Karen Newton [newydd105]
What is the business idea that you are working on right now? How did you come up with it?
My new business venture is an administration support service for landlords. I realised that many of today's landlords are what I call 'accidental' landlords meaning they didn't intend to become landlords but are victims of the current economic problems and were unable to sell their property so rent it out instead.
With the rules and regulations changing so frequently these landlords don't have the knowledge or experience to comply with legal requirements before letting their property. Tiroka Landlord Services (TLS) provides all the administration for a rental property. Getting the administration right at the start of a tenancy is a must. All properties require Tenant Information Packs which include manuals for appliances in the property; inventories; epc; gas safety and general property information.
Is there a website, blog or social media link where we can see more about your project and/or yourself?
As an entrepreneur I have many websites some of which are:
I can also be found on twitter, facebook, linkedin, google+ and youtube under newydd105
What is your professional background? What were you doing before?
When I left school I went to work with Inland Revenue. On moving to New Zealand I worked in banking before starting my own businesses. I was chairman of the New Zealand Fire Protection Contractors Association for 5 years. I wrote articles for newspapers and magazines specialising in advertorials and motorsport.
As an entrepreneur I have or had businesses in: Fire Protection; Security; Air-conditioning; electrical contracting; quality management; property; lending; cosmetics; writing and network marketing.
How did the entrepreneurial spirit rise up in you? Were you exposed to entrepreneurship in your family or your social environment when you were a child?
I became an entrepreneur by accident. My husband left the company he had been employed by and found the customers wanting him to continue looking after them. He started his business and I assisted with the administration. I found I enjoyed it so much that I left my job and went full time into business with my husband.
Realising I needed more skills to work for myself I started night classes at the local university and with each new class I took I saw a business opportunity. I still continue to go on courses and still come up with business ideas.
Do you have partners working with you on this? How do you split the work with them?
Some of the businesses are just me and others are in partnership with my husband.
Describe your business plan as briefly and simply as possible.
The business has been set up initially running in Torfaen, Monthmouthshire, Newport and Cardiff with a view to expanding into other regions through franchising. The services are provided using a virtual office and email allowing any franchise owner to work from their preferred location. It is an idea home based business.
What have you achieved up to now? What have you yet to achieve?
I have been very successful in my life, in business and with investments. Married for 31 years I have a fantastic husband and a delightful daughter. We have a great lifestyle, fabulous home, holiday home in the French Alps and drive a Ferrari. Our income is mainly passive from our businesses, our investments and my books.
As the author of many books, I still enjoy writing and have a list of new books to write. I have many more business ideas to implement. I'm looking forward to helping my daughter start her business empire. I'm looking for a house by the sea for summer vacations and I look forward to many more happily married years with my husband.
Are you looking for investors? What are you offering in exchange for what?
I'm not looking for investors. I tend to invest in other businesses through Angel Investing and P2P lending.
Do you have employees or people that you outsource tasks to? What do they do?
I'm very much an advocate of home business and for that reason I tend to outsource work to home based businesses. Generally, I have the philosophy that if I support home based business then I'm helping them create a successful business and in return they help me build mine. It's worked well so far.
Entrepreneurs have a reputation as "control freaks." How do you avoid that?
Not sure that I do. As I tend to use small home based businesses the owner has the same desire to perform well providing the quality I need within the timeframes I require. By setting the contracts up properly as the start I trust the businesses I deal with to perform to my level of expectations. Works quite well. But let me down and I don't give second chances.
How do you balance work with relaxation?
It's often difficult but my husband and I have a rule that the phone goes off at 6pm and we never discuss work outside of office hours. Having a daughter at school we take time off during school holidays to do activities with her. Our weekends are always family time.
What is your main motivation: being your own boss, adventure and discovery, getting rich, doing good for others, or is there something else?
I love the freedom of working for myself. As an early riser I'm usually in the office at 4:30am and get a lot of work done with no interuptions. As I work from home I like the fact that it takes me less than 30 seconds to get to my office. No more commuting. When I want time off I take it - no having to ask the boss for time off. I love the holidays. My daughter has 133 days of school holidays and I spend most of those with her.
What do you think of big corporations? Would you work for one?
I believe big corporations have had their day and smaller home based businesses will become the mainstay of the economy.
Describe two moments of maximum fear and maximum satisfaction that you have lived through in your business adventure.
I'm not sure about having two moments of maximum fear. My biggest fear was when I stopped being and employee and became an entrepreneur. The fear was not knowing if I could make the business successful enough to support me and pay my mortgage and other expenses. My maximum satisfaction is when I have a business up and running successfully proving all the naysayers and doubters wrong.
When you need guidance or advice, where do you find it?
It depends on the type of guidance or advice that I needed. It could be the accountant, the lawyer but usually I'm looking for other entrepreneurs to see what they do and how they have overcome similar problems.
Up to what point is luck is important? How do you attract it?
I believe we make our own luck by planning, having goals, having an open mind, looking at opportunities and having a can do attitude.
What do you do to maintain morale and continue persevering in low times?
I like to read self-development motivational books. I try to read at least one a month. I also try to avoid the news on tv which always seems to be negative. Another thing I do is to go back to old goals and targets. I look at the forms and am often surprised at how much better off I am than the previous year. Puts everything into context.
Which well known entrepreneurs/enterprises do you admire? Why?
Robert Kiyosaki author of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad books - he put business and investing into simple terms that really fast tracked my success
Andrew Reynold a niche marketing guru - the concept of niche has encouraged me to develop smaller targeted successful businesses.
Darren Hardy author of the compound effect - while I was familiar with compound interest from an investing point of view I had never considered the concept of little actions every day compound into incredible results
What other types of businesses are you frequently tempted by?
I have quite a wide range of businesses and investments. I'm always looking at new opportunities and ideas but the main focus for me is home based business ideas.
Are these times of crisis good for beginning a business?
Definitely. As an entrepreneur you look at adversity and see opportunities. If you wait until you think the timing is right to start a business then you will probably never start it.
How important have PR and social media been for you?
For me word of mouth has been the best source of marketing for my businesses. I have used PR events for my books and I think social media is great for building a brand.
What would you call success? Where would you like your business to be five years from now?
Success for me is having a business I can run from anywhere in the world using a laptop and mobile phone. Success means having a fairly automated business with good systems providing me with a regular monthly income.
As for where I would like my business to be in 5 years time - I expect to have several more businesses up and running. Some of the exisiting businesses will be franchised.
What skills would you advise a want-to-be-entrepreneur to acquire?
I think the best advice I could give a want-to-be-entrepreneur is learn to work ON your business not IN your business.