Hosted By Tyrone Shum

Renovating A House With Naomi Findlay Shares Her Rapid Renovation Strategies

Updated 04/12/2019

Naomi Findlay the rapid renovation expert, is the CEO of her own business and author of "Renovating For Wealth". Findlay has previously co-hosted Channel 9’s series ‘Location Lifestyle Living’ and has been an interior designer expert on Channel 10’s series ‘The Home Team’. She not only teaches about renovating a house space and property styling for those who want to start a business or create wealth but she also runs events, mentors, creates tutorials, and working on her own renovation projects and shares her in life.

Join us as we talk about Naomi Findlay and her adventurous background and the influence she’s had, how from her first renovation she learned many things on a budget, how her worst investment property taught her a lesson, and much more in this episode of Property Investory.

"We could achieve anything, anything if we put the work in and we believed that was very much her party line. As long as you put the work in and you believed there was nothing, that was off the cards at all."
- Naomi Finlay

Naomi Finlay is Australia's Renovation Royalty and has co-hosted Channel 9 series 'Location Lifestyle Living' and is an Interior Design Expert on Channel 10's 'The Home Team'. She shares with us another great achievement beyond the media.

My biggest achievement is I'm a mother of four beautiful children. I run my own businesses where I get to help people all around the world either creating their own amazing renovations and teaching them how they can do it. They probably, the two big passions in my life is my family and, and the fact that I get to help people. 

Each day for Findlay is packed doing what she loves most, teaching others to achieve great results and creating new projects.

My days are full, with teachings, so I teach into the renovation space when people are wanting to create wealth renovating a house. I also teach into the property styling space for people that are wanting to start businesses or earn an income through the property styling industry. So my days are spent running events, mentoring, creating tutorials and working with people basically so they can do it they love and earn an income as well as naturally my own amazing projects that I get to work on either with clients or ones myself. At the moment there's a big focus on our new show, which we're about to start filming, which is just called psalms to fortune. And it is all about empowering everyday Australians that are all around our country, in fact in the heart of our country. And so I am really blessed at the moment.

She also shares information about her inspiration for creating her new show.

I'm traditional, I'm not a metropolitan girl. I'm a country girl. I love the country and I've always had this dream of having a homestead or having a home in the country and really uncovering it, storytelling its story, inviting people into its story. And this all evolved was towards the end of last year where I came up with the idea for this show. And it's about the fact that so many, you know, so many of the people on our land. And it doesn't even have to be someone who is, you know, a primary producer, but in regional and rural Australia, are doing it really tough. And I think that there's, there's certainly great evidence to say that they sometimes can't see the beauty that all us outside see in their properties and their outhouses and their farms. 

And then CWA holes in the main street and all of the amazing buildings around them. And it's not only about seeing the beauty in the buildings, it's about uncovering the hidden gems from a renovation and design perspective, the success in it, but also from a cashflow perspective, helping and empowering people to uncover the hidden cash flows, the hidden income streams, the endless possibilities that surround them in those properties. And that's effectively what farms to fortunes are all about is that hitting into the heart of that country and helping everyday Ozzy's uncover street renovation design and a little sprinkle of magic, the hidden treasure that they are sitting on are all around them.

Non-town dweller, Findlay resided by a lake, spending her days living a normal, healthy life.

I grew up out in the lake at Lake Macquarie, so I've always been a downtown dweller as you would say. We call them townies in Newcastle. I grew up out in the lake. I went to school on a beautiful grassy knoll that overlooked Lake Macquarie. You know, I was very blessed in my upbringing. I had a really normal everyday average, boring upbringing, blue-collar working parents. I worked hard, played sport, went to school. Really nothing notable except the amazing place I lived.

I love lake Macquarie. It's such a beautiful location still till today as well.

Oh my gosh, It is, it is just, it is amazing. It is absolutely amazing. Don't tell too many people about it.

Findlay not only got to study in her home area, she got to travel to different parts of the world for her work.

I continued to work in that space clinically. So in the health profession until I think I was 27 and then I, and I'd already started my Ph.D. I had two, I had my second on actually until I was 30. I had my second baby when I was 30, and it was just after that that I moved over to the university and started lecturing in, in the same space. And then I completed my Ph.D. And I remember carrying, you know, it's really traditional like the university system is still very traditional or it was then, which wasn't that long ago. It was only, you know, 13 or 14 years ago. And I remember carrying um cause you had to submit hard copies of your Ph.D. naturally and had to be bound and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I remember carrying a pile of them over to the chancellery to submit. And I was I think 39 weeks pregnant with my third baby and so I balanced them on top of my stomach. Which was funny. So that, that's my fond memory of my Ph.D. submitting it, kind of balancing these big tombs of five years of my brain on my stomach.

I went through high school there. I then went to the University of Newcastle where I studied medical radiation science. I worked for a little while in Newcastle and then eventually headed overseas, I was overseas for nearly four years, working mainly all around England, Scotland, and Ireland and traveling the world. To be honest, I was very lucky. There are not many continents I haven't been to. And there was something amazing about traveling as a solo female. It was empowering and exciting and just met so many amazing people. And I'm also getting to work all around the UK. I never did all of London thing again to see it was a town, couldn't do the London thing had to disturb the country thing and yeah, and It was amazing. I then came home, I got married, I went back into the health service here over in Australia. And I worked there whilst I had my first two children and started studying my Ph.D. So do my Ph.D. in education, in medical science. During that time, I then started teaching at university and eventually had my third baby whilst I was a senior lecturer at our local university. So I kind of went all around the world and came back.

The lessons she learned in travelling around the world changed the way she thinks about life after personally experiencing each country.

One of my favorite cities is Prague. One of my favorite countries would be Turkey and maybe Costa Rica. One of the most amazing continents I would say would from a transformative perspective would be Africa. My time in Africa was very transformative. One of the most diverse trips I did was I flew into Panama and flew out of La and I went overland all the way through Central America. Which was that that was one of the most diverse trips for quite a small amount of land. And that, you know, it's the skinny bitch that connects north and South America. The diversity of culture and history in that really small region that was quite, profound. So yeah just so many different lessons and I think different perspectives, you know, I certainly my perspective on life from, from working in oncology’s, so I specialized in radiation oncology from working radiation oncology for, you know, nearly 15 years and getting to travel to such amazing remote places. It’s certainly, you know, it certainly a lab for me to have very different perspectives on life too if I had stayed.

Findlay felt blessed having moved from place to place in the UK that it was like a dream come true for her.

I wish I could recreate this in my own business. Well, maybe I can, I would, you know, I would work for a month, travel for six weeks, worked for three months, travel for six months. So when I travel, so, and each time I went back to work, it was in a different location. And so I never, I never stayed in the one spot, which was amazing. So I've got to, I've got to. I, when I think about it, it was amazing. I, I lived in Cambridge, I lived in Barth, I lived in Oxford. I lived in Newcastle. I lived in Blackpool, I lived in Edinburgh. You know, I lived in Leads; I've got to live in the most outrageous places. You know, pedaling my bike through the streets of Cambridge with a basket on the front, you know, and no helmet because that wasn't a thing back then in the UK, through the cobblestones late at night. You know, it’s just like, Gosh, now that I think about it. It's Kinda crazy. It's just the stuff that dreams are made of.

She was mainly working at larger hospitals and got to roam free at times traveling around the UK.

It was quite restrictive in that it was in the larger hospitals. But you know, the NHS over in the UK, there are large hospitals everywhere. It's very different to Australia. And so I was, I did have the ability to move around and you know, that was great. It was great. Every time I, every time I went back, obviously I still had no idea what I was saying cause it was, you know, going from very different accents to Scouse to Geordie to, you know, someone, Oh, I also lived in Brighton for ages, which was amazing as well. So yeah, it's just, it was absolutely amazing. It was so great to have the flexibility and it was, it was fantastic as a younger. It was fantastic that what I'd studied at university actually allowed me to do that. Like, that was, that was crazy cool.

At times Findlay likes to reflect back to the adventures she had while traveling and tell her stories to her children.

It's funny, it's only when someone that's known me back then, they'll often, you know, my eldest is just turned 16 and say they're having a conversation and you know, it might be one of my closest friends that has known me that entire time. I traveled for a little while before she went away and traveled and she will sort of say one of my kids, in front of one of my children. Hey, do you remember when? And she'll say it out loud and it's not something inappropriate. It's just something that my children are like, no way as if you do that mom. And, and I'd be like, Oh, I did, didn’t I? You know, or do you remember when you like flew into Kenya and just had a backpack? And I'm like, oh my God. Yeah, I remember that. So it's kind of, it's, I don't, I don't often sit and reflect upon it, to be honest with you. It's making me smile. I'm sitting in my big armchair, having a, having a jolly good smile

Findlay and her friend both have their own wild stories. They say they won’t tell her kids until they are much older...

One of my good friends who I met actually when I was over the traveling I was talking to her yesterday and um and she, she too knows all my stories. And she has her own raft of stories. And we were talking about it eldest displays, eldest is 16, and, and I said, you know, and my 16 years old made a poor choice about something. And I said, you know, I can’t be that harsh on him because he knows I've made that poor choice previously. And she said to me, are you crazy? What were you thinking? I'm not telling my daughter anything. And I'm like, yeah, no, I've, I've shared. So, so yeah, she's like, no, no, I'm waiting until she's at least 30 to share those stories. So, so yes, I do share some, not all of them with them.

Her kids are always interested in where she’s been

Sometimes they think it looks like a movie set. I know one of my kids saw a photo of me at the fairy chimneys in Cappadocia in Turkey, and they were like is that from Star Wars?! And I'm like, well, yeah, kind of. But no, it's not the moon. It's actually the world. So it's, it's good. It's good for them too, although they'll see the Monaco Grand Prix, I'm like, oh my gosh, I've had a coffee in that shop outside that casino. And they're like, No you have not! And I'm like, yeah, I have. So yeah, it's pretty cool.

While studying to get her Ph.D., Findlay was pregnant with her second child and shares with us a funny moment during that time.

Findlay had always enjoyed teaching. She started getting fascinated by becoming a lecturer when she experienced her first time teaching a group of young adults when she was only 30 years old.

I think I have an issue with always wanting to learn. And so I didn't ever grow up wanting to be a professor or doctor or ah, I didn't ever want to, you know, I didn't grow up going, I'm going to complete my Ph.D., but I was always saying, what's next? What's next? What's next? How can I learn more, know more, do more? You know, there was always a, what's next. And I have always adored teaching. And so I never imagined, cause you know, when you’re studying at uni, you look at those lectures, with big Pi eyes going, they know so much. They’re so amazing. You don't ever imagine that you'll be one. You know, and I remember when I became a senior lecturer, I was like, I'm too young. Like I can’t call me, senior like that feels weird. 

because I think I was probably 30 when I, it was just after I got my Ph.D. back that I became a senior lecturer and, and I remember thinking, oh my gosh, so I don't, I didn't even have like a childhood. I want to be that. But it certainly whetted my appetite for the impact of amazing leadership and great teachers in people's lives without a doubt. That's where I first saw, you know, when you're teaching, I was teaching a group of, well they weren't kids, so young adults, they were, you know, 18 to 21. I was teaching them how they were going to care for people who were battling cancer. And to me, that was a very, you know, big responsibility role. Like not only from a technical perspective but for as humans. How they needed to present in that space and how they needed to be in that space. And that was one of the first times I think that I maybe got that taste for wow. They get it all. Seeing that transformational saying that pennies drop and seeing their relationship as they see, what they can then do to help others. I think that that was probably where I first got that, that that buzz, that drug was probably in the university system.

Her passion for radiation oncology is what drove her to help others and keep it going, making sure that her students never lost touch of what was important.

It's, it was a very science-based profession being in radiation oncology for me I saw it as, it's so important to make sure that they’re humans in it as well. Like they can be as epically accurate and amazing from a clinical perspective. But I wanted to create caring humans as well and make sure that they didn't lose that side of it cause it can be very easy in the system to lose that side of it.

Findlay’s mother and father had a big influence on her from a young age which gave her the belief that anything was possible.

My dad was a mechanic by trade and my mom was an administrator by trade. And they, you know, my mom was a really traditional mom. She had my brother, you know, they got married at 18. My brother was born at 19 and I was born at 21, you know, really, really traditional seventies family, um, very much had a hardy plank house, dad mowed the lawn every Saturday. My parents both had epic influences on me in that my dad believes that he can physically do anything. And I absolutely have that. So, you know, he'll be, you know, he'll be like, oh, the gutter needs fixing. I can do that. Oh, we need new stormwater. I can do that. And I did a lot of that with dad. Dad was, um, it’s funny, one of my personality traits in all these different ways that you can quantify your personality is that I'm a mechanic, so I, my brain works as a mechanic that it understands how to pull things down and it understands how to rebuild things better. 

Which is kind of hilarious given my dad was a mechanic, literally. And so I got that from him. I even, we recently for the Reno show, we've got a new season launching soon. Of the Renner show and I actually asked dad to come and do some of the work with me because I love working with my dad. He's like 70 something now. But he's just great because we'll be standing there, It’s so funny, we’ll be watching the footage back, I'd be standing there like two old men, like me old man one and him old man two, you know, with our, our shirts hanging out like squinting, trying to problem solve whatever it is we're looking at. And then I was watching the footage, then all of a sudden we'd both start moving and it cracks me up and every now and then I'd see him do a real dad thing where I'll go to pick up something and he'll obviously think it's too heavy for me. 

So plus 70, he'll go, no, no. And he'll pick it up, which I didn't notice at the time, but when I was looking back at the footage, it was really, really cute. So I think he's had a massive, I think he’s had a massive insolence on me from that perspective. I think that things really practically and I don't believe that something can't be done. We can work out how to, you know, we can work out how to do that. You know, it's very much that attitude and I think my mom had a big influence on me in the sense of she, I don't think believed this of herself, but she definitely instilled it in myself and my brother that we could achieve anything, anything if we put the work in and we believed that was very much her party line. As long as you put the work in and you believed there was nothing, that was off the cards at all.

Findlay shares how she started up her own business while she was teaching at the university.

I actually studied design whilst I was doing my Ph.D. and then when I was doing my Ph.D. and working full time at the uni, I actually started up my own design business. So I was working at nights and on weekends as well as during the day as a lecturer.

While she was constantly studying throughout her career, there was turning a point where she made a life-changing decision.

When it fills your boots, when you're passionate about it, you have an insatiable amount of energy to be able to complete it. Like a, it didn't work. It was like a dream because I was, I had an instrumental moment in my life and I've spoken about it once or twice before and I don't want any career advisors or any teachers to take offense, but I was you know, I was very artistic at school. I do woodwork, tech drawing, art, physics, high-end English, chemistry kind of thing. And I was starting year 11 and I remember my I remember his name, but I won't say it. I remember my career advisors said to me, Naomi, clever girls like you don't do those subjects. And so that was the turning point in life. I stopped art, I stopped tech drawing, I stopped woodwork and I did, you know, four-unit math, advanced physics, and advanced chemistry, advanced English and, and, you know, and that's when I ended up on this scientific track that I stayed on for a really long time. 

But what was happening is I noticed that not only did I always want to learn in my existing career I always wanted to learn something creative. So I studied, I studied photography when I lived overseas. So I, I went down to London for like a year I'd catch the train down and studied photography. And so I was constantly trying to study something that was creative. And so similarly, I started studying design when I was, you know, doing my ph - my science Ph.D. And then eventually the hankering just got way too much. And so then I started my own business and I ran them side by side until I do remember the moment I was pregnant with my fourth child and I was probably only about 30 weeks pregnant. I remember coming home one night and sitting on the doormat outside the front door and crying and my husband came outgoing, what, what are you doing? Has your water broken? What's going on? And I was just like, no, I just can't do it anymore. I just can't give as much as I want to give to both worlds anymore. And, and that's when I made the decisions to take an extended leave from the uni and go full time into my business.

Findlay started out with renovating the properties she bought before she made the decision to go off on her own.

It was actually just before I started design that I did my first renovation. And so after baby number two, I did my first reno on my own place and that was the starting point. And then it was property. I'd buy some properties, I'd renovate them to lease them. And then eventually once I'd got enough growth admin, I would liquidate them. So we've had different strategies in our portfolio over the past, you know, over the past 14 years, all different strategies. And that's when it was real, so I'd started on some of my own stuff and then once I made the big decision to leave the university, that's when I really started to keep volume. Not only with my own but with other people's renovations as well.

The home she first renovated was on a budget and she explains what she did.

It was really unexciting on reflection. It was a brick and tile home and an original kind of AB Jennings rectangle box. You know, with the traditional living room at the front, L-shaped dining that wrapped around the kitchen and had a Queensland room. Do you remember the Metal and Mesh Queensland rooms off the back? And you know, I'd come back from overseas and what would have cost, you know, I came back in 2001 so what would have cost? I don't know what would have cost, you know, 60 grand before I leave, cost 200,000 when I get home. And I so I was like, oh my gosh, that outrageous. Because the market had just gone mental while I was away and so it was quite interesting. And so I literally did everything on a budget. The only thing I didn't do myself was the tiling and the waterproofing in the bathroom.

"When it fills your boots when you're passionate about it, you have an insatiable amount of energy to be able to complete it."
- Naomi Findlay

So we did a new bathroom, the full new bathroom I did Cosmetic Reno in the kitchen. A cosmetic Reno. I learned to spray paint there. I learned to screen there. I learned to build drainage because it had massive water issues. I learned to build retainable walls. You know, it was where I truly, I learned to pay there. I learned to use a whack-a-packer. I love good whack-a-packer. So, you know, a whack-a-packer, you know, where you have to bed down your road base before you pave. You know, all those sorts of outrageous things. I learned everything. I learned so much there.

Findlay and her husband decided to invest in central Queensland to expand their portfolio and see where it would take them.

When I was pregnant with one of the babies, my husband decided he wanted to turn his hand to some investing. And unlike Shaw, I don't have the capacity right now, you know go for it. Let me know what you've got on the boil. And so we invested in central Queensland in an off the plan to look at it on paper, all should of been perfect. So this is the lowest of the lows really. I've never told this story before. It's a very good question you asked. And so off the plan should have been perfect. 

Never had the intention to sell it. It's when properties were renting for like, you know, 2000 a week up in central Queensland. You know, it was at that time we'd done all the research, all the due diligence. We knew that the market had like another three or four years at minimum left in it. So once we'd once the property was built we would have kept it for maybe six months if that and then sold it on. And that would have been because I’m a massive believer on sweet small fish, I'm not a believer in, you know, holding out at high risk for big sharks as paydays. You know, I love sweet, small safe fish. And that's how I made, you know, my money and property previously. And, and then, it was just one of those horror stories that you literally see on TV corrupt builder delivered the properties three and a half years post the date they were meant to right as it all went to pot in central Queensland. So not only did the property because of the three and a half year delay take, you know, not only did it then cost twice because of holding costs with no return cause there was no one in it. But when it was delivered to us, it was actually worth a fifth of what it owed us.

Ooh, that is painful.

There you go, the low of the low, that is it and nothing you can do, build a liquidated, nothing you can do. And

there were, there were 20 other people in the identical boat, Rhea, and some people weren't in our financial position where’d weather, that storm, there's no loss until you sell, you know, weathered that storm now for really quite a long time. And it's been fine with our, with the way we structured it and all of that. But sadly there were some people caught up in that, that lost everything they had.

And that, that's really quite distressing. It makes me very passionate about you know, about the issue and it makes me very passionate about, and you know what, maybe the university delivered that to me because I take what I doing, teaching people to create money renovating a house, I take that responsibility very, very seriously.

Findlay still has the property to this day and was able to hang on for at least one cycle. Though she shares it wasn’t the same for others…

So, but you know, not everyone was not, you know, everyone structures their investments very differently. And not everyone, you know, there were times when that property was empty. There were times when the rent was $50 a week. There were times, you know, and so it has been a really interesting journey watching the cycle, watching the industry up there and watching what's happening up there. And it's, you know, it's just some people it, it would have been sold destroying and you know, people lost their houses their, their residences over that. But it's, it's very, very difficult because in that circumstance, once a builder, you know, shut up shop, there's, there’s nothing that anyone could kind of call him back home. It was no money to claim.

She was able to take away an important lesson from the ordeal

I'm not going to say, the obvious thing is for all. Don't let your husband invest but that, I'm joking. I'm joking. I guess it is actually, to be honest with you, It is in all of our scenarios of how it could have played out, all of our exit strategies, every possible one we imagined for it cause it wasn't gone into blindly, you know and it wasn't gone into cause obviously with high return there's obviously high risk. It wasn't gone into with blinkers on in any way, although it was some, quite some time ago. There, there are some, you couldn't have written this story like you could not have catastrophized this eventuality if that makes sense. So I don't, I don't know. I think I'm not sure what my lesson it is. I think patience, calmness, ‘cause sometimes you do need patience in the industry. 

Patience and calmness. I think is a really good one. And I think the bigger lesson was probably for my husband about being the squeakier wheel earlier on. You know, I think he has maybe some times where cause he was across the bilge and it wasn't something that I was dealing with cause it was a specific choice that I had made. I think that he probably wishes that maybe he was more proactive in that process and less trusting, which is probably not a lesson that I would want to take from it. I don't, you know, I, my world runs on trust. 

Findlay knows what her main purpose is in life and shares what she believes in.

I’m a massive believer that we're all delivered to this world and this lifetime, for reasons. And one of mine I believe is to teach to inspire and to beautify. And I believe that all of those things happen over time and I think that who I am today has happened over time as well. Just like good design just like good planning. I think it's happened over time. I think there have just been little incidences and little tweaks that have, you know, led me to different decisions to guide me to where I am today. 

After getting calls and talking to her friend, it helped her realise what she could do with her talent.

I think for me when it turned from design to design renovations was when I realized that I think I'm born part tradie. In that, I feel much more comfortable sitting with tradies than I do in sitting in an architects firm. And that the mechanic brain that I had actually worked really well with our amazing traits. Because instead of just going, oh my gosh, I want a window that's like this, I'll say, hey, I have an idea, will this work? You know? And so I did it in really well with that sort of trade side of things. And I found it meant that I was able to get away with much more of what I wanted because I worked with trades rather than them work for me. And, and that translated in the world of clients as well. 

And because you know, trades would get a job with a client and they'd go, hey, you need to work with this designer. Because they knew that I'd be that really good conduit between the client and them. So I think there was, my happy space is on a work site or on a stage teaching, one or the other. I, I literally do little happy dances anytime I'm on a worksite and anytime I'm on stage teaching. And so I think that I think it was probably three years into my design world that I got inundated with people going, we want to do what you do, can you teach us? And that was probably a point where I was having a coffee with a lovely name Landon or miller. I was having a coffee with her in Hamilton in Newcastle. And I said I'm getting all these phone calls. And she said, well, you do have a Ph.D. in medical science and education and you are a university lecturer. There might be something in that. And that was probably it. And I went, really? And she went, really, and there you go, that's it. Now that I've talked it out, that was a turning point where I went, I can go from, from simply designing and renovating a house myself and clients too, I can actually help others.

Sneak Peek On Naomi Finlay's Remarkable Success on Profitable Renovations

Findlay’s skills and reputation are what attracted her clients so whenever they’d hear about her previous work, they’d want her to help them too.

For me It was all a lot of our clients really early on they were either super high-end people that were staying in their home or there were people that were renovating to create wealth and they identified really early on that I was able to do it for myself. And that I could also do it for them. Which I think was the big thing that I had the team, I had the strategy and I knew how to identify that sweet spot of exactly what the market needed and deliver it to them. So the lowest possible budget, which then meant that their profit was the biggest. I think on reflection, that was probably what people saw. I'm, I'm, as I have been with you ridiculously open book like if you asked me a question, you'll, you'll get the answer and you'll get an honest one. 

And so, you know, when I first started renovating, people were going, wow, how did you make on that? I would tell them because I don't think that money is a dirty thing. I don't think creating a profit is a dirty thing. And I think it's phenomenal when you get to create wealth by doing what you love. Like that's something you should infectiously share and hope others are inspired, whatever the thing they love is to, to create wealth doing that, you know? And so I think that there was a point where, you know, people talk agents talk a lot of you know, a lot of my work would be from, oh, we just bought this renovator, the guy that sold it to us, told us you made a lot of money on this one over here or that one over or this one, you do one over here,  of here you did one for one of these other clients or we sold one, you'd done, you know, and, and I'd be like, yeah, totally. I can help you. So whether it was with my trade team or with their own trade team and it would be about them navigating that spot where they were going to create a quality project, they're going to get to enjoy the experience and they're going to make money.

She was into helping others more achieve wealth due to being a fast-paced worker. Findlay would also occasionally take her newborn to work but enjoyed it nonetheless.

Much more into the ones helping people create money without a doubt, without a doubt. And maybe that was because I'm so fast-paced, you know. And I, I was much more immediately gratifying or, you know, six weeks, ten-week, twelve-week sixteen weeks, gratifying. And also I got to, I was part of like my fourth baby blessing. He wasn't at home for the first six months cause he was with me permanently and I had a truck and so he would, he used to have soul horses at each worksite that were set up for his capsule. And you know, everyone knew when I arrived on-site, they were no counsel's because there's newborn baby and you know, so, he pretty much grew up the first six months until he could crawl. And then I realized it was uncool. Either we’d, we'd have a middle of the day naps in the front seat of the car and he’d sleep on my chest and we'd have a feed, we’d go into, you know, the different job sites. And so I think I just naturally gravitated towards that team environment with the tradies. You know, I think it was not only the results, the clients and for myself, but I think it was the amazing family of trades that I've got to be part of. 

Findlay is a dedicated and caring mother first, taking her newborn to work and making sure to let her clients know that she’ll bring him in. 

I was onsite, the day I got him juiced and then a couple of days later I was back on site. He was cool, you know, he was cool. And you know what's so interesting is I'm the first thing he ever picked up as, and he wouldn't remember being on-site cause he stopped being on-site at six months. Because once he could crawl, he’d be like, I want to get down. I'm like, yeah no, and, and he was just part of the package. Some might call it unprofessional. I remember even consulting in people's houses. And part of, you know, when they call and ask me to help them, I'd be like, Hey, I have a newborn. So at the moment, we’re together and we'd love to visit your property. And so, you know, he'd come in a sling and sometimes he’d be bed whilst I was consulting and most people because I was just open and transparent and if they wanted me to work on their properties, it's, it’s how I rolled. I am, I am first a woman, I am first a mother and then I will serve others.

And that's so, so inspiring because, at the end of the day, family is important. And I think if people respect that and you know, if you're a parent, which I am as well, I would be so totally cool with it because I think it's one, it just shows that we're all real, you know, you can't just have, you can't have a separate life, I mean to, to work and stuff like that. But at the same time, you still have family, you still have kids and all that. And I, I'm the same thing. I just spoke to clients the other day and I said, look, I've got my kids in the back of the car. Is that okay with you? Yeah, of course. Because I've got kids as well, we all understand.

And look there is a line obviously when he got sort of five months and was wanting to play and things, but as a newborn he literally just needed to be with his mom. And so yeah, it was fine. It was fun. It was really cool.

Renovating A House Formula

Findlay structures her renovation like it’s a formula and her strategy towards her quick renovations is the planning process and the daily onsite work.

Look, for me, every renovation is different. And every renovation, you know, you had some pretty standard options to choose from. But depending on where it is, what the market will pay for the finished product, it stayed at the beginning. The script I guess, or the formula that you roll out for every renovation does vary slightly and you need to actually know what two renovations are the same. And that's where people use cookie-cutter approaches you know, getting into trouble. Sometimes they renovate too much, sometimes they renovate too little. And they, they hints lose some of their possible earnings in that. For me, It is a formula. You entering your data into the formula and you will get a result to choose from. And so part of the ability to do it quickly is about how you run your site and about how you run your team or how you run with your team. And knowing, knowing what needs to happen and when it needs to happen. So for me, there's a massive amount in the planning stage. And then once, once you get access to that property, there should never be one day, not one day where there are not people on-site working, not one day.

Findlay constantly checks her app to see who’s in and when. She shows respect and helps other tradies to create aspects of success.

Tradies do sometimes mistakes sometimes they, you know, my Lecco might call me and say, my God, someone's lost power and they've got a newborn or they're elderly, I've, I’ve got to go. And I'm like, that's okay. Part of it is about, um, there are many ways to do things. There are so many different ways to do things. And it's about having that knowledge and that understanding so that when you're, when you're like, hey guys, oh my gosh, I can't get, the roughing in the bathroom today. It's like, that's okay. And constantly, every single day you need to be analyzing. So I run my Renos with my app and I'm constantly analyzing the calendar of who's coming in and when, and just because someone might be running a day late, it doesn't mean that I can't then jig other people up. And it's also part of that, is also outrageous preparation. 

So I will let, um, so we're shooting a laundry Reno, for the Reno show in two weeks. And so two weeks ago, my plumber knew that he needed to cap off that morning and he knew the day in four weeks time that he'll need to fit off. He's like, I love you. I'm like, I know because I’m from PH. And so we're two weeks out and yesterday I messaged him going, Hey, I want the first cap off rain from that day. No worries. Locked in. Perfect. And then two days out I'll go confirming my liquid gold spot and he'll text me and go sure is, and it's about like tradies have a lot of work on, generally speaking, the good ones. And so it's about really respecting their time and also helping them, helping them be organized, helping them know where they stand, making sure that they are never standing still, never waiting for instruction, never waiting for a document, never waiting for a measurement, and never waiting for materials. That's part of my role as I see it. I try and facilitate the perfect incubator for my trades to create success for me and them.

Findlay has her own app called Rapid Renovate, which helps others plan and manage their budget.

So if you've never renovated before, an absolute shameless pug, you need to download my app. So it's spelled the Rapid Reno Mate. And the reason that I say this is one of the reasons that I created the app is so people can actually before they even get started, it can be just their dreaming. So say someone's literally dreaming about renovating their bathroom and kitchen and all the things that they don't even know that they don't know, like power points, USB points, splashbacks, kicks, all the little tiny things, sockets, downlights, you know, all the tiny things handles that we don't even think of them, in the, in the bigger picture of the budget. And so inside the app, it will actually for room by room, it will give you not only things that you need to think of, but it'll give you some current Australian base pricing for them at three different price points. So a good, better and the best. So that would be, and that's one of the biggest reasons that I created the app. And the second reason I created it is then you can also track your budget because for me, once you have your budget sorted, that's one thing, that's a really big hurdle, to stick to it is the next hurdle. And whilst you're renovating, it needs daily attention, not monthly attention because you can't, it's much harder to reel in a budget that's 20 grand over than it is a budget that's $500 over.

She works four projects at the same time.

So generally speaking I probably at the most had sort of four on the run at one time.

Findlay collaborates with her trade team and treats them with respect. By working together, they all create the key to success equally.

If you have a system, it's not actually that hard. You know, if you have a system and you have a great team and a part of it is not only about finding your team, but you know, you need to align your team. You guys need to have shared values, common goals they need to have bought. And it's not about screwing the trades down to be the cheapest trades available. So you can guarantee the moment someone waves a couple of hundred dollar bills under the nose, they won't be on your team anymore. So I always say to my trades, it's about me making money and you making money. When we both make money, we will be working together for a really long time.

The software that Findlay developed has helped her run all her projects, which has been proven to be better than her she initially used to do them before.

I used to do it through my own software that I'd developed. And then that is why we actually developed the app. So you can actually run your appointments, you can run your calendars, you can settle works, you can run your timelines, your budgets, you're absolute, everything's through it. So that's now how I run mine because I can have multiple projects going in at, at the same time. They all back up to a server, has an inbuilt photo journal inside it. So now that's how I run them. How I used to run them was all based on initially XL spreadsheets. All the nontech people in the world has just gone into a convulsion. And then some really high-end spreadsheets that had coding and software embedded in them. And then, you know I think it's 18 months ago now we launched the app. And that's so that people, and it’s, it's not, without taking it down, it's not an easy app. It's not like ordering Uber, you know, or Uber eats where you press one button, it is a hardcore tool that you need to invest time in and it’ll, it'll keep track of everything for you.

Yeah, I was going to say that is amazing. To be able to have a tool like that all embedded into an app. It's, it’s mobile, it's should be easy to, to be able to get access to

And you can link in on, you can link in on multiple devices we’re just, we're just updated. So for example, if you're renovating with someone where you were the site manager and someone else did the budget, you can actually log into the project or your account on multiple devices and it will sync. So if someone's updating the budget, you can be on-site and be updating the timelines. It can be all synced over servers and we've just actually done an update now that so on, on iPads and on tablets you can actually have it in landscape format and use a keyboard for it which makes it much more usable from a, for XL lovers and people that you know, love detail, which I do. That's made me much happier.

Findlay holds a couple of properties currently while the others had been sold. Her portfolio had to match where she was in life.

We've had multiple over the years, so we bought and I bought and I held, some I bought, renovated, held, some I bought, held, renovated, held. Then I did a big clearance probably around six years ago where I sold most of my portfolio, which made me financially free and then did some more investing. We hold a couple right now. And then the rest have been generally speaking, short term, buy, renovate, flips, buy, renovate, rent, release. So yeah, quite a diverse, um, a diverse I guess approach and part of it, and I think people for me, I'm not a financial advisor or a planner or any of the above, but I know for me in my life. It's been around what suited me at that time of life. You know, my youngest is seven, my eldest is sixteen and so my portfolio journey had to match my appetite, the risk, my actual cashflow, my, you know, it had to match where I was at in life as well as have a long term goal of what I wanted it to be.

Findlay is all about providing for others, for example when she built a school in Cambodia and is about to build another.

My why is that I get to be at register connected in my everyday life, but do what I want and what I love to every day. So that's my key why is my family and my daily life, making sure that I'm living my life well, I'm not living it large, not living it anything, but what, what I want, which is well. And at the same time having the freedom. So we're about to build our second school in Cambodia. So one of my whys is that I can try and offer, offer safety and education and security to kids that are much less fortunate than mine. So we built a school, we built a school in Cambodia in a location called Youn Gen Jass last year and we're about to build our second in a couple of weeks actually over in Cambodia. So they'd probably be my biggest drivers.

She’s had many mentors, still does, that have helped her achieve her success in life.

You know what I have had multiple mentors over time in all different places and I still have mentors. Cause I do firmly believe that we are a product of the people that are around us. And so I've had very different mentors in all different stages and phases of our lives cause I don't believe that it's a one size fits all. Like I've had teaching mentors, I've had mindset mentors, I've had licensing mentors, I've had production mentors, I've had property mentors. You know, I've had, and I'm a believer in continual education. I think it's really important that we always have people around us that push us, that question us, that guides us, that comfort us, that know more than us. And, and I will always have those people around me.

From the two main books that Findlay has read, it has been the most transformative for her.

Absolutely. One of the, one of the coolest books, most of them have the word big in it, um Big Magic. I really love the book Big Magic. It is a very light read and it really helps explode your mind as to what is possible. And my other favourite book is The Big Leap and that is because it really helped me understand and identify in my own life when I was other limiting as well as helped me understand the concept of Einstein time which is where we truly always have enough time for anything that we want to do. So they were probably two of the most transformative books that are, well, there's so many, but they're two books that I, I really love and I recommend the big leap to so, so many people because we allow so many of our stories to guide what we do and don't do. And they’re just stories, they're not real.

Findlay elaborates about the mindset and meaning of Einstein’s time, about how it has helped her with her mindset on how everyone has enough time.

You'll have to read it, but my take on it is that you know, those moments where you're like, it's never going to fit on, I’m never going to get it done. I'm never going to get this done and that done and this done and that done and oh my gosh. And then this is going to happen and oh, how is it all going to happen? And you can end up in a complete flap and a complete wheeze and it and there's this concept of Einstein's time and it's around the concept of us actually controlling time, time not controlling us and it's all how we view it. And that there is always enough time. It's how we, how we work in it, how we see it. 

And once you have that mindset, as long as you catch yourself on the wall up into, oh my gosh, there's not enough time, there's not enough time, there's not enough time. There are, you know, there are not enough things that I say to myself and practices that I do to be, there is perfectly enough time and I will be there on time and I would have achieved this, this and this before I get there because there is just enough time, there is always enough time and I can stretch it and I can bend it and it will always fit.

I'm sitting here going, wow.

It is a mind bend

You do need to read it. You do need to read it. I actually read it about five times the Einstein time and it makes me squint still when I read it, but when I practice it, it always works.

Findlay has learned from two of the best advice given to her.

Best advice I have ever received. Always smile. It is okay to hurt. 

And if I act and I think I can achieve anything.

If she could go back ten years ago, Findlay would of told herself to rest more.

You need to sleep more

That's not possible with kids.

I would have said that you need to sleep more. I really would have, yeah, that would have been my advice 10 years ago. You really need to sleep more and you know what I actually would have said get out of your own way. Nobody's looking.

Findlay is most excited about helping others on their journey because she is passionate about it.

Funds to fortune, without a doubt. When I say it, my eyes sparkle and my stomach gets giddy like I've just met the man of my dreams, you know, 15 years ago. Like without doubt, like the opportunity that presents me as a human being, to be involved in that process. Forget the cameras, forget the lights, forget it all. The opportunity of being involved, being involved in people's journeys of the rediscovery of love of their land, rediscovery of their empowerment to earn money when everything's, for generations, they have been taught is feeling so hard. That makes me giddy with excitement actually makes my palms sweaty.

Gosh, I’m, I'm excited because I love the name. Love the name of the show, love the concept. I just can't wait to see it. So

Thank you. Me Too. I can't, I just, I'm, yeah. Giddy, I’m giddy, that’s the word for it.

Findlay creates her success through her surrounding environment, which helps her in her work. She learned that she could always move forward.

None of it is luck. None of it, the, the none of it is luck. Like we create everything in our lives. We create the environments around us that then support us to be who we are like our lives are the hand that is drawing the hand, we create the spaces we are in, which then affects our efficiency, our productivity, our communication. And then that then affects the spaces we create. We create everything. I do believe there's an amazing psychologist. Her name is Lynn Jenkins and she talks about this theory, which I'm sure is grounded in, you know, hardcore psychology theory. There are things in life that happened and it's shit. You know, there are things, there are tragedies, there are crimes, there are things that happen that are really horrible and that's, that's the first Arrow that you, you know, you can't, you can't help that, you know, there are world catastrophes, there are just horrible things that can sometimes happen that you truly can’t aboard, I do, I don't believe you invited me in and she calls them the first Arrow. 

We then have a choice and this is where it isn't, isn’t luck. We then have a choice whether we take a second Arrow and start, you know, chunking it into our leg going, oh my God, that’s so crap that, that happened to me. Oh my gosh, this sucks. Oh my gosh, I lost money on that investment. Oh my gosh. Or we could not look to see who shot the first arrow. We could just rip the first Arrow out and choose to move forward. So I do believe that you know, there are curveballs that are thrown at us in life, but what we do following that is our choice. I do, I do not believe that there is luck. I believe that the universe delivers what we invite.

Findlay loves helping others and would want others to contact her through the website or personally over the phone.

The best way to do that simply get onto I'm sure you'll pop it in the show notes and you can find pretty much everything there. Our courses, our app, farms to fortune and you can reach out to me directly. I am like, I'm sitting at the moment in ripped jeans, a grey jumper, a New York Yankees hat and a pair of sneakers like I'm, I'm pretty mainstream. So reach out, I’d, I'd love to hear from people and if anyone does have a farm and is and or a regional property and is interested in farms to fortune come and help me get giddy. 

Awesome. Awesome. I can't wait to share this. And yes, definitely everything will be in the show notes and we'll make sure that we get the word out there because I'm inspired and I can't wait to support you behind this as well. So looking forward to it. 

Oh my gosh. Thank you so much. It's been so lovely talking to you. You have a knack of getting me to say way too much. 

I think the thing is you've got an amazing story and that's probably why it was very, very, yeah, it was just a conversation. Basically, it's just you and me having a chat, so don't, don't think that we're all, I’m recording everything. 

Thank you so much. 

This episode was produced by Raquelle Amine with narrations and interviews conducted by Tyrone Shum.

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