Yellow Brick Road principal Effie Nicol shares her views on running a mortgage business and how she made the leap from being a salaried banker to a successful self-employed broker.
In seven years, YBR Earlwood principal Effie Nicol has built a successful mortgage broking business, but it didn’t come easy. In a recent Elite Broker podcast, Ms Nicol explains what it took to make it in a highly competitive industry.
“It’s about self-development,” the principal said. “I actually read books to motivate myself, and I always make sure I budget and make sure that I have excess funds for a bad day.
“Like everybody, business goes up and down, but you need to plan ahead. That’s where a lot of businesses fail, because they haven’t done any planning. They just spend, spend, spend and don’t look at the future. I’m very diligent around that.”
After a long career at Westpac Bank, which included a stint running a team of home finance managers, Ms Nicol joined YBR in March 2011.
“I initially started working on my own in the lounge room trying to build a trail book,” Ms Nicol said.
In addition to learning multiple lender offerings, products and policies, Ms Nicol had to adjust to different operating hours.
“In [the] broker world, it’s not a 9-to-5 job,” the broker said. “You need to be available for the customer and you have to work out whether you go and see them at work or whether you see them at home, because their hours are busy, too.”
Moving from a PAYG job at the bank was also “a big change” for the new broker. She said: “I was used to having money, spending it all the time, and I really needed to buckle down and save my dollars for a rainy day. I didn’t go out as often, and I actually cut down in spending, not buying outfits, not going out all the time. I had to really buckle down and make sure that I was focusing on the business.”
Ms Nicol said that the first six to 12 months were the hardest, the time when she was building a pipeline of leads.
“Then after the 12-month period, it just started getting stronger and stronger. My income increased and I didn’t have the pressure anymore. It gave me the opportunity to actually employ staff to help me,” the principal said.
“I’m actually working with my old home finance manager. He’s working in my office, and this year I’m on to bigger and bigger things. I’m actually planning to open another branch.”
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James Mitchell has over eight years’ experience as a financial reporter and is the editor of Wealth and Wellness at Momentum Media.
He has a sound pedigree to cover the business of mortgages and the converging financial services sector having reported for leading finance titles InvestorDaily, InvestorWeekly, Accountants Daily, ifa, Mortgage Business, Residential Property Manager, Real Estate Business, SMSF Adviser, Smart Property Investment, and The Adviser.
He has also been published in The Daily Telegraph and contributed online to FST Media and Mergermarket, part of the Financial Times Group.
James holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature and an MA in Journalism.