Steve Backley OBE, who will be commentating from Rio at this August’s Olympic Games, is best known for his sporting prowess, as the only British track and field competitor to have won medals at three different Olympic Games.
Today, Steve is still passionate about sport but has also transferred his skills from the track to business life. Together with Roger Black MBE, this dynamic partnership created BackleyBlack, a powerhouse of performance knowledge that has taken these two charismatic British Olympians all over the world. Steve and Roger teach corporates and start-ups alike how optimum performance within sport crosses over into life and business, through mind set, mentorship, hard work and teamwork.
What is lesser known about Steve Backley, however, is that he is a passionate property investor, having purchased his first investment property when he was just 19, based on his dad’s encouragement and wise words. According to Steve:-
“I grew up in ‘Suburban Bexley’, as I call it. My father instilled in me from a young age that ‘bricks and mortar’ was your safest bet when it came to investing and his words still ring true today. The first house I bought, I purchased in Chislehurst as an investment property as I had started at Loughborough University and didn’t need it as my primary residence, per se. I was 19 years old, the world junior record holder for javelin and thought I knew everything. I didn’t but as someone I know always says, ‘hindsight is a genius’.
“This route to a part-time property investing career was fairly unusual as most people buy their first property as a home and then branch out. It wasn’t long before some cracks appeared in my plan. I was completely focused on my athletics career and panicked when interest rates went up. So a property that I had paid £107K for, I sold with negative equity, for £97K, when interest rates hit double figures. Had I had the correct training from experts as well as the right mind set and more confidence, I would have kept the property and simply changed my strategy to fit the macro situation.”
Steve sold this first property to a man whom he coincidentally sat next to at a property auction many years later, when both had advanced in their respective property investing careers. Even at that age, Steve instinctively knew that he needed to find a regular passive income to support his sporting efforts as one day he would stop throwing a javelin. Steve also recommends each and every one of us to consider a secondary, passive income (through property investment). Steve believes –
“Success is a very personal journey and it isn’t for me or anyone else to dictate how much money or how many investments we should each have. What works for my mum and dad, for example, isn’t necessarily right for me but the principle remains the same. We all have to dig deep to find out what is right for us, where our passions lie and which life path we want to follow.”
It took some time for Steve to try again and dip his toe into the property investment pond; it was 10 years later, buying an investment property again in Chislehurst. The reason, he explains, is that he always regretted the mistake of losing confidence first time around 10 years prior. Thereafter, Steve continued to invest, without a set strategy or goal, other than ‘Location, Location, Location’. Roll forward to today and Steve has 16 units in his property portfolio based in Sidcup, Chislehurst and Loughborough. This is where the next stage of Steve and Roger’s commercial career comes in.
In 2015, Roger and Steve, under the guise of BackleyBlack, met Legacy Education Alliance, Inc. (LEA), one of the world’s leading providers of professional training programmes in the field of property investment, entrepreneurship and trading stocks. Both parties felt that there was an absolute synergy between successful investing and success in sport and that peak performance in any walk of life is only achievable with the right training, power team and resources.
A new partnership has since formed, creating Perform in Property, launched in Spring 2016, fusing both organisations as leaders in each of their respective fields. For Steve, this new venture makes perfect sense in relation to his property investing career and adds:-
“I have met so many students, mentors, trainers and company personnel from LEA and have been blown away by how friendly and supportive everyone is of one another. As someone who is fuelled by competition and winning, I found the company’s family-like nature both refreshing and surprising. I would have imagined that a group full of successful property investors might be ‘gung ho’ and aggressive but this couldn’t have been further from the truth.
“Some of the stories I have listened to have both moved and inspired me towards the next part of my property investment career. Trainers share their life’s work to help others avoid mistakes that they have made in the past. Where was LEA when I sold my first property? I know I am going to learn a huge amount from my own training with LEA. For me, I am not motivated by money for the sake of money or having lots of status symbols – I have three Olympic medals! I want to retire at 55 as financially free and have enough money to enjoy the rest of my days, as well as leave a legacy for my children. Without my dad encouraging me to invest in the early days, I might never have found my passion for property later on. I hope I can be as positive a role model to my daughters as my dad has been to me,” added Steve, with a smile.