138 – The School Of Renovating: A Bold Year Of Progress

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School of Renovating

138 – The School Of Renovating: A Bold Year Of Progress

Podcast: Download (Duration 34:40 — 31.7MB)

 Watch Episode 138 on Video:


The School Of Renovating: A Bold Year Of Progress


  • [01:55] Shaping up the business during the pandemic
  • [03:48] How we expected 2021 to appear
  • [04:23] Good things happening in our amazing environment
  • [06:02] Things encountered from a personal level
  • [07:12] The School Of Renovating amidst the pandemic
  • [09:08] Wonder Women Program is rocking
  • [13:08] The Darlinghurst Project
  • [16:09] The progress of The Class Project
  • [19:05] Partnership with Ladies Finance Club
  • [20:53] Banging three nominations for business awards
  • [21:48] Partnership with KOCO: A social enterprise
  • [24:11] Our growing team and achieving goals together
The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

If you have a business and you’re doing everything yourself, then you don’t really have a business, you just have a job! By building a team you’re expanding your capacity to deliver your brand of magic to those who need it.” ~ Bernadette Janson

Shaping Up The School Of Renovating During The Pandemic

Considering multiple lockdowns and restrictions happening in different parts of Australia, we were hoping we’d be out of the woods by this time but the end is no where in sight
I thought it would be  good to look at how 2021 is progressing. 

Im going to review  from two different angles:

  1. Renovation Projects
  2. Business Growth

How We Expected 2021 To Go

A large part of my work is around building The School of Renovating. It might be interesting for you to know how things are going and what’s involved as well.
In some ways, the year is not turning out how I expected, and in other ways it is. It’s almost all good news, which is a massive bonus.

Good Things Happening In Our Amazing Environment

Stephen and I have been both locked down for the past seven weeks . We are so thankful to  have such an amazing environment in which to live and work.
About seven years ago we took the decision to buy a property in an area where we were planning to downsize.
Initially it was bought as an investment property. We moved in temporarily 

Now we are both working from home and both need to have a HOBO, Home Office, Broadcast Office.
We were able to do that because it’s a warehouse that has plenty of space, as well as having the ground floor which is rented out on Airbnb. 

Currently, we have a great guest  for two months. The lockdown has  had minimal income on the income which is currently $700/week. We are pretty happy plus it has minimal impact on our life, which is even better.

From A Personal Level

We have a plan to renovate their own home.  We intend to install a lift and change the front access.
The scope has grown considerably  to include a rework of the entrance, three new stair cases, a new kitchen, four new bathrooms including one in the new master suite on the top floor and a luxing up of the factory floor.
When renovating your own home its a good idea to take your time with the plan, your ideas evolve as time goes on and you want to get the best outcome possible,
The cost of this type of renovation high at present so we are not in a hurry to start but  if things haven’t changed by the new year, then we will just have to bite the bullet.

The Impact of The Pandemic on The School Of Renovating 


  • The School of Renovating has now been fully operating the training programs online for almost a year! We have to say it has just been so amazing, how much of a difference and how effective it is.
  • We are really thrilled about how we impact women from all four corners of the country and we are now not geographically restricted. We are delighted our students are achieving epic completion rates.
  • We also have a student who got their first project on the go before they completed the eight weekly tutorials. 
  • Recently, we got a report from our accountant that we are back to pre-COVID turnover, and our profit margin has increased because we have been able to reduce event-related expenses.

The Wonder Women Program Is Rocking Too

This year, we’ve also produced a level called Wonder Women Sapphire and we have got some movers and shakers in it. The reason I introduced Sapphire is that some women, may not have the budget for full-on coaching, but really want some support in getting to their goals. Hence, we created the Sapphire level and that’s turning out to be fantastic!

With our Wonder Women Diamond program, we are growing the numbers slowly because we want to maintain individual attention for each of the members. 

What we love about it is we are getting diversity into the mix and have some people who are wanting to build portfolios and others who want to do small developments.

I really love the idea of a family of women getting together to grow a business and to do it in a way that supports each of them in their life goals.” ~ Bernadette Janson

A Wonder Women, Christina  has gone down the buyer’s agent path   She is an interior designer and trained as a renovator. Now she has this feather for her bow and she’s teaming up with her daughters.  Im excited to have another reno-savvy buyers agent in our community.

Another Wonder Woman, Liz has  particular interest is relocating homes. She has a house relocation website and is starting a podcast. 

We all have that little entrepreneurial spark and are loving the results we are seeing in terms of outcomes and the actions being taken by some women who may start out a bit challenged in getting the right property.

The Darlinghurst Project

Darlinghurst is the project that I bought with her two eldest children, Hannah and David. One of the problems I had was the exorbitant cost of the kitchen renovation which I thought we had sorted. I have had to go  back to square one, this time engaging  Hannah and David in the process of getting it going again. I gave Hannah the job of sorting out the kitchen quote. She distributed the scope to different kitchen suppliers and has now got three quotes that are within  budget. Yay…

The lockdown laws have slowed down the process and reduced the capacity for getting trades in. Good thing it can now keep going as most of the trades come from the Western suburbs. I am expecting the job will come together pretty quickly because I want it on the spring market and I’m pushing to make sure that happens. 

A Surprise Deal During The Year

The plan was to develop a site we have been holding for quite some time, but something cropped up. A situation arose where I was able to capitalise on an opportunity  to make as much profit  without developing. Within a 30 day period, I made over $600,000 in profit and am just waiting because I didn’t want to get  finance so needed to have a long settlement. Watch out for when I do an episode on this because that’s quite an interesting strategy! 

The Progress Of The Class Project 

The most momentous thing that we achieved this year is pulling together The Class Project. The intention of the class project is really to give some of our students the opportunity of having an up-close experience with a renovation. They can come along for the ride and see the back end of the renovation and get to know how easy it is to do it themselves now.

So we got the money together and a buyer’s agent to find the project, but we’ve been impacted with COVID and encountered the following challenges:

  • Tradespeople  Getting good trades at good prices has been a challenge. 
  • Included extra budget to accommodate the higher prices and rates
  • Delays in the project. Due to restrictions, we can only have two people on-site at a time. The demolition contractor can’t review the site with the builder because they can’t be there together.
  • Shortage of materials. Limited supplies of timber and other materials

There are challenges but there were also opportunities. Im currently isolating in Melbourne but my project runs regardless because I’m doing the quoting via live video stream and I’m managing the project remotely. I have to be super organised because when there’s a limited supply of materials, I need to have them ordered early. So if  there’s  a problem,  I know early enough that I can sort it out before the trade is on site.

Partnership with Ladies Finance Club

I love developing  strategies that solve problems .I have this saying “We solve life’s little problems with renovating”. 

I notice some younger women in Melbourne and Sydney particular don’t  see the possibility of ever owning a home.
There’s a sense of resignation and  they don’t feel like they can ever get into the market. So I am keen to challenge and impact this problem.
The School of Renovating has partnered with Molly Benjamin, a colleague who runs a company called the
Ladies Finance Club.
We are working with Molly one-on-one to demonstrate how she can leverage the power of renovating to get herself established in the property markets.

3 School of Renovating Nominations For Business Awards

During 2021, we are proud to have been nominated for three business awards: 

When someone nominates you then you need to accept that nomination and do a submission which we have now done for all three.

For the first two, we are finalists and the third one’s only just gone in.

We have tickets to the Small Business Champions Awards night but unfortunately, it had to be postponed. 

Same with our She Renovates Live conference had to be postponed and is now going to be happening on the 4th of December.

Partnership with KOCO: A Social Enterprise

The most recent thing that we achieved is to enter a partnership between The School of Renovating and KOCO, Knit One Change One. This is a social enterprise brand that provides employment for women in Southern India to enable them to earn a decent living knitting for luxury brands.

Their COVID-19 challenge was that the women were unable to come to work during lockdowns and don’t have the ability to work remotely. They are not able to meet with their managers and maintain quality control with their people. 

In line with this, we have agreed to supply smartphones so that these women are now able to communicate with their managers and their quality control people. They can now resume their job and are able to earn a living again.

The CEO of KOCO, Danielle Chiel, will be invited to She Renovates to talk about the project shortly.

Our Growing School of Renovating Team – Achieving Goals Together 

The School of Renovating has achieved a lot in a little over half the year. We have been able to do this by increasing the size of our team. Though it took some time to figure this out, I realised that if you have a business and you’re doing everything yourself, then you don’t really have a business, you just have a job.

By building a team, you’re expanding your capacity to deliver your brand of magic to those who need it. 

Expanding my capacity in my team, it just enables me to achieve so much more, really to achieve more with less. I am so grateful for the amazing people that I work with.”

~ Bernadette Janson

My daughter Madeleine works with The School of Renovating social media and  I love the fact that she’s able to give Maddy the opportunity to work , considering she has three very young children.

James Burgin, who’s been on this podcast has worked with Robert Kiyosaki’s and his events and marketing is an absolute gem and a guru. I   was laughing the other day when I posted a photo of myself in PR workshop and immediately this little text from James saying “Bernadette, just a few tips on your Zoom background…” It was very sweet!

The other person that has come in recently is Michelle Lewis. You would have heard Michelle’s episodes of She Renovates. She is now helping me to run The School of Renovating’s  Wonder Women Programs and she is an absolute gem as well.

We also have Rona, Daphne and Mikee, our virtual team who are amazing! I feel very lucky to be so well supported and to have the capacity to build the business that I have. I should also mention the people in our communities, our students and our She Renovates community, I just feel really grateful. 

Speaking of communities, one more thing is the extended family in Caroma Australia. They have partnered with The School of Renovating to offer the  Women In Renovating Expo which is happening in November.  

If the rest of 2021 are anything like the beginning, we think we are in for a really big year and I’m very excited about it.” ~ Bernadette Janson

She Renovates Facebook Group

If you’re sitting there thinking I wonder and have a question to ask head over to our free  She Renovates Facebook Group. You will find over a thousand crazy renovators who just love talking, renovating and would love to answer your question.

She Renovates Free Facebook Group

If you want to meet up with a group of savvy renovators. I would say come over and join She Renovates Facebook Group. It’s a completely FREE Facebook group and it is growing at the rate of knots. We hit over a thousand members just recently, and now it seems to have picked up momentum. They are all savvy renovating women and men working their little hearts out to live a better life through renovating.

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Bernadette Janson

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