You may or may not be aware of our lady of many hats, Rachel Collard. Actually everyone here at BuildHer Collective wears many hats (that’s called working in a small business), however Rachel’s many hats come from the many roles and skills she has here with us.
Feeling “excited” about turning 40, we asked Rachel to share with us some thoughts about her life 5 years ago, right now and where she sees herself in the future. It’s time for our Style Guru, our Sales Guru, our BuildHer8 team member and Masterclass student, not to mention mum to 3 young boys, to share a little about life so far!
Give her some love – here’s Rachel!!!
reflecting on life as she turns 40
So today I actually legitimately turned 40. I don’t know why this is so significant for me, but I’ve made it so in my head. And not because of feeling old or regrets but, because of the immense pride I feel about what I have achieved in five years and how excited I am thinking about what I can achieve in the next five years.
Back in April I posted about my life, about a moment in time which had me sitting in a bank, finalising a loan for the investment of the BuildHer8 Rathmines project and how chuffed I was feeling. I spoke about how far I had come and the immense satisfaction & gratification I felt in being able to have some control over my future, that of my boys. A position I had not found myself in for well over 5 years.
So, it brings me here – another point of reflection. I want to share with you all some more of my own experiences because it seems my story resonated with many of you. Honestly, the thought of writing more about my history, my personal experiences, feels daunting and I am flooded with self-doubt. Is anyone even interested in what I have to say? The thing is, we all have a story to tell. Whether it’s from a place of despair, or pain, or triumph – everyone’s story has merit and tells of a journey of how we get to certain places in our lives.
I can’t write this story without over sharing (and partly it’s just part of my personality). But I hope you’ll take from this what you want. My aim is not to bombard you, but give you a glimpse, an insight into me, where I’ve been and where I want to go.
The question I ask women who come to me for help is “If you have had started your journey 5 years ago, where would you be? And if you start it now, what would your life in 5 years look like?”
Looking back - 5 YEARS AGO
So… Five years ago I was still married to the father of my children and had been with him for 17 years. I was a SHAM. My 3 boys were 2.5, 1.5 and 7 months old when the marriage broke down. The last 5 years have been the toughest of my life – partly because I did not recognise the person I was and identified only as a mother. I barely had a career in interior design (I had just finished my Interior Design Diploma) prior to having babies and sailed through much of my 30s with no career aspirations or long-term goals. In addition, I was carrying around over a decade of accepting bad behaviour and put downs which did not help my belief and confidence in myself.
All in all, 5 years ago, I was a shell of a person. But A LOT can happen in 5 years if you don’t give up.
I bought a three bedroom apartment in Carnegie, I made some calls and got my old job back at Freedom Kitchens (commission only based but I would have to find a way to make it work!), and raised my boys 80% of the time on my own. Looking back, it was a whirlwind. In the time at Freedom Kitchens, I somehow managed to earn a 6-figure salary, worked on The Block and smashed some company records.
I then started my own kitchen design business, Co.Kitchens, and got myself a mentor. This mentor (@work.life.mama) opened up my eyes to possibilities I never imagined possible before and pointed me in the direction of BuildHer Collective. I initially contacted BHC to see if I could collaborate, but it was what happened in the following days that actually changed my career and life. The position of Style Guru popped up and then 2 days later I found myself hired as a member of the BHC crew.
RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!
I have now been in this role for 18 months, and in true BuildHer style, it does not even slightly resemble the role I started in. I’ve adapted and evolved because that’s what we do.
In February 2020, I began the Masterclass Course because my true passion is developing property. Always has been. 2 months later I had signed a contract and paid a deposit on the @buildher8 #rathmines project. My first real life proper investment for (a calculated) profit!
And this brings me to now! One of the most uncertain times we have all experienced in our lifetime. I speak to different women every day. And somehow the conversation always gets deep (might be my psych background LOL). Women talk to me about this being the right time because they have perspective, they’ve been blessed with time whether they have lost their jobs, they are stay at home mums who have the headspace to start something for themselves. Women who want to be financially independent and contribute to their family or those thinking of starting a family and setting themselves up for flexibility. Women who have sold their business which has “put food on the table” and served its purpose now looking to follow their dream of developing for profit. Even women who develop to show their kids it’s good to do what you love.
looking forward - the next 5 years
So for me. The drive. The goal. Is to show my boys what hard work looks like, whilst loving what you do. None of us intentionally set ourselves up to ‘live to work’ – but actually what you do for work is bloody incredible and deep down, it can make you happy and grateful. I want to set out a path that gives me the flexibility to be there for my kids when it counts and also buy them those pair of sneakers just because they earnt it. I want to create memories by travelling with them. And partly, because I never want to worry about money. I never want to lose sleep because of it.
This brings me to the next 5 years. I’d like to start with buying another project of course. To live in and renovate (because part of that is the fun of doing it with the boys – vision: smashing through the reno together) build some memories and see what it takes to turn a toad into a prince charming. In order for me to do this, I had a conversation with a very experienced agent (thanks @carlafetter from @jelliscraig), Kribashini and my mortgage broker.
The idea was to sell Carnegie as it’s a new build apartment (in hindsight a very poor investment – but I didn’t have all the intel I do now) as the costs of running it ie. body corp fees, agent fees etc would start to outweigh the offsets and rent I would earn on it. The thing is, I’ve found out (with the help of my very smart (and honest) mortgage broker) and running through a few feasibilities, that it’s not actually worth selling. It provides more benefit at this stage to me as a rental, than it would if I sold it.
He reassures me that by the end of the Rathmines project I will again be able to use the profits and equity in Carnegie to reinvest and buy my dream run down home. It’s fair to say I couldn’t have known all of this, or what questions to ask, had I not had the education around developing for profit.
All in all, I’ve learnt SO MUCH. I have way more direction and drive to invest in setting up my goals.
The content has been amazing and of course has given me the tangibles of building a strategy, a brand, and a plan but the biggest take away for me has been the relationships I have built. To chew the fat with other women who actually care to listen to my wild development dreams (let’s face it, when you talk to people that are not, their eyes mostly glaze over), to sit in meetings with friends/colleagues and get a round of happy snaps (yes, this is your fault Kribashini) because it’s demolition day or texting another classmate (thanks @homes_by_ivy) at 10pm asking for inspo so you can write this reflection and getting an answer immediately is priceless!!
I have to say, in all the students who have signed up to the Masterclass, I have yet to hear anyone say they regret doing the course. The worth to me has been priceless. As has been working with the team at BuildHer. It has changed my life, grown my business and expanded my mind. It allows me to connect with like-minded women and has helped me to start living and creating a life that I have always dreamed of.
I could not be further from who I was 5 years ago. I only hope I can look back in 2025 and say the same thing then about me now.
It’s so incredibly rewarding and inspirational to be where I am now, to be part of the BuildHer community and to hear your stories everyday.
So I just want to say THANK YOU.
I’m so incredibly grateful for the opportunity for connect with you all.