From side hustle to structured property business attracting £millions from sophisticated investors
Natasha Friend, founder of Friend Property Group, applies 10 years of property expertise to improve the quality of living spaces for the private rental sector in the UK. She shares with us how clarity and a shift in mindset have made achieving her goals possible.
WHO IS NATASHA?
Natasha is the founder of Friend Property Group, a property investment company based in Peterborough. They are committed to improving the quality of living spaces for people living in the private rental sector within the City and the surrounding area.
Natasha creates beautiful, modern, comfortable homes, made with care and attention to detail with the goal of encouraging their tenants to stay with them longer by choice.
She also works with individuals, who don’t have the time or experience to invest in property directly.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO PROPERTY?
We started as an accidental landlord. We kept our first property when we moved on just because it was a negative equity, so we rented that out in 2014. When I learned about property investing and wanted to get started,
I took a year off work to focus on property and to start building our portfolio. I then handed my notice the following year to grow Friend Property Group.
HOW HAS THE DMA PROGRAMME CHANGED THE WAY YOU RUN YOUR BUSINESS?
I think actually treating it like a business... It's been a big change. Running it as a business, not just buying properties and renting them out or selling them. It's looking at our property business as an actual business.
"We now have a lot more confidence in ourselves after doing numerous projects. Having these experiences, alongside a clear investor proposition and onboarding process - which is not something we had before working with Jackie, has made a big difference. "
Before, it was just whoever had money. Now we're very focused on ensuring we can have a good working relationship with our investors, our values align and we can help achieve each other's financial goals through property.
WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR SUCCESSES SINCE JOINING DMA?
At the beginning, I was looking at HMOs, looking at land, looking at this and that, and just trying to make anything work.
I used to have a Rent to Rent SA business, which I ended up selling after I started working with Jackie. We sold it so we can really focus on why we got started in property in the first place. That took a lot of time but...Jackie really gets you to focus on what it is you want to out of property and what strategy it is you're going for.
Jackie’s really hot on having one clear invesment strategy and so we were able to identify my primary strategy, which is the Buy, Refurbish, Refinance, and Rent strategy.
"Another big success is definitely our new investor.
To date, we’ve raised almost 1.8M in investor finance."
Our new Virtual Assistant also started last Monday. I don't use LinkedIn at all, so he is going to take over that. Hopefully, it will result in more interest from our ideal investors.
I also do a bit of mentorship and training for property investors looking to get started in property. So generally, our VA will help us utilise Instagram for that. Now, we're off the back of being a bit more present. Social media has been the bottom of my priority list for the last probably eight months. So hiring the VA will help us a lot.
DMA helped me have a clear vision, whether it's looking at investors, or our property strategy. We found clarity about our specific target market and how to attract our investor avatar. "
A FOCUSED STRATEGY
Reviewing the property strategies that Natasha was executing and slimming these down was a really important part of the process. As a small business owner it's easy to get spread really thin. By committing to a very specific niche in the property market - Natasha has been able to refine a very specific process for finding, assessing and delivering quality property deals.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT DMA?
I really like that Jackie and Dave are both very detailed and left brain type of people because I'm very much the opposite. Working with them encouraged me to be a little bit more organised. I was able to balance my weaknesses and strengths.
It's been so good because they can give me a different perspective that one needs in order to have a good business.
I like all the weekly sessions that they have. They'll focus on specific things that people need at that point in their journey or that year. Just having that sort of accountability and that support layer was helpful. If you do need anything, like the odd questions that you’re stuck with, having them to be able to ask was good.
So for example, I had an investor who was based in Hong Kong, and we never worked with an overseas investor before. So just being able to ask Jackie & Dave questions about that, or about recruiting a Virtual Assistant has really helped.
And the content in Thinkific- having that as a go-to when you're stuck with anything is cool. There's a lot of information there.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO PEOPLE THINKING ABOUT JOINING DMA?
It is a really good programme, especially for those who are experienced investors. Everyone on the programme has done deals before so there are no newbies.
They are very careful about how much time it takes to do stuff. So when they do weekly priorities or the weekly things, they're very cautious that you're not sitting there for hours, doing nothing that’s relevant to you and your business.
"Jackie and Dave definitely care about you succeeding and doing well. They're not just doing it for the money. They do care about you and your business, and being as productive as possible."
WHAT’S NEXT FOR NATASHA?
"We want to create a business that we can run from anywhere in the world - to have everything systemised, and for processes to be in place to be able to continue to build the portfolio whilst traveling around the world."
Natasha mentions that for the next five years, the goal is really just to grow and scale the business as much as possible. Then hopefully once her children are bigger, they can spend every school holiday traveling somewhere sunny and hot, with her business running smoothly in the background. Natasha also talks about how she wants to give back to the community she operates in.
"Seeing some of the conditions that people were living in was just absolutely shocking. The landlords would let their tenants with babies live there with mould everywhere and no proper ventilation. We are very passionate about increasing the standards of living in the property sector in Peterborough, and want to have the resources to help the homeless in Peterborough. We want to give back more to the community.”
Seeing how far Natasha has come in her property journey, and hearing about her dreams and plans for the future has been absolutely amazing. Armed with passion, hard work, focus and clarity, Natasha is on her way to greater success while reinventing the property sector in Peterborough along the way.