Prior to Excellence Property, Elley Hudson co-owned an agency where she was a minority shareholder. As a minority shareholder, she was essentially still an employee with minimal control over how things were done. As an enthusiastic change agent with a drive for excellence, it emerged quite quickly that it wouldn’t be a long-term arrangement. However, despite parting ways, that experience is still one of her most valued.
Not only did it ignite Elley’s passion but it established her professional compass. It also taught her that a work environment where employees respond to fear and have their well-being trumped by shareholder agendas is not the encouraging environment that ambitious young people require. This is why she started Excellence, so accountable and hard-working youth can get the growth and success they deserve.
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Table of Contents
Welcome to your ValiantCEO exclusive interview! Let’s start with a little introduction. Tell us about yourself.
Elley Hudson: I first started as a receptionist when I was only 17 years old, so it’s safe to say I’ve built my career in the property management industry from the bottom up. A few years later, I was developing and managing agencies in two of Queensland’s biggest cities. These days, I’m proud to say I successfully run an agency of my very own – Excellence Property. By developing a little technique I like to call the “Excellence Method”, I’ve been able to create a fool proof system that ensures the owners I work with only receive accurate, timely and genuine service. As a result, I’ve been able to create and maintain many great relationships since Excellence Property’s foundation in 2017.
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get to where you are today? Give us some lessons you learned along the way.
Elley Hudson: To be perfectly honest, when I was growing up, I had dreams of becoming a millionaire. I thought the best way to make this come true was by skipping University, breaking into the real estate industry and selling up a storm. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way. However, as I got older, my priorities began to shift. I saw that young people weren’t getting the support and systems they needed to learn property management in a safe environment and I wanted to do something about it. As a result, I no longer cared about the money.
Along the way, the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that chasing success isn’t the way to become successful. Chase excellence instead, and the success will soon follow. When I chased my dreams of becoming a millionaire, it got me absolutely nothing except a crushed soul and a quick turnaround of relationships, but when I decided to pursue my passion for property management, my fortunes changed completely.
Tell us about your business, what does the company do? What is unique about the company?
Elley Hudson: Excellence Property promises excellent property management services with a difference. The unique thing about Excellence is the “Excellence Method”, which guarantees that we never have a mismatch of expectations. We’re an excellent agency with an excellent team. Therefore, we only work with excellent people and places. If an owner is unable to trust our systems and let us do our job, we don’t take them on. If a tenant isn’t a suitable applicant, we don’t approve their application.
If a property isn’t well-presented, we don’t decide to manage it. This ensures all of our relationships are genuine and honest, which is crucial for business success and customer satisfaction.
How to become a CEO? Some will focus on qualities, others on degrees, how would you answer that question?
Elley Hudson: I don’t have a degree, so I would agree with those that say the right qualities are more important. One of the biggest qualities I believe is necessary to becoming a CEO is always doing everything to the best of your ability. If this is how your approach life, you’ll be setting yourself up to succeed. This quality also extends to your overall character and shapes the way you allow others to treat you.
Another important quality is being a change agent. A change agent transforms the way an organisation operates. No CEO in history has ever just sat back and rejected the opportunity to be a catalyst for change. To make it to the top, you have to know how to inspire and influence others.
What are the secrets to becoming a successful CEO? Who inspires you, who are your role models and why? Illustrate your choices.
Elley Hudson: The secret to becoming a successful CEO is having the right role model. Personally, my role model is my Mum. She was the first person to inspire me and she continues to do so every day. Despite the fact I sadly lost her to cancer eight years ago, I have never lost what she has taught me. Another incredibly inspirational woman I look up to is my account and financial advisor, Dianna Weir.
We met eight years ago in a previous business I co-owned, and she has taught me an incredible amount about business and finance. She also started her own company from scratch, which was a great template for me to follow when I started Excellence Property.
Many CEOs fall into the trap of being all over the place. What are the top activities a CEO should focus on to be the best leader the company needs? Explain.
Elley Hudson: The number one activity a CEO needs to focus on is recognising and improving the issues in their industry so they can steer clients away from their competition. I work in property management and the biggest issues in property management are staff not being trained properly, a lack of service and a loss of income for owners, all of which I work hard to ensure are not present in my agency.
Once you’ve recognised the issues in your industry, do everything you can to fix them by hiring the right talent. However, don’t think you can just hire them and take it easy. You must show them the way forward and give them the support they need in order for them to execute your vision. At the end of the day, you just need to focus on running your company and eliminating any issues so the company can’t run you.
The Covid-19 Pandemic put the leadership skills of many to the test, what were some of the most difficult challenges that you faced as a CEO/Leader in the past year? Please list and explain in detail.
Elley Hudson: COVID-19 was a scary time for Excellence Property. When the pandemic first hit, there was a lot of fear and uncertainty. My biggest concern was “what if a large number of our tenants lose their jobs or get sick and can’t pay rent?”. No rent means our owners get no income and no income means no cash flow for the business. For a while, it was looking very doomy and gloomy.
However, I was eventually able to make a plan and get ahead of things by creating a system that identified tenants who were financially impacted by COVID-19, which allowed us to problem solve and communicate much easier. After working with our genuinely impacted tenants, we were able to reach mutually agreeable solutions without the need for tribunal intervention. In the process, I was also able to demonstrate to my team that I can change and adapt quickly in a crisis, just like a good CEO should be able to.
What are some of the greatest mistakes you’ve noticed some business leaders made during these unprecedented times? What are the takeaways you gleaned from those mistakes?
Elley Hudson: One of the greatest mistakes business leaders made during COVID-19 was cutting their marketing budget. The reason I believe this was a mistake is because uncertain times actually make marketing your business more important than ever. During a crisis like a pandemic, customers have others things on their minds besides your business. In order to stay relevant and at the top of your customers minds, you need to keep your marketing chugging along, which is exactly what we did.
We kept writing blogs, making Facebook ads and sending out newsletters, which kept our name fresh in the minds of people looking to rent our their investment property once things went back to normal.
In your opinion, what changes played the most critical role in enabling your business to survive/remain profitable, or maybe even thrive? What lessons did all this teach you?
Elley Hudson: The biggest change to ensure Excellence Property remained profitable was utilising virtual tours more than before during COVID-19. With everything that was going on, the chances of prospective tenants physically inspecting a property dropped significantly. Therefore, shaking things up a bit and relying more on our smart phone technology was crucial to our survival. Thankfully, it’s a very quick and cost effective method for getting a property rented, so it didn’t eat into our profitability.
What is the #1 most pressing challenge you’re trying to solve in your business right now?
Elley Hudson: Honestly, Excellence Property isn’t facing any major pressing challenges right now. We’ve just expanded into sales, moved into a new office and hired virtual assistants, so things are going very well. I’m feeling very blessed as a result.
You already shared a lot of insights with our readers and we thank you for your generosity. Normally, leaders are asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is the most useless skill you have learned, at school or during your career?
Elley Hudson: The most useful skill I have learned during my life is knowing how to foster a good relationship.
I was born and raised in North West Queensland, where people are very down to Earth. Where I’m from, people are people. They’re not numbers. Using that approach in the world of business has made me likeable and approachable, and in the real estate/property management industry, where a lot of people appear fake and ingenuine, it goes a long way in securing a client.
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. We will select these answers for our ValiantCEO Award 2021 edition. The best answers will be selected to challenge the award.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make, this past year 2021, for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Elley Hudson: The most difficult decision I had to make this year was letting go a staff member who was not performing to our standard of excellence. What made it so difficult was the fact she and I had developed quite a friendship over the past year. As a result, I was sad to see her go. In the end, however, it was the right decision to make as the culture and performance of our team shifted for the better.
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Elley Hudson for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Elley Hudson or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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