Angela Soong is a Property Investor, Developer and Consultant. She has amassed over twenty properties across Europe, which she tends to herself. Her journey from rags to riches is truly inspirational. Angela has worked exceptionally hard, since the tender age of four, to reach the entrepreneurial level she is at currently. She focuses on her entrepreneurial journey, from business owner to landlady, and shares tips on how you too can progress in the property market.
“IN BUSINESS, I DO NOT DOWNGRADE MY REVENUES. I ALWAYS ADD MORE VALUE.”
How it all began
My journey started as an accidental property owner. After my marriage ended, I was lucky enough to keep my first homes which I rented out, as I wanted to move to a better school catchment area.
In 2011, the high streets were half empty due to the financial crash in 2007, which badly impacted the property market. However, my laser mole removal skincare aesthetician business was thriving. I was known as the Asian skin specialist of the Midlands, due to my meticulous skills and treatments. In everything I do, I demand working towards the best outcome. I used to have clients that would wait hours for me, just to fit them into a slot because I am worth the wait. If a client came in for one hour and I could produce the visible desired outcome, I added extra time to ensure this, free of charge. In business, I do not downgrade my revenues. I always add more value. This is what most failing businesses do wrong, they do not go the extra mile to deliver what the customer came for, even if it is procedure. The reason we make businesses work is to deliver a service and get paid. Systems and processes are a guide to help us succeed, but they are not absolute!
After running my business for eight years, I decided that I no longer wanted to pay rent to the commercial landlord. I realised that rent had always been dead money. Why not buy my own commercial building? After purchasing a three-floor building, I had to use credit cards to furnish each multi-unit. When the ground floor was refurbished and ready for my new clinic, I got an interesting knock on the door. It was an inquiry about how much the rent was. Being surprised by this question, and not knowing the value, I said confidently, “Well, make me an offer!” Then that was it. To this day, the same occupiers rent out this unit. I soon realised that this one building could make me half of my normal working income after tax.
It was at this moment that I realised I had created a cookie-cutter. What if I could multiply this system? So, I did this a few more times, buying cheap buildings in auctions, and splitting the whole unit up into multiple units – from commercial to residential – to make it affordable to rent out. This method reduced my uncertainty that mortgages/expenses are more than suffix covered. Though it required more management, it was worth decreasing the risks in my early days.
“THE WEALTH GAME SHOULD NOT BE PREDOMINANTLY MALE. AS WOMEN, WE NEED TO LEVEL UP, GET EDUCATED, TAKE BACK OUR POWER…”
A change in pace
In 2014 the market was rising fast, and I was not developing enough projects; a commercial project takes more than a year to refinance, so the turnover was low. I needed to use the Momentum Effect! A new fast and furious strategy to achieve speedy results, riding in the waves of the rising market and inflation. I went back to residential housing and changed single family homes into houses of multiple occupancies. This way, I did not have to move one by one on a yearly basis. I could do three of these at the same time to build cash flow within eighteen months.
A few years later, the market became too saturated in the goldmine areas I worked in. Once again, pivoting was essential. The rise in property awareness and security investing was a big asset. I did not follow where the majority went. I now acquire bigger portfolios of houses, blocks of flats or multi-commercial premises. Buying singular was too competitive and time-consuming. It was much more efficient to acquire or investigate strategies where most people do not. Due to this, I also became the Host of Partners in Properties, as a level expert in teaching and masterminding the property industry in Birmingham, UK. Most property developers/investors in attendance were 95% male, especially when I started. It has now decreased to around 80%. The wealth game should not be predominantly male. As women, we need to level up, get educated, take back our power and believe that we can do it too.
“IT IS NOT ABOUT SAVING TO GET RICH, BUT LEVERAGING BORROWED MONEY TO ACHIEVE BUSINESS GROWTH.“
Make ends meet
Over the last decade, I was scraping by, year by year, living on the edge every day. Paying higher interest rates, using my business overdraft, and pulling out my many credit cards and personal loans, for refurbishments and family survival. I was driving old second-hand cars to buy white goods, lifting washing machines and room furniture, and reinvesting back into the business for years, without reaping the rewards. I often worried about income and if tenants would pay on time, to cover my utility bills and mortgages. After bidding on eBay and Gumtree, I would tirelessly drive around knocking on doors day and night, invading charity shops to buy things at a reduced cost to furnish my properties. It had saved me a lot of money, but used up my time and energy.
I developed a new strategy. I provided better quality furnishings to prospective tenants, to create the most functionally amazing homes, complete with all the storage requirements, beds, mattresses, plants on the windows etc. Why? With a quality product that meets most needs, the viewing process and management of the property is easy. If the foundation is strong, I have more time and effort to focus on the next project and save the residual as passive income. With a consistent income, and a consistent balance to show the bank, the easier lending for the next venture will be. Remember to stretch that extra mile, and build that credit rating up consistently. It is not about saving to get rich, but leveraging borrowed money to achieve business growth.
“I HAVE THE GUTS TO DARE TO DREAM AND WORK TOWARDS THE VISION.”
Vocation vs Vacation
I want a life filled with sun, beaches, swimming in the warm sea and sipping mojito under a parasol. This is obtainable, as you can make money on the phone or laptop anywhere in the world. As I was working 14-15 hours per day, my health began to suffer. I asked myself, “When have I done enough? Can I start looking after myself now?” The way I have worked is not for the faint-hearted, but you can achieve results, even if you move two steps forward and one step back. I have decided to start living for the purpose of building financial confidence, in the form of semi-retirement life or a four-hour work week. That is my reward for all the demanding work I have done thus far. So, I decided to create a new way of life.
I acquired two properties in Spain, a holiday home and a second home. I did it with little money, through lease options and exchange delay completion – just one of the many creative strategies I know. How do you find these opportunities? My reply is simple… you must ask! Negotiate the terms for a win-win outcome, like any transaction, there should be value for both parties.
Now, I teach property investors and people around me that you can start a semi-retirement life. When you are retired, you still want to get a regular income and have a more ‘Vocation vs Vacation’ way of life. Why? Because we all want to live life with a purpose. Find your passion! Living purposefully every day is the most important thing. People all around me tell me I am risky and crazy, with all my new ventures and innovation ideologies. I embrace it and love it. I have the guts to dare to dream and work towards the vision. I have the awareness to believe, want and change. If there is something I do not know, I ask the right questions to get the desired answer.
“I FINALLY KNOW THAT I AM ENOGUH.”
Property entrepreneur turned therapist
I recently got asked, “Why does Angela Soong, a successful multi-million-pound property entrepreneur who could potentially retire, want to work as a therapist or coach?” Everyone laughed with astonishment! I could not help but giggle too. It always baffles people how I can be so carefree about status, let go of my ego, and not care about conforming to society’s expectations. My answer is, I live with my heart and live each day without regret. Obviously, it took a while to entirely get here, but I have a lot to share and can hopefully inspire others facing adversity. I came from poverty, I was different. I had nothing but my love for my grandma and the blessing of the universe to support me. I finally know that I am enough. Whatever it is that I want, I can have. I want to serve and help more people,
I want everyone to know that the Global Woman Movement is here to support and empower women.