The Biggest Obstacle for Women Renovators

The podcast for women who want to create income and a life they love through renovating

Join serial renovator Bernadette Janson as she explores the ins and outs of renovating for profit!

Bernadette has over 30 years of experience in the renovating for profit business. She’s a registered nurse, a renovator, a mum, and a teacher.

106 – The Big 2020 Pivot & What To Expect In 2021

On today’s episode,

In this episode, I am going to talk about a little reflection on 2020 because this year put us all to an extreme roller coaster ride. Though this year has been tough to all of us, I took it as an advantage to ponder and think more. I will share how The School Of Renovating innovated amidst the pandemic, what steps I undertook to sustain my business and even make it better, and what we are putting together for our renovators this coming 2021.

Listen to Episode 106– The Big 2020 Pivot & What To Expect In 2021

Episode Highlights

  • [00:01:36] The free Masterclass
  • [00:03:03] Renovating 2021- 6 Strategies To Go From Zero To 100k
  • [00:03:56] A changing market is nothing new
  • [00:05:37] Little reflection on 2020
  • [00:07:07] My mentor who has been emphatic with online business
  • [00:08:38] No two people are the same
  • [00:09:36] Bite-size pieces
  • [00:10:27] Pairing up lessons with online tutorials
  • [00:11:29] You don’t know what you don’t know
  • [00:12:52] An epic mortgage broker
  • [00:13:08] The tremendous asset
  • [00:13:52] I want to see you winning
  • [00:14:39] The unlimited access to TSOR source
  • [00:15:20] First bootcamp wave of TSOR
  • [00:15:51] The week of Christmas
  • [00:17:39] How to register to the program
  • [00:18:15] Joint ventures
  • [00:20:05] We are putting together a large Joint Venture team
  • [00:21:22] 2020 has been a massive plus
  • [00:22:34] My life at the moment
  • [00:23:30] Cutting myself some slack
  • [00:23:59] A lovely podcast review
  • [00:25:48] Christmas greetings


“I believe that you do need to be risk averse and make sure that if you’re moving forward, you’re moving forward confidently.”


Hello renovators! It’s Bernadette, back with another episode of She Renovates. Tomorrow is Christmas day and so this is the last episode I’ll be recording before Christmas. I am so happy that you are here to listen to it, so enjoy!

Now, before I get into it, I want to let you know that we are running a free masterclass on the 12th of January that’s designed to help you get into gear to get epic results in 2021. Personally, I have set some hefty goals for the year and my whole community is in action getting ready to really nail their goals in 2021. You know, 2020 has been an interesting year and I think many people who have big renovation goals have waited out the year to see what happens. Thankfully, I didn’t do that and we’ve done one and a half actually, we’ve done two and a half renovations. But I know that many haven’t because I just didn’t anticipate the property market going the way it did.

I am running this session entitled Renovating 2021- 6 Strategies To Go From Zero to 100k in 2021. Please don’t think this is a get rich quick thing because it’s not. But I have recently demonstrated that being able to achieve 100k profit in less than 12 months is very achievable. The project that we just completed took six weeks, the actual renovation, we owned the property for three months before it went back to market, and that’s achieved just over 100000 in profit. So it absolutely is possible, but what you do need is you need to have a repertoire of strategies to be able to adapt to the market.

A changing market is nothing new. We need to assume that the market will change in order to move forward safely and effectively. And so that is what I am going to be covering in this session. What I do know is that many renovators really sat on their hands for the year because they wanted to wait and see, which is a very prudent approach, and I’m certainly not critical of that. I believe that you do need to be risk averse and make sure that if you’re moving forward, you’re moving forward confidently. But the way that I build my confidence is being able to adapt to the situation. So, I’m going to be sharing some of that with you in this session.

Also going to be talking about where the opportunities are in renovating right now, the skills that you need to embrace to maintain your goals while keeping risk to a minimum, how women are hardwired to be more efficient and more effective renovators, and how to build a personal plan to take you from zero to 100000 in the next 12 months. If you would like to join that training, as I said, it’s on the 12th of January, just head over to OK, let’s get into the episode.

Bernadette: Today is going to be a little reflection on 2020 because oh my gosh, what a year it’s been. For some people, it has been absolutely devastating. And to be honest with you, when the virus first hit and we had our first lockdown, I, too, was feeling very devastated. And how I chose to adapt to that was while we were in the middle of a tour, we were going to be travelling with Nhan Nguyen and Jo Vadillo. We were doing a tour of three East Coast cities and we had to stop in the middle of it, shut it down and of course, we did it later online. At that point, I made the decision to stop taking registrations for our programmes in order to really get a feel for what was going on. To understand the impact of what was happening and how we needed to adapt to that.

Basically, I didn’t have a business for a little while, but that was how I chose to react. As it’s turned out, it’s been the absolute best thing I could do because it gave me some time to think and to figure out what I needed to do in order to be effective for the people that I serve.

I have a mentor who has been quite emphatic about making your business online friendly, and I sort of had a foot in both camps because I was really concerned, as you may or may not know, my reason for even being in business is to facilitate that connection with potential renovators. I really love that personal connection. I have no desire to run a programme where there are hundreds and hundreds of people in it that I don’t know. I really want to know the people that we work with and understand their situation so that I’m in the best possible position to be able to help.

That’s why I ran my boot camp live, because by spending a few days with people, you really get to know them. I thought there is no way that we can reproduce that connection online. I have just been amazed at how wrong you can be. When I was designing the online boot camp, I had a few things in mind, one was enabling the connection and understanding of what our students were wanting to achieve and what their personal situation was because, when anyone starts to learn about how they can increase their income with renovating, they always have a different situation.

No two people are the same. Knowing that really helps you to guide them in the right direction. Firstly, I know that the completion rate of online courses is very low. It’s something despicable, like five percent or something like that. I really was not willing to be having people buy a programme that they weren’t going to finish. And so one of the things that I did is to look at the composition of the programme to make sure that it was easy to consume. The problem is that our subject matter is quite critical. There are many elements that if you don’t get it, it’s going to put you at risk. So I needed to make sure that our students did get the key information and absorbed it so that they could go out and make confident, powerful decisions.

So one of the ways that I did that is to break it down into bite-size pieces. The optimum length of a lesson for an online programme is between five and ten minutes. That’s what I’ve followed, I think the longest one was about 25, but they are rare. And as a result, it means that there are lots of them, but they are short and sharp so that you get the information you need without the fluff and so that it keeps you motivated to move forward. The other thing about having short bite-size lessons is that you consume them quite quickly so if you’ve got a 10 or 15 minute break, you can get on there and do one or maybe two lessons. And it just keeps you moving forward.

The second thing that we did in the design is to pair up the lessons with online tutorials. There are eight modules in the boot camp and there are also eight tutorials. Some of those tutorials are run by some of our specialists, for instance, to learn asset protection and legal structures, you need to hear that from an accountant. My accountant comes in and actually teaches that section of work. The other great thing is that it means he also offers you an opportunity to have a private call with him to discuss your situation. Because most people don’t have a decent property accountant, it doesn’t mean that you have to move to our accountant, but it means that you know what you need to ask your own accountant and to see whether your accountant has what it takes to be able to support you in your move forward.

Some people do go to our accountant. Clearly, he doesn’t work for charity, but he does support our business. So if someone from our community has a question whether they are his client or not, he’s always going to be available to answer that question, which is absolutely amazing. In actual fact, sometimes I’ve had students tell me things that their accountants have done or have advised them to do, which I have known are wrong and will mean that they pay more tax and so on. There were times that I’ve actually gone back to Brian and said “The student told me this,” and he said, “No, that’s completely wrong,” so he will have a chat with them and set them straight. This way, we’re able to save some of our students from bad advice.

The thing with property accountants is anyone can answer a question that you ask, they can go off and research. The problem is that you don’t know what you don’t know, like all areas of taxation law property. Taxation law is quite complicated and so if you’re going to be a serious renovator, you need an accountant that really understands the implications of the top of their head. They don’t need to go and research really basic things that you’re going to be dealing with everyday.

We also have our finance specialists to come and talk and give you tips on getting finance. She’s also an epic mortgage broker, which makes a huge difference to some students who found getting finance challenging.

Another feature is that David, our Architect comes in and shares how the design principles for producing a good renovation in terms of design, but keeping the profit potential in mind so any architect can design but not any architect is focused or can be focused on profit. I shouldn’t say David’s always focused on profit because he does both ends of the spectrum in terms of budget but he has been doing our designs since he started Uni and that’s over a decade ago. So he has that experience that I don’t know any other architect that does. So that’s a tremendous asset as well.

The other thing is that I do quite a few of the tutorials and that’s really for me to enable to get to know you and what’s going on for you and how you’re progressing. I take interest in your progress because I want to see you winning. The way to do that is to understand and guide you along the way. Of course, I also did an upgrade of our templates and our system. It’s a very extensive programme. It technically can be done in eight weeks, but we generally suggest you allow three months so that you get enough time to absorb all the material and do all the assessments so that we know that you’ve grasped the information.

The other thing that we have done that I think is essential is that we have given unlimited access to this course. It’s not one of those courses where you are there for 8 or 10 weeks and then you don’t have it anymore. Once you’ve come through our boot camp, you have access to that and to its upgrades forever. When I reproduce the boot camp in an online form, obviously I did a serious upgrade to the content because things change as time goes on. Every project we learn more and more and we tweak our system to suit that.

The people that did our very first boot camp five or six years ago are given access to the new one as well, so that they’re up to date. It’s the thing that you really need to refresh every couple of years, because, as I say, we learn new things and we update the programme to encompass those improved processes and systems. So if you come through, you will learn more. We add more strategies as we learn them ourselves.

One of the things that I’ve done since I started the School of Renovating is an experiment. That’s generally been driven by the needs of our community. Probably the first experiment I ever did was a renovation on the cheapest property I could find in Sydney, a tiny studio, because I’m not willing to teach something that I don’t do myself. There’s a saying and I think I’ve said it before, that “Those who can do, those that can’t teach.” I don’t agree with that statement because I know a lot of amazing teachers who really walk the talk. I do think that if you are learning a strategy from someone, you have to see them doing it, because if they’re not doing it, they’re not staying up to date and they’re not learning those things that you pick up from every single project.

Now, that boot camp is up online and I have just been so impressed with the results. I’ve been really thrilled to see that our people are taking it. We had the final tutorial last night for this most recent intake. I had at least 75% of the group online. It’s the week of Christmas so I think that’s pretty epic. I’m just really finding that people are building their confidence quicker. I had a student and she’s based in Canberra, actually, get her first, actually, I’ve had a couple of students, Ali in Canberra, Louise in Melbourne, get their first renovation project before the programme is actually complete. They’ve got through the research phase and purchased their first project, which I think is a real testament to the level of confidence they’ve been able to extract from the programme.

How do you register for the programme? It’s not something that you just go and buy online, because I always like to have a conversation with you before you come in so that we can make sure that you’re prepared and you have the capacity to be able to get results from it. It is great material, but if you’re not able to go off and apply it in a timely manner, you’re not going to get the best value out of it. If you’re not in a position to be able to do a project, then I really think it’s probably better to wait until you are.

The other thing that we did this year is we partnered with My Property Circles. What we’ve been doing is putting together Joint Venture teams. Basically pairing up people based on what they bring to a project, because usually someone comes to the project, just about everyone is missing something. You need to have time, you need to be able to get a loan, you need some cash, you also need skill but everyone needs that. You need to know what’s going on and you get that through the boot camp. It means you can get a loan, but you can’t get cash, will then you team up with someone who’s got the cash so that you can do a project together.

We have some measures in place because notoriously, Joint Ventures can be quite complicated and they add a level of risk project. Thankfully, with our work with My Property Circles, we’ve been able to mitigate that. We’ve just got some amazing projects coming together right now as a result of that partnership. That is really exciting.

These days, unless you had all three things, then you wouldn’t be able to get a project up and running but now, the only criteria is that you have nothing. If you have no cash, no borrowing capacity and even then, if you have the skill to put together a Joint Venture, you actually don’t need it. However, that’s not how we approach it. I like my students to have some skin in the game so either you have some cash or you have the ability to get a loan in order to be able to do a Joint Venture. The Joint Ventures we do in the next level up from our boot camp, which I’m not going to talk about today, and everyone that does a joint venture comes through the boot camp.

The other thing that we are doing this year is we are putting together a large Joint Venture. We will have up to 20 members. We’re doing that for a few reasons one, in order to do our teaching project with cash, of course I’m investing in it, too, so we’re not going to be dependent on the banks. The second reason is because interest rates are so low that it’s probably going to be a much better deal than putting the money in the bank. Well, I know it will be a better deal, but of course, I have to qualify that and not assume anything until we’ve done the first and we’ve figured out how it’s going to run.

The third reason is to enable someone who has not got the capacity to do a project, to be able to do a high value project, a million dollars is not high in Sydney, but anyhow, to be able to learn on the job. We haven’t worked out how we’re going to choose that person. It will be like a mentorship and it’ll be someone who meets the criteria that is set down by our leadership group. That’s another exciting thing that’s come about as a result of our partnership with My Property Circles.

 While 2020 started out as a bit of a nightmare, for us, it’s been a massive plus because it’s changed the way we’ve operated and it’s been an absolute blessing. My heart goes out to those of you who have suffered huge financial disadvantages as a result of it. We’ve certainly had our Airbnbs spent most of the being not that great, but nothing compared to what some of the population have endured.

That has been our big pivot for 2020. We are now really set to have an epic 2021 and we just can’t wait to bring it on.

OK, so if you would like to check out our boot camp, just go to and you will see it outlined there. If you would like to have a chat with me about it, just shoot an email to us and we’ll book a call.

That’s it for me today and I’d like to share about what’s happening in my life at the moment. leading up to Christmas has been a very busy time because we are shutting down over Christmas, and I’ve just had a lot of work to do to get organised for that and also getting organised for Christmas. I really made a point of starting my preparations earlier this year because usually I just roll in at the last minute feeling absolutely shattered and drag myself around. So that’s been really fun. I’m just looking forward to the day, although I’m feeling quite sad that our oldest daughter, Hannah and her husband Ed and their two fur babies cannot be with us because of the most recent Covid outbreak. But, in the scheme of things, we just need to suck that up and make the most of it, I guess. It’s back to Zoom, get togethers and so on.

Our Airbnbs have been quite busy with long term guests. We put Chalmers Street property on Airbnb but then this week I decided, “You know what, I’m getting really busy again and I hate that,” and so I made the executive decision that I was not putting it on over Christmas because I needed to have some downtime. Sometimes you really have to cut yourself some slack and that’s exactly what I’ve done.

That’s my life at the moment but before I go, I want to share a lovely review. You might remember I don’t know whether it was last, I think it was the last episode I spoke about James, who’s one of our students, and I’ve been working with him, helping him on a renovation. And he’s left an amazing review, which I’m thrilled about. So I’m thinking I should mention more students so that they will come and give me a review. We have seventy two, five star reviews, which I am so proud of and so grateful for. So James says,

Practical magic for all renovators. If you need to break through any of your limitations to find the joy and success in renovating, Bernadette is your inspiration and advisor with decades of experience. Her down to earth practical style of sharing what works and how to keep control of any renovating project is worth tuning in for week after week. I’ve done a few renovations in the distant past and now feel motivated to go again. This time for change of pace and new horizons. This podcast shows a way. Thank you, Bernadette.

James Burgin

Thank you so much, James. You know, you’re one of my favourite people and I just love that so, thank you. You’re really amazing.

Okay, so if you feel so inclined to leave a review, please do. Please go over to iTunes and share your thoughts on the podcast. We read them and we love to know how our podcast is landing, and if you have any questions or any topics that you’d like me to cover, please mention those in your review, too and I will most certainly cover the topics that you’ve requested.

On that note, I will finish for today. Please have a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year! I know for some people it is quite a sad time spending it alone. You might be thinking about someone that you’ve lost, please just know that will be keeping you in our thoughts and take care.

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    Amazing Free Content!LeaLea707 via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 05/22/22
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    Practical and honest adviceLuke Marland via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 05/12/21
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    “Hands down best renovation podcast there is. There’s no scams or tricks here and Bernadette provides honest and practical advice that you can actually apply to your life. There’s also great insights into the property industry (not just renovating) and Bernadette’s simple approach gives you tools to mitigate risk and fuels confidence to start your own projects.”
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    “Bernadette is an inspiration. Warm, open and a fountain of wisdom and advice. I’ve learned so much about everything from renovating to selling to creating an independent future from this podcast. Look forward to every episode!”
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    “If you need to break through any of your limitations to find the joy and success in renovation, Bernadette is your inspiration and advisor with decades of experience. Her down to earth, practical style of sharing what works and how to keep control of any renovating project is worth tuning in for - week after week. I have done a few renovations in the (distant) past and now feel motivated to go again, this time for a change of pace and new horizons. This podcast shows the way. Thanks Bernadette, James Burgin”
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    “Just dropping by to show my support for your podcast Bernadette. I look forward to each episode and I am never disappointed with the content. It’s such a generous offering and compared to many of the other property podcasts I subscribe to, yours is the clear winner. Perfectly suited to people embarking on a new renovator journey but equally suited to more experienced folk like myself - there’s something for everyone. Keep up the great work. Your honesty is so refreshing! I look forward to future learning and hearing more student success stories. Best, David Michos (And yes... a bloke) 😉”
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    “If you have any interest at all in renovating, you would be crazy not to listen to every episode! As someone who has done many courses and a project manager by trade, i learn something every time. Bernadette is so genuine and generous and totally relatable. Do yourself a favour and subscribe now !”

    Want more?

    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.

    The only membership you need to grow your renovation business…

    Wonder Women is a combination of live sessions and pre-recorded content to help you get what you need, when you need it. I know that you’re the expert and you’ve got all of your subject knowledge nailed – now it’s time to build the business behind your renovation projects and stop being the worlds best kept secret. 

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