How many identities do you have?
1. Conscious Entrepreneur
2. Partner & Step Mom
3. Real Estate Agent
4. Architecture Lover
6. Professional Coach
7. Health & Wellbeing Advocate
8. Plant Powered Vegan
9. Martial Artist
11. Animal Activist
Please tell us the story behind Zsa Zsa Property and how you’ve got to where you are now?
I started my real estate journey some 16 years ago now. I was fortunate to have an incredible mentor, who later became my business partner for a number of years in a previous agency, before I finally started ZSA ZSA Property in late 2013.
ZSA ZSA Property was born out of my desire to bring something fresh to the real estate market. Having been in the industry for a good ten years, I knew intimately what was already available and what was lacking. I wanted to bring a design focus to real estate, as well as a more intimate and engaging customer experience. Quality over quantity all the way!
On a personal level, I also never related to the franchise/corporate agency model which is so common here in Perth - I’m not exactly a conformist either, so I just didn’t feel like I ever fitted into that mould. At the time, real estate marketing was also pretty average. I ultimately started a brand and business model that reflected what was important to me and a brand that other people like me might relate to.
I’ve iterated the business a fair bit since I launched, and I now feel it’s going in a direction that I’m really happy with. A business evolves as you evolve, and a lot has changed within me personally since I started. We’ve also now had the benefit of solid market testing and feedback, and so I know who our customer is and what our customer wants. We’ve become clear on our niche and so we’re now attracting our ideal target market more and more. Our ethos of being a “design-driven” agency extends itself into the types of properties we sell too – so we’re listing homes of architectural or design significance more frequently. It is less about the geographical location, and more about our passion for selling homes that make people feel good. That’s our passion.
I’ve also become very passionate about giving back, both in my personal and professional lives. When I break it all down, I fundamentally want to make an impact for good, on people and this planet. I’ve now woven that passion into our company culture, ensuring we have a process to support causes we believe in. For example, we are a part of a global community called Buy 1, Give 1, which has been a really great platform to make an impact, among other ethical initiatives I’m personally a part of.
I’m also excited about growing a team of like-minded people and facilitating a culture of agents that not only love what they do, but want to feel amazing while their at it. I’m in the process of building a wellness program into our business to support our team in moving forward. It’s a pretty powerful value proposition for our customer too, when they know the agent they are getting is fit, healthy and is going to bring energy and vitality to the sales process!
What has been the biggest life lesson you have learnt so far?
Gosh, I have had so many! And I’m still learning! I’ve actually had a few different businesses, and each one has taught me so much. Having a business is like a personal development program on steroids - I’m learning new lessons every day!
I think one of my number one lessons is to trust your gut. Whether it’s in my business or personal life, I find my gut always knows what’s right or wrong. When I follow that, everything seems to fall into place. If something feels “off”, it probably is!
The other lesson is kindness and compassion. I’ve really found that when you are kind and compassionate to those around you, you never have to worry about sleeping well at night. I’m a pretty spiritual and philosophical person, and I very much believe that what goes around, comes around. Negativity breeds negativity and love attracts more love.
The third is, health is wealth. Pushing through and neglecting your body can only take you so far. If you really want to live your fullest life, you must put your health first. Treat your body with respect and care, and it will love you back.
How do you feel women have been affected by stereotypes?
This is a very interesting question!
When I first started in real estate, I actually started in the commercial world, which was a very male dominated segment of the industry. I was also very young (19) when I started, so it was quite interesting and sometimes challenging mingling in a world where most of the people I dealt with were middle aged men on the Terrace. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a need back then to fit in and play the game to some extent, in order to be taken seriously.
When I came out as a gay woman in my late 20’s, that was also an interesting exercise in observing peoples perceptions and expectations of those stereotypes. Fortunately, I’ve had it very easy in this department, but I certainly know some women who have struggled with the stereotypes associated with being gay. I’m so glad there’s more awareness and conversation happening in this area these days. It’s come a long way.
I’m actually working on a side project as we speak, called Peak State Academy (official launch coming soon!) and this topic comes up a fair bit. Peak State is a professional coaching and wellness academy that helps entrepreneurs and leaders perform at their best and make an impact. I’ve coached quite a number of people already (many of whom are female) on how to feel good, achieve what they want and perform at their best within both their personal and professional lives. I have met woman who still feel this need to conform and play up to a role, be it consciously or not. Quite often this can play out as a self-limiting belief. I’m super passionate about helping people improve their mindset, increase their vitality and ultimately tap into their own resourcefulness, so they can get the results they’re after and live their truth.
On a personal level and at 36 years of age, I have honestly never been so sure of who I am and have become very conscious of operating in my own lane. I pay a lot less attention to outside influences and expectations and I don’t buy into negativity. It’s a big energy drain!
What do you believe your secret to success is, in balancing your many passions and pursuits?
Firstly, simply allowing myself the freedom to have multiple passions and pursuits was important! There is no rule (as least, I haven’t read it!) that says you can’t do more than one thing or have more than one identity. I am all about the multiple passions and pursuits! I’m a Libran, after all!
Taking stock and really getting to understand who I am has been paramount. I actually feel like I’ve had so many different lives, and I’m in the throws of seemingly reinventing myself again! So I check in with myself a lot and track my inner compass.
I also think it’s important to view your life as a whole, rather than as these separate pieces that never connect. It’s no good working yourself to the bone (even if you are kicking goals), if your personal life and health is falling to pieces. We owe it to ourselves to nurture every aspect and passion in our lives. I have a solid self-care program which is fundamental to me feeling “balanced”.
Having supported my partner Narelle with chronic illness for 9 years and cancer for the last 2 years, you realise pretty quickly how important life (and health) is. There is no time to waste! If you want to do something, do it! If you want to change something, change it. Now.
What advice would you give to other women out there who want to start their own business but don’t know where to start?
Become a meditator! I know that sounds like counter intuitive advice, but it’s going to help you lay a really solid foundation (and lower your cortisol levels!) for everything that’s to come. When you meditate regularly, you will find you naturally make better choices because you’re calmer, you think clearer and you tap into a vast pool of creativity. Your brain function literally changes. It has truly done wonders for me and I wouldn’t ever go without it now. I’m a better person and business person because of it. It is my secret (not so secret!) weapon!
I would also advise them to get clear on “who” they are, “what” they want, “why” they want it and “how” they’re going to get it. It makes it so much easier to craft your business when you make this investment into yourself and during the planning stages. The deeper you go here, the more powerful it will be.
I would also consider getting yourself a coach who can help you get clear on what it is you want to achieve and challenge you to grow beyond any limitations you might have. I’ve had coaches for years (I still do!) and I’ve got so much benefit from the process. This was one of the reasons I decided to get qualified as a professional coach (and soon to be health coach), so I could pay it forward and help others.
And a big one for me… have the faith to listen to your gut. You can listen to all the podcasts, read all the books and go to all the seminars, but if your gut is telling you something contrary to what you’ve been told or heard, chances are, it’s probably on the money. Learning to tune into your intuition is an incredible tool once you start!