‘We’re making an amazing £7.5K a month from property thanks to Samuel Leeds’ training’

A combination of deal selling and renting out serviced accommodation is proving to be a winning formula for one couple who joined Samuel Leeds’ academy last year. Giovanna Watts and Anthony Tutu Onwuzurike say they are already making around £7,500 a month from property. They have two rent-to-rents in Milton Keynes and Windsor and are about to take on another one.

Property frees up Gio and Tutu to pursue life goals

It all began for Gio and Tutu during lockdown when they came across Samuel Leeds on YouTube and watched some of his videos.

It was a pivotal moment in more than one way. They were just giving their lives to God, says Tutu, and wanted a mentor who also knew God.

“The fact Samuel knew God was it for me. Gio was sold on that as well.”

So, they booked themselves on to a £1 Property Investors Crash Course and followed that up by attending the Rent-to-Rent Revolution. They then immediately signed up foran intensive four-day course on serviced accommodation and HMOs. Afterwards they joined the year-long Property Investors Academy programme to deepen their knowledge and receive mentoring.

Gio was already working in property at the time and grew up around it. 

“I come from a building surveying and valuation background. I’ve kind of always been in property. My dad is a painter/decorator by trade, and I’ve always been really interested in it. I knew we were going to be in property. That was just going to happen.” 

They both had a strong reason to leave their jobs and become full-time property entrepreneurs. Gio was working punishing hours, getting up as early as 5am and not returning home till 8pm. Then she would work two more hours to complete her tasks for the day.

“I was breaking down and crying, saying to Tutu I can’t do this any more. There was a lot of stress in me, and I was just ready to walk away. 

“I was saying to God, please I need to get out of this job and then it happened a month after I prayed to him.”

She adds: “I was craving the freedom to do what I want to do in life, like having the freedom to travel. I’m a life coach as well. I coach women to find their true selves and connect with God.

“That’s my passion and I just didn’t have the freedom to do that alongside working. I needed something that was going to give me the freedom to work on my passion and property is that.”

Tutu was prompted to make a change in his life after visiting his grandparents in Nigeria. While there he saw a young girl who was constantly coming around to their house. He discovered she was his cousin’s child and that her father had died before she was born.

Touched by the fact the three-year-old would never have a father and that her mother was struggling to make ends meet, he became her sole provider. Since 2020 Tutu has been paying her school fees and the rent for the house she lives in, as well as other expenses.

“I said to myself if I can do that with a small salary from nine to five once I’ve become financially free I want to do that for more children in Africa – kids who don’t have mums and dads and parents who are widows or widowers.

“That was my biggest drive to wanting to become financially free.”

Like Gio, he was also unfulfilled in his job. “I wasn’t waking up feeling purposeful. I was working for somebody else, and they were filling their pockets. I was doing overtime and not getting that pay.

“Now I wake up different. I’m up an hour before my alarm goes off because I’m pouring so much into people now. Its brilliant.”

‘We had 300 rejections before securing our first rent-to-rent’

Tutu was working previously as a business and technology consultant and has a background in marketing too. That helped when they launched their property business.

“As a consultant you’re naturally a problem solver. You’re taking a client’s problem and becoming a solution provider for them. That’s the strength I brought into our business.”

Success, however, didn’t come easily. They had to endure 300 rejections before they obtained their first rent-to-serviced accommodation property. It also took them several months to land their first deal. 

Tutu puts this down to lack of consistency in the first two or three months of being on the academy. They didn’t always join the Monday night Mastermind Zoom calls when students share their successes and challenges and get feedback.

Their excuse was that they had other things to do. But then one day, one of the participants announced she had clinched her third deal. 

“We thought, what are we doing? We’re not married yet and don’t have kids. We just have a nine to five. She had all those things. We must be doing something wrong.” 

Every Monday since they have made sure they log onto the call. When success finally came Tutu stood up at an academy dinner and shared the news that they had sold their first deal.

“That was the best sleep we had that night. We woke up [feeling] so good the next day,” he recalls.

The deal, which was for a rent-to-serviced accommodation property in Reading, came about after the pair went there to try to secure their own rent-to-rent. Tutu built a relationship with the management company controlling a large portfolio for landlords living abroad.

“I sold who I am as a person and told them what we do. I said we’re new in property management, but we have knowledge.”

As a result, the management agent he was dealing with suggested they work together. Tutu would bring him investors wanting a rent-to-rent and the company would manage it.

Sensing a great opportunity, Tutu agreed. The agent then sent him details of a property which Tutu packaged up to present to an investor with the relevant financial information.  

“We did our due diligence on it and made sure it was ironclad with two of the mentors.”

Tutu subsequently sold the business opportunity to some Property Investors Academy members who happened to be looking for rent-to-rent deals in Reading.

They paid him a finder’s fee of several thousand pounds after he ‘walked’ them through the figures and reassured them they had been checked by the Property Investors experts.

“It was their first deal. I made sure everything was understood from that side and they were happy to put down a few grand.”

He adds: “We’re making about £7,500 a month from deal selling and rent-to-rents. We’re trying to sell on average three deals a month. When the new year started, we pushed that because we’re full time now.”

They have clearly defined roles. Gio manages their serviced accommodation, ensuring guests check in and out with no problems and have everything they need. She also oversees the cleaners and produces the admin spreadsheets to keep the business flowing.

Meanwhile, Tutu looks for new deals which he can sell. “I’m constantly talking to investors, and speaking with other deal sourcers, seeing what deals are out there.”

He also qualifies bespoke investors and then finds deals for them. 

At the end of the day, they have a business meeting to keep each other accountable and look at their priorities.

“In the first three months we clashed heads over how the business should move forward. We were still learning different strategies. Then we sat down and said this is what you’re strong at and what I’m strong at. Let’s have clear, defined roles in the business and manage ourselves like directors,” explains Tutu.

Gio agrees. “It took us six to seven months to sell our first deal and get our first rent-to-rent. That was a big reason why it took us a while because we didn’t have a streamlined direction of where we were going.”

Tutu says they had to understand their journey. “I always say direction is more important than speed. We made sure we were doing it diligently and following the footsteps Samuel taught us to get there.”

They took on their two rent-to-rents in the winter which is traditionally the hardest time of year to get bookings and they found it hard to fill their accommodation. That was when having access to the academy network proved invaluable.

The couple spoke to other academy members who were operating rent-to-rents in the same area and had been doing it for a while. After examining their listings, the couple realised their marketing needed to be changed.

They took better pictures and targeted their key audiences.

Gio says: “Our Windsor one is six minutes from Legoland so obviously we’re targeting families – and contractors because it’s near Slough Business Park. We started changing our description to fit around that.

“This month we’ve just hit 100 per cent occupancy for our Milton Keynes one.”

Gio and Tutu quickly learnt on the Property Investors Academy that serviced accommodation does not solely cater for tourists. There is a huge demand from business travellers, contractors and people in between house moves.

A couple relocating to the area booked their accommodation while looking for somewhere to live. Like Tutu, Gio believes that if a guest books 10 nights or more, there is a strong chance they will want to extend their stay for at least a week or even a month.

“We’ve now got the strategy of telling them they can extend by booking through our website and getting 10 per cent off. So that’s what they do. That’s why we’ve been able to achieve 100 per cent occupancy.”

They also make changes every week to their listings on platforms like Airbnb to push their properties to the top and make them more popular. This was a tip they picked up from another academy member. 

Gio adds: “Our Milton Keynes property is making on average about £500 a month profit. Windsor is a slower one because there are more expenses in it. We’ve been able to cover the rent and bills. We haven’t had to use our own money. But we haven’t seen a full profit from it yet.”

She is confident, however, that it will become profitable as bookings pick up in the spring and summer and their nightly rates increase.

Gio and Tutu pooled their savings, which they were going to use for a deposit on a house, to pay for the academy. Tutu was reluctant initially but says Gio made him realise it was an investment.

“I trusted her, and we just did it without looking back. It’s been worth it absolutely.”

Gio, who describes the energy on the academy as infectious, says: “I’m so grateful we joined, and we’ve met all these people, because we would not be where we are if we hadn’t.”

Gio’s tips

  • When I started, I realised to succeed I had to push through anxiety, fear of judgement and rejection. Thankfully, I had Tutu who was so supportive. If you’re not around family and friends who have the same drive and mindset as you, make sure you’re surrounded with people who do.
  • Keep going.

Tutu’s tips

  • If you don’t take a leap of faith, or a risk you’re not going to see the reward. 
  • See every no as one step closer to a yes. 

Samuel’s verdict

“The rent-to-rent strategy is a great way to achieve financial freedom and leave a traditional job. It allows you to generate a passive income by renting a property long term and then renting it out for higher rates as short-term accommodation. Gio and Tutu were persistent despite all the rejections they got and are a massive asset to the community.”

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