Mark Hawthorn speaks at NW Insider Entreprenuer event
Mark was part of a stellar panel of successful business men and women at a special event held by Northwest Insider on 10 February, at which they revealed their experiences and lessons learnt while building new businesses.
Mark’s path to forming Landmark Investments Group 15 years ago makes for an interesting and inspirational story. He left school with a handful of low-grade GCSE’s and joined a YTS scheme at his local estate agency branch earning £40 per week.
Mark said: “I wasn’t very academically minded and certainly wasn’t a high achiever, so I left school as soon as I could. I didn’t have a grand plan either, I just wanted to get a job and start to earn money.
“When I was really young, I asked for a pension book for Christmas as all I knew was that it gave you access to money. I had a load of different little money makers over the years and always found a way to earn. At one point I worked in a nightclub until early morning and then went and did a milk round.”
Mark realised his colleagues at the estate agency were less than keen on showing people around houses which needed substantial work doing to them, preferring to take families to see brand new sparkling show homes. Mark saw an opportunity and was soon taking builders round the less than loved properties, agreeing deals which would see the buildings restored and resold at substantial profits to the buyers.
Mark said: “It was glaringly obvious with most of the deals – buy for X, spend Y and sell for Z. The clients appreciated it as I would only ring them if I thought it was a good deal for them and I quickly learned what to look for. One of my contacts suggested I should expand my horizons so I took two weeks off work and spent that time finding properties from other estate agents. In those two weeks I made £1500, three times my monthly salary at the time. Needless to say, I didn’t go back to my job, I carried on finding properties to develop – first of all for others, then when I had enough saved I bought them for myself.”
This was the beginning of what is now Landmark Investments Group, which he started in 2000 at the age of 19. Before the downturn of the property market in 2007, Mark had already started to do a few ground rent deals but when the recession hit, he shifted his focus entirely towards ground rent purchases.
Today Mark controls a portfolio of around 11,000 units, valued in excess of £15 million, on top of this there are interests in other businesses