Axon Unleashed S2 E3: Debbie Rothlisberg - How to Obtain Finance

Season 2 of Axons Unleashed continues…

You can have all the intent in the world… but if you can’t obtain finance for your property you’re stuck. No matter how good your pre-planning is. That’s where the amazing mortgage broker that serves all of our clients, Debbie Rothlisberg, joins us.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Debbie is our first guest outside of the immediate Axon team and as anyone that has worked with her would proclaim – she is an absolute gun mortgage broker and one of one of the most caring and professional people you’ll ever meet. In this episode, you’ll hear how Debbie got her start in mortgage broking and how her attitude, mentantaily and approach makes her the perfect fit for anyone wanting to get the best financial outcome.

Related: Avoiding Common Mistakes When Obtaining Finance 

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Episode Transcription:

Intro Voice: Axons Unleashed.

Robbie:
Hey. Morning everyone. My name’s Robbie. I’m joined here by Dan and Tamara and welcome to the next version of Axons Unleashed. We’re here in Season Two. Morning. Dan-

Tamara:
Good morning.

Robbie:
… how are you mate?

Dan:
Mate it is season two, episode number three we’re up to.

Robbie:
We just have finished a very wet and rainy weekend here on the Gold Coast for Easter.

Dan:
Yeah. It was a bit of a happy Easter weekend. There were no outside Easter egg hunts outside for our family, because it was too wet. But the good news was, there was a small enough gap in the rain to be able to go and fit in 18 holes of golf yesterday.

Robbie:
Lovely.

Dan:
So it was pretty good.

Tamara:
Oh gosh.

Robbie:
Jesus, you must’ve timed that real well, because it was pissing all day down the Gold Coast. There’s no way that would’ve occurred.

Dan:
Yeah. I spoke to one of my mates and he’s a tugboat driver on the Brisbane River and he was meant to come and play golf with us, but he got called into work. And he’s like, “Must’ve been a terrible day out there boys.” And we’re like, “We didn’t even get wet. Not one drop the whole time.” And then, as soon as we drove out, it started bucketing down-

Robbie:
Perfect.

Dan:
… just terrible. So I was like, “Thank you very much.”

Tamara:
And the kids had some Easter eggs there?

Dan:
Ah, the sugar highs, and the lows-

Tamara:
And the sugar lows.

Dan:
… and lowest of lows.

Robbie:
We’ve got a very, very special episode here today, so I guess one of the really powerful things that our clients get to enjoy is getting access to our direct network. The same builders, the same accountants, the same solicitors, the same mortgage brokers as what we all personally use. Then, of course, if we’ve done the diligence and the hard work about finding the very best service providers in the industry, why wouldn’t we just hand then straight over to our clients? So it brings me absolute great pleasure to have the amazing mortgage broker, I’m going to tell her whole story shortly, Debbie is now joining us. Anyone who’s come in contact with Debbie, anyone who’s heard about Debbie, like every time we do a live Q&A, the amount of adoration and love-

Tamara:
Oh, the feed goes nuts.

Robbie:
… and feedback. Like, “You’re the best. You’re the best,” boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Now, Deb, I know you’re a little bit nervous joining buddy, you have done a live Q&A with us before where we try to hold a bit of an audience. There’s shit tons of people listening, but not right this second. They’ll listen in the future.

Tamara:
We can edit it out.

Robbie:
How you feeling, my dear? You’re welcome.

Deb:
Yep. You’ve got that all in one. I’m very nervous. Tummy’s going, but I’m happy to be here.

Robbie:
Well, good. Good, good. I really want to tell people the story about how you and I came across each other and I guess one of my little coaching philosophies is that you can have all the intent in the world, but if the numbers don’t stack up, it’s not going to happen. You can do all the research. You can find the perfect location. You can find the perfect property. The builder does an amazing job. Your tenants move in right away. But if you don’t have the right financial structure in place, you’ve got to sell that property in a very short time afterwards, you kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, and all that hard work and diligence goes down the fucking drain. It’s no pressure on you, of course, but I guess that it’s really important that we do understand the numbers and we’ll certainly do a little comparison here about whether you can just go straight to the bank or actually use a mortgage broker and have a range of different lenders, look at a range of different circumstances and scenarios that best suit you.

Dan:
Yeah, absolutely.

Robbie:
Cool. You looking forward to it?

Deb:
Yeah, absolutely.

Dan:
Before we rock too much into the mortgage broking and the numbers and everything like that, Deb, can you just take us on a bit of an adventure, like who are you? Where did you come from? Just a snapshot of your life story, I suppose, so people can get to know a little bit more about Deb the amazing mortgage broker herself.

Deb:
Well, where to start.

Dan:
Probably fast-forward through maybe the first 15 to 20 years of your life, and then keep going from there.

Deb:
Awesome. I was kind of going, “Well, how long have you got?” I mean even just in high school, okay, I wanted to work with people. That was a given. I actually considered nursing, but I’m not one for blood and gore and all those nice little-

Tamara:
No, you’re not.

Deb:
… extra bits.

Tamara:
I was so shocked by that. Like, “Mm, no.”

Deb:
But I used to actually spend weekends during high school up at the old aged care home and just go and visit some people that never used to have visitors.

Robbie:
Well done.

Deb:
Yeah. People have always been a special part of my life, I guess. So from that, it was finding an industry that I could still work in care for people and, of all things, it was hospitality. So I spent almost 19 years in that industry, eight years of it in America, and had a great time. Worked with some very, very egotistical chefs.

Tamara:
Aren’t they all?

Deb:
Yes, absolutely. Learned to swear. And really sort of having to improvise or think on your feet on certain events. And Tam will relate to this, whether it’s five people or 5,000 people, the timeline and the cue times all have to be pulled off at the right time. The wedding cakes lands on the floor, you’ve got to improvise and put something together and chef’s already gone home. So that was a great industry to work in and I think that gave me the real ability to be able to talk and relate to people, because when people are coming and have a negative experience or it’s the meal that they’re not expecting or the hotel room wasn’t quite ready or different things like that, people just need to be heard.

Deb:
So that was a strength to take back to the industry I’m in now, having the ability to be able to talk to people, listen to what their needs are. Some people have been hurting, obviously, with the recent COVID experiences or job losses, and just need that little bit of hand holding. Anyway, so I’m a little off-track. I apologize.

Dan:
That’s all right. I’ll bring you back on. One of the things that you did skip over and you do, I suppose, with some of younger clients, obviously, you resonate with them strongly, because you’ve got another significant part to your life, mate, that I think certainly grounds you and creates a little bit of your why you actually do this, as well.

Deb:
Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s the most important feature of my life. I’m a mama of an almost 22-year-old now. And yeah, that’s the most amazing achievement I think I’ve ever accomplished. And I may not be married anymore, but I certainly have [Nathan 00:06:22] to thank for that true gift that I have. Yeah, she’s a spirited young lady, but she’s a good young lady.

Dan:
That is a really light way of putting things, “She’s very spirited.”

Tamara:
Spirited.

Robbie:
But to be fair, she’s been assisting you over the last couple of months, and we’ll get to where you are now. We’ll sort of wrap up with all that on the journey. But yeah, well done for her for coming along and helping you stand up in your capability and seeing what it’s like to be a mortgage broker, because I guess she’s definitely got and understanding of how hard it is you work, the long hours, the diligence, the conversations, the thrills, the highs and lows about how to put together and awesome finance deal for someone.

Deb:
Thank you. Yes, I think in the teenage years or even when she was finishing school, she didn’t realize the hours… well, she did sees the hours that mum put in, but now she’s realizing what it actually takes to look after a client and get their loans done. Yeah, and what [bank land 00:07:17] is and what’s involved.

Dan:
Dare I say it, she’s actually starting to feel it rather than just see it, I suppose. You went into hospitality, went over, you’re in the US, and then somehow you’ve come back to Australia and you’ve made this huge leap. How did you find yourself in the mortgage broking industry?

Deb:
Of all things, I came back and I was overqualified for hospitality. So you come back with this experience, back then it was still very male-dominated in a lot of the hotel world. And I’d interviewed for a couple of positions, because I was with Marriott Hotels in Seattle and came home, interviewed for a couple of the hotels on the Gold Coast, and it was almost like they’re threatened, because you’ve got this international experience, you’ve traveled, you’ve got a little bit of [inaudible 00:08:02] about you, because you’ve got out of Australia. Anyway, I ended up working and managing a café in Varsity Lakes, of all things. And then, and it was for [Lendlease 00:08:16]. Lendlease, when they come into an estate, they actually open up a coffee shop for the sales center. I got to meet a lot of locals [inaudible 00:08:26]. [Kira 00:08:26] ended up going to school in Varsity.

Deb:
Then I got into Aussie Home Loans. That’s where I started. It ended up being an industry that I couldn’t continue in. And I’m like, “Oh my god. What am I going to do now?” And I love numbers, so it just made sense. We had a really good experience when Nathan and I got our first home loan, it was through Aussie Home Loans, and we were outside the box. We’d only been back in the country for three months. We were both working full-time. We’d obviously come back with some dollars, but we had no history in Australia for tax returns or income for eight years, so we were really a difficult scenario to be able to put a loan together. Anyway, we pushed through, got through that experience and I went, “You know what? I like that experience myself as a client.” So then I went and called Aussie, got an interview, landed the job, did the two week induction training and here we are umpteen years later.

Robbie:
When was that? Give us a time frame.

Deb:
The end of 2006, beginning of 2007 is when I did that.

Robbie:
Yeah, okay.

Deb:
Yeah, so stayed with them for two years.

Robbie:
Dan and I were both looking up at the sky, we’re like, “Where was I in the military back then? What was I doing?”

Dan:
I reckon we were both around about [inaudible 00:09:39] at some point there.

Robbie:
Yeah, that’s right. And that you and I were running into each other.

Dan:
That’s very interesting. We were just meeting each other. That was probably right at the beginning of my military career. You’d just moved into the second part of your military career as a bit of an officer there. A bit of an officer. He was a full officer.

Tamara:
A bit of an officer.

Dan:
But he was [ASWOC 00:09:57], so it doesn’t really count. [crosstalk 00:09:58] Shouldn’t be ASWOC bashing on this. But it’s interesting, Deb, that you were also moving into a new stage and career of your life that you’ve sort of been positioned from now, as well.

Deb:
Yeah, it was good. It was a very new experience, but again, with hospitality and running catering events and restaurants, you had to know your numbers. And working with chefs and doing P&Ls and things like that. So again, the love of numbers and people sort of continued through. It was an industry that sort of made sense to go, “I can adapt what I know to broking.” And when you’re with Aussie, at that time, you’re doing a lot of in-home appointments and it’s really raw for your clients. You’re coming into their homes and they’re like, “Don’t judge me.” I’m like, “I’m not here to judge. I’m here to help.”

Dan:
“I’ve got a small child. I haven’t vacuumed the house. There’s mess everywhere.”

Deb:
Yeah, yeah. “Well, the dog’s in and it’s raining,” or whatever the scenario was, and it’s just like, “I’m here to help you.”

Dan:
It’s almost like they feel like you’re there assessing them as an individual for the loan, rather than being just, I suppose, that conduit in between them and the banks, from that perspective.

Deb:
And it is, it’s an absolute mine field. When people are coming in, they just know what they don’t know. And finance can be complicated, as Robbie said, if you don’t have the right structure, it can be a very, very long term and negative affect on you. But it doesn’t just come down, and I don’t know if I’m jumping ahead, but it just doesn’t come down to interest rates. Tam, you might walk into your local bank and it might be one of the majors, and I won’t nail any bank today, but you’re only then subject to what products and loans that they have available. Whereas, you come in to see a broker and we’ve got access to multiple banks and products and we can hand select what we think might work for you, but again, then, we’ve got to come back and look at your numbers, your position, what your employment is, what type of employment, how many dependents you have-

Tamara:
And I guess, also-

Deb:
… I know that’s a hot subject.

Tamara:
… their future goals, as well. If they want to continue on this property journey or if this is their own home forever sort of thing, that all matters. And when you’re setting up those loans, you’re deciding on what they’re doing… you’re future-proofing the loans, as well.

Deb:
Absolutely, because all the banks have different calculators, right? So serviceability might be really tight with one lender and it might be a little bit more generous with another. Again, understanding what their long term goals are, we might be picking a bank for now, which will help the next transaction, and that still might be 18 or 24 months away. But yeah, we’re trying to forecast that, as well, to go.

Robbie:
Interestingly, the Aussie Home Loan story, when I was working for the other firm, go back and listen to season one, ladies and gents, to learn my story, we were working with a mortgage broker for the Aussie Home Loans. And we had one particular client, the lovely [Adam and Shona 00:12:58] up in Darwin, and they had discovered us, and I was helping him out buying a brand new investment property. And then, he happened to get his loan approved in 48 hours and it was normally taking us four or five weeks. I looked at everyone else in the office and I’m like, “Who the fuck is this mortgage broker that just got this loan approved in like 48 hours?” So I’m ringing him up, I’m like, “Bro, who’s your mortgage broker?” And Dan, you and I live and breathe this all the time, when a client comes to use that’s already got their own solicitor, I’m like-

Tamara:
Or mortgage broker.

Robbie:
… sorry, mortgage broker. Thanks, Tam. And that, too. I’m like, “Ah, fuck. Here we go. Someone’s bringing in the bloody C grade, B grade, at best, player into an A grade game, and this is going to be a pain in the ass.” And it generally is fucking-

Tamara:
We’ve had some doozies.

Dan:
99.9% of the time. I normally resolve the issue by saying, “Yeah, that’s great you got this amazing person on your side. Just have a phone call with Deb and see how things go.”

Robbie:
And guess what? They almost always decide-

Tamara:
Well, there is a big difference, I think-

Robbie:
… Deb is amazing.

Tamara:
… between someone that they’ve used before to, say, buy their own home, whether they’ve got someone that understands the ADF side of things, that understands the investment side of things. Having someone that understands all of that, rather than your generic mortgage broker, as well. There is that difference.

Robbie:
Yeah, 100%. So getting a mortgage broker to write a home loan that you’re going to live in and pay off and be stuck in the 30 year mortgage trap is very different than putting together a macro financial structure for you to be able to grow wealth in your life. I reached out to Adam, I said, he goes, “Yeah, mate. Deb, I’ve been working for her with a couple years now. She’s down the Gold Coast.” I’m like, “Dude, give me her fucking details. I’m going to go down and meet her.” All I care about is just getting the best outcome for the clients, and clearly this guy just flew through our process, which you had a massive hand in. So that’s how we sort of first met. I’m like, “Hey, you don’t know who I am, but I’m a property consultant. I’m helping out Adam and Shona. I want to come down and have a chat.” So that’s when we first met down here on the Gold Coast. Hey?

Deb:
Yep, absolutely.

Robbie:
Was the 2014, 2015ish?

Deb:
Yeah.

Dan:
Do you remember that first meeting that you had with [RT 00:15:04], Deb? And if so, just give us a bit of an insight as to what you were thinking when this random boofhead that use to be in the army from on the north side of Brisbane is now coming down the coast, basically going, “Hey, let’s have a conversation about how things go”?

Robbie:
What do they say? You get one chance at a first impression?

Tamara:
Oh god.

Robbie:
Now, I’ve never asked you this, actually.

Dan:
I just question without notice. Here we go.

Deb:
I’m still here. You did all right. You’d actually come down to meet, I think, Adam’s solicitor, as well, which was Greg. So you were there and in the building, and it made sense, because we were only two doors down at that time. I was actually working for another firm. And yeah, Adam and Shona, they were great. They’re amazing clients. I mean, they’re one of, probably, my first with you guys or, obviously, how the relationship commenced. But they’re just very good people.

Robbie:
Agreed.

Deb:
I get an email from him every now and again. I get a fishing update.

Dan:
And they do have very funky circumstances, like when you were speaking about interesting circumstances, they’re very much in that boat.

Deb:
Yeah, they had. And several of your clients have been, with the transition out of ADF, as well, what that timing is. We’ve also got some amazing clients that have their partners that have got small businesses that they’re working from home. Have they reached that two year mark with the ABN and what that means from an income or what we can and can’t use. Yeah, it’s been a good experience. But getting back to my impressions of Robbie, as I said, I’m still here.

Tamara:
That’s only because you met be soon after. Let’s face it.

Deb:
Oh my god. I remember that encounter more, because he introduced you as a girlfriend and I think you were just married or you were engaged.

Robbie:
Oh, the cardinal sin. It happened plenty of times. Doesn’t happen anymore.

Deb:
He’s like, “Oh, sorry, babe. Sorry, babe.” And I’m like…

Robbie:
“This is my girlfriend.”

Deb:
Yeah, so I loved that-

Dan:
That was the second impression.

Deb:
That was the second. I’m like, “I like this. He’s accountable.”

Robbie:
I guess, from my perspective, we just clicked. We sat down and I said look, “This is the way he run with our clients. We educate them. We coach them. We put a plan together, like a little mud model.” You guys were doing a similar thing of like, click, straightaway. If you can put houses in numbers and chunks of money and arrows and timelines on page and it makes sense, from a pictorial perspective, so that was a technical feat that we had there. Certainly, the way that you do have access to lots of different lenders and different interest rates and different valuations and different products and different everything, so we weren’t pigeon holing ourselves there. Because Aussie Home Loans, from an aggregation perspective, they were similar to you. Let’s just quickly explain that so…

Tamara:
I would say, as well, on top of that, you talk about the technical alignment, but I’d say there’s a lot of values alignment, as well. The values that you had for the clients and the values you had about not just pushing something onto a client or putting someone into something that wasn’t a fit, and that’s something that we hold ourselves very highly on, is that we’ll always do the right thing by the client, whether they end up working with us or not, then that’s totally fine, because we know, at the end of the day, we’ve put the client first and made sure that that was the right thing for them to do.

Robbie:
Yeah, 100%.

Tamara:
And I feel like that was real values alignment with you, as well. You’re very similar to that. If it wasn’t the right thing to do, then you would call and say, “Hey, let’s talk through this again. I don’t think this is the right thing for me.”

Robbie:
And those values all remain true today. Dan, you and I, and Deb, we all talk on the back channel every day and we’ve said no to some clients. And we’ve said, no, we have not let a client proceed if their money habits are up to scratch.

Deb:
Absolutely. And I think, I mean, there’s more focus on it now. As of January 1st, there was the introduction of [BED 00:19:17], which is best interest duty. We, as a broker, have to show why we’ve written this line for the client. Why was it selected? It always has to come back now to the best interest of the client. So whether you were doing it or not, thankfully we were, that was always an important part of the structure for us and the process, we’re governed by that now. If I get audited, which I potentially do with… I’ll share the aggregator that I’m now with it’s AFG, Australian Finance Group. They’re one of the largest aggregators in Australia. They’re doing awesome and they’re not necessarily conservative, but they’re conservative. Right?

Deb:
They’re leading the market and the industry in regards to if something’s coming, we do it earlier. So they’ve got the infrastructure. They’ve got the legal teams and they then give us, the brokers, also that additional training leading up to the actual implementation day. So we’re not caught off guard. Nothing’s an immediate impact. We’ve had time to adjust. So those brokers that weren’t necessarily taking the time to do those considerations or looking back at market or, again, walking just into your own local bank, because that’s what our parents did, right? Back 30 years ago, it was always about the relationship, “I know my bank manager.”

Robbie:
First name basis.

Deb:
Right. Absolutely. Well, I challenge you to go, “How often do you know your bank manager these days?” If the branch hasn’t recently shut down over the last two years, there’s certainly transfers and stuff like that happening.

Robbie:
And to be fair, when you’re lodging a deal and talking to a representative at the bank, they’re not in Australia anyway.

Deb:
A lot of them, aren’t. Yeah. There’s some banks that are all offshore for their support staff. And then, there’s other banks that there’s a mixture or they are Australian based. And that can be challenging in itself, particularly over COVID. I mean, there’s some positives that came out of COVID for our industry. Where we had to do face-to-face appointments, if became a digital… it was a step that was forced upon us or forced on the banks to actually allow us as brokers to be able to do appointments by Zoom or FaceTime or Instagram calls. To be able to go, “Oh my gosh. Actually, yes, we can see that person and their ID,” so that was a big win for our industry. So yeah, there were some other changes that have been a little bit more challenging. But that one, I certainly have embraced, because your clients are Australia-wide, so it’s been exciting.

Tamara:
I feel like Robbie was the one getting you onto the FaceTime actually, Deb. There was a few clunky moments there with-

Deb:
There still are.

Robbie:
Now, how many times have you had to fly to airport to go meet someone face-to-face, they’re passing through somewhere, [crosstalk 00:22:09] and you’re driving there and going, “Hey dude, I need to meet you to meet my compliance. Spend an extra 10 minutes with me at the airport, so we can go through things.”

Deb:
Yep. Several times. And if not, it’s like, “Okay, when are coming up on a holiday?” “All right. Yep. No worries. I’ll drive to the Sunny Coast,” or you’ll make those adjustments to be able to go and we’ll meet. And that’s really laborsome. When you think of the time away from your desk or your computer, the system that we actually need to do. And I’m a multitasker, right? You can’t be in this industry if you’re not. And you think, “Two hours driving? All right. Well, I’ll make my clients calls then.” But you’re distracted. I can’t take notes when I’m doing that, so it’s really that digital, FaceTime and all that sort of good stuff, has given us time back, which is quality time for our clients.

Dan:
Yeah, absolutely. Now, Deb, you said one thing interestingly before about how the previous generation used to know their bank manager and it was very much a people working with people relationship. I suppose, from my perspective, there’s also the linkage there with the people working with people, when Robbie was about to make the move towards Axon, I suppose. And Robbie and Tammy were sitting down in their media room downstairs, putting the meat on the bones of what now become Axon. With people working with people, I think there were some pretty strong synergies there, RT, with taking the right people with you across to Axon, as well.

Robbie:
Yeah, of course we needed a team, so we needed to have that core group of people, the solicitors, the mortgage brokers, the accountants, the builders, et cetera. So yeah, it was no-brainer. I’m like, “Deb, I’m starting my business.” And you’re always very transparent. I was keeping you completely up to date, probably with too much information sometimes, but at least you know the truth and the whole truth and nothing but. So when Tammy and I went, “Right. We need to find someone who’s going to be an awesome mortgage broker for our clients.” I approached you and said, “Look. Would you start to look after Axon clients, as well?” And that was going to be a no-brainer really, it was always a yes. That would’ve floored me totally if you went, “Yeah, sorry dude. I’ve got to say no.” Luckily-

Dan:
That probably would’ve put the brakes on a little bit for you, if you were like, “Oh shit, now this top-down mortgage broker that I’ve been working with over the last couple of years at that point in time,” they turned around and said, “No, I’m not doing this.” You’re back to trying to go now and find another top tier mortgage broker that’s going to be able to deal with and be able to manage and be able to work with defense clients, from that perspective.

Tamara:
I think you would’ve been fine to find someone, but whether you had that level of trust. And you’re putting the reputation of Axon, and especially starting out, reputation is everything when you’re trying to build something from nothing. So if you let one person down, that’s your reputation. Everything is just going to start crumbling, your reviews, everything. We currently get in the shit for not having any bad reviews, go figure. But a big part of that comes down to the suppliers that we work with that we choose to be part of the Axon family, the Axon team. The mortgage brokers, the solicitors the builders. The things that we have no control of, but we do. We do have control because we’ve chosen them, but we don’t have control on their service, so there’s a whole lot of trust there.

Robbie:
Yeah. So it’s worked out well. Axon was able to branch out and you came across with us, and you had a big couple of changing circumstances in your internal world, as well.

Deb:
Yeah, you’ve seen a few. You’ve seen a few changes. Prior to you starting Axon, I’d already made an internal move with one firm to another firm and I was very transparent about that. You’d then come and shared yours and I think one of the things that I liked working together is that we’ve both always been very transparent or we’d come and Kira [inaudible 00:26:15] and I would come and have dinner with you and Tam and the girls would sit there an go, “Oh my god, they’re talking business again.”

Robbie:
That’s that young spirited lady we talk of.

Deb:
Doesn’t hold back. We always knew where we were sitting. But it was just because we were just so engrossed with it. If you love what you do, I guess that’s what you talk about, right?

Tamara:
You say were like it still doesn’t happen.

Deb:
No, it doesn’t. No. Not at all.

Tamara:
What are you talking about? It still happens. Every dinner we have you guys are still…

Robbie:
We got much, much, much better.

Deb:
I think so.

Tamara:
“We’re just going to talk about this client,” and then it goes on and on and me and Kira are looking at each other like, “I thought they weren’t going to talk about work this time.”

Deb:
But what’s beautiful is you and Kira now go and start engaging. Kira will actually go, “I know that client,” or “I’ve done that client.” Or she’ll sit upstairs and go, “Mum, they’re my age.” And I’ll go, “Yeah, look at what they’re doing. Don’t you want to be like that person.”

Tamara:
Save your money. No more clothes.

Deb:
Yeah, exactly. [inaudible 00:27:16] what’s that?

Robbie:
From my perspective, it didn’t matter who you were working with. I guess, for you, it didn’t matter who I was working with, the bond that we created is just that we were going to continue to follow each other around like we’re [inaudible 00:27:27], coaching strategist, chief financial person, we’re just going to make it up. And, obviously, as the business has grown, you’ve now had the opportunity to form those bonds with Dan, that you guys have got an extremely close relationship, as you have with Dane as he’s evolving into an awesome coach.

Deb:
Absolutely. They’re brothers I never had, right? I come into Axon and I just feel so blessed that it’s just extension of my family, right? You’re all so welcoming. When we’ve been offsite and we’ve done trips and we’ve seen clients and stuff, Dan is like… and can tell the story that I shared?

Dan:
I don’t know what story it is, but sure.

Robbie:
Me either, I want to hear it.

Deb:
Of Sydney recently with the assumption from a girlfriend with the photos?

Dan:
Oh yeah, whatever. Yeah, sure.

Deb:
It’s classic, and I don’t know if you’ve told [Ann 00:28:13], but it was completely innocent.

Tamara:
Surprise.

Dan:
No, but I don’t know if Ann listens anyway.

Deb:
Oh, okay. I love Ann. It’s all good. So there’s nothing there. I’m catching up with a girlfriend and she goes, “Aw, I saw the pictures from the Sydney event and you guys were down there.” I said, “Yeah, yeah.” I said, “Axon was nominated again for Australian Small Business, and it was so exciting. Awesome weekend.” And she goes, “Oh, have you got a new man?” And I went, “Ah, yeah. No.” And she goes, “But there was two photos and the same person was right beside you.” Poor Dan, on the glam night, he’s to my left. And then, at the luncheon, the beautiful lunch that we had down at the wharf, he was behind me. So she’s like, “I swear, I was looking at where his hands were, and I’m like, ‘I swear you guys were together.'” And I was like, “No, he’s just like another brother.”

Dan:
But I got to say, Deb, normally the gentlemen that you attract are really, really good looking young men, so it’s almost-

Deb:
Hot Dan.

Dan:
… a compliment from that perspective.

Robbie:
She was probably thinking you’ve got an upgrade, Deb.

Deb:
Yes.

Dan:
Classic. Yeah it is-

Deb:
So yes, all like brothers.

Dan:
… all like brothers. Absolutely. What about one of the big transition points for Axon, I suppose, and a big pivot that took was where we decided, “Okay, we’re only now going to work with defense clients.” I suppose, how did you receive that information where it’s like, “Hey Deb, you know those mums and dads? Don’t worry about those guys anymore. You’re only going to speak to defense clients now.” What was your initial reaction to that? And, I suppose, how do you find it now working with those defense clients almost exclusively?

Deb:
I was quite excited, the reason being is, because of the previous firm that I was working with, I wasn’t just looking after Axon clients, as you’re aware. So my plate was pretty full. I was working with Axon, your defense clients, obviously, you had some civies at that time. Our business was all civilian business, and it is a different market. And dare I say it, the defense clients are organized. They are timely with their responses, they’re computer literate. It’s a 1%, if that, that I’m challenged every now and again, and it just reminds me of how privileged I am to be working predominantly with defense members.

Tamara:
They just get shit done.

Deb:
They do. And without complaint.

Dan:
I love that refer to normal people at civies, which means you have been appropriately militarized now, that you refer to the everyday public as civies.

Robbie:
99% of Australia.

Dan:
Yeah, have civies. You’re just civies over there.

Deb:
I’ve been working with you boys for a while now, so you’re rubbing off.

Tamara:
Have you got the acronyms down pat yet?

Deb:
Yeah, there’s some. Every now and again I’ll Google one. They’ll be something in an email and I go, “I’m not sure what that one is. I’ve got to go Google.” But for the majority, I think I’m down pat. Every now and again, I know Robbie’s busy, so sometimes I’ll ring Dan and go, “What’s this one?” And I’ll go, “This one.” [inaudible 00:31:17]

Tamara:
Do you ever reply with an ac? Or…

Deb:
I try not to. And the reason why is, I guess, from my perspective, when I’m emailing clients, I don’t right LVR. Or if I do, I then write the description next to it, because I never again want to assume that they know. Yeah, it’s not by habit that I try and do it.

Tamara:
Right.

Robbie:
To be fair, even though we’ve got the caliber of clients, Tammy, you just described before. I’d like to also put forward that a huge contributor there is the business model that they’re under. Because you can have a really motivated person who’s computer literate and very organized, but if they don’t know what they’re doing, if they’re not coached, if they’re not educated, if they don’t have confidence in what the next steps are, they’re just another person, they’re just another punter having a crack. I remember when you did have that mix of people that you were helping out, you’d be quite frustrated. I’m like, “Babe, is everything all right?” [crosstalk 00:32:14] See, I’m like, “Is everything okay?-

Tamara:
Oh god.

Robbie:
… You seem a bit stressed.” You’re like, “Ah-

Tamara:
I did say brothers.

Robbie:
… I’ve just got some fucking files at the moment.” You probably didn’t say fucking either. But, “I’ve just got some files that are frustrating me.” I’m like, “Are they any of our clients?” They’re like, “No, no. Not your clients. I’m like, “What’s up?” You’re like, “People don’t know what they’re doing and they want to exit the contract,” and this and this and this. It’s something that we’ve been very proud of and working a lot towards, is making sure that our clients, they do understand the steps, they are educated, they do feel coached. I guess, just speak to that quickly, their levels of confidence and how easy they are to work with.

Deb:
It’s night and day. It is absolutely night and day. When I get to do a client call and talk with an Axon client, again, you’ve had that coaching, there’s structure, they know the steps ahead. I get a client call and sometimes it’s with not any referrer, it’s just straight off their street. They’re just, “Hey, Deb. You know what? Well, we’ve been referred to work with you. We’re looking at doing this, this, and this.” And I’m like, “Okay, well have you got this, this, and this?” “No.” Again, they get cold feet, right? So they pull out of the contract and you go, “All right, I just spent 10 hours on that client, what I could’ve been doing for someone else.” And it is, like I said it earlier, people don’t know what they don’t know. But it’s like any sports player, right? To get better or to get that focus, you work with a coach. It’s no different with finance or property investing and things like that. You want to have someone that’s experienced.

Deb:
You don’t go and get a tooth pulled by the jockey down the road. You go to dentist, right? So there’s specialties in every field. Getting back to working with Axon clients, all your defense members and things like that, it was just knowing that they’ve had the coach, the mentoring, the structure that’s already been put aplace them. It was the conversion rate, dare I say it, was 100%. Do you know what I mean? They didn’t fall out. And those couple of clients that we had that we put the pause button on, it wasn’t because they didn’t want to proceed, it was because at the position, there was a change and there was two that we had an income change, that we just had to put the pause button on. And then, they came back 12, 24, and I think we had one that was about 34 months later.

Deb:
But we continued, and again, you continued to mentor them. I’m in the background, also, supporting, making sure that they’re still following their target, getting there with their savings and income, and making sure that they’ve been in that job long enough, that everyone has converted, and that’s an amazing stat.

Robbie:
I remember sitting there at lunch a few times and we’d been working together for a couple of years or so, and then, I can’t remember who was sitting there, it might’ve been a builder or a solicitor or something. And then, after a couple of glasses of wine, you’re like, “I just got to say, the way that the clients are coached and educated and mentored and supported in their levels of confidence is the best you’ve seen in the business.” And you’ve been doing this a long time, I lot longer than I, a lot longer than Dan. So for you to say that a couple years ago, it didn’t give me a big head, it didn’t make me proud.

Robbie:
I was like, “All right, if that’s how you think about our clients now, let’s take it to the next level. What else can we do to educate them? What else can we do to make them feel supported?” We all went as far as that goes, because the greatest commodity that we’ve all got the same amount of is not money, it’s time. And we don’t want to waste 10 minutes, let alone fucking 10 hours on someone, if they’re not ready to go or if they don’t want to do it.

Dan:
Yeah, absolutely. I think when you just said, “I’ve used 10 hours of my time up working on that file already,” I was cringing. I was like, “Imagine all the other stuff that you could’ve used that 10 hours towards?” That’s literally a quarter of a week that’s just focused on one individual client that’s just gone down the gurgler, because they probably didn’t have some skin in the game, they didn’t have the understanding of what they’re actually doing, they might’ve got a little bit of buyer’s remorse. There’s 1,000 things. Well meaning family and friends might’ve even got involved, dare I say. There’s a lot of things that can go on in the background, but it’s just to make sure that that filter up front is also very, very strong to make sure that that fits together and doesn’t use up a lot of other people’s time.

Dan:
I’m very forward in telling clients, “Hey man, we’re going to get this filtering done right up front, because I know that you don’t want to spend six months undertaking a journey, only for it to fall over later on down the track.” And they’re like, “Yeah, of course that’s the case.” And I’m like, “All right, well we’re going to filter hard and we’re going to filter strong, and if you’re not committed, then we’re not going to do this.” And they’re like, “Okay, let’s work,” and we go forward from there. That filtering is really, really important, I think.

Tamara:
I would say something that working with all these clients, because you’ve just really been focused on defense clients, that’s made you really an ADF specialist, I guess, in this mortgage broking world. Because even the other day, we were talking. I can’t remember who we were talking… but we were talking about the defense pay slips, and this was in our lat Q&A. We were talking about defense pay slips and how they’re not easily worded and they’re not easily-

Dan:
That’s a very PC way of putting it.

Tamara:
… laid out.

Dan:
They are horrendous for the banks to be able to come and assess, unless you know exactly what you’re talking about.

Tamara:
And, I guess, that’s something you’ve really taken in your stride, as well, is your ability to not only read the pay slips, but understand what they mean, understand what their entitlements are, understand their extra benefits, I guess, all the things that are added onto that pay slip, you can read them.

Robbie:
Because it can really make a difference.

Dan:
And every defense member right now, I can tell you, they’re just sitting at home going, “I’m glad Deb can read it, because I can’t.”

Deb:
That was what I was about to say. It’s amazing how many client calls I’ve had, I’m like, “Oh, have you got a pay slip handy?” And they’re like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” So then, we’ll work through what they think their income is, because we get their profile and we’ve got an understanding of what they think their salary is, and it is mind blowing. Living expenses is one thing, income’s another, right? And they’re the two primary things that I’ve got to consider for any finance. And it is amazing how many people don’t understand how much they earn. Civilian or ADF, right? But the ADF pay slips are a mine field. There’s untaxed income in there, there’s taxed income, there’s different allowances. How long do they get that allowance for? And then there’s the deductions. Are the doing the mandatory [MSBS 00:38:45] super deduction? Are they doing it at a 5% or 10%, et cetera? And then, you’ve got the nice trust loans, the relief trust-

Robbie:
Fund.

Deb:
… fund-

Dan:
RTF

Deb:
Loans.

Dan:
Navy loan, air force loan.

Deb:
The interest free loans.

Robbie:
Chaplain’s loan.

Deb:
Oh my god.

Dan:
The old [padre 00:39:03] loan. How good is that?

Deb:
Yeah.

Tamara:
I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Robbie:
Everyone else does.

Deb:
But then, when you go to bank land, there’s no such thing as untaxed income, right? So unless it’s the government pension or something like that, that is untaxed, we have to service all ADF income as taxed income. So we have to put that in the bank. So it does, it get challenging.

Robbie:
So it wipes off 30% straight away.

Deb:
It can make a massive impact. Now, there are changes happening right now, so I understand the ADF clients, because I emailed several of them last week, and they can’t access play slips for two weeks, April 1st to the 12th. Apparently ADF payroll’s down. They’re making a massive change and rolling in several of the allowances to their base salary. So I’m very excited. I may not see that change, I think, until the 27th of May, but I’m very excited to see how that impacts servicing and those changes.

Dan:
I’ve never met anyone who’s like, “I’m really excited to see defense pay slips come out and see what changes they’ve made in the structure of it.” That just shows, I suppose, almost, Deb, the level of interest and the passion that you now have. Because, [inaudible 00:40:15] actually providing that feedback, because CDF, it’s my understanding, has asked for feedback on how the new pay slips are going to roll out, and you’ve actually provided that context to, certainly, some of our clients. To be like, “This is the slight tweak that I would also make, to make sure that defense aren’t impeding their clients ability to go forward and create wealth in their life, just based on the pay slip structure.”

Deb:
Yeah, one of your clients has actually taken my name and contact details to CDF and I’ve welcomed the conversation to have a chat with them, if they want any further understanding of what the impacts are in bank land.

Tamara:
Wow.

Deb:
So yeah, we’ll wait and see if I get contacted, but I have certainly given the details to encourage that call, to see if we can make some positive changes there.

Dan:
[crosstalk 00:41:03] By the time this goes to air, we’ll probably know the answers to whether that’s actually gone forward or not, which will be a little exciting little piece to be able to go forward with.

Tamara:
I absolutely love listening to people real nerd out about what they’re passionate about, and it’s something even just seeing you full nerd out about that. It’s kind of the way you nerd out with an Excel spreadsheet, Dan.

Dan:
All right.

Deb:
[inaudible 00:41:28].

Dan:
The only thing that’s disappointing about a good Excel spreadsheet is when people don’t appreciate it.

Tamara:
The formula. Don’t mess with the formula.

Robbie:
What about some of the key lessons… what are we now? 40 or so minutes into it, let’s maybe go for another 10. Where are you at now Deb? I know there’s been some more changes, as far as that goes? So yeah, just give everyone an update as far as how you’ve also progressed from a personal and professional sense.

Deb:
Thank you. Yeah. Well, gosh, you guys have been there for a long time listening to my conversations of, “I want to just go out on my own.” And literally putting on the big girl pants to be able to do that. I’ve had conversations with Dan, Dane, Tam, many a times, and certainly you, Robbie. Robbie’s like my biggest brother, but he’s also like a mentor, as well, from a business perspective. And Tam, because you guys have achieved what you have so quickly, and it’s been such an honor to be able to sit on the sidelines and feel like you’re part of it, but also just the growth from day one. Do you know when you guys were working out that bedroom in the apartment at North Lakes, when I first met you guys, to what Axon is today.

Deb:
So my little journey or my experience was, when you’re working for someone else, you’ve always got to work within the guidelines of what they want. You can’t always manage or be free enough to be able to implement certain things or changes. As I said, I love talking to clients. I like the freedom of being able to have a decent conversation, so they don’t think that they’re a number to me. I get invested. There’s several clients that call me mama bear, and there’s another one that calls me-

Tamara:
Yeah, mama Deb. Mama Deb.

Deb:
… burger buns. But thanks, [Tash 00:43:17].

Robbie:
Oh, lucky that was a lady.

Deb:
Yeah, Tash. Tash [crosstalk 00:43:21]-

Dan:
I was like, “I don’t know where we want to go with this one.”

Tamara:
Wasn’t that a Siri-

Deb:
It was a voice message.

Tamara:
… autocorrect?

Deb:
Yeah.

Tamara:
Yeah.

Deb:
So my surname Rothlisberg was changed to burger buns, I don’t know how. So yeah-

Robbie:
Same thing.

Deb:
… even in the last Brisbane meetup, she’s like, “Hey burger buns.” “Hi, darling.” It’s never going to escape. But anyway, so recent, I made the decision and, I guess, the biggest support was obviously coming to you guys and saying, “Hey, look. I’m looking at leaving this firm. I am going to go out on my own. Do you have any concerns with that?” Because naturally, when I got out on my own, I’m not going to have the support that I have at this moment. Not that I had the full-time support, I do appreciate. So you guys were like, “Deb, we’ve been talking about this for four years.”

Tamara:
We’re like, “Just rip the band-aid.”

Deb:
“Just do it. We told you we’re here.” So it was like, “Okay.” And being a single woman, it was a big change. You’ve got the safety net of working for a firm, getting paid a salary. It doesn’t matter the volume that I write, because I got paid a salary, right?

Robbie:
All the risk is on someone else.

Deb:
So there’s a safety net in that. Exactly, right? Someone else’s marketing, all of that. So it was a really, really big thing. And also, because mortgage broking, we get paid a commission on the loans that we write, right? The banks pay that to us.

Robbie:
Standard industry practice.

Deb:
Yep. But they also claw it back. If someone makes a significant change or you win the lotto, you sell the house, you pay out your loan under two years, they claw that back. So it’s one of the few industries that you can earn income but two years later, or within two year, lose it. Making that decision was really, really important to me. Can I financially run through that or carry that loss if it was to occur? So that was a big thing for me, and also just ensuring that I had enough income to support myself for a period of time, because again, when the bank settles the loan, it’s another four to six weeks, before we get paid. Again, it was sort of just going, “Okay, can I bank roll this?”

Deb:
I pushed all the numbers aside and went, “At the end of the day, what do I want? What do I want for my clients?” And it was the freedom to be able to work for myself. It didn’t matter whether I worked six, five, seven days a week, whatever hours, or taking a phone call at 10:00 in the evening. Go, “Okay, you know what? I might start at 8:30 tomorrow morning, instead of 8:00,” or having that flexibility of time. It just became [MyBroker&Co 00:45:59]. I’m like, “All right. Let’s just make this happen.” So the second of November, 2020, MyBroker&Co became live and it was one of the most, other than having my child I think-

Tamara:
It’s the other child.

Robbie:
Yes, correct.

Deb:
It is, it is. And it’s the other child that’s now working within the business, as well, that’s very, very exciting. And I feel very privileged that she wants to even be part of it.

Robbie:
So fast-forward four or five months and you’re a business owner now, as well.

Deb:
Yes.

Robbie:
Let me reinforce to everyone, ladies and gents, veteran entrepreneurship is extremely close to my heart, as well, but you grab all of your chips in life and you chuck them all on the table and you bet them all at once, whether this is going to work or not, because that safety net you were talking about, the salary, the leave days, the support network, et cetera, and everything else taken care of. You rock up, you do your job, you’re not a dickhead, you get paid. That’s pretty fucking simple, right? That’s the way that the world works. And a classic example is that when I bloody hurt my leg, I couldn’t ring my boss and go, “Hey, I need three months off sick pay.” There was no fucking sick pay. That was it. That was us-

Tamara:
And you boss told you to shut up and do some work anyway.

Robbie:
Yes. I do remember [crosstalk 00:47:12] you saying that to me, Tammy, yes. So yeah, it’s a huge step forward. But now, fast-forward a few months and then you would’ve had the first few settlements start to come through. Tell us how you’re feeling.

Deb:
I love it. And dare I say it, I should’ve done it four years ago, but I wasn’t ready. I needed some growth myself. I needed some backing, and I was in a position that, for the last four years, I really knuckled down. Like I say to my clients, “Is it a need or a want? Am I buying that little dust collector for the house because it’s cute or am I just banking that dollar? What is my goal?” So the last four years was a progression to be able to get me in the position to have the confidence, to take the risk, because it is a risk, to go and work on my own. And I’m working from home, at the moment, that keeps the costs down. But the intention is to grow the business. And another reason-

Tamara:
And you have staff now?

Deb:
I do. As I mentioned, Kira’s working part-time, so she’s just working Monday through Friday in the afternoons. And then, I’m just hired my first full-time staff member, and that was exhilarating. It’s like, “I’m responsible for someone else, but-

Tamara:
It’s such a huge, different pressure, because you’re no longer just responsible for your… It’s no longer just you taking the risk. You’re taking the risk of someone else’s well-being. They’ve taken a risk on you. They’re putting their chips, I guess, on you. And you’ve added those to the pile, and yeah, that’s something that is so huge for me. The risk and the taking on of staff members or team members, because it’s not just them, as well. It’s their families. It their life. You’re taking all of that pressure on.

Deb:
Yep. I’m also excited about what she can bring into the business, as well. What can she kick me in the pants about? What can we do better? She is younger than myself. So I’m like, “Okay, there’s nothing wrong with that.” Youth brings different… they’re a little bit more adventurous. I’m a little bit more old school. I’m quite manual with a few of my tasks.

Dan:
Like you pieces of paper that you have [crosstalk 00:49:29] when everyone else is using a computer or a laptop?

Robbie:
Yeah, yeah. Old school.

Deb:
Dare I say, I’m 50 this year. All right? So Robbie usually throws me under the bus and I’m surprised you haven’t already yet.

Robbie:
I would never do that.

Deb:
But I am [crosstalk 00:49:40]-

Tamara:
You also do that when we travel. When we travel, we all check in with our phones and then there’s Deb, she pulls out of her handbag, everyone’s boarding passes.

Dan:
She’s got a briefcase there with all the Filofax lined up there. She probably carries business cards, still.

Deb:
It’s so not that bad, and I don’t have a business card right now, and the website’s under development.

Tamara:
You don’t need one.

Deb:
And I think it was Stan that was talking about a URL the other day or something, too. So I’m like, “Oh yeah,” crossed-eyed looking at him.

Robbie:
Good on him. You’re creating an environment and you allow someone else to come in and flourish and lead their best life. We do that with all our other team members here. What have we got? Nine veterans that work in Axon, and there’s nine people that have now successfully transitioned from the military, which we all loved working in. Army, navy, air force, male and female. And other people are now living their best version of themselves. So as a leader, create that environment, give them the space to do so, let them fail, let them win, let them live their best opportunity here.

Robbie:
And yeah, you’ll also get that feeling of having someone else come in the business and earn money for you and for the business that you haven’t been directly involved in, but they’re doing so by them now having the same conversations with clients. The amazing relationship, Dan, you have with clients that you met when you were riding coattails with me, I loved letting you just talk to them. I’m like, “Go man. Go talk to them.” I know that they all still love me, but I want them to love you even more.

Dan:
Yeah, and it’s even better now. Well, I think that you love it even more now, when I’m telling the same thing to Dane. I’m like, “Yeah, man. They love you. Go. See you later. I’ll speak to you soon.”

Robbie:
We’re always going to be there for him. But yeah, we can’t be everything to every person all the time.

Dan:
Exactly right, so it’s creating the opportunity to build little mini Debs to be able to come through and do all that stuff on the back channel for you. It’s pretty amazing.

Tamara:
I actually think, as we’re getting to a close, I think we’re going to have to get Deb back on in a few months. There’s so much that we can still talk about, especially with all the changes. Your industry changes so much and so often. I just think it’s something that we’re going to have to get you back, I think. How you feeling now? Less stressed?

Deb:
Yeah, the tummy settled.

Robbie:
I think, certainly, what we’ll do is, you’ve already done one session on our live Q&As on Facebook. We’ll definitely get another one of those under our belt. What are we now? We’re in the quarter that we start to approach the end of financial year. So [Jace Cosgrove 00:52:06] will certainly come to join us and then you’ll be online again, just to provide everyone those latest updates about what’s happening in the finance sector. So there we have it ladies and gents. Another cracking episode. Deb, thank you so much joining us.

Deb:
Thank you.

Robbie:
Was is fun to tell your story?

Deb:
It was. As I said, once the nerves settled. But yeah, thank you very, very much. I feel, as I said, very blessed and honored to be here.

Robbie:
All right. Dan, Tammy, thanks very much for joining us. See you on the next episode ladies and gents.

Dan:
See you later. Bye.

Tamara:
Bye.

Robbie:
Hey, thanks for tuning in to today’s podcast. If you enjoyed listening, make sure you give us a five star rating, hit subscribe, so you’ll be first in line to get it in your inbox every week on a Tuesday. Whilst you’re at it, open up your favorite social media app, be that Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube, and connect with Axon Property Group. This is where you see us every day, sharing the secrets of creating multimillion dollar property portfolios and performing to the highest levels of your life. You’ll get exclusive behind the scenes access to what it really takes to build a life that you love. You’ll also discover how to secure your financial future as an ADF member or veteran. And I assure you, your future self will love you for it. Thanks again for listening and that’s a wrap.

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