“If you put your mind to it, you can have it. Business has taught me one fundamental lesson: always be yourself, learn to say no and the rest will follow.”
In 2011, I fell into the estate agency industry through my partner, Ben Tate. I had a similar skill-set to Ben’s – coming from a recruitment background – and I soon learned that I had a natural aptitude for matching customers with their perfect property.
I’d never been an estate agent prior to the recession, so all I knew was that times were tough for everyone in our field… long hours, self-sacrifice and economic uncertainty.
The company Ben and I were working for didn’t survive the recession. I’d been there 18 months before being made redundant; Ben was let go three weeks later.
I immediately landed another estate agent role but, after three weeks, I had my ‘lightbulb moment’: “Do this for yourself… run a business with Ben that’s ethical – one that isn’t all about hitting daily targets, where building real relationships with people actually counts for something.”
I rang Ben, told him the plan and that was that; we were setting up for ourselves. The first six months were crazy, but we persevered. We door-knocked to spread the word and explained that we had to charge upfront for our services; people believed in us and came on board, which was amazing in helping the business to take off.
Social media was a godsend in those early days, as was actually getting out there and being a face!
So, having set up Tate Rowlands in October 2013, where we were working from the bedroom and had used Facebook to set up our initial company page, we had a whirlwind 24 months that saw us acquire our own premises in Flint and hire three full-time members of staff.
By 2016, we’d opened a second branch in Shotton; however, we closed it in 2018 because we didn’t want to become ‘just another estate agent’… it wasn’t in-keeping with our brand’s identity.
We have worked our arses off to get here, but we’ve done it on our terms and without ever compromising our principles; all in all, I’m just me.