As Monday (8th March) was International Women’s Day we are talking all things Women in Property. This week we sat down with Kylie Walker, Founder of That Property Mum to discuss the role women play in the industry and how they can rise to any challenge that comes their way – be it in the workplace or at home! 

Kylie Walker launched her business, That Property Mum in 2019 and has been striving to unite Property Managers all across Australia ever since. With over 830 unique Facebook community members, Kylie originally started That Property Mum to help everyday mums juggle the ups and downs of home life all while building a rewarding and fulfilling career. Her business model focuses heavily on people, property, and leadership, with small tips and tricks on running a successful business in the digital age.

So Kylie, how did you get into the real estate industry, and what has been your career path?

I actually just fell into Real Estate. It was certainly something I didn’t plan. I was working as a TV sports journalist, with four young kids, but the media lifestyle wasn’t really conducive to family life. I had to work weekends and late nights, so I was struggling with balancing things. When my husband started selling real estate, we decided to start a rent-roll. It is a great way to build an asset and future financial freedom. So I was pretty much thrown in the deep end and became a self-taught property manager. It was hard work I’m not going to lie. Now 11 years down the track I look back and it was worth it. Running our own business gave me the flexibility to work around my kids, and after the initial crazy few years starting out, I was able to build a more balanced lifestyle.

Would you recommend the property industry as a great place for women to work? If so, why?

Yes, working in real estate is a great career for women. As I mentioned already, at the right place you can build your career around your family life. Sales offer great flexibility and financial freedom, working a 9-5 job rarely does. Property management can be challenging but no day is ever the same and the wages have increased and has allowed working mums a lot more opportunities than in previous years.

What top three tips would you give to a woman joining the industry today?

My top three tips are: 

  • Be prepared to work hard
  • Set your goals so you know what you are working for or towards
  • Learn as much as you can about yourself and the industry

What can we do to make property, and wider business, more inclusive and how can businesses support women better?

Business owners and principals should be more open to letting working mums have flexible hours. Can you tweak their start and finish times to coincide with school drop-off and picks ups. Allowing them to be able to be at sports or awards days and other school events is also important.

Understanding how women work, i.e. we are more emotional and nurturing as a whole, so adopting or implementing training sessions more suitable for how women operate. Most of the training I have encountered especially in sales is very masculine and educates women to approach the sales business like a man in my opinion. 

Can you tell us more about what That Property Mum does? 

That Property Mum started with a desire to help other women in the industry who are struggling with stress, overwhelm, and burnout. We are sharing our journey and implementing coaching, training, and education for like-minded business owners, property managers, and working mums.

Have you always been entrepreneurial? What led you to take that first step and setting up your own business?

My first entrepreneurial endeavour was in primary school, I put on plays for the local kids and charged them a 2 cents entry fee. I went broke pretty quick. I think at heart I’ve always wanted to do my own thing and I certainly find that having your own business allows you to also ignite your creative side, which I love. By creative I mean you can come up with your own marketing ideas and strategies to attract new clients and build your brand and business. I had a real estate copywriting and public relations business on the side for a few years, before I started our Rent Roll at iThink Property. That started to bring in some additional income. I probably wouldn’t have had the self-belief or confidence to start a rent roll or run a real estate business without the support of my husband. He helped me step out from playing small to playing big in business and life. 

If any, what challenges have you experienced as a woman in business during your overall career?

After finishing Uni I moved to Hong Kong, I always longed for travel and adventure. I knew no one, packed a suitcase and had a one-way ticket as my 21st Birthday present. I had heady dreams of being an internal correspondent, but my early days included working in bars and teaching English in a Kindergarten. Eventually, I broke into the media and had some amazing opportunities at places like MTV and an ex-pat fashion magazine. Eventually, I ended up in Marketing for a large Accounting firm, this allowed me some financial freedom and stability. Hong Kong was full of opportunities back then for ex-pats male or females and there was no shortage of opportunities. I always had a yearning to be a sports reporter, so after 4 years, I decided to leave and pursue that dream. I backpacked around Europe for 6 months before heading home. I was armed with a lonely planets guide and called on a payphone to book my accommodation each night or week. There were no mobile phones, I kept in contact with family by weekly calls on a Sunday night, postcards, and letters.

When I started as a female sports reporter in the media there were probably only two other women doing it at that time. I’ve always liked to challenge myself and walk my own path, I didn’t want to be pigeon-holed into being the pretty face on the news. I was also a pioneer of women’s rugby back in the day, so I had a real love and passion for sport. It was a natural fit for me, but a huge challenge to be taken seriously. I applied to every newspaper, tv station, and radio station in Australia. I eventually got a Personal Assistant job on a sports show on Channel 7 and did holiday relief work in the newsroom. Many young male sports reports that I would train, got the full-time gigs over me, so that was hard to take. Eventually, a country station in Tamworth gave me a crack as a sports reporter, the country locals thought it was hilarious a FEMALE sports journo!!! I loved it and quickly moved to the Central Coast to cover an NRL team there. What I discovered through my media career, is that I’m not a cutthroat journalist that is after a story at any cost, but that I loved telling people’s stories. I loved sharing the tragedy over triumph stories, I looked for anything inspirational and uplifting to share.

What one piece of advice would you give any aspiring female business leaders/property professionals reading this?

Find something that you are passionate about and don’t listen to your inner or external doubters. Life is a journey, not a destination, and where you start out probably won’t be the place you end up.

If you want to see more of Kylie and That Property Mum, be sure to check out all of her social media pages, or even grab a copy of her E-Book.