when you'll get some expenses.
So then I'm filming this woman on stage teaching about asset protection, trusts and this type of thing and I wasn't paying attention, I was too busy trying to keep up with her. But then, the a-ha moment was when she started bringing students up on stage and they said, ‘This is our job, this is what we do. Then we get this property stuff on the side and we made an extra $50 000 cash this year out of doing it.’ And that was it. I was like, ‘I need to know how to do that.’ That's like winning the lotto on a scratchy or something like that, which is probably what I was doing back then. Then that was it, I went home, I spoke to Amy my partner and said, ‘I've found a pot of gold. This is what we're doing now.’
This was his first glimpse into the world of property, as it turned out there was no previous influence from his parents at all.
This is the strangest thing - Amy's parents and my parents had one house for years and years, tried to pay the thing off. It would have been principal interest loans. I remember only being in one house for a very long time and so they didn't have any real estate stuff, didn’t have any investment properties. None of the family on both sides had ever been into real estate at all. So there was no influence from it.
Byron’s journey into property investing started when he considered his true financial position.
We looked at where we were at - I wasn't even bothering doing my taxes every year, I'd kind of put them off and wait a bit longer so I knew I could just wait a bit longer to do them next year. I didn't really care about my finances, because I wasn't going to be able to get a loan anyway and I wasn't interested in it and that's a really bad place to be, where you're just living by your income coming in and just spending it. I don't even know how I got there, but that's the attitude we had back then. But there's a big confusion over properties. Number one is financing it, number two is buying the right deal. So I think the beauty of seeing that type of education from a figures point of view - how do you get loans, how do you set up certain accounting structures and why that was important first before you've got to get a property because that's an investment - really propelled us into going, ‘Hang on a second, our finances are bad. We have to get that fixed up first.’ Then we both agreed that if we could put ourselves in a financial situation where we were good to be able to borrow money, then that would be the first step of us being able to progress into this new stage. And I think that's one thing people have to look at.
This network that I ended up in has had so much support. I was just flabbergasted from the accounting side, they'd never ever wanted to sell you a property. It was different - it was like, ‘Let's just teach you the background behind accounting,’ and that's what made a difference for us. Then we did the education. I kind of hated education, I didn't go to university, so I was like, ‘Well why do I need this?’ But I realised that education was something that would help me make good decisions with more confidence. So I went and did the course, then we did our first property from there.
After taking the time to educate himself about property investments, he purchased his first property outside of Sydney. The goal was to find something that would generate positive cash flow.
I went to seminar and there would have been 300-400 people there, sat around tables and went through all the strategies, then went through all the accounting which is really great. Then they show you about different techniques you can use, you can subdivide, you can renovate and it was all positive cash flow, which we liked because we didn't want to spend any extra money paying something else - we wanted to have a positive cash flow.
The conference finished after three days. Now on the fourth day, we're out looking and trying to find that property, our first property. I'm starting to talk to an accountant and Amy’s talking to her accountant. Our first property was seven hours out of Sydney because we could only borrow $100 000 because we just weren't structured right financially at that time. We both had jobs that were close to $90 000 pay, but that doesn't mean that that money has been put in the right place, or you might make $100 000, you might have $30 000 on a credit card. That $30 000 does disappear, you've got to then make almost $130 000 to pay that off! So that was the first thing, structurally getting ourselves ready and then keep looking for that property, week after week. But the strangest thing was out of the 300 people in there, I thought that they all left the room and went straight into it. It was really strange like now I look back even a year after that, I met some people and ask them, ’Have you started looking?’ - ‘Oh no, we haven’t.’ And I'm like, ‘Isn't that what we're all meant to do?’
Then within six months we'd gone seven hours out of Sydney, used some advice from what we've been able to find out from what other people were doing, investing in, and then find that positively geared property.
Even today it's all about manufacturing growth to us. Warren Buffett says, ‘Price is what you pay, value is what you get.’ So that's always stuck in our heads right from the start, that whatever we do we are going to manufacture it. We've got to pull out more money than we put in.
So that's where we went seven hours out, found a property that was on a double block, which means that there's a block of land attached to the house. We renovated the house, subdivided it, had a spare block of land, reevaluated it, brought up some equity and that's better-manufactured growth. To make it even better, we got a house that we could cut in half, we cut that house in half and moved it 100 km down the road to where we were. Say 10 years old - which was good for a country area - and put it back together, but that on that spare block land and then we had two rental properties, both positive geared and two houses.
In the midst of all this, disaster struck, forcing Byron to approach his property investing goals from a different angle.
In the space of the first nine months that something really bad happened to me. I went to do paintball and it was kind of like an Army version of paintball, you go up and down hills that type of stuff, so it's a bit more serious than the average one. I twisted my right leg to a degree where it all shattered. I shattered the whole of my right leg from my knee down, so it wasn't just as simple as putting it back together but it was like well you don't have bone here in there, so a rod was put in it and I was disabled for a year. I wasn't going to be able to put any pressure on it - I'd have to learn to walk again because it wasn't a natural bone, from top to the bottom. And that was the end of my filming career pretty much, but we'd had that first property, so we'd already started there. I was in bed and I'd had to stay there for at least three months before I could start rehabilitation. Amy put a laptop on my chest and said, ‘Well I'll work and maybe try to get some extra money in and you can do this property stuff.’ So that's how it happened.
I found more deals that we could possibly buy with our income, that's when we put out the JB partners and that's what really has made us quite a success in the industry today - that from the start of it, we were forced. Not only that we could only get a property for under $100 000, but we made that work by being able to create two properties, two positive incomes and have now two properties within one year, which is what most people don't get. This set the equity up so we had another $70 000 equity we could pull out of that, which would be the immediate deposit to be able to put into another buy that we did. But it still took us two years to get our borrowing capacity up to where we could afford something so that we were finding stuff that was around $500 000 that we weren't able to borrow into yet - so that's when we got the JB partners on board.
We did the same thing again and again - found blocks of land where there was intrinsic value in the house on it and we would subdivide the land and in this case, just build new properties on those spare blocks of land.
Being young and naive, Byron undertook the renovations on his first property himself - with the aid of a very small paintbrush!
The first one we did the renovations ourselves. We knew nothing. People know me as a paintbrush guy. I got up on the roof, we had a very small paintbrush - I think it was two centimetres wide - because I'd never done it before but it can't be that hard to paint something, because we thought the roof needed painting because it was just red and rusty. But I went down to the local hardware store, just a city boy kind of thing, going, ‘Where’s the paint, where’s a brush?’ He just points me, ‘There's a brush,’ and I just thought, there's a brush, I didn't look any further. I'm quite tall so maybe I didn't see the second row down, but I just picked it up. That's it. I suppose it’s like shopping for a new car, if you don’t know anything about cars, you just know the options.
So I didn't do too much renovating and she was in marketing and stuff, so we did our best. I got up on the roof and it took me two days painting a whole roof with a two-centimetre paintbrush.
The amazing story indeed!
When I think about it, I think ‘Yeah I'm glad that it's a funny story, but there are two sides to the story.’ One side is ‘What an idiot. You could’ve used a bigger brush.’ But the second side of it is, ‘You give me something to do and I'll get it done.’
The renovations on the first property were limited by budget, however with discipline and hard work he managed it. But from there on out, he decided to hire other people to complete necessary renovations for him.
From there, we had a budget, we had $5 000, that's it. We did all the work ourselves every day. So that place could have been 100 years old, who knows? When we bought it we did all the work on that ourselves. Imagine this: you've got a job. Friday night or Friday straight after work, your girlfriend met you at your work with all the stuff for the weekend, you drive seven hours to a country town, you get there past midnight. You run inside, you have some sleep, you wake up at the crack of dawn, you start renovating and on Sunday at 5:00 you've got to drive back because you have to start work on Monday. So that happened in seven weeks and that was hard.
Then the place next door, we hired people. They went somewhere, they picked it up, they put it there and then we just told them what to do. We did a little bit of painting and laid some lawn and that, but the amount of effort is what resonates with me today. People like renovating, there's nothing wrong with it, but there is so much effort for the reward sometimes - there's no definite what you're going to get for it, at the end of the day no one would say, ‘I'm going to get the amount.’ It is a lot of time out of your day and a lot of time away from your family, I think people kind of don't look at that time and how it affects it.
So it was five times the amount of equity increase on the one that we got everyone else to do the work. Then the one that we did all the work. So from that point forward, we were like, ‘No I’m not lifting another brush. If I can make this work, we are paying someone else to do it and managing them. Have a system and make sure I get systemised, then that's what I want to be doing.’ So any reno we did from there on was us managing it and that's the secret behind renovation - don't lift a finger yourself, just buy the property that you're going to get a nice chunk out of it while you’re doing it.
What we do now develop properties straight from the land up because the amount of time vs reward is so much more. If you just do a property for wealth and you're not doing it for your ultimate passion or the love of renovating, then why not do that?
The hardest part of Byron’s property investing journey was not knowing what he was doing when managing his first property.
The very first property was really hard because it was very cold out in that country town and we didn't know we were doing - that was the hardest thing. But then when we put the other property on the other block of land, we figured out our strategy from then on. We've had quite good outcomes because we had very systematic solutions. I think you can stuff up heavily if you put all that reliance on yourself and don't have a team of people that have done it before, professionals around you. When we try to do everything ourselves, you often fail, or you learn a life lesson and go, ‘Well maybe I should be managing this.’
So from then on, I think I have been disappointed some times that I didn't go hard enough on that property. But the experience has been good - I've seen a lot of people make mistakes out there and I suppose I've been guided by that too. I see people get into certain patterns where they don't see the value in using tonnes of people, or just being a bit smarter and losing that total emotion behind the property and just going back to numbers. So there aren’t really any bad experiences.
With the 80-20 rule, I think it also works in that 20% of deals aren't going to work and 80% are. From both sides, I don't expect that everything is going to go perfectly - 20% of what you do is not going to go perfectly. But it's your ability to be able to problem solve it with five different scenarios of how you can get out of it. That will make you so much more powerful in the future. So people get stuck out and give up on property if they have challenges.
I suppose the worst thing is when I put in a skylight with a team and it leaked. People came along to inspect that property to buy it and they walked into the property in this big puddle of the grout. I thought, ‘Now they're not going to buy it.’ But straight away, I stepped up and said, ‘Get these guys out here and just fix it.’ Water is one thing that you’re going to get on every property. But water does not like being outside.
So you're going to have these things happen and sometimes you don't even know why, but you’ve just got to trust the universe that you're a good person, you're doing this for the right values.
As he has become more successful in his property investing ventures, Byron has also made a point of putting money back into the community where it’s needed.
Every company we've done, we've been very successful. We've been able to pull money out of that, use it for replacing our income, but also help other communities out there around the world that have a need to be helped. So they're not being helped by anyone else. So I think when we drove from that point of view of where we started to make a profit, we said they were going to take a certain percentage and now share that out somewhere else, which is just our moral upbringing. It's kind of something that we've thought, ‘Whatever challenge we're having it's happening for a reason.’ Because at the end of the day, we always try to do our best by our JB partners and be very fair - which is a big word. Also, use that wealth for more than just yourself. If you're out just to make money out of this real estate game, you're not going to make money. But if you're out to be successful at everything you do in real estate, you will make money.
The moment where everything clicked for him was when he discovered a great property and found a strategy which would catapult him to success.
When I got into doing property development, that's when we looked at what we just built - two properties in Leichhardt in Sydney, duplexes - and they were brand new, built right from the bottom up, knocked down the place and built two next to each other. Very expensive build, one of them actually got bought by Boys Town which is now called Yourtown or something. So it was a lottery one, that was so good. When we looked at that, Amy and I spent about 10% of our time on that property and the profit was so much more than anything else we had ever done. But it was a smart buy and the right system that we used behind that. That was our a-ha moment because we were like, ‘That's it. That's what we're doing now. We're going to find the best mentors we can and we're going to look at property developers out there because this is a so much better way to do it.’ Because we knew that by the time we finished this property, or even with the property now the pre-sales are good, you can see the profit in there, because you're increasing the value of the product. That's where you end up with. You don't start unless you do that. And that was a hell of a lot better than being in this moment before, where you might renovate something, you might do something else, and you never quite know what the value of that property is going to be at the end. When you build something brand new, you're automatically building at a 20% margin of the value it would be worth afterwards which is in manufacturing that. That's where everything changed.
The most successful people are in the BRW rich list. They're not property investors, they're property developers. They don't leave properties alone. They're not just going to a buyer’s agent and saying, ‘What should I buy for positive cash flow?’ They’re manufacturing properties or actually building into it, so even if you just build one house, that's property development.
How To Build Over $28 Million in Development Projects with Jason John Byron
So what held Byron back from initially investing in property?
I was quite a negative person back then. People who even knew me in business back then said that I was quite an angry person, I thought that forcing things would get stuff done and there was this whole thing off I had set beliefs. And this is what I mentor thousands of people now. The main thing that I've got to get them through is that you've got to change your beliefs to get into property development because everyone going through life as they grow up and you’ll either have a set belief that you're brought up with - it might be your background or where you grew up, or else it might be something that you've adopted that you've heard out there. My set belief was I’d finished high school, I was a cameraman, that's all I knew how to do. I had done my HSC but that's all, I didn't go to university so what else could I do? I was going to be a cameraman for the rest of my life. And that was the set belief that I had back then and then if it wasn't for me, kind of seeing someone else do something in a similar situation where they didn't have a university education or something like that to fall back on, what did they do? Then my belief would not have changed, I would still be a cameraman now.
Since then he has conditioned his mindset to consider things in a more positive light with the help of one of his mentors.
What I teach people now when I teach them about property development, the first thing I teach them is the mindset. I tell them first off you've got to put down what your weaknesses are and that's really hard because you go right down to, ‘OK, my weakness is my budgeting, my weakness is I don't know enough about this, I don’t know enough about that.’ That's really hard, to admit what you're not good at. Then you put down what you're good at as well.
But from that point on I realised that my weakness was negativity - I was very negative, I’d get into something and start thinking, ‘I shouldn’t be doing this, what am I doing?’ So I found a mentor on the Internet called Les Brown. He just said things in a way that made sense that would reprogram my mind to say, ‘No, it is possible.’ So if you listen to Les Brown, he kind of instils this faith in you that says, ‘No, keep going forward. Don't stop. It'll come, just don't go back to the negative.’ So I listened to him a lot when I first started, I was having the education that was working, but listening every single morning. Then I wrote down my weaknesses and made a plan to tackle those weaknesses. That's very much what it was, it was a plan, ‘Who do I need? What do I need to do? And then this week I'm going to be doing these things to get better at that particular issue, that I had to get better at.’
With a background in media, Byron found it natural to become attuned to negativity. However ultimately, he discovered that he needed to make that change to his mindset in order to succeed.
I was in media for 20 years - I've been media trained and been with reporters and done television shows and a lot of news and that - and the first rule of media is that bad news is good news. Good news is not good. So you look for fear and things that are negative because that gives people a chance to complain about it; no one is going to complain about someone that did something good. So it's just a natural way that we're kind of programmed to do and it’s easy just to sit back and accept things and complain about it over and over again. Analyse problems like, ‘This guy did this, this problem is this, this guy did this,’ and not come up with solutions. That's how the world is, it’s 90% problems and 10% solutions, unfortunately.
What people don't realise is if you just change that belief, you can believe something else. There’s not total equality out there in the world. We’re still at a point where people are told that you can't do this, you can't do that, even when it comes to what we're really on about with marriage and that type of stuff. There are all these rules and so all these things happen that keep coming up for people where they're told they can't do things and that's a belief, then people just don't do it. Women are told you have to marry a rich man and that's just the craziest thing and it's just a culture thing that comes into it too that stops you making decisions to change things - and you just go with the pack. So that's where I had to say, ‘Hang on a second, I'm just being negative for the sake of being negative. I've got to look at everything from a positive angle,’ and instead of me saying, ‘I can't find the property,’ I've got to say, ‘I haven't found one that's stacked up for me to be able to progress forward to the next level. But I'm going to keep looking, I know it's out there.’
The best advice he has ever received has allowed him to adapt his goals according to what he has already achieved.
I think it just comes back to doing what I'm doing now with development. If you suddenly get better at something, then you need to scale up. Don’t underestimate your talents. I had someone tell me once outside a conference, look at Amy and myself and say, ‘What are you guys doing? You're fantastic at doing this, you've already done one house, two houses, three houses. Why not go into moving up into development, what's stopping you?’ And I suppose it was a fear and uncertainty and thinking that you need all this money and you really need no money for development because that's what investors want. They want a brand new product where you just knock down the land, build something brand new and have a 20% margin. That's easier to find a JV partner for that than it is to do any other type of technique. So we were just kind of using that as an excuse that you need lots of money when it's the total opposite. That's the best advice I've been given, don't underestimate yourself. You've got to this stage, what are you holding back for?
When thinking about trying property development, everyone has to start somewhere. Byron says it’s easier to break the process down into manageable steps.
I use this thing called a proven track record when I teach people about stuff. I say that you’ve just got to look for people out there that are doing whatever technique that you're interested in and try to find the best person that's doing it. So you go right to the top, so I went to Meryton to have a look at how they did it. I don't want to build the type of stuff that they built, but I looked at what techniques are they using to be able to do what they do, then break it down to someone that's just done a duplex or a fourplex, or something like that.
You look high at the biggest achievement and then go down. When I looked at it I said, ‘Well these guys have systemised - they run it like a business, where it's a system that you've got to go through.’ So it's the same thing that I do now. I look at it and go, ‘OK. Let's break this down, it can't be that complicated.’ If they started from the same place I did, which is the same as Harry Triguboff, then what’s my fear? Everyone started from somewhere but our fear is when we look at the big picture and don't break it down into a process.
On learning more about how to succeed in property development, Byron says that it’s about implementing an effective method, across the board in order to guarantee investors of your feasibility.
There's this defining line and that's property investor or property developer. The most successful people are in the BRW rich list. They're not property investors, they're property developers. They don't leave properties alone. They're not just going to a buyer’s agent and saying, ‘What should I buy for positive cash flow?’ They’re manufacturing properties or actually building into it, so even if you just build one house, that's property development. So I think you need to change your mindset from, ‘Am I an investor, or do I want to develop properties? Do I want to do stuff to add value to them?’ That's what investors want. They want to see if someone is going to JV with me, they want to go into a deal with me, they want to see that I've already got some way be able to buy it for a certain price and add value to it. So at the end of the day, the value of the product is actually more. Even with renovations, I find it very hard to give that investor assurance.
So when we looked at JVs, we had to break down our whole system for them and showed them who was the people behind us, what was in our analysis, what was our comparables to show this area would actually work that way? And we kind of branded ourselves in a way to say, ‘This is who we are, this is our crew. These are the people we use, this is our feasibility.’ We always do an information memorandum, which is a document that just breaks it down for them and that's what an investor wants to see. It's really not about you it's about what can you present to them. You've got to prove yourself in this world. I think a lot of people just wait for that investor to come along, that JV partner with all the money, then try and find the deal. It just doesn't work. You need to find a deal and back yourself up, almost like a business plan.
Like a business proposal to the bank, kind of thing.
And that's been our success every single year for the last nine years. We've been in a JV and that's what's got us to where we are today. That's where we were able to retire and just do property almost like as a hobby, because it wasn't our be all and end all if we stopped doing this we wouldn't have any cash flow to live. We've got property investments that we've developed now that are fine, they’re going to be there for as long as we keep them and they're chugging along with good.
But when we started to be able to do joint ventures, every year we knew that we were doing it for ourselves and at the same time, we were going to manufacture growth out of the property, split that with the joint venture partner. So that means that every year, I'm guaranteed of having cash flow as a chunk as well. Then we get up to the stage where we can do 3-5 investors at once because if we systemised - and this is what people need to start thinking about - what's the most successful restaurant franchise in the world?
McDonalds. Does McDonalds have a system?
And I mean everyone knows that. And do you look at McDonald's and think that they lose money?
No, definitely not.
You wouldn't mind being left McDonald's tomorrow, right?
Yes, of course.
But what if I said I’m going to leave you a fish and chip shop?
There's no guarantee.
You'll be a little bit worried like I don't want a hassle, but the reason why McDonald's just works is that it has a need, and this is actually the same with property development, I break it down to people very simply. The need of McDonald's is yummy burgers, fast food, in convenient locations. The system is the actual McDonalds franchise, what they've set up. They've copied it and the process is using that system to make the burger. I didn't do anything different from McDonald's, neither does Harry Triguboff, neither does Gina Rinehart, neither does the prac guys with Busy Recycling. They all have a need. So my need is people want affordable, classy, brand new dwellings that are close to amenities and convenience - and that's townhouses or units. They'll always need that, so I've just got to find out whether they need it the most.
So what is Byron’s system that he utilises in his own business?
My system is something that I teach people now, which is really the true part of our success, which is we break development down into 12 stages and like I told you about the epochs right. If I'm up to stage 4 in our development, then I know I've got that system up to stage 4 then I can start another development and go back to system one and keep it going. So then the system turns into a process; the process ends up building a finished product. And that's what I think people need to understand, as a property developer you are the same as most successful companies in the world and that's why they're successful.
As a property developer, I have a system that other people work in and I produce money. The same thing that the most successful people have is systems, where other people work in their system. So you’ve got to figure out are you working in someone else's system to make money? Think about it, sometimes your job is that you're working in someone else's system and you’ve got to figure out how to overcome that and why you’re not getting forward. The smartest people have developed a system as I have - I get 75% of the work done by people working in my system. I do 25% of it, but I have that system and I know how to run that system and the processes that all those teams of people have to go together to produce my product at the end of the day, which is always in need. And it’s a lot easier to produce a product that people need than something that you've got to try to put out there and hope that someone will buy it. That's why I love doing what I do.
Setting goals is something that has become an ingrained personal habit for Byron, which in turn has aided him on his route to success.
The habit very much goes in making a yearly goal. So our annual priorities say that we want to get this many developments happening this year, then we break it down into quarterly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals and weekly epochs. An epoche is what we could be up to within 52 weeks of the year. So a lot of planning is behind it. But then we will use our system behind us to know exactly what stages have to happen within that stage and what the person that's doing the construction has to be up to at that stage as well. So if I'm following that system the whole time, then I actually feel a lot more confident that even if I've got issues, I know how to solve them because I know what's happening next. And I kind of work backwards. That's our monthly program and then I can go and have holidays because I get to a stage that I can get someone else to follow that system and it's not all in my head. That's what we've done now, we’ve employed people that do the minor work and we're just the big thinkers of doing acquisitions and that type of stuff.
Considering future prospects in terms of investing and developing he utilises fundamentals which help him identify the right property and the right area, they also create a product that is in demand.
I've got developments within 6km of all the capital cities I look at. So that's where I find the highest demand for my product, that's what I like. Where we're developing at the moment, I came up to Brisbane four years ago because my parents were getting close to a very old age and so within one week we left our place in Sydney, packed our clothes, left all our furniture in our house, moved up here and started doing property development straightaway We had that luxury of being able to do that and we had JV partners that would finance it for us. So we ended up in Brisbane because my parents were up here and I said to Amy, ‘We're married now, but I don't really know my parents enough. I haven't spent that much time with them.’ Because they moved when I was 18 up to Queensland so I didn't properly see them for a good 10-15 years. So I said, ‘I don't want to lose that part of my life with them.’ So she said even though we're doing stuff in the city in developing, we're going to come up here.
Now the cool thing about property development and what I teach is target strategy, it's certain things that I can tell you exactly where to find that property. The biggest thing people say is, ‘I can't find the property, I can't find a deal.’ With property development, it works backwards. You can use targeting to target exactly where it's going to work. So you can give me any state and I can tell you exactly where to go to build that townhouse or that unit development that will work. And I purely go back to my demand - people want convenience, people want to be in an area that they can access to work within a decent time frame. They want access to fast food, they want access to infrastructure, they want access to cafes and entertainment. So that's where we do this big analysis, I teach people how to do it and then we nail down and go, ‘That's where you're going to do it.’ So I teach people all around Australia how to do it and it works over and over again. And that's what the smart developers know. Even the big guys, you look at them - they'll always be close to several points of infrastructure, or cafes, or districts that service the need of the people that want to be there. So the product, eventually you're going to sell it because you're servicing that need in that area.
Now when it comes to media, the biggest problem people do is they read magazines and they trust what they say. Now getting back to my history in the media, it's very easy to get facts and write factual stories. But there might not be the actual story behind it, it’s a factual story and that's very different. So I can tell you a factual story now is that I knew here's an area where it's had 25% growth in one year; surely that means that you should be going into this area. Anything that happened there was rezoned.
That changes things.
So what's the story behind it? This is the whole thing, so when you become smart is when you stop listening to everyone out there, or you take hints about certain things but then you go back and you use fundamentals which is what we teach and go, ‘Hang on a second. Let's just look at what areas people need to be in, first?’ When you’re developing that's really easy because you actually just create the product that they're actually demanding the whole time.
Byron also explains that as a developer, there are needs as a service provider to create a growth corridor in a certain area.
The biggest tip I can give for property developers is our job is so much easier if we're doing property development than anyone else's, because we have all these grants that happen for brand new properties; we have a natural influence for people to be able to borrow more for a brand new property or get a higher yield for a brand new property. But then we have these things that the government do call growth corridors and you can Google them in every single state, they’ll show you where those growth corridors are and that's where the government councils say, ‘Property developers, we actually need you! We would like to help you.’ Because you think about it, no matter where you live you'll know a growth around you. That's where the government says, ‘We're going to spend all the money on the infrastructure.’ That's where that area is going to become beautiful in the future. We're going to spend all our money in there because we want a growth corridor.
Now a growth corridor means high density. That's what growth is - what do we build? Medium to high-density products. So they want us there because they want that area to have more people in it and they will support it 200%, but guess what? The government and the councils can't do it. They don't build high rises in townhouses or units, so they actually need you. This is the best thing, I can sit down with the council and go, ‘Where do you want me to go and where are you going to help me?’ ‘Now can you go here, because we need this density here to be double.’ The only way I can double the density is to do more on the block of land. So that's where it's going to get rezoned.
So if Byron were to meet his past self from 10 years ago, what would he say?
I think I'd say don't be afraid to go and do some education. I think that's the biggest thing. Just because you didn’t go to university, or just because you didn't know exactly what you wanted to do in life, the more you try different things out that you're interested in from an educational point of view, it will come to you. All my friends went to university and none of them is doing what they did their degrees for in a university. What they eventually got to is that they used the university as an education platform to go, ‘Actually this is what I thought I was going to do, but I heard about this and I want to do this now.’
So there’s plenty of short courses on this and that, so just go and explore it. How do people make money? I don't care what industry it's in, but you have to go along and spend some time on yourself and say even if it's going to cost you money, if you're spending it on yourself there's no problem - and I don't mean buying clothes, I mean spending money on your brain.
How much money do people spend at university, sometimes up to $60,000? If they're scared to go and spend $2,000-3,000 on some education - even if you just pick up one point out of it. Don't go in the spruikers’ ones where they just try to sell you properties or stuff like that because if it's just to sell property, there's no education and that's when you should be leaving those seminars straightaway, asking for your money back. And they'll all give you your money back. Most of the good ones out there, if you’re not happy with it, they’ll give your money back straight away. So what's stopping you from doing it?
If you wish to connect with Byron or attend one of his seminars, you can reach out to him via social media.
I think the brilliant and easiest way is just Jason John Byron on Facebook. Just become my friend and then see what I do; I share stuff on there and you know, social media has been a great board for me to do that.
If you're interested in property development we call ourselves Property Developer Success. So that's exactly what we lead from success, right? So it’s just www.propertydevelopersuccess.com.au and you’ll find information there. Anyone can ask me questions and anything like that, I'm happy they give them some direction.