Building your Commercial Property into High Investment Yields
With a host of Real Estate Talk, Kevin Turner, you’ll discover how a fruitful career in radio broadcasting and a passion for property led to the creation of his successful real estate podcast and learn how you can buy, hold and review your way to a better property portfolio in 2018!
Accidentally stumbling into real estate on holiday in the Sunshine Coast, Turner will share how skills learned from past jobs can translate to a new career, how the property market has changed over the years and why it’s always important to stick to a strategy
With a host of Real Estate Talk, Kevin Turner, you’ll discover how a fruitful career in radio broadcasting and a passion for property led to the creation of his successful real estate podcast and learn how you can buy, hold and review your way to a better property portfolio in 2018!
Accidentally stumbling into real estate on holiday in the Sunshine Coast, Turner will share how skills learned from past jobs can translate to a new career, how the property market has changed over the years and why it’s always important to stick to a strategy.
Turner is a seasoned real estate agent and radio broadcaster and the voice behind one of Australia’s most respected property podcasts.
I’m a licensed real estate agent, have been for quite a number of years, started in radio and I’ve got a broadcasting background as well as a real estate industry background. I’ve managed radio stations, been a radio announcer. I’m a licensed real estate agent, have owned a number of offices both in Australia and New Zealand. I operated as a general manager for about a dozen real estate offices in Christchurch. We had staffing of about 120 people so just bought experience in both broadcasting and in real estate be able to bring both sides together with our podcasts, where we do a podcast every week for consumers in Australia and New Zealand; just giving them tips on where they can buy, what’s happening with the market, what market movements are.
Then in addition to that, we produce also a daily podcast for real estate agents. We’ve got about 61,000 agents in Australia and New Zealand online with that each morning and we just give them a seven-minute charge. Tell them what’s happening. What other agents are doing, what’s working and what’s not working. So basically our whole business is all around educating people both as buyers and sellers but also as agents and how they operate in the market.
So what does he actually do in any given day?
Just producing! We produce all of our podcasts and we do all the content ourselves. And that’s pretty much what I do – just talk to investors, talk to commentators, talk to real estate agents and produce content. We’re a content provider.
The Internet has allowed Turner to combine his background in real estate with his passion for broadcasting.
My background is in broadcasting so I particularly enjoy broadcasting, we do a lot of television work. We do work for Sky TV, a lot of the commercial stations will provide them with real estate content – so our niche is real estate. That’s all we do. We don’t do anything else and we just provide content to different media outlets both written, in audio and in video.
We outsource a lot of our work so we’ve got a team overseas in the Philippines as well. But largely it’s myself. We have a producer. So we’re a pretty small, tight team. We do a lot of it ourselves. We outsource a lot of our production, so we need a camera crew. We recruit from outside.
He describes himself as a cautious person, who initially came to invest by accident.
I’ve always enjoyed the property, even my days when I was managing a radio station. So my first foray into property investment was a unit on Bribie Island and we were holidaying at the time. Typical ice cream, liquor, walking around thinking ‘You know, this is a nice place to holiday, sort of a nice place to have an investment.’ Totally wrong scenario of course but that’s how a lot of people start. That’s how we started. We then compounded that by buying a block of land thinking that would be a good investment, which it wasn’t. So, accidental.
I learnt from my own mistakes. I’m a cautious investor, so we don’t only invest in real estate. We primarily invested in real estate, but our major investment is in our own business so that absorbs a lot of our funds right now. That’s how I describe myself.
Turner relives memories of growing up in Queensland and how the real estate industry has evolved in the years since then. And his past experiences have provided him with important skills which he still uses today!
I was born in Ipswich, grew up in Toowoomba, I went to school in Toowoomba. Studied radio at a radio station in Toowoomba called 4GR which is still operating. From there, I went into broadcasting. My first job was in North Queensland in Mareeba, at 4 AM, where I stayed for a couple of years then moved back home. I was fortunate enough to get a job back in Toowoomba at 4AK, which is the opposition radio station from the one I learned at, was quite interesting.
From there I moved down to 2GB in Sydney, then out to 2GN in Goulburn and back up to 4TO in Townsville. So primarily they were the radio stations that I worked at. And then after that, I left radio and went into real estate in 1988 and started at Ray White Paddington. And I’ve effectively worked in real estate until probably about 2010, I guess? Or 2009, something like that. And then I got into full-time podcasting education. So that’s pretty much what I’ve done.
Wow that’s so cool! What was the change like from radio into real estate? Because it is a big career change to go from those big stations such as to 2GB and 4CH and so forth. So you’ve actually gone from radio into real estate. What was the reason behind the change?
Well, for me it was fairly natural because one of the things that we did in radio was that, as the manager of the radio station, we had to have a very close link with the community. One of the people that I had a very close link with was a real estate agent who owned a railway office in Townsville at the time and we had an advisory board. We used to meet once a month. The mayor, the manager of a local building society and the real estate agent myself would get together and just toss around ideas on what was working, what was happening in business, what was happening in the city. I just had a bit of a passion.
I’ve always enjoyed real estate and having spoken to him about it. He gave me an introduction. That’s how I first started my first job with Ray White in Brisbane, so he basically paved the way for me. So it was a bit of interest. I guess a bit of a transition. I had at that time gone as far as I felt I could in radio – which is probably correct too because there were a lot of management changes, ownership changes back in those days. And in the late 80s, I was around the time of Christopher Skase and people like that who were buying and selling networks and I guess I just got a bit sick and tired of all the management changes and decided it was time to do something different. The other reason we moved to Brisbane was that our kids were at the age where we wanted them to go to university, so we brought them down to Brisbane and they eventually went through and did their degrees and so on so it was a mixture of professional interests and also personal interests. That’s why we moved here and we’ve been here ever since 1988.
Moving from his hometown, interstate, allowed Turner to gain more experience in a larger radio station where he moved up the corporate ladder.
I was very, very young when I started 2GB. I was the manager of what they call Inter-Station Services. I can’t remember the exact year, would have been about… I’m giving away a bit here but 1972, something like that. When we moved to Sydney, it might have been ‘74 I can’t remember. Well, we were still very young kids were very young. Opportunity to go and work at a great radio station which was and still is.
I was the manager of Inter-Station Services and Special Events, which meant I was looking out for the dissemination of Macquarie News for Australia, and also used to travel around to all the special events to do the Hobart yacht races, all the sporting events. We’d organise coverage of those, so it was a great job. And that led to my first management role in radio which was out of 2GN and in Goulburn, which once again was an absolute delight – a great community and a wonderful learning experience.
From there, he took his experience in broadcasting and created his successful podcast.
So I guess those things sort of follows you through. You learn a lot. Like life is a transition you learn from your experiences, you grow on those and when I look back I’m a printer by trade, actually going way back before my radio days. I was a printer, had a machine compositor pre-offset days, and so I learned a lot about lead compositing and layout and design which I guess you still use even though these were many, many years later – 50 odd years later – and you’re still using those skills that you picked up then in layout and design. So that’s the way life goes. You learn from experiences and you find one day that you going back on something you did maybe 10, 15, even 20 years ago that you’ve learned from that experience.
Turner’s interest in real estate were not influenced by his parents, but more of an accident.
My parents weren’t into real estate investing, although having said that in their later years they did actually buy a holiday house but that was for their own use. They never ever let that out. So that just became part of their estate I guess. No, they weren’t really into investing. But you know understanding back in those days in the 60s and 70s people didn’t do that. I remember we first bought our first home, Karen and I. The banks even frowned on us holding onto it as an investment. They wanted us to sell that so we could buy another house in the next location.
So you get to understand that in those days in the 60s, people didn’t invest in property all they did, but it wasn’t the norm like it is nowadays. It was only in the 70s when people started to accumulate property as part of their portfolio. So I’ve got to say no, I learned that it goes back to what I said earlier. I describe myself as an accidental investor because I basically fell into it. There was no education similar to what we have nowadays, with courses that can show you how to renovate or shape out of mine. Secure property. It just wasn’t done in those days.
Yeah, I can see and I remember having a conversation with Jan Somers, saying very similar things back in the 70s. A lot has changed since then. With your wealth of experience and hers combined together – gosh, you can tell that a lot has changed in the industry.
Yeah it has too, and I think a lot’s changed for younger people. You know we hear a lot of young people complaining about how difficult it is to get into property but they also have to understand that in the days when we were getting into the property we didn’t have superannuation. Superannuation’s only been a recent thing on the investment landscape. Whereas young people nowadays have the benefit if they can get into the property, they have the double whammy; they’ve got a good nest egg coming their way through superannuation. But at the same time, they’re able to build a property portfolio. My superannuation is my property. We’ve actually got some property in our superannuation fund but that’s my super. I don’t have a big nest egg that I can retire with. So it’s changed in many, many ways.
As Turner shared with us earlier, his property investment journey began accidentally when he was swept away by a holiday destination.
The first property we purchased was a unit on Bribie Island, which is just a nice little area north of Brisbane, and just north of Brisbane and in Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast – it’s a holiday destination. We purchased a unit there which was waterfront. Quite a good investment to be quite frank, but we were undercapitalized at the time so we went out on a fairly low budget a low deposit, which means it wasn’t positively geared. We ended up having to sell it. We sold that about, I think, two years into our own so we didn’t really make too much out of that.
My second property was a block of land that we purchased. Once again it was at the same time when we owned that unit. That’s one of the reasons why I think we got rid of the unit, as from memory we had a block of land that really wasn’t bringing us any income whatsoever, which is pretty stupid. And to sell that off we’d purchased it in an area where there was already a lot of land on the market, so we wanted to turn around and sell it and found that we were competing with all these other blocks of land. So the way we ended up moving out of that was we did a deal with a builder. We put the land in as part of the deal. He built the house on it. We held the block of land when we sold the package. We took it out the value of the block of land so it was like a partnership deal, I guess that was the only way we could move out of that box. So those early investments were really great learning experiences for us. After that we purchased a property in Sydney, we put that up as our house, it was our principal place of residence in Ryde. And this is getting back to the story I mentioned about the banks. You know if only we’d been able to hold onto that – if only, if only! The banks encouraged us to sell that so we could buy another property in Goulburn, which was never going to grow as well as the property in Sydney, of course. But anyway that’s all history, that’s all water under the bridge, you can’t cry over spilt milk.
So our investment effectively was we purchased where we wanted to live. They were in the days I was in radio. I only became a serious investor when I came to Brisbane and got into real estate and understood a little bit more about it. So I was actually working as an agent and could see how people were investing in property and what they were doing, so I learnt a lot on the ground from other investors. And then we started to accumulate property ourselves when I was selling and we’ve continued to build our portfolio. So we got we’ve got the philosophy now that we will buy and hold, we don’t sell anymore. And I think if I’d learnt that lesson, or been able to learn that lesson earlier in my life, you know. Well, as I said you can’t go back now.
He expands on his policy of ‘buy and hold’ and gives hopeful advice to younger investors who are looking to get into the market.
We have pretty much focused on the Brisbane market. It’s the market I know. I know that we talk to a lot of people who encourage others to invest. You don’t have to necessarily see it. I don’t agree with it. I don’t disagree with it. I think it’s up to the individual. You’ve got to decide what sort of investor you are, whether you are a low risk or high risk, and whether you’re willing to take chances.
I think that young people, I’m witnessing that they’ve got much more able to take risks, as you get older you become a lot more conservative I guess. You want to be sure of what you’re doing because you don’t have as many years left as you do when you were a young guy and you can take a lot of risks. And I guess looking back at our early investing days, we did take a lot of risks and a lot of them paid off, some of them didn’t. But we learned along the way. And I think there are a lot more opportunities for smart young people to get into property nowadays, take those risks and reap the benefits.
But my message to all young investors would be, you know, speculation is exactly what it’s just speculation. I think you’re always going to learn a lot more, buy and hold. The investors that I talk to, the smart ones, will buy and hold. They’ll buy well, but they’re all always reviewing their portfolio and looking for the weakest link to either improve it or to get rid of it. So I think you’ve got to continually rationalise and be flexible, but have a policy buy and hold.
Turner expresses that while he’s made mistakes, those mistakes have provided a wealth of experience by themselves.
I guess the other lesson we’ve learned is that we purchased a property – I can’t recall what year it was – but it was in hindsight a very good property, but I didn’t handle it properly. We purchased it, it was on a corner block and I’ve always liked properties on corner blocks, especially those where you may be able to have a bit of a twist and carve off a bit of area at the back.
You say you have two straight access then you might be able to just get an additional property off. Which was definitely the case with this one, that’s why we purchased it. But I made the mistake of wanting to improve it pretty well straight away, so with some of the improvements, we made we didn’t really have to make, like replacing roofing. I’m just doing cosmetic things that really didn’t add too much value. It certainly made the house, the property more substantial. But then I guess the owners further down the track once we sold it – and we did sell it – they’re the ones who benefited from that. So I think you know you’re either going to buy a property and invest it within it within a budget for a reason so that you can get additional rent from it. Or you just buy it and you hold it and then you do it up over a period of time
But you know the regret that I have with that one is that we didn’t hold on to it and we didn’t eventually develop it. So and it’s still there and hasn’t been developed and probably will at some stage. But it was one of those long term goals and that’s one of the lessons I’ve learned is that this is not a short term game, you’ve got to look at it long term, you’ve gotta have a long term plan and you’ve got to stick to a strategy. You can’t swap and change which is what we’ve done over the years. But I don’t regret that because we’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way. That’s all that’s bankable as far as I’m concerned, the wealth of experience.
Although the property had good development potential, he had no choice but to sell the property.
At the time we had to sell two properties. We needed the cash flow to put back into the business. We needed the cash. I mean you do these things at the time for all the reasons you have to do them.
Of starting out in the world of podcasting, Turner says that he realised there was a change in how people wanted to learn.
You know I actually try and have an a-ha moment every day. And I don’t want to be clever about that, but I do think that life is like that. Like I try and learn all the time from all the people I talk to, all the experiences I have. We’ve just reshaped our own business and we’re now doing a lot of outsourcing. That for me has been a major revelation to the Internet. I think probably I was at a conference – what year would that have been, probably in the year 2000-2001, something like that – when the Internet had been going but it was really starting to get a bit of traction.
I remember when I started in real estate in ‘88, I was one of the first people in our office to get a mobile phone. By then I was the first in our office to actually have a computer where I started to build my own CRM system (customer relationship management system).
So I’m not a young person but the Internet has allowed me to continue to learn to be stimulated with the things that you can do with it. [00:22:10] I was actually on a conference (and I think it was about the year 2000 or 2001) and I was sitting there thinking all these people are in this room they’ve given up a couple of days of their time, they’re all real estate agents, to come here and listen to a whole series of speakers when they could be out in the field learning so much and maybe still getting this experience from somewhere else. And that was in the days when podcasting had just started, so we were one of the early adopters. And there was a guy who was speaking at the time. I won’t mention his name because I don’t have permission to do it. But I spoke to him and I said, ‘Why don’t we look at a different way for people to learn?’
And that’s how I started with the show I mentioned right at the start – not Real Estate Talk, but Real Estate Uncut which is now the most listened to a podcast in Australia exclusively for real estate agents. And we started it back then and every day we’ve produced a podcast ever since. That for me was the moment where I thought, ‘There’s a shift here’. People are wanting information differently. They get to consume it differently and it was proven to be correct.
And despite the popularity of the podcasts, people still ask him if it’s going to last.
I guess I didn’t ever have that view that it was going to be something I would do long term, it’s just something that’s happened. The thing that I’ve learnt is that – I’ve seen many podcasts start and finish – because I’ve just got a saying that I’ll try and never start something that I don’t intend to either finish or continue with, so if I don’t see that I have the ability to continue with it nowadays don’t even start it. Because I think it takes people a long time to get used to the fact that you’re going to be doing this thing continually and we’re up to I think 400, nearly 500, weeks now of doing that show for agents and I still get people saying, ‘Is it going to last?’.
But I think when I learned this was going to be a full-time thing was when I became really serious about it and started to pour some money into it, which is what you have to do. You can’t do these things half baked. So we invest a fair bit of money into keeping it growing. Keeping it fresh. [00:24:55] Researching it. And for me that’s a full-time job, that’s what I do. That’s all I do. We have a studio and we’re working in that seven days a week producing content.
So how does he come up with this continual stream of content? He even uses repurposed content from previous years and makes it relevant and accessible to his current audience.
I can honestly tell you, I have no problem creating content. There is a plethora of information that needs to be disseminated and even I can go back four or five years and put an interview that I did four or five years ago and run it again, it will still be fresh. Because the content doesn’t really change. To give you an example, I’ve actually been to training courses where I’ve been a keynote speaker. I’ll get up and say something that I know someone else has spoken about and people will come up and say, ‘Wow that was fantastic.’
And the other speakers will say, ‘I’ve been telling them that for years.’ There is nothing new. And I think quite often we look for the next bright shiny toy or the new investment strategy – nothing’s changed. And I can prove that by going back and playing some of the segments I did anything up to 10 years ago. And some of the people I talk to, the strategies don’t change. But the only thing that does change I guess is how people mature and they learn from other people. So a list of different strategies, different strokes for different folks. There is no one size fits all.
Analysing and Building your Investment into Commercial and Property Market
In our previous episode with Turner, he shared his journey from radio broadcasting to creating a popular podcast called Real Estate Talk. So what did he learn from it?
I guess the lesson I’ve learned is that I approach it like many people, there was no plan. It was like, I’m just going to become a property investor. So the way you do that is you go out and you find a property that you want to invest and you buy it, was not quite the best way to do it. There’s going to be a strategy to it. You’ve got to understand what type of investor you are, then thoroughly research the market to make sure you’re getting the right property.
So it is all about the strategy, it’s all about the type of property that you want to buy at the particular time, why you want to buy it, how long you intend to hold on to it, what it is you’re looking for out of that property. So the lesson I’ve learned is that you really do need to plan this out and treat it like a business. It’s not a hobby. I see so many people make the mistake of saying… you know, you watch a television show like the block or something like that and it looks so easy! Go to get a property and renovate it, flip it over and they give you these figures these people have made $60 000. And people think, ‘Wow, well that’s all I’ve got to do!’ It’s just not that easy. And that’s the one gripe I’ve got about some of the shows that we see.
And look they’re all good. I enjoy watching them. But you’ve got to keep your feet on the ground and say well what did they really cost, all their labour and that… are they real figures? If it were that easy we’d have millionaires all over the place. It just doesn’t happen that way. And for that reason, I think education is the key. You’ve really got to educate yourself, you’ve got to spend money on educating yourself and you’ve got to be continually learning.
He enthuses how lucky he is to have learnt so much from property investors he’s had the opportunity of interviewing and how he is always learning something new.
I read a fair bit. I think I said in our previous podcast that I learnt a lot from the investors who I was dealing with when I was a real estate agent. And I’ve got to say to you, in later life, I’m very lucky because I actually talked to some of the best investors in Australia as part of our podcast series. Michael Yardley has been a great inspiration to me over the years. I talk to him every single week, I’m very lucky that I talk to him every week. So I’m always getting ideas from him and there are some other great investors who I speak to. So I’ve been to a number of courses and read quite a few books, but I actually draw inspiration just from the people I talk to and I’m always learning stuff.
I’m like a sponge and like you, when I talk to people I have to really listen to what they’re saying to try and understand it. And I try and put myself in the position of a listener. If someone were listening to an interview I was doing, what question would they want to ask the person I’m talking to? Because being an interviewer is not about me. I’m just the interviewer, I’m the conduit. I’m trying to get all the information out of the person I’m talking to, so therefore sometimes what I’d find interesting is what the listener would want to know. And I think the time you think you know it all is when you’ve got to get out of it, because if you’re not continually learning and asking the right questions then you’re really wasting your time.
I love it. I love that exact phrase there that you’ve said, it makes absolute sense and I think that’s the challenge that we all face, is there’s so much information out there it’s asking the right questions to be able to get the answers that you want. And it’s great that you’re able to share this knowledge, cause you are able to tap into so many great investors and minds out there who have that knowledge as well.
Some of the smartest people I’ve met and spoken to will be the first to acknowledge that it’s not knowing the answer, it’s actually knowing the right question to ask. And you’ll never ever know the right question to ask unless you’re really carefully listening to the person you’re talking to.
The best advice Turner has received about property investing is to listen carefully to what is being said and not to take it at face value.
Don’t believe everything you hear. If it sounds too good it probably is. Always be prepared to have that B.S. filter out. What are people telling you? Is this for real? The one thing I have learned is the people who will tell you that they have invested in a portfolio of 110 properties, you think, ‘Wow, I wonder how they’ve done that.’ Then you dig a bit deeper, as I’ve had to try to find out whether this is for real, and you find out that it’s not for real. They were either grossly exaggerated because maybe they’ve got low self-esteem and they tend to over-exaggerate every situation. And you also find out that they’re probably mortgaged to the hilt. You know, they would have a lot of capital in it. So I think you’ve got to listen very carefully to what people say. Don’t take it all at face value. Learn and don’t be a fool about who you listen to.
It’s also important to ask the right questions as you’ve mentioned as well because it allows you to dig deeper into other people’s stories.
Just don’t accept what they say and ask them to qualify it.
We have heard from Turner about how it’s all about asking the right questions and how he is continually learning. He’s going to share the steps of his property investment strategy.
… It’s definitely buying whole. Right now, I’ll be quite frank, we’re not in the process of buying or selling. Right now we’ve got our portfolio which we’re holding on to, we’re improving it. We’re spending a bit of money improving the properties and improving the income. And for the last couple of years going through the stage of paying in a lot of debt. So that’s the stage we’re at in our strategy, is pretty much happy with the portfolio we’ve got and paying down debt. That’s us and that’s what we’re doing right now. I’m not saying that’s a strategy everyone should use. And I think that’s the thing I mentioned earlier, is that just because I’m doing it doesn’t mean that that’s right. That’s right for us at this point in time with where we’re at in our lives. I think you’ve got to work out what’s right for you.
It’s clear that he loves his career, showing no inclination to slow down anytime soon.
I don’t plan to retire. I think I’ll probably die in the studio. [Laughter] I don’t know.
I just get such a thrill out of doing what I’m doing. I don’t see any reason why I should stop. We exercise while we look after ourselves, we eat well. We don’t over consume. We’re pretty private. We’ve got a nice family, we’re very happy doing what we’re doing. So I see no reason to change any of that.
On his personal habits, Turner shares with us what helped contribute to his property investing success, saying that careful planning is always a major factor.
I am a highly disciplined person. I think when you do the kind of job that I’m doing, you have to be disciplined. Time management’s absolutely critical.
And I think we very carefully plan what we do. And that’s pretty much what we’ve taken into the way we invest as well. Everything is highly structured. We make sure we only deal with people who we trust. We’re not afraid to go and seek outside help. We don’t manage our own properties and never have done, never will do. I just think that’s a huge mistake to make. We’ve got a good team of people we work with when we need them. So you know, I guess that they’re the lessons I’ve learned.
An avid reader, he encourages listeners to educate themselves as much as possible and recommends Michael Yardley’s books as great resources to learn more about the industry.
Anything that deals with property out there [laughs]. I don’t want to be vague about that, but I’m sitting here looking now at about 40 or 50 books because I’m pretty lucky that I get sent books all the time to review, to feature on the shows. I mentioned Michael Yardley earlier – I’ve got every one of his books and I go back over them time and time again. You know I find them as a great resource. And there is another lesson too, with Michael. I said I do talk to him quite often and while a lot of his books are reshaping of books he’s written in the past, he’ll always update them, look at what is happening.
And I think too there’s a consistency with a lot of them. You know, he has a five-strand approach to what he does. And I think he and a lot of the other smart investors I’ve spoken to will only look at the blue-chip property. They’re not high speculators, so they’ll go where they know the market is going to be good they’ll go where they know there will always be a good demand for property. And whether you’re buying as a principal place of residence, or whether you’re buying as an investment, if you buy good blue-chip property in areas where people love to live – not because it’s just cheap – then I think you’ll always do well out of it. So I know that was a pretty silly answer to your question about anything to do with the property.
But you know they’re all different and you’ll get something out of every book. I enjoy reading books about renovation, about financing, anything that’s going to make me smarter. It is a book that I love to pick up and read.
There’s so many of them.
At any point in time, I can be reading up to half a dozen books so I don’t sit down. I’m not the sort of person who sits down every morning for an hour and reads the same book until it’s exhausted. I move from books. I move my books to stimulate me if I’m getting stimulus out of it. I’ll pick it up and read it for an hour or so. But that’s how I consume books.
I will say I’ve actually found a really good program that gives me condensed books and I’m fed those. You can go in and put in the program what sort of book you like, and it learns from your reading habits and these are condensed books. You could read two or three books a day and they’ll give you the guts of the book as opposed to having to read the entire book. He also expresses his love and excitement for what he does every day and the reality of how his father had an impact on his own journey.
What gets me up every morning is I just love doing what I’m doing. You know, whether that’s interviewing people or planning podcasts or… Look it’s all about broadcasting and dissemination of information. You know I just love it. It’s not a job for me. It’s very much a hobby. Carol has to quite often come down to the studio and remind me it’s time to get up and do a bit of stretching, or go and have a glass of water, or have a cup of coffee, or time for lunch because I think when you lose that excitement in what you’re doing it becomes a chore.
My dad, who unfortunately is no longer with us, but Dad could not wait to retire. And he just hated the job that he was in. He was a schoolteacher and I think it’s such a shame too, because when he retired he only lasted maybe four or five years before he passed away, and I think that’s just such a waste to spend so much of your life doing something that you hate. And I’ve actually – you’ve probably already learned from talking to me, I’ve had a lot of jobs. I’ve had a change of career as a signwriter then I was… sorry, I was a printer. And then I went into radio and then into real estate and I’ve done lots of things along the way. So I’ve had major changes in career. But I’ve always found that to be stimulating and if something doesn’t stimulate me anymore, then I just stop doing it, because life’s too short.
Although he believes in the importance of doing something that you’re passionate about in your career, Turner explains why his father remained in a job that didn’t make him happy.
I remember Dad telling me, he wanted me to get a trade. Like getting a trade was the most important thing you did and [it didn’t matter] what the trade is, as long as you got a trade behind you, which wasn’t right of course at the time. That’s why I became a printer because Dad wanted me to. I just couldn’t wait to get out. Like I just could not wait. And in fact, I remember when I finished my trade, we had a big barbecue and I invited all my friends around and I burnt all the papers that I’d had for the four-year apprenticeship as a printer because I could not wait to get out. And at the time I had started doing a radio course at 4GR, as I mentioned earlier in the last podcast, and I just could not wait to get out and get my first job in radio, because that was my passion. So, I guess that was what Dad wanted me to do was to get that trade. And what I think I mentioned earlier that some of that, I’ve been able to use some of that knowledge. I would no more want to go back and be a printer than fly to the moon! It just doesn’t even excite me.
He compares the risks he made throughout his career to buying a house and says you need to keep an open mind and be able to adapt to change.
I think you’ve got to take those risks, you make those changes. Can I just say it’s a bit like buying a house? I know a lot of people will think – and I’ve seen this as an agent – they’ll agonise every decision about a house. It’s like it’s a life and death thing. And I’ve said to many people, ‘Look, if it’s not right if you don’t like the colour of the wall, repaint the wall! This is not a life and death decision. If you get into the house and you find four or five years later that don’t like it, you can sell it. Go find another one.’
But quite often we think that some of the decisions we make in life have to be with us forever. Well they don’t, because we change and we change as individuals, so therefore what we like today is not necessarily what we’re going to be like and what we will like tomorrow. You get to go with the moment, you seize the moment and do what it is that excites you. I don’t know that I’ll be doing podcasting for the rest of my life, but right now I think I will. But for goodness sake, I don’t know what’s going to happen. We’ve got a few irons in the fire. We’re looking at a few other projects that are bolt on to what we’re currently doing. I don’t know whether it’s going to take me. [00:18:46] So that’s the exciting part about it is that these opportunities will come your way all the time. You can’t have a closed mind and say, well I just won’t do that. I think to have an open mind and be prepared to adapt and change.
The Internet is a classic example. If you told me 20 years ago that this is what I’d be doing, I would never have believed it. But by riding a bike, if you’d told me that I could spend nearly 12 hours a week riding a bike because I enjoy it, I would just think, ‘You’re crazy. Where am I going to find 12 hours?’ But I found it and we love it. So never say never!
This episode was produced by Andrew Faleafaga with narrations and interviews conducted by Tyrone Shum.