Episode 7: Growing a high performing team on the back of COVID-19. | Axon Property Group Skip to content
Episode 7: Growing a high performing team on the back of COVID-19. Why it was a no-brainer to hire 7 people in the last 6 months of 2020!

Episode 7:
Growing a high performing team on the back of COVID-19.

Axons are part of the neuro-transmission system in the brain… they carry the spark between the neurons to fire the body into action!

This podcast will get your Axons fired up by our hosts Robbie, Tamara, Dan and Dane as they uncover the untold truths of what it really takes to successfully transition from the ADF, how to build a multi-million-dollar property portfolio, how to start a business as a veteran entrepreneur and how to more effectively communicate with your partner… while optimising your personal performance in every aspect of your life.

As everything changed in 2020, Axon found themselves in a unique position where the business was still buoyant and actually able to grow. The fast introduction of new team members led to a surge in capability and everyone needed to learn how to run - very quickly… after ‘drinking from the firehose!’

Listen to Axons Unleashed:

TRANSCRIPT:

Robbie:
Good morning everyone, my name's Robbie. I'm here with Dane. I'm here with Tamara and I'm here with Dan and you're welcome to episode seven of Axon Unleashed. How's everyone going on this morning?

Tamara:
Great. Good morning.

Dan:
A ripper morning this morning, I've already been down for a swim down at the beach, which is quite nice to be able to do up here [crosstalk 00:00:14] on the sunshine, up here on the Gold Coast.

Robbie:
Man, I just said before, you're vibing, you just imagine the endorphins that come in after doing a bit of exercise-

Dane:
Vibing or vibrating.

Robbie:
You can just feel it. You used to say, "Oh, the fucking [inaudible 00:00:26] was body frothing, when I got off the [inaudible 00:00:27].

Tamara:
GC living at its best.

Dan:
Absolutely. Keeping your hands off the table because otherwise that vibrational comes straight through to the recording.

Robbie:
Here we are for episode seven. And the title of today's episode is growing a high performance team on the back of COVID-19, why it was a no brainer that we actually hired six people in six months.

Dan:
That's a really, really long title. So when this gets published, we probably won't have it as long as that. Now you've got the general idea of what we're going to talk about today, which is great.

Tamara:
Yeah. COVID is something that everyone in the whole world knows about this. Everyone knows about what COVID is, it had an impact on the whole world.

Robbie:
Yeah. And as we sort of finish up episode six, Dane, I remember you speaking that time you'd been in the office for about eight days, the COVID lockdown struck, you were then forced to work from Dan's place. I want to say forced to work. It's pretty-

Tamara:
Forced to with banana bread.

Noah:
Banana bread and coffee coming out of there. And basically you had to then start your training remotely. We're certainly going to ... we told the story last time during the last episode about your individual sort of experiences they have, like what then impact did it have on the business when everyone was forced to work from home.

Tamara:
Yeah, I remember that day when the prime minister jumped on the news and just said, "No more going to work. You must stay home."

Dane:
It's still here too. COVID is still affecting us now.

Dan:
It's going to be part of our lives I think for the foreseeable future as well. But I mean, it wasn't just internal to us that COVID was affecting. I think we recognize the fact that the uncertainty and the turmoil that it's thrown sort of the economy into when COVID kicked off. And we know that there's lots of people out there that have obviously gone through some significant hardships during the COVID periods.

Tamara:
Absolutely.

Dan:
And certainly whilst we were in a very, very fortunate position, I think during COVID times, there's lots of other people out there that had some really hard times. So we certainly recognize that as well.

Tamara:
Yeah. And even the partners of some of our ADF members, they really got hit, they got hit with unemployment, with their transitions, with moving house, all these people trying to just get on with their life and suddenly life stopped.

Robbie:
Yeah. We got to experience firsthand during the coaching, didn't we? Because there were literally husbands and girlfriends and wives and partners, whatever else, that just had the unemployment and uncertainty. So it really did put the brakes on a lot of people and we've got dozens and dozens of clients that we've coached during that period that still haven't risen out of that yet and this sort of, they were like, "Yeah, we're going to buy a property. This is awesome." The handbrake went on and there's still sort of wallowing a little bit, so yeah.

Dan:
Yeah, while we work predominantly with ADF members. I remember being in the defense force when the global financial crisis hit and it didn't really affect me because all I felt was I got Kevin [Rod 00:03:15] gave me 900 bucks and I went and bought a new TV. It's not too bad when you're in that isolated environment. But I mean, Dane, you're literally stepping out of that isolated environment and undertaking a new endeavor in your life. What were you thinking and how are you feeling when that kicked off?

Dane:
I think for mine, obviously leaving defense is a big decision to make, you go from, even though we're talking about, it was very unfortunate for a lot of people when COVID came in. But a lot of people who were in defense really, they've got a stable income and they sort of bolded around that and they had that going forward, which they were very, very fortunate about.

Tamara:
People don't really get sacked from, like, they don't lose their job-

Dane:
They should.

Tamara:
... from defense, just because times get tough, really do they?

Dane:
That's right.

Dan:
You have to have done something pretty bad to be able to-

Tamara:
Yeah. They're not going to just downsize the regimen or something, right?

Dane:
No, they won't do that. So they always-

Dan:
Good work there Tammy.

Tamara:
Yeah, I'm on it.

Dane:
I guess with moving out of that and then moving into a field where, I had a lot of discussion with you Robbie obviously at that time. And I think for me, because I knew I was going into a growing business and then something coming like that, that no one really knew the landscape of. I remember it felt so foreign at the start. They're like, "Oh, in China." And I was like, "Oh, this is SARS all over again. This shit is going to stay over there and the same old stuff." But as it started to filter out and was getting out, everything seemed to be very reactive, not proactive, like something would happen and then they'd put a system in place to combat it.

Dane:
Whereas they waited until it was in Australia then they started pivoting people [inaudible 00:04:48]. So I was like, "Oh, shit, this stuff is actually getting quite real." And then when I started at Axon and then we talked about, "Are we going to pull the trigger and we're all going to go home," which [inaudible 00:04:58] pretty much came and said, "Yes, you will do that." I also was sort of shitting my pants to tell you the truth, because I'll start going like, "Oh man, I've had left the military where I got a half day Friday, and I'm be out of the gym and I'm jogging off and I'm down the officer's mess having monos and life's pretty good." And now I'm in a position where I could possibly not be in a position where I'll be a viable employee to keep, just because I don't know what's going to happen for this business.

Tamara:
And as part of your contract, you were on probation.

Dane:
Yeah. I was going to say like, yeah, so I think with that catalyst, I was kind of looking for like, "Hey, what can I do?" So I thought I'll be proactive. I sent Tamara an email and just said, "Hey, look, I understand what we're going into is going to be very difficult by the looks of things. I'm on leave without pay [inaudible 00:05:41]. I'll happily ... Just text an email for me and I can just step back in. Cut that forward and I'll talk to my CEO, I think that would be fine." I think I was almost trying to lean into plan B because I had no fucking idea how plan A was going to go.

Dan:
And you weren't the only one, I mean, Nat had just joined the team as well, and she was effectively jumping ship from a huge nationwide employer-

Tamara:
That's right.

Dan:
She'd come across to little old Axon-

Tamara:
Yeah. She was working for a pretty secure industry in itself, a pretty secure job. And then had just moved to us and effectively started during COVID. She never came to the office before COVID, she started-

Robbie:
Couple of interviews and we're like, "Right. Cool. Get yourself a desk at home. Set it up. There's this thing called Zoom, login, see you there."

Tamara:
Yeah.

Dane:
Zoom our best friend.

Tamara:
Yeah. She was the same. She's like, "Oh my God, what have I done? I've just left my secure job. I'm now on probation with a company that's in essentially property. And who knows what the property industry is about to do. They're just telling everyone to work from home. How do houses get built when there's work from home orders?"

Robbie:
Yeah, we're going to talk about that a little bit today. Because I mean part of our method was to be able to continue to see, communicate with our sort of a community. I'm like, listen, I remember what it was like in the military every now and then you get pissed off you're like, "Fuck this, I'm going to jump on. I'm going to see one of those civic calculators. This is what I'm worth." And you basically package it all off and you go, "I could work. I could earn heaps more money out in the normal world." Everyone's done that, right. But how's the job security going for you when the real world is not a big ... it's a big bad world even in a more of a sense. It was really critical that people didn't lose their jobs in the military and they were still able to have a conversation about, as the saying goes, we say Dan, be fearful. You can benefit from shit when others are being fearful.

Dane:
Is that it, Dan? Is that it? Is that what you say?

Tamara:
Word for word there. Word for word. [crosstalk 00:07:39].

Dane:
You've absolutely nailed it on the head.

Dan:
The greatest amount of chaos breeds the greatest amount of opportunity. [crosstalk 00:07:47].

Tamara:
You were so close there, Robbie.

Dan:
It was absolutely nothing like what I was speaking about. But I suppose from that perspective, you've got Dane stepping out of a very secure employment. You've got Nat stepping out a very secure employment. You've got another half a dozen team members basically sitting there at home going, "Okay. What is it? What now platoon commander? What's next?" I mean, what were you guys thinking is because you're now business owners of that business that was really going strength to strength at this point in time. And all of a sudden you've put these big speed bumps in the way and it's like, "Hey guys, take COVID. What do you do now?"

Tamara:
Well, something that was really important to us. Well, even now the biggest things for us is we will always pay our staff, we'll always pay our tax bills. We'll always pay our super on time, that is a non-negotiable. Before we would get paid before anything, that is just so huge for us. And early on when I made ... I spoke about it in one of the first episodes about how when we first started I paid a whole heap of bills before we got money in. And then suddenly I was in this really shitty cashflow position. And I'm really glad I learned that lesson really early on because it made me realize what I needed to put in place in terms of a cashflow for our business.

Tamara:
That actually put us in a really good structural position for when we were hit with this. We basically jumped on a Zoom call with the team and kind of we were able to tell everyone, "If things go to shit then and everything stops, we have money in the bank to be able to keep everyone afloat for the next six months. You will not lose your job. You are here. You're part of the Axon family and we've got you." And I was really proud of that, because I know how much I put into making that happen in the early days and making sure that we were always saving, saving, saving, and putting ourselves last sometimes, just to make sure we had that. And I'm so glad we did.

Robbie:
Yeah, I'm still doing it now, but yeah, how did you guys feel? Dan, you've been with us the longest and I know you trust Tamara and I implicitly, and you know that we've got your back, that's no dramas, but at the end of the day, the numbers don't lie. But how did that make you feel the fact that no matter what happens, even if the world closes in over the next six months, you're still going to have a paycheck coming?

Dan:
Yeah, I suppose the implicit trust that you sort of spoke about there certainly plays a significant part for me because I sort of felt part of my role is to be like, "Hey, I know that Robbie and Tamara have got the backend. I don't need to worry about that." If something was really, really drastically wrong, I'm sure they would tell me. I basically just, I pretty much pivoted all my attention for it. And I'm like, "All right, what do I need to do to make sure I demonstrate to the team that I've got complete trust and faith, that what Robbie and Tamara have come out and said is absolutely true and let's just search for it." Because that allowed from my perspective to just be like, "I'm moving forward, get on board or don't, it doesn't really bother," and Dane you're sitting there right beside me, I don't know how you felt. But I was like, "We're doing this."

Tamara:
Yeah. Let's do this.

Dan:
And we're either going to sink together or we're going to swim together, up to you.

Tamara:
Stop it.

Robbie:
When you say moving forward, I'm interested in that. What do you mean by that? You're talking about processes, you're talking about keep talking to clients, you just keep banging the drum and just doing our stuff.

Dan:
Just doing my thing. All that stuff you spoke about there, yeah, speaking to clients and everything like that. And I mean, it's really important for me to try to demonstrate to people that I'm a big believer and exactly what it is I'm still talking about at this point in time to be able to go and do this. There was a few things, we were sitting down and I remember doing our quarterly planning conference day and we were all separated at this point in time. Dane and I sat down and were in my office at home there. And we were talking about all the stuff for the quarterly planning and everything like that. And everyone was doing it remotely. It was all dialed in and everything like that.

Dan:
But on the flip side, from a client perspective, when I'm seeking out clients and I'm like, "Hey guys, I genuinely believe that when there is such chaotic environments and you're likely to get things from the government to be able to stimulate the economy and everything like that to be able to generate it, there's going to be awesome opportunities." So not only was I out there doing and progressing the business forward stuff from a planning perspective and speaking to clients about buying properties, I'm out there buying properties myself. Ann and I moved into our forever home in the first month of COVID.

Tamara:
Wow.

Dan:
When you're talking about putting a bit of skin in the game and belief out of the chaos, you're going to start getting really good opportunities, go and do it. I just don't talk about it. I'm actually sitting there and I'm like, "No worries. Let me get my $50 bills out ladies and gents, I'm right there beside you."

Robbie:
And you bought another investment property as well during that period.

Dan:
Absolutely. And you know what, and we're still benefiting from that on the backend of COVID because the strength that the market has evolved out of the back of COVID is phenomenal. The buoyancy that's in the market, their confidence in the sector is just through the roof. And if you want to go and get a block of land today, it's highly likely that you won't be able to build on it for the next six months.

Robbie:
Yeah, noting of course we're having this conversation in late February, 2021-

Dan:
Exactly.

Robbie:
... just for context.

Tamara:
Yeah. Sorry. I thought you were going back.

Robbie:
No. This actual conversation now yeah.

Dan:
Yeah. I suppose from my perspective, I was almost bullishly confident about how things were going to be, because I mean, feeding off the confidence that RT and Tammy sort of put forward from the strength of our position and we sort of went from there. I had absolutely no doubt in my mind that in three, six, 12, I don't think anyone was really expecting at that point in March-

Tamara:
To last this long.

Dan:
... that it would last for 18, 24 months or anything like that. But certainly at that point in time, I was like, "Sweet, we can weather this storm and let's see where things end up."

Tamara:
Well, thankfully we already had a lot of assistance in place. We have clients remotely all the time anyway. We weren't just embracing Zoom for the first time, like you see the many other companies that had just taken it on and their biggest one was you're on mute.

Robbie:
Zoom Doom.

Dane:
[crosstalk 00:14:07] 2020.

Dan:
Or they had people dropping into their Zoom meetings.

Tamara:
Yeah, randoms.

Dan:
And I'm like, "Have you not figured out that you can lock people out of your own Zoom meetings and you can control who enters and exits the room?"

Dane:
Learning on the run.

Robbie:
It's really weird, I've got a couple of mates who run property companies down in Sydney and they just do in-home appointments only. And they just can't wrap their head around. They're like, "But how do you build rapport? And how do you get to know someone?" I'm like, "There's this thing called the internet and it's got a video and you sit there and fucking talk to people and it's exactly the same." So yeah, we're really able, we didn't have to pivot whatsoever. We just saw everyone else going, "Holy shit, we can't fly into Sydney and do a seminar anymore. How do I set up a Zoom room and how do I do it?"

Tamara:
We had just been on the road and just come back from Sydney and Melbourne. And I got a gut parasite at the start of COVID and ended up in ... with from drinking bad water. And I ended up in hospital for a good week on a drip. And after that, my blood count and lymphocytes and neutrophils were really, really low. And I got put on a stay at home order from my medical team.

Dan:
So you're not just on COVID lockdown, you're on like life lockdown.

Tamara:
Yeah. We didn't leave our house for 46 days. And if anyone knows Robbie-

Robbie:
Imagine that.

Tamara:
Yeah, that's an interesting dynamic let me tell you. Robbie is not the best at relaxing-

Dane:
At lockdown.

Tamara:
... and staying still. Even now when we plan to go into state or anything, we're like, "Will this involve a quarantine in a hard shell because my God, I'm not doing that with you."

Robbie:
Yeah, we're locked in a rather large house in a beaver backyard, so I was able to get out there out and about, I would hate to do a quarantine. I remember we actually were trying to organize a bit of a builder catch up and just go to a cafe and have a coffee, which was allowed back then. And Tamara's like, "Sure, you can go have a coffee and you can go and see those guys with Dan, but you're going into quarantine afterwards." I'm like, "Fuck, this is really serious. She's [crosstalk 00:16:08]."

Tamara:
It was more my blood count than my health. And the actual risk we had in terms of COVID, it was more if I was going to get any kind of sick. But yeah, that was certainly an interesting time because even I had some of ... I packed up our office and brought it home basically and then we had Nat starting. And I was leaving a monitor on my front porch for her to come and get and things like that. She was talking to me through the screen door like two meters back talking to me about setting up and giving her uniforms and everything. So that was so strange just to go through.

Dan:
I mean, whilst we were set up to sort of operate remotely like that, we already started to pivot that way anyway. Dane, you were in that unique position where you were actually undertaking your training at the time. What were some of the things that you personally sort of implemented during your training to make sure you were really effective?

Dane:
Oh, I guess for me obviously starting out and not being ... The office environment provides a lot of, I guess, training elements you can't always quantify or put on paper or anything like that. It's the water cooler chats. It's the going and enjoying off to people and you learn a lot from the other sectors that I wouldn't get exposure to.

Robbie:
The immersive experience.

Dane:
Yeah.

Dan:
There's a lot of conversations that you must have face to face or else they just don't carry the same power.

Dane:
And you might not be directly involved in that, but it's something that creates a great awareness for you. And then you can almost have you get off that on the backend and will be something that shapes what you do, because you know it might enable them to do their job or whatever it is. But so for me, because I didn't have that [inaudible 00:17:41]. And I'll actually really enjoy being a dance player, because I remember coffees come to the desk with banana bread. And I was like, "Man, this is awesome." I think, man, just got to pull it [inaudible 00:17:51]. But that's not happening at my house. Anyway, so I was there.

Dane:
And when I trained with Dan, Dan being the coach and me going into the role as a property specialist initially, I really valued or got value at the top looking down what he requires from a property specialist I suppose that, so I had to delay I think of a week because Dave Simpson was sick.

Dan:
He'd just been to New Zealand, only just escaped isolation.

Dane:
Yeah, I know. I was actually trying to think, so I had a lot of like just management looking Dan, how Dan managed his team. And then what he required coming back up the other way, so I sort of had that. And then it got time I had to fly the coop and I got a little bit of separation anxiety, I wasn't going to have to dance anymore. I was like, "Oh man, I'll miss going over there. It's quite fun. And playing with James and all that sort of stuff." But then when I sort of got back I was sort of in iso at home by myself and I still had a bit of anxiety about the business, that's when you guys did your Zoom call and kind of comforted everyone, which was great. I thought to myself, there's certain things here that I'm not going to have people to go and do with. I would record myself doing presos and then I would send them over to [inaudible 00:19:00]. Like mate, at the end of your 10 hour day, watch this fucking recording of me-

Tamara:
I bet he loved that.

Robbie:
And then give me some feedback [crosstalk 00:19:06].

Dane:
And give me some feedbacks. And so I thought to myself, well, I can sit back [inaudible 00:19:10], but it's really not the environment for that. I know what I got to do. So allocate some time and make sure I'm getting that done. I think being very proactive in that helped me out a lot because when I did come back into the office fully I wasn't there just going, "Oh, fuck, what do I do?" I'd already mastered some presos.

Tamara:
You'd fast-tracked your own education and learning in the role.

Dane:
Yeah. Because all the stuff is there for you to do that. That's when I went into coaching as well, and I'll say anyone that I was like, "Man, I've got hundreds and hundreds of personal profiles I can adopt and go in and train. I don't need to sit there and wait for a coach to have someone. I can just literally get this, give it to someone at work. You've got 20 minutes, we'll be in there. And then I could coach."

Tamara:
Well, you've even done a few practice runs with some of the team, haven't you? There was a few coaching sessions with the team.

Dane:
Get them on the straight and narrow. I think definitely having that environment was difficult, but able to take that environment and turn it into something where I could really work with was definitely [inaudible 00:20:11].

Dan:
Sounds like you really turned it into a bit of a self-learning environment, where you were like, I know that we're all separated, therefore I need to be able to find a way to practice myself, assess myself and then implement those things [crosstalk 00:20:24].

Dane:
Definitely. I think my first process and risk brief I actually did over Zoom to YouTube, that was one of my first ones where I went through and I did the brief, it wasn't a back brief or anything like that, but I did an actual brief and that was in iso. I'd just been practicing myself and recording myself, which is a bit weird.

Robbie:
Imagine going back and watching that now.

Dane:
I know.

Dan:
I actually want a copy of it.

Tamara:
Early on we did do sort of a Facebook live that was sort of COVID inspired, I guess, that was-

Robbie:
7th of April was.

Tamara:
Yeah. That was talking about the latest updates and just trying to still keep in front of all of our clients and potential clients. We were still trying to be proactive and still trying to keep on top of what was going on. But we soon realized as well that everything was changing so quickly. We couldn't just wait and do another presentation a few months later because the information was changing that quickly.

Robbie:
Yeah. We did that full Facebook live on the seventh of ... so we spoke about COVID update. We got a full and comprehensive finance update, which Dan, you can pull it and put together really well. And then of course we just said, "What's going on in the property sector as well?" It was a really, really great response to that, actually lots and lots of awesome questions on there. And that was a platform for us to go, because I guess would you agree the things we sort of spoke about in the last 10 minutes was, what does this mean for us internally? How can we reconfigure? How can we now try and pivot? How can we sort of set a solid foundation? No drama, got all that sort of throughout the month of March. Now let's launch into making sure our community is informed and kept up to date about stuff. So yeah, April was a big month for us. So then what was the other event that sort of kicked off in April as well?

Dan:
Yeah, I think on the back of that Facebook live where we gave everyone an update, there was lots of unknowns, I think particularly around the home builder grant and how the government was treating it, all the other different incentives that were coming out there from the JobKeeper, JobSeeker allowances, and so on and so forth. And we were like, you know what, let's just do another Facebook live off the cuff one Thursday night and we'll just tell people the latest update. I think we did the first one of those on about the 30th of April and then on the 1st of May, more information came out and we're like, "Oh, well, guess we're doing another one next week." And all of a sudden there was this the spark of a little idea that was at that point in time just our opportunity to be able to communicate with our community there, that now has become a regular part of our journey where we just get on every single week and we make sure people are up to date with all the latest information.

Robbie:
That's the weekly live Q&A.

Tamara:
I love it. And you always see the same sort of familiar beautiful clients of ours that jump on there, and one of the first to say hello all the time.

Robbie:
It's like a little competition going there [inaudible 00:23:17].

Tamara:
Yeah. It's just great. The community there is so good and they just love to help each other as well. It's just such a really inclusive environment. They all just helpful, really positive, great questions on there. Every week there is the most random topics, the most random questions, but it's always so good, like, oh.

Robbie:
That's the thing about it. We're like, "Hey, this is Robbie, this is Dan." Now we've had you guys come and join us as well. There's no script, there's no slides. There's no agenda. You guys open the forum, it's live Q&A, go. And it just lights up, doesn't it?

Dan:
And as a shameless plug, that's it, 1830 Queensland time, every single Wednesday.

Robbie:
Every Wednesday. We've literally missed one or I believe, and that's when we were in daydream for our annual planning conference. Even when we get into Sydney tomorrow, we're doing one tomorrow night from our hotel room in Sydney. I guess we're at that point now like we can't let our community down because there's 30, 40, 50 people there waiting for us to go live every single Wednesday night.

Dan:
And not all of them are already clients of ours. Sometimes there's just the stalkers in the background that haven't started to participate yet.

Tamara:
The lurkers.

Dan:
The lurkers.

Robbie:
Longtime listening, never time caller. All right. Let's keep moving then. We've really set the platform, we've got our own shit sorted. We're now continually providing those weekly updates and doing the full and comprehensive Facebook lives as well. I just saw a massive demand for our services go through the roof really, didn't we?

Dan:
Yeah. I think the part of the driver for that was the fact that we're sitting there and providing people the information that they were really yearning at that point in time.

Tamara:
We weren't sitting on our hands. We weren't waiting for shit to happen or waiting for this to go away. We were being proactive and because we had the courage to move forward, I think that instilled the courage in our clients as well.

Dane:
It enabled people to remain bullish and not go into a bearish behavior. And like information, it's always great for that. Because if people are there and they go, "I don't know what's going on." Their first instinct is we're closing, next thing you get your emails going, "Man, I don't know if it's for me, this is." But because of that constant information flow and the graphs coming in and look how people have gone and prospered who stuck with it at that point in time.

Robbie:
So good.

Tamara:
The courage.

Dane:
Yeah, they're talking about up to 10% to 20% since COVID sort of coming out of the backend of it now in property prices. At the start they're talking about a 30% decline. You know what I mean?

Dan:
Yeah, that's a 50% turnaround. But I mean what you're talking about there, Dane, is like the information that was flowing to people, sitting there going, "Okay, I've now got the relevant information that I need to do." As soon as people have information in front of them a lot of the time, it gives them the clarity that they need to start making their own decisions and clarity and confidence to be able to go and drive forward for themselves.

Robbie:
It was gold, I loved it, because we literally had our whole business now focused on what was happening on a day to day, week to week. Opposed to working from home, we had Sky News on downstairs the whole time, we had our Skype chat going nuts about, "Hey, here's this grant. Here's this link. Here's the announcement, boom, boom, boom."

Tamara:
There's a prime ministers address everyone.

Robbie:
Actually, because what we were doing ladies and gents, we were harvesting all that information. So every Wednesday night we could go bang, here's the updates, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. And sort of be that voice for our community to make sure that from a property specific wealth creation, defense force assistance guide, we were the people that were providing for them.

Dane:
It gives them confidence. They're massively confident in it. And then in turn that they're going like, "Yeah, let's do it." And then so many people were doing that. So many people coming and introducing themselves to us and sort of driving up from that sector, so that was fantastic.

Dan:
It's kind of like what I spoke about earlier. The defense members themselves, sure sometimes their spouses were affected and their families were affected. But if you were just a defense member as the sole income earner for your property, your life didn't really change significantly. All of a sudden you've just got these tens of thousands of dollars worth of grants coming into your life instead. It kind of puts them almost in a far stronger position comparative to the remainder of the sort of the moms and dads, the standard population out there. They're in a very unique circumstance and it just ... You know the thing I actually love the most about it all though, because they didn't need to go to work, I could speak to them during the day.

Dane:
That was awesome.

Robbie:
Well, that's part of the reason we're sort of speaking, doing coaching number ones and number twos during the day, and then maybe doing a couple of cheeky ones at night time. That sort of got to the point where we're like, "We now need to find some more people."

Tamara:
Because those that don't know, you guys are generally talking to our clients after hours because that's when they're at home, that's when these couples or even single people are at home after they've finished their well-paid jobs, then that's when ... They can't just skip out of work for a few hours. [crosstalk 00:28:00].

Robbie:
One of the things you realize, Dan, that this is not a normal 9:00 to 5:00 job, it's a lifestyle. I love the fact that we sort of finish up in the office 3:00 or 4:00 in the hour though, go sort of hangout and do some exercise, hang out with the kids, whatever else it is. And then have dinner, sit down with a Mrs or the partner and then bang, I'm upstairs or we're next door, we're talking to clients, we're living our best life. That's what we do every night.

Dane:
I think I was saying to you the other week I had one of my first nights, not coaching. And I'll say to Robbie, I was like, "Man," sort of like, "I didn't have anything on." I went and I saw Jess and I was like, "Oh, what are we doing tonight?" She says, "Are you working or not?" And I was like, I knew she'd want it, she goes, "Well, I'm doing this." Next thing I'm in the garage at night, going around like undoing boxes and looking at stuff. And I was just like, "I feel empty." [crosstalk 00:28:45] some clients like, "What are you doing tonight? Want to jump on a zoom?"

Robbie:
I said that to you a few months ago, I'm like, "Oh, babe, I'm going to nod off." She's like, "Why?"

Dane:
Oh man, my brain was taking overdrive, I'm like, "I'm supposed to be doing something."

Robbie:
Get upstairs and go and talk to someone.

Dan:
That's it. Instead of saying, "I've got a night off." Just go, "Oh, I still got to work, disappear into your office."

Tamara:
Yeah, the man cave.

Robbie:
Oh, that's funny how it all worked out. So then I guess that's when we already knew from our yearly planning that we were going to start to grow the business at some stage, we had such wonderful success having Dan come and join us, yourself and the other people that we got to that point. But we were still only sort of five or six deep at this time. We're like, "All right. If we're now going to start to have this volume and this inquiry. We want to be able to make sure the quality and the type of service we provide is absolutely plus plus."

Tamara:
We had really been focusing on recruiting at the front end of the business. That was what we had been doing. All of the property and client facing stuff was all really boosted. But essentially the backend and so the marketing, accounts, admin, all of that was pretty much just me.

Robbie:
Yeah. I mean, you were really starting to burst there from ... literally the five or six hats you were wearing, when you're just trying to fit all that stuff in during the day. But I guess at the end of that, so we certainly then started to recruit some people on the backend towards the latter half, but we're like, "We need more property specialists. We need some more assistance." I guess the first conversations I started having was with James early in the year.

Tamara:
That's right.

Robbie:
After him, and so he was still overseas at that time. He was over in Iraq. And do you remember, it was like is in the summer of last year, we were talking to a heap of clients, they were sitting there in their puffer jackets down the bottom of the stairs with the dodgy buddies, go up a Zoom link. And there were guys over deployed that James was talking about going, "Get your head in the game. Get yourself educated. Put a plan in place. You don't need to wait till you get back to Australia."

Robbie:
There's probably five or six clients that were now successfully own or built houses with us that were over there with him so I'm like, "Fuck dude, when you get back to Australia, we should have a chat. If you don't want to be in the military forever, you should think about coming to work here." And he was an incorporator, so 17 years in the military. He had that fair bit of experience and just love the whole property journey with us. Even though he wasn't the next person that we recruited, Matt sort of slid in quickly, having that conversation and seeing the excitement, it's almost like dying, rinse, repeat from six months earlier. Holy shit, here's an opportunity now to successfully transition from the military.

Dan:
And I think we're sort of recruiting on two fronts, one front being, hey, we've got clients that need some support here and we've got the backend sort of support. It's really easy when you've got clients coming in the door to be able to quantify. It's like, if I've got X amount of clients that I need to help, I need X amount of people to be able to go through that process. It was easy to sort of identify the timeline to bring in your maps and your James and those people as they were coming in. But on the flip side, Tammy, on your backend, when you're talking about the finance and the marketing, and we're talking about all the admin that goes into running a business, I think that you were so entrenched in the day-to-day of it, that you didn't realize how much you were doing.

Tamara:
Yeah.

Dan:
How did that all change?

Tamara:
It was actually I had a coaching session with Laura and Johnny from The Entourage. And because as we've spoken about before, where as much as we encourage our clients to be coached and mentored, then we're also the same from a business side of things. And that basically got me to write down a list of every single thing I do in a week. Be it from booking out quarterly events to getting the mail, organizing people's car parks-

Robbie:
Getting coffee.

Tamara:
Grabbing the milk, getting the coffee beans, the most random things. I'm writing down all these things, I'm also doing all the marketing and working with external marketing people.

Robbie:
HR.

Dane:
Welfare.

Robbie:
Yeah, that's good point.

Dane:
That was a good one.

Tamara:
Yes, I was writing down these list and then they got me to highlight in different colors the different roles that that person would be. So say an admin or an EA, what would they ... those tasks be taken off me. If it was a marketing manager, what are the tasks that would come off. And basically really identify whose roles were hers. And straightaway when I did it, I had a whole page of marketing stuff and I read it out to Robbie and he's like, "That's more than a full-time role."

Robbie:
Yeah, that was my little penny drop moment. I'm like, "Oh shit, now you've listed it out. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, we need to get someone else in to help this." Even though you're an awesome self-taught top gun marketer and you've been instrumental in our success in being able to communicate with our community properly. There's only so much capacity that one person has.

Dan:
There's only so many hours in a day, right?

Tamara:
And everything else, when you are that stretched, then you start doing things, not at its full potential. You're only just doing the bare minimum just to get by. And you constantly, you're like that swan under the water, your legs are absolutely pumping. Except by that stage, I think my wings were also flapping around then too.

Robbie:
And of course I wasn't stopping, I'm like, "Hey, what about this good idea? What about this good idea?"

Tamara:
You never stop.

Robbie:
And you'd look at me with fucking disdain. You're like, "Dude, I'm already snowed under. You're fucking asking ... "

Tamara:
I don't know if I called dude.

Robbie:
No, that was a lucky game.

Dan:
It was definitely not a PG.

Robbie:
You're like, "Mofo, fucking don't ask me to do any more. I'm already at capacity." So yeah, almost thought we had those conversations [crosstalk 00:34:35].

Tamara:
Yeah. So we got in touch with a recruitment company and they found us out amazing Noah, our marketing manager. He's just sitting the room here with us. Hi Noah. She is amazing. And it was soon after having her on board, she was just great in getting in there and learning where we're at and how do we improve and straight away coming up with ideas. And it was soon apparent that when someone is doing that role, that job full time and that's their passion and their specialty, they can do way better than what you were half attempting to do. So that was a real eye-opener for me to get out of my own way. And then soon after I also recruited Amy, my EA.

Robbie:
Could we just pause on Noah for a sec, because we're talking like late August now, we're across the way at the Sheraton doing our third calendar.

Dan:
Yeah. I think we started speaking about Noah's position in about August and then ended up pulling the trigger around about September.

Robbie:
I'm going to call her over like, and I distinctly remember that Noah sat down with us and I basically gave a little opening address. And then we went through and did that first little exercise as far as the yearly planning goes. And Noah this is completely off the [inaudible 00:35:58], I've just asked you to come over and [inaudible 00:36:00]. Just try and give our audience here a little indication about what you quickly discovered about Axon and how we're different and how you were feeling.

Noah:
Hi everyone. This is a surprise. So yeah, I'm Brazilian, that's why I have this funny accent. And I've been in Australia for a year now and I was lucky enough to find you guys. So accent and when I first did my coaching session with Dane, he changed my life. And I always tell this to everyone because he just planned my whole life, even like my silly dreams of like, I'm a new person in Australia, I just got here, he was like, "What do you want?" I'm like, "Well, I want to buy a van. I want to travel. I want to bring my family here. I want to create a family." And he just put all of that into a big plan and turns out that I'm going to buy two houses in Australia and that is amazing. Am I ready?

Robbie:
How were you actually feeling when you came to that first office-

Tamara:
The planning day.

Robbie:
... the first planning day and you saw that there was structure and there was reason behind how we've been so successful.

Noah:
Yeah. Because I think, I've worked with so many companies and just seeing how the team works together and how everyone knows what everyone is doing. And you're so integrated and everyone is giving more than a 100%. I was like, "Whoa, I want to work with this guys. I was so excited."

Tamara:
We definitely have some high achievers.

Robbie:
You were supposed to go across to one of the islands and you had to cancel it to just come in and see us. We felt so bad doing that but I know you knew it was worthwhile.

Noah:
I literally had all my stuff in the car. We're going to North Straddie for a surf trip. And then I remember Tanya from Black Wolf calling in, she was like, "Hey, can you go to this meeting with Axon tomorrow?" And I'm like, "I literally just put all my stuff in the car." But yeah, sure, I'll cancel it. And then I remember looking at my boyfriend and I was like, "We're not going anymore." And he was like, "What?" It was the right thing to do.

Robbie:
You're doing awesome job mate. Thanks for coming and joining us.

Noah:
Thank you. Thank you inviting me.

Tamara:
But yeah, it's such a great thing to be able to have someone in a role that really like ... that they-

Dan:
For those playing along at home, Robbie's broken his headphones.

Robbie:
I'm back.

Tamara:
Oh, that was a struggle to watch.

Robbie:
For those listening don't have any clue what's just happening, for those watching on YouTube, I'm back, I'm good.

Tamara:
But yeah, what I was saying was having someone in the role that that's their specialty, that's their passion, they are definitely going to do the things that you were half attempting to do, and that role has grown even further now as we've progressed even further.

Robbie:
Yeah. So let's just sort of wrap this up so that the title of today was like how, like certainly growing a team during COVID while it was a no brainer to recruit six people in six months. So effectively we recruited, Matt came on board, X client bought and built his own home in one of the high growth areas in Southeast Queensland with his partner Ash, then James quickly followed on. So we sort of had like two new property specialists, both army veterans, both clients of ours, that sort of ... we had two new FNGs on the block at the same time, one about six weeks apart.

Robbie:
Then we had Hayley come and join us. Hayley was an ex DVA rep ex army transport 10 years, had been in property herself for quite a while. So yeah, she's now bringing her own viewpoint on things. And then of course, Noah, we just spoke about Amy, your EA. Let's just speak about that for a second. How do you feel about having an EA come on board?

Tamara:
Well, at the start, I have to be honest, I couldn't justify. I was like, "How can I justify having an admin person just for my staff."

Robbie:
You really struggled with that, didn't you?

Tamara:
I really did.

Robbie:
You were asking me for permission, I'm like, "Babe, go for it. Don't worry about it."

Dan:
I think the words extremely apprehensive would be an understatement.

Tamara:
Yeah. Well, as you were saying before, Dan, like with a sales person, we don't even call them salespeople, but people in the client facing roles, you can kind of quantify, okay, we need this much money coming in to justify that role. Whereas with an admin assistant or someone in that kind of role, then there's no real income to expense kind of like measure. Although when you do say, "We need to look at it deeply, then I'm doing more of the things I should be doing, which brings the business more value."

Robbie:
That's right.

Tamara:
I'm no longer getting the coffee. I'm no longer getting the milk. I'm no longer doing the admin, the stationary, all the bits and pieces and the running around of our lives.

Robbie:
She's literally picking up my suit this morning so I can try it on. There's so much more concurrent activity going on in your whole life, not just your Axon life, which enables you to focus on the shit that doesn't matter.

Tamara:
That's right. So yeah, so much as it was a tough decision at the start, now she just runs our life for us, she's amazing.

Robbie:
She's so busy at the moment being so productive for you. She's like, "I need a PA." The EA now needs a PA, so that's good.

Tamara:
I'm like, "Hang on a second. I used to do all of this plus the marketing. You're fine."

Robbie:
We got three on the front end, two on the back end. And the last person to come and join us was the wonderful Daniel Way, so we've now got our in-house videographer.

Tamara:
And Adam.

Robbie:
Adam, yes, there's one more. Shit, we should change the title.

Dan:
We actually recruited seven people.

Robbie:
Seven. So it was six at the end of last year and then Adam started this year. Since then it's been seven.

Tamara:
So did Daniel, he started this year as well. Daniel is our videographer. He's amazing, he is so creative. And you'll see a bit of this filming, a bit of his behind the scenes stuff. All the content has totally been revamped that we've been doing. I mean, we were doing okay, but now it's like next level.

Dane:
He realized how bad it was [crosstalk 00:42:11]. And I was like, "What the hell were we doing with our phones?"

Robbie:
I reckon by the time this episode, what are we now, episode seven, gets out on the street, you would have seen the first version of our behind the scenes sort of Video-

Tamara:
Reality show.

Robbie:
Yes, like a vlog coming your way. Axon reality TV show, named TBC, coming your way.

Tamara:
Adam coming across. So he was in the desert for a while. He struggled to get back due to COVID actually.

Dan:
Stuck in the sand pit.

Tamara:
Stuck over there during all these flight cancellations. Coming back, he ended up having to pay a fortune for a first class flight just to get back. And I think even then it was a two month wait or something for the first available flight. Yeah, so not ideal. And then he had to do his quarantine, hotel quarantine and he was very ready to get out of that.

Robbie:
Yeah, I can imagine. Another ex-army guy, ex client. So just the fact we've got now three people in the business that are now doing that client facing conversations that have all been there on the other side of the mirror as a client, it's just been bloody phenomenal. There you go, that's how our business has grown.

Dan:
How about we just do that then. I mean, let's do a wrap around the table and just ask each individual what is the number one thing you think that Axon did that enabled us to grow so significantly over that six months? So Tamas.

Tamara:
Well, we were mostly adaptable. There was times when say our build support girls, they couldn't do inspections, rental inspections in some places. And so they were straight away on the front foot getting 3D walkthroughs, getting imagery, getting video walkthroughs done. We were on the front foot with all of that stuff well before anyone else was. And that just is all that's ... when we talk about our high performing team, that is key. They were on the ball, they were thinking strategically. They're like, "Right, What happens if this happens? What happens if this happens?" There was always a plan in place and adaptable.

Robbie:
Love it.

Dan:
Dane.

Dane:
I'm going to go with innovative, in a way like for our services to have that high demand, we needed obviously a higher client ratio. So just being able to get out and around and being able to communicate with them when they're going through a uncharted territory was really, really good. When I was sort of sitting back, I guess in my role at the time watching how often you go guys would get a client, [inaudible 00:44:43] what's going on with this COVID staff? What do we do? And then so I can ... that reassurance that they got from Axon was imperative for us to actually grow.

Robbie:
What about you, Dan, what's yours? And I'll finish it off.

Dan:
Almost feel like our ability to sort of grab the crystal ball and actually look towards the future and have confidence in what a likely outcome is going to be. I mean when we were sitting there and it was like, oh, this is all doom and gloom and we're going to shut the borders and this is going to happen and the next thing it's going to happen. It's like, okay, but what happens in three months from now? What happens in six months from now? What happens in nine, 12, 18, 24 months from now? I mean, I'm often now speaking to clients about, okay, but what happens when international borders do open again in 18 or 24 months from now.

Dan:
It's like the decisions you make in the here now are going to have significant impact on the rest of your life. It's whether you want to have a short-term view about things or you have a long-term view. The ability to sort of process that into the future and have great confidence in what you see as the outcome and being able to pass that confidence onto our clients, I think is one of the things that certainly helped us. How about you, mate.

Robbie:
Mine is the will to win or the will to just not fail. I just like being adaptable, being innovative, being forward thinking and just future planning, all the sort of contingencies there, that is bred from the willingness to not let this beat us. The military all taught us the will to win and the military all taught us resilience and commitment and just getting shit done no matter what. I definitely think having sort of 10 veterans in the business supported by those sort of five or six other support staff on the backend has really, really contributed to our sort of success. We're in this for the long haul. We ain't going anywhere. If COVID has not broken Axon, nothing will, so here we are.

Dan:
Absolutely. And here we are ready to go strength to strength to strength in the backend of COVID, right?

Tamara:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Yeah. 1000%. All right. Thanks very much for listening.

Disclaimer:

Tax laws, interest rates, stamp duties and other considerations are constantly changing and the accuracy of the information contained on our website, social media sites or in any presentation is only current as at the date of its delivery.
This information and any examples provided do not constitute financial, legal or tax advice. We have not analysed or reviewed your personal circumstances. Where appropriate, you may need to obtain financial, legal, accounting or tax planning advice from a professional before implementing any wealth-creation strategy based on investing in property.

Axon Property Group, nor its respective directors, servants, employees or agents will be liable to you for damages, direct or indirect, including any loss of profits, loss of savings or return on investments or any other incidental consequential damages arising out of or connecting with the utilisation of or inability to utilise the financial and property concepts illustrated in this presentation.

None of the parties specified accept any responsibility or assume any liability for any accounting or investment decisions that you may make based on this presentation or in respect to any claim made by any other party.

You acknowledge and accept that the entire risk of making an investment in property, and the results and performance of any such investments, are your responsibility and no liability attaches to Axon Property Group. This disclaimer is to the extent permitted by law.