Tips for the property/work/life balance from business consultant and property investor Claire McNeil
We get into property investing to make our lives better. That might be by making more money, securing a pension for the future or creating more time to live a healthier, less stressful life away from the 9-5.
Yet it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of creating another job for ourselves. Before we know it, we’ve taken on a few investment properties, have a bunch of tenants, a pile of maintenance and a shedload of paperwork to deal with. As if life wasn’t busy enough already.
When you start investing in property, you need to be very clear about where you want to end up. Do you want to turn it into a business? Or, like Claire McNeil, do you simply want a lucrative sideline with minimal input and hassle?
After a long career in the corporate world, when she quit, Claire was adamant that she did not want property to become another job. Instead, she prefers to focus on her business skills and talents to help SMEs improve performance and become more profitable, through her business consultancy Hive Creation. Property for her is and will remain a sideline, but she still has to get the balance right between business, property and life.
Almost every investor you speak to will say that there is no such thing as true armchair investing when it comes to property, BUT you can set things up so that the whole process runs smoothly without tying up your time, leaving you free to do what you do best. In other words – start as you mean to go on.
That said, Claire admits that she has to be careful. “It’s all too easy to stray into thinking you have too much to do and not enough time, then sacrificing the most important things like family and rest time.” (Haven’t we all been there?)
With her lifestyle priorities firmly in mind, she has set up her property side-hustle by harnessing the talents of other people, working with property sourcers, project managers and investing partners to build a portfolio that (Covid and any other pandemics permitting) will allow her to spend prolonged periods of time abroad within a couple of years.
Getting the balance right does mean being strict with yourself at the beginning, but the rewards will be more than worth it. Find out more about Claire’s property story, case studies and approach to the work/life balance (and also about the bees!) in the April 2021 feature on property side-hustles.
Claire’s top 3 tips for creating the perfect property lifestyle
- Block your time. Allocate either a set amount of time per day in your calendar to do specific tasks or if, like Claire, you prefer to be a bit more flexible, allocate a certain number of hours per week for to work on specific project tasks. Having dedicated time periods will keep your project moving forward.
- Use the Pomodoro method. Set a timer for your optimum head-down-working period, then take a break. Repeat. Adjust as you need to suit your personal working patterns.
- Focus on the task in hand. Turn off distractions while you deal with the task. If necessary, turn your phone and all notifications off and go off grid until your time is up or the task is done.
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