Tina Murray is a successful mortgage broker based out of Kemptville, Ontario. A wife and mother of three boys she has struggled (as many women do) with work-life balance and has a lot to share when it comes to making sure your work life aligns with your priorities and values. She also understands the benefits and challenges of entrepreneurship.
We sat down with Tina to talk to her about how she was able to build a successful business as a mortgage broker while staying true to her heart.
It’s ok to need a change
Tina decided to take the leap into entrepreneurship because, in short, she was miserable at her job. She was working as an assistant to the mortgage specialist at a bank and, while she enjoyed some parts of her job she felt drained, unsettled and unhappy.
“It was six months of being not happy with where I was in life,” she says. “Something had to change.”
While working at the bank Tina learned that she had a passion for mortgages. A friend of hers was a mortgage broker and planted the seed that she should look into becoming a mortgage broker herself. After many years as a happy employee of a bank Tina signed up to write her course to be registered as a mortgage agent and quit her job.
“I was happy in that box until I wasn’t happy in that box,” she says. “A light bulb went off in my head that said I can do this.”
Have a plan
Tina did not take this change in career path lightly. She discussed it at length with her husband and they figured out how they would support their family while she was getting her business started.
She knew she wanted to replace the income she made at the bank and set the goal of doing one mortgage a month for the first year.
“In the first full year I had done 13 mortgages,” she says. “I did what I wanted to do.” Goal setting is important for any new business.
“You can’t do your business flipping a coin,” she says. “You need to have measurable goals to know how you are doing.”
Goal setting can be overwhelming for some entrepreneurs that just want to do their work, but it is one of the most important things for taking a business to the next level.
Take calculated risks
Being her own boss has allowed Tina to take more risks.
Although she was pretty focused in her home office Tina decided to take the leap and rent office space out of an accounting firm in Kemptville. This allowed her to get more exposure in the community and benefit from an office environment. Being surrounded by people is great, even if they are not self-employed, because you can bounce ideas off them. The social aspect of an office is also a bonus for many people.
“I actually enjoy getting up and going into work every day,” Tina says. “It was a good business decision. People can walk in and see me.”
You can’t do it all
As a mom of three boys Tina says that she has fallen into the trap, especially when her children were small, of feeling like she had to be everything, all the time, to everyone.
Hiring an assistant is one way Tina was able to achieve more of a work-life balance. “I had kids to spend time with them,” Tina says. “I want to make money and do well but not at the cost of time with my kids.”
Tina sees two reasons why hiring is a good idea if you can afford it:
- It can take some of the pressure off and eliminate some of those 80 hour work-weeks that are all too familiar for many entrepreneurs.
- Having an assistant to help with back end paperwork allows you to work on getting new clients and growing the business.
“In the first year my business increased enough to pay [my assistant],” Tina says.“ Having someone in my office to look at what I need to do today means huge change in quality of life.”
Work IN and ON your business
Working in your business means getting the everyday nitty gritty tasks done. For Tina that means a lot of paperwork and back and forth with lenders to find mortgages for her clients. While this is essential, it is equally important to be working ON your business. This means:
- strategic planning,
- goal setting,
- networking and,
- developing employees etc.
Anything that helps your business continue to be sustainable and hopefully grow.
“You notice as a business owner that when you spend a lot of time working IN your business in three months you don’t have any,” Tina says. “Because you weren’t working ON your business.”
It’s not always about the money
While making money is important Tina says that is not always her focus.
She really gets a excited about mortgages and helping people get into a home. She enjoys coming up with unique solutions for everyone from first time home buyers, to experienced clients with great credit. “I love getting home buyers into their dream home,” Tina says.
“It sounds hokey but that’s really rewarding for me.”
Make sure to check out our podcast linked above and for more information about Tina visit her website.