Author: Kirsten Macdonald
There is a woman on the Australian business scene disrupting and creating exciting new possibilities. The business is Next Address and it seeks to change the way Australians buy and sell their homes. The woman behind the disruptive magic is Julie O’Donohue. Next Address allows users to bypass the need for a real estate agent by putting the control in the user’s hands and giving them complete mastery over their real estate experience—whether they are a buyer, seller, or landlord. It is exciting, and it has attracted the attention of global investors and tech specialists wanting to get in on the action. So Pink Sky wanted to get Julie O’Donohue to the table and ask how a fifty-something woman builds a startup so effectively and what the motivation is behind the woman changing the face of real estate and putting thousands of dollars back into Aussie’s hands.
What drives you?
Working from the heart and the head in unison drives me, particularly when you know that you have something with integrity that can help people. When you are aware that you can enable more control into people’s lives and restore some good, this is a good driver.
What have you learned along the way?
Oh, so much! But I would have to say, one that stands out is the head and heart connection. Every time that I didn’t listen to my heart, things have gone haywire. That’s my message: if it only makes sense in your head, but your heart isn’t feeling it, you need to rethink. That little something that niggles at you that something isn’t right? Do NOT ignore it. The times I have let my head talk me into something, it has turned out to be the wrong decision. You need to get those two right. You need to feel it in both the head and the heart, as the two, when integrated, creates acute business instinct.
When I heard you speak at an event once, I noticed you mentioned that a few people were surprised when they know you are a woman over 50 launching a start-up, and a disruptive one at that! What would you say to women unsure of themselves that are looking to do something similar?
It does take women longer and hopefully; this will change. If you plan thoroughly and your story is right, you will have a good chance. If you bring patience to the table and determination, you will find a way, and if you work hard in your business with that vision in sight, success has a way through. Use effective tools (many are available online) to plan and use due diligence. This way if you get lost in the details you can always fall back to the plan to guide you to the next step. Don’t be afraid to ask for help early; this is something in retrospect I feel I could have done a bit better and probably should have done more of. Go to those you know can help early and don’t be afraid to ask a question!
Talk us through Next Address-
Next Address is simply a smarter and more cost-effective way to buy and sell a property. It takes the power of selling and buying property and put into your hands; you do it yourself using the Next Address platform. We have designed and calibrated the resources and tools you need to make the process work for you. And if you still want help, we can recommend negotiators and real estate professionals who we value, trust and have screened.
I intrinsically believe it is a better model that will create a different way of buying a dwelling; it will reduce the cost to people and give people control over their lives.
Take a look at the success of AIRBNB- you jump on to find your accommodation, and immediately you can find one that is best suited to your exact needs. For example, you might say I need a house with this many beds, and it needs to be this. And there it is, done! The right house for me! In the same way, a person looking for the perfect match in a property is matched to one that is a great fit. It had been called Tinder for Real Estate! Marketing expertise is all part of the experience, so there are not endless advertising costs and fees, etc. and if you follow all the tools, you can save yourself thousands of dollars.
The current Real Estate industry tends to not think about the personal needs; it is very money and sales driven. Bringing positivity and ethical practices into place that are laden with integrity is the real stuff that makes me love Next Address so much. I heard so many stories of people being ripped off, mistreated and dishonest practises within the real estate industry, and I thought enough is enough, how can we solve this? The backing by prominent investors shows us that there are other’s out there with a keen sense that believe in it to, and this is exciting.
What do you say about women being competitive and negative about each other in the workplace?
Competition between women- forget it, there’s no time for it. You do see it from time to time in other business environments, but I think it is getting better. We all need to see the value in each other, what people have to bring to the table and value that. I know gender and age have no place in our culture at Next Address. We are a Female driven start -up that had one male employee, then there were two, and now there are 7! We have bucked the trend in that department I suppose. We have a female coder, designer, social media person and PR expert. The accountant is a woman, and a large number of our investors are women. Our coder is in her 50s, and our youngest contributor is 22, so come motivated and come qualified but leave your age and gender at the door!
What is your favorite online forum?
Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine group on Facebook- I love it, no apologies and women helping women in business- the reality is that it is an endless supply of ideas, creativity, and contacts. Fantastic online space!
In conclusion, it was an insightful experience interviewing Julie. She is an innovative thinker that is infectious but determined. She has taken a model that doesn’t necessarily meet the needs of people anymore; Next Address is simplifying real estate and helping that evolution along with the entrepreneurial spirit and the power of positive change. Congratulations Julie!