It was a cold winter morning when Darren Kelk, aka ‘His Royal Freshness’ sent out a call for help. Fresh Networking was booked in to do its bit for their primary charity, FareShare by helping to prepare food, when someone had called in sick. Understandably, being a food charity, even a sniffle meant that a replacement was urgently required.
Donate Now to FareShare: https://www.fareshare.net.au/
I saw the post on Facebook Fresh members page. My immediate reaction was that I was too busy. I have small kids. It was for dinner time. It’s cold outside and I didn’t know anyone else going. Then I relied to the post. “Me!!! I’m in!” I told myself that it was a networking opportunity and seeing as though I’m paying to be part of a networking group, I should leverage its full potential wherever possible.
Despite my reservations, the night was incredibly fun. I got to meet new people, talk about work and hear about other people’s businesses and lives, whilst we made hundreds of quiches and sausage rolls from donated ingredients for people in need. One thing I have always admired about Fresh members, and this night was no different, is that they are incredibly welcoming and give everyone so much time and respect. This is very special to me and taking part in this night made me feel great!
After a burger and a beer down the road, I gathered a couple of my new friends into my car and drove them home. I was in a mood for giving and it felt really good.
A few weeks after our FareShare volunteering, I received a phone call from Simon Bowler, a mortgage broker and member of the Thornbury hub. Simon, recalled talking about work with me whilst volunteering and had a referral for me. A client of his who was about to embark on his first townhouse development project and needed some advice. His client was a total property development newbie and didn’t have much experience. From our previous chats, Simon recalled that I specialise in property development and building project management and he generously set up a meeting with a warm recommendation. Before too long I was engaged and excited to be working with his client.
This project was right up my alley. Two five-bedroom, five-bathroom luxury townhouses in Balwyn North. Despite already having his plans, interiors and an eager builder ready to sign, he trusted me and the advice I had to give, especially as I had been highly recommended by Simon. My professional opinion challenging because the builder was not a good fit for the project and the design was dated. I couldn’t wait to turn this project around for my client.
Within weeks, I reconfigured the floor plan, coordinated the designer to redraw, redesign and upgrade all interiors to fit with the luxury brief and arranged for council consent regarding the changes. Now this really was a set of luxury development plans so finding the right builder to take on the project was going to be the icing on the cake. No one could believe that this project was actually costing less than before, even with a higher quality specification including design interiors. I was in my stride and Simon was pleased with my updates of what we were achieving.
Knowing that I have a strong network of high-quality businesses within Fresh Networking, I included legal advice in my fees from an experienced building lawyer. Without hesitation, I introduced Sarah Coffey from Thornbury hub to the project. I had met Sarah whilst visiting the Thornbury hub and shared her passion for building and property matters. She was perfect. She reviewed the building contracts and made me look good to my client. Success again, from visiting another hub! Hurrah!
Before we knew it, we were building. Simon was managing finance, I was managing the project and the builders were moving at a very swift pace. The project was going well and we were all working hard.
Not long after, we completed the townhouses which of course, were stunning, high quality and built on time, on budget. It was a total success!
However, I could see more opportunities to introduce my Fresh contacts to the project. I was not done yet! One of the townhouses was going to be listed as a high-end rental property. I knew just the right property manager. Megan Stuart from the Camberwell hub. I first met Megan when visiting the Camberwell hub, where she really fitted the Fresh vibe. She was welcoming, happy to meet new people and really made me as a visitor to feel part of the team. One of the reasons why Megan stayed in my mind was that she followed up with me regularly and kept in contact and was happy to share advice and conversation. She was a great fit and my client hired her immediately on my recommendation. His words to me at the time were, “Emily, you know the best contacts, we are incredibly grateful”. If only he knew about my secret network. I couldn’t go wrong!
Additionally, I recalled in a ‘Get Fresh’ over a year ago meeting Jake Churches from Kew hub. Jake is a Property Advocate with a passion for Architectural photography. Jake has become my go to for photos of my projects for my social media and I really enjoy catching up with him talking property. He enters with his camera, dressed to perfection and takes photos of my work. Perfect! He was hired. Within a few days, I had photos of my project and some extra shots of my clients beaming in their shiny new kitchen.
And finally, my Fresh project was completed by introducing Rob Woodard from Mornington hub to inspect our great work. Rob is a building inspector and member of Mornington hub with his wife Julia. I first met Rob at the start of 2019, it was early January and the first meeting back for the year. I embarked on a 51km drive from my home to Mornington hub on a mission to visit the most distant hub from my home. Whilst it didn’t come across as being a good contact for me due to the distance, I went anyway to meet the members. “You never know who will be in the room”, I heard His Royal Freshness say in my head. In this meeting I not only met Rob, I teed up four ‘Get Fresh’ meetings afterwards before a swim in the bay. It’s just goes to illustrate that you never really know what can happen by visiting a hub! I made some great business contacts that day who I refer to regularly.
Rob inspected my two townhouses and ticked them off with professionalism, expertise and most of all his quality assurance that the project was built extremely well to very high standards. Success!
Looking back at this project, I’m incredibly grateful for being referred work through the Fresh Network and being able to give back by referring work to others. I sincerely thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart! Most of all, I’m continually amazed at what can be achieved by Thinking Fresh First!
Emily Potter, Project Manager Build Fresh
Co Facilitator Abbotsford Hub
Emily Potter, Project Manager Build Fresh (Abbotsford Hub) buildfresh.com.au
Simon Bowler, Mortgage Broker, Smartline Mortgages (Thornbury Hub) smartline.com.au
Sarah Coffey, Lawyer, Catcher Legal (Thornbury hub) catcherlegal.com.au
Jake Churches, Property Advocate, Wakelin (Kew Hub) wakelin.com.au
Megan Stuart, Property Manager, Mint Property (Camberwell Hub) Mintpm.com.au
Rob Woodward, Casey Building Inspections (Mornington Hub) caseybuildinginspections.com.au
Darren Kelk, His Royal Freshness, Fresh Networking