Only two years ago Rik Taylor was working for £400 a week as a labourer. Now he is a full-time property entrepreneur making £7,000 to £10,000 a month from selling deals. The 22-year-old, who trained on Samuel Leeds’ academy, also has a rent-to-serviced accommodation portfolio and is aiming to buy his own properties this year.
‘I had my first set of keys after four weeks and four days’
Rik is a young man who is going places. As he eloquently puts it: “You can either be a feather in the wind and land wherever life takes you, or you can be an arrow with a destination. I’m a rocket going on to the moon.”
His real estate journey began when he came to a Samuel Leeds Crash Course in Leeds. It introduced him to the various strategies used by investors to make money in the housing market and afterwards he was chomping at the bit to learn more.
At the time he only had a few hundred pounds to his name. So, he asked his mother to lend him £1,500 to enrol on advanced training. However, she felt he was too caught up in the emotion of the moment and turned him down.
Rik was disappointed but bounced back by deciding to get some qualifications to increase his salary. After eight months of NVQ assessments, he qualified as a fire protection installer, keeping buildings safe.
“At this point, I’m like yes, I’m on a good path now and I’m earning good money – anywhere between £800 and £900 a week.”
Then he employed someone to help him, and his earnings shot up again.
“I was pulling in about £1,200 a week at the end of my professional career. I worked awfully hard to get there. I really had to push. This was all through Covid as well. It was hard.”
Rik thought he could make a business out of his occupation, but the health and safety requirements were demanding.
“Everything gets inspected. It can be quite tedious to say the least. So, I thought I’m just going to give this property thing a spin.”
Rik says he knew that was a profitable avenue, having been on the crash course. He also had the safety net of returning to his normal day job.
“I was a contractor. So, I always knew I could go back to work, if I wanted to step away at any point.”
Nevertheless, it was daunting to begin with, Rik admits, after borrowing £2,000 to educate himself in his new chosen career.
“It is frightening at the start. There are also the running costs. I had to pay for all the B&Bs and most of the travel, and I had to take care of the lad that was working for me.”
Despite these hurdles, success came quickly after he took part in an intensive course on serviced accommodation and HMOs.
“The advanced training was so good. Precisely four weeks and four days after I attended that course, from nothing I had a pair of keys in my hand which was absolutely amazing.”
After obtaining his first deal, his mum agreed to pay for him to join the year-long academy programme.
Rik’s construction industry contacts give him leads
The first set of keys that Rik picked up was to a property which he rents from the landlord and then lets out at a profit. Since then, he and his business partner have taken on two more properties under a similar arrangement.
With no experience initially, his tactic was to approach landlords directly via websites such as Gumtree and OpenRent, rather than going through an agent. He also connected with his Facebook friends to spread the word that he was starting a property business.
One method, which Rik still employs, is to use his contacts in the construction industry to give him credibility. He will ring up companies that he knows and ask where their jobs are. That location then becomes his target for finding accommodation.
Once he has identified a suitable property, he pays the landlord a guaranteed, monthly rent and the firm rents it from him to house their staff while they are out of the area.
These days the young entrepreneur also deals with letting agents. When enquiring about a particular property he will ask whether it is furnished and immediately available.
If the answer is yes, he will inform the agent that he has connections with many construction companies, and that one of them has a big job in the area.
He then finds out if the owner would be open to leasing the property to a company. When asked who would be living there, he replies that it would be mainly the workers employed on the contract and the site managers who travel around from job to job.
Rik points out that he has the paperwork to prove his claims and explains that the accommodation would be listed on Airbnb. Assuming he is happy, having viewed it, and the landlord is willing to agree to a rent-to-rent arrangement, he will tie his client into a six-month contract.
“In business you need to find a source of money and see where it’s going. If you then present yourself as someone who’s driven, passionate and knowledgeable, even if you’re selling toothpicks or combs, you’re always going to win.”
Not all letting agencies will accept company lets. So, Rik and his partner record the rejections on a database, along with the details of agents who will consider such an arrangement.
“I’m a big chess player and a massive part of chess is looking at the game you’ve played, reviewing where you went wrong and what the next best move is. If you’ve just been ringing round like an idiot, you can lose track very fast.”
Rik is also constantly on the lookout for investment opportunities that he can sell through his company, Phoenix Sourcing. He has a list of investors who buy deals from him. The job entails negotiating the price and calculating the return on investment which is then presented in a package to the potential buyer.
He goes networking to find new investors, passing his deals around, and advertises his services on social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram and Facebook. Presentation is all-important in networking, as well as showing your knowledge, he believes.
“I’m thinking about my body posture, the clothes I wear, what I’m talking about and who the best people are to speak to.
“At the start it’s like pushing a merry-go-round. It’s stiff and you feel you’re going nowhere. You push and push, and you ain’t moving. But then it starts turning. It’s got to the point now where it’s just going crazy.”
The academy played an enormous role in enabling him to build his network at the outset, Rik says.
“Once you build connections with one or two bigger people on the academy, you’ll find everyone’s flocking to you. That established a good base of connections for us, combined with in-person networking events.
“The network and the knowledge you gain is really where the academy shines.”
Coming from Broughton, a small town in North Lincolnshire, being in that environment was hugely important as it opened up a much wider world to him.
During the training Rik learnt about sales, marketing, finance and how to structure his operation.
“That’s how you physically begin to build a business on those four pillars. It’s no good if loads of people know about you but you can’t get a penny off anyone, or you earn a load of money and you aren’t paying your tax efficiently.”
Weekly Mastermind Zoom calls, when students share their challenges and triumphs in addition to receiving feedback, also accelerated his progress.
‘I got Covid when I took on my first property’
There were times in Rik’s apprenticeship when he had to show persistence and determination, no more so than when taking on his first property.
“I’d run out of money – the accountability of the academy made me push through this – but I remember vividly setting up this serviced accommodation in Sheffield. At the time I didn’t have a car. It’s 40 minutes away. I’m getting lifts to it. It was chaos.”
On top of that he had Covid, but still managed to put in the hours to get his business up and running.
“I had to be up at five o’clock to get on site for seven o’clock to work eight to nine hours and then had a drive of two hours home. I had no time. I was working on my laptop at four and five in the morning setting up whatever I could.
“I believe if you’re going to go from poor to rich and be a new person, the old you has to die. You have to cut a bit of you off. That’s going to be painful. That was the point where I could have said you know what, I can’t do this.”
Instead, Rik persevered and is now enjoying the fruits of his hard work. He made sure he followed the systems and processes which Samuel Leeds teaches.
“I’d be arrogant and stupid not to follow what’s worked for a multi-millionaire like Samuel Leeds.”
Rik takes deposits from investors and has a clear set of terms and conditions, which they have to sign, to avoid timewasters.
“It’s a business. I’ve got staff to pay for and marketing fees. I need to know the investor is serious. If not, I’m going to move on.”
He also checks that the person is a good fit for the deal being sold. “That’s critical because even if you find a guy who’s super rich and will send you £5,000 instead of £3,000, when it comes to a month online and they’re not running the property correctly everything falls apart.
“That’s going to burn my relationship with the letting agency or the landlord who I’ve been dealing with, especially at the start of that working relationship.
“It’s in my best interest to ensure that the person taking on that deal understands what they’re about to get themselves into.”
He adds: “People use deal sourcers as a guide to taking on an investment. That’s what I get paid for.”
Rik says he makes a profit of £7,000 to £10,000 a month through his commissions from sourcing deals.
His next goal is to earn £50,000 a month by the end of 2024 from buying properties which he can do up and rent out either as an SA or an HMO to generate more cash flow.
The plan is to secure a lease option agreement which would allow him to purchase a property down the line, using the rental income in the meantime to fund the deposit. Another possibility is to refinance the mortgage and release capital for more investments.
Either way, the businessman is excited by the future. “It’s a buyers’ market right now. There are some stupidly good deals around. As a deal sourcer I’m seeing these opportunities all the time.”
- I’m a massive believer in mentors. You need to be learning from people who have proved they can do what you want to do.
- You need persistence and people to pull you up which is why being in an environment like the academy is so important.
- You need to take action.
Samuel Leeds’ verdict
“Rik is a deal sourcing machine. I have no doubt that he will triple his income in the next 12 months. What he has achieved is impressive. I’m really proud of him and I look forward to seeing what the future holds.”