Hilary Saxton: From Divorced Single Mum To Successful Renovator
Here is an inspiring renovation success story about Hillary Saxton, who has turned her life around from being a divorced, single mother of two to a successful home renovator, property developer and coach who empowers women to go out there and fulfill their dreams.
Hilary Saxton is a go-getter. She is determined and tenacious. She has a strong desire to empower all people, but mostly women to realize that they can dream and have whatever they want. It doesn’t matter where you come from, what matters is where you want to go.”
What a great way for Hilary to describe herself. Hilary works with people in property and business to help them formulate a strategy and equip them with the knowledge they require to build their confidence to succeed. Her ultimate superpower is enabling people to do anything they want.
How To Add Value To Your Property Journey
Hilary is a podcast host of a new podcast called “Frozen to Fearless” and also the “Property Mastermind” podcast, where she shares how to add value to your property journey through high-quality education, guidance, and accountability.
Just like Bernadette, Hilary has a strong desire to uplift women. Rather than teaching them how to make a profit through renovating, she teaches them that they can go out and do that. She encourages women to choose their destination. Hilary is bold and daring, makes mistakes, and gets tired and grumpy. But she gives it a go! She says:
And when I leave this earth, no one will say: “she was nice”. And I’ve said this a few times, I never wanna be remembered as nice. I want to be remembered as memorable and I want to change as many lives…as possible through just giving people that feeling. But I still struggle with all the stuff that we all do.” ~ Hilary Saxton
Sharing The Mindset – Renovating For Profit
How does Hilary inspire people to reach for their goals? She stands up on stage and speaks to more and more people sharing her renovation success story. She lives with the belief that she is lucky. She notices how lucky she is, which makes her feel even luckier and that results in spirals of positive results.
To reach even more people, Hilary has written a book called “3 Wines In: How to have self-confidence today without tomorrow’s hangover.” She believes a lack of self-confidence stops us from taking the first steps. It starts us thinking negatively or questioning whether we can achieve our dreams.
Getting Started In Her Renovation Success Story
Hilary Saxton and Bernadette Janson first connected over…you guessed it! Renovating. Like many women, she started renovating through necessity. She was living in New Zealand and became a single mum at an early age. The house she had needed some tidying up, so she took it upon herself to do just that.
Back then, she says there were no property courses to teach her how to go about a renovation, so she bumbled along and renovated at her own pace. She fell in love with it and finds it very therapeutic. She is a self-professed head person; she spends a lot of time in her head. When working on a house, particularly when she is painting, she has music playing, and she can switch off and just be in the moment.
Growing Her Reno Skills With A Paint Brush And Tiles
Hilary taught herself how to paint and tile and do various jobs around her house. Without being able to refer to YouTube (it was before it was popular), she had to ask the people working at the hardware store for advice. When the house was complete, she sold it and realised she could make money from renovating properties.
So, she bought another house and did the same thing. Throughout her career, Hilary has been involved in renovating, no matter what other business she was working on at the time. She started buying investment properties and renovating those as well.
Cup Cakes And Tradie Taming
Over the last 23 years, Hilary has kept a list of all the people she can rely on to help her with a property. The numbers of her painter, plumber, and electrician, among others, are never deleted from her phone. And, because they look after her, she looks after them during a project. She will take them to tea and cake or ice cream if it is hot, and she cleans up after them (which is something she loves doing!).
Renovating empowered Hilary, a single mom of two kids, to have an income. It enabled her to support herself through life and run her own businesses. She even managed to take a year off to study full-time. She did two quick renovations that each made a profit of $30,000 to $40,000 – enough to fund her year – indeed an inspiring renovation success story.
Renovations also gave Hilary time to bond with her children. During her study year, she and her daughter were studying together; her daughter was in her final years of high school at the time. They have helped her work on properties – ripping up carpets and getting their hands dirty. Hilary says:
My daughter is on her second one now at 25. So I don’t think it was all too bad… It is just something I have always been so passionate about.” ~ Hilary Saxton
The Power Of Adding Value To Your Principal Place Of Residence Is The Beginning Of Your Renovation Success Story
Hilary’s journey in renovating echoes the wealth-building strategy we teach at The School of Renovating. Bernadette calls it climbing the property ladder. When you begin with your principal place of residence – your personal home – you are, in essence, doubling your income. You have your salary from your job and by adding value to your property and selling it, you are increasing the amount of money you are earning. The beauty of it coming from your home is that it is tax-free for most people.
People often forget that your primary residence is a golden egg. It is the property you tend to stay in longer because it is where you live. The longer you stay, the more its value appreciates and adding value to it by renovating makes a lot of sense. The family home can then underpin an investment strategy.
Although not very popular anymore, when Stephen and Bernadette started their renovating journey 35 years ago they got a line of credit. It has powered everything they have done. Having a line of credit is a winning strategy, especially when interest rates have been so cheap, it’s like money for nothing.
A Mindset Change Was The Beginning Of Hilary’s Renovation Success Story
Bernadette asked Hilary to think back to the time before she started renovating. She was an overweight, newly divorced, single mother of two, struggling to make ends meet. She was unhealthy and not financially stable. She says she had reached rock bottom.
When Hilary caught sight of herself in the background of a video of her son he was watching at her parents’ house, she was embarrassed by what she saw. She said she felt like she came right off the show: Neighbours from hell. Hilary made an excuse about having to go home. When her neighbour pulled weeds out of his garden and threw them into her yard, Hilary started wondering if she had value. She said:
I sat on my bed and I started crying.”
When her two-year-old son tried to comfort her, she knew she had to get her act together. It was time to take charge of her life and change things. Her mindset changed. She realised she had to pick herself up, dust herself off, press the reset button and start again.
She had never finished school and she wanted to study. There were no online courses at the time so she did a correspondence course on nutrition. She started with her health and started working on renovating. She created a “results spiral”. When you start seeing positive results they spill over into all aspects of your life. Hilary says:
An internal drive in the results spiral was starting to see success and then feeling good about myself and seeing success. And, and it just, it just multiplied, cause I’m not actually driven by money, believe it or not.” ~ Hilary Saxton
As Bernadette’s mum was an inspiration for her, Hilary’s mother motivated her to keep going. It highlights the fact that you need to be aware of the impact you have on your children. You can change the course of their lives by the way you deal with your own challenges. Hilary’s experience has seen both of her children get involved in property. In fact, both of them are already on the second project. She says they need a bit of help on the renovating side, but they both have a can-do attitude.
Hilary’s children have had to earn their money; none of it has been given to them. She works on the renovations with her children and they split the profit. That’s a great strategy because it teaches them to be entrepreneurial.
Hilary’s Move Into Property Development
After doing only one property development with little know-how in New Zealand, Hilary moved in with her partner, Bob Anderson, from their podcast “Property Mastermind”. Hilary was coaching, running her own business and Bob was running his. He teaches property development and he has a mentoring program. Hilary spotted a hole in his program where he could do the mentoring better. So, he took her on as a coach and they have increased the value of their program.
When it comes to Hilary’s involvement in property development, she says she will often enter into a joint venture with Bob’s students because she knows he oversees the deal. She is currently building a four-pack NDIS in Western Australia. It’s a great job for her because, not being an Australian citizen, there are tax benefits for her, and she has a great builder in the area. The opportunity for NDIS is still very new in Western Australia. Her return is estimated to be between 11% and 13%.
Hilary is also involved in a retirement village Bob is building in Tamworth. She is responsible for raising the capital to build 99 homes.
Her knowledge in the property development area has grown substantially since her first development project, but Hilary says her first love is still renovating. She feels that renovating plays into our strengths as women and our core role of homemaking. She sees renovating as an extension of that.
For Bernadette, she likes to use micro-developments to scale up a renovating business. It involves buying a property and turning it into two or three new properties. We use the existing house to push up the profit potential. So, you end up with a high-profit development, but on a smaller scale than those Hilary is involved in. We make use of domestic borrowing and domestic builders.
Developing Your Micro Development Strategy
A micro-development is a strategy that fulfils the need to make a significant profit and to be involved in renovating. Like Hilary, Bernadette also does a lot of work with her children. She is currently working on a micro-development with her third daughter where they are renovating the existing property and building two duplexes on the back so that they both end up with an investment property.
Don’t ever go into development without the expertise. There are so many traps for beginners; it is not something you do on a whim. You can normally work through a renovation, but development is a new ball game. When you make a mistake in renovating it is not too detrimental. Once you step into development, you can potentially lose massive amounts of money. So, you must know what you are doing with a good strategy, skills and team.
A Truly Authentic Desire To Help People
Bernadette spoke to one of Hilary’s clients who she mentored on a development project in Queensland. He shared how much Hilary had helped him and rescued him from a situation. That was when she knew they were kindred spirits, and their businesses were aligned. They both have a truly authentic desire to help people.
Not everyone you come across who is offering advice, especially on online platforms has your best interests at heart. They don’t always know the right answer. Many of them are there for their own reasons. They may be looking for an investor or trying to sell a product. They are covering up their intentions by giving you the impression that they are there to help. Our business and Hilary’s business are different. We are both upfront about what we do and how we can help.
Hilary and Bob will often receive a phone call from someone who bought into a person with a great profile picture. They’re really nice and tell their clients that they are going to look after them before ripping them off financially. They approach Bob for advice and ask what they should do. After looking at the paperwork, Bob has to tell them that they did it wrong and that there is nothing they can do. People lack the knowledge to understand what they are getting themselves into.
You don’t go and get married to someone you don’t know. And you know what the other thing is that most people will spend more time researching buying a car or, a Christmas lunch … And yet will buy a property and take advice from someone who they know next to nothing about.” ~ Hilary Saxton
Hilary Saxton’s Next Move To Bounce Back Better
Hilary has written a book and is launching a new website related to that. She also has a podcast – Frozen to Fearless: Bounce Better. It is aimed at everyone, but especially women, teaching us how to bounce back better from everyday problems such as stubbing your toe, having a sick child, or anything that might put you in a bad mood. We just have to think I can bounce back from this and I can bounce back better.
When Bernadette asked Hilary about what her next move is going to be, she replied:
But for me moving forward, it’s to speak to groups, crowds of people and empower them by helping them believe and see that they get to choose where they end up. Determine what your future is… be clear about what you want. Believe you can do it and act on it… We can get so used to hearing goal setting; we get so used to hearing positive mindset, we actually forget how valuable those things are.”
Goal Setting For Your Renovating Life
Once a year Hilary offers a free goal-setting workshop. She encourages you to take an hour out of your life and spend it on yourself. Everyone has good intentions, but life is busy and we don’t prioritise the time to put ourselves first. When you are clear about what you want, it gives you a place to start.
Hilary is not suggesting you slow down – she doesn’t do anything slowly. She encourages you to acknowledge your dreams and goals and start implementing the steps it takes to get you there. When you start making small changes, life can be amazing.
Bernadette believes the first step towards making your renovation goals, or any goals in life, a reality, is to understand your values. It helps to guide you towards what you should be spending time on and focus on what you should be doing.
Michelle is our mindset expert at The School of Renovating. She supports our Wonder Women in reviewing their goals and developing their mindset.
When life is not going my way, I go on a diet of personal development. I binge on all the things that support what I am trying to do. I align myself with people who support my values, such as Hilary Saxton.” ~ Bernadette Janson
Do You Know Your Values?
Hilary’s values align well with Bernadette’s with their shared passion and drive forward to support women who are dealing with the same issues that they deal with. Hilary wrote an eBook about how to find your personal values. When you understand your personal values, they become your compass, your true North. They keep you happy. When they are infused throughout your day, you become a happier person.
And remember, when you’re happy, you remember that you’re lucky; when you’re lucky you get the real… positive spinoff.” ~ Hilary Saxton
Everyone has about five or six true values. They change over time; they are not like a personality profile – we are born with that. Determining what your values are is a simple exercise that takes about half an hour. When you aren’t getting what you want, maybe you are too busy and you’re not finding time to see the grandkids, or you’re not finding time to exercise or to read your favourite book, whatever that thing you like to do. If too many of those things are not happening, we start feeling bitter.
Finding Your Renovation Success Story – For Life, Health and Wealth
“Life is not a rehearsal; just get out there and do it.” Hilary has a phenomenal success story. Turning her life around as a divorced, single mother of two took grit and determination and a shift in mindset. Her can-do attitude set Hilary up for success in renovating, property development and coaching.
Hilary has created a life she loves with a family and thriving businesses. She believes she is lucky, and the more she believes she is lucky, the luckier she becomes. She has created for herself a success spiral. Just like Bernadette Janson and the team at The School of Renovating, Hilary is driven to empower women and teach them that they are capable of setting goals and achieving them in life and business.
If you want to meet up with a group of savvy renovators who you can share your renovation success story with, come over and join the She Renovates Facebook group. It is full of (mostly) women who are working hard to make their dreams a reality, making a great income through renovating for profit.