Exclusive with John Ng, Founder of Money Jar Concept
Money Jar Concept is my family business and turns five in 2022. Based in Melbourne’s Inner West, I’m a recovering banker, who knew there had to be a better way to help families and business owners get a fair deal that served their strategic interests.
For the last six years, I’ve been promoting and introducing local members of my community on my page Humans of Seddon, Kingsville, and Yarraville (SKY)
I have been recognised by both the community and the broking industry for my commitment to sharing the stories of ‘everyday’ people.
I’m a big believer that there’s more that unites us than divides us and love a good chinwag (and soy latte!)
For more details, visit their website here.
Here we sit down with John, to know a bit more about his journey as an entrepreneur.
Q. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
John: I was turning people away in my NAB banker days.
Some had bad credit, exhibited poor repayment behaviors or credit history, or simply recently switched to self-employment.
I was also becoming aware of brokers, and they could offer a whole lot more than what one bank could do.
I was also getting tired of working for someone else; I was pulling 15 hour days at NAB, and I wasn’t happy.
Becoming an entrepreneur allowed me to offer lending options to anyone, regardless of their financial situation.
Most importantly, I finally had the Work/Life balance that I wanted.
Q. How did you get started?
John: We — my wife and I! — were lucky to have sold our family home just prior to becoming an entrepreneur, and that allowed gave us a solid foundation to work off.
Many entrepreneurs underestimate the time required to generate a consistent source of income.
I’ve also had the benefit of working for a national brokerage prior, and while it wasn’t a good cultural fit, I pulled the best practices from NAB and brokerage together and made it my own.
Q. What was your biggest startup challenge? What steps did you take to overcome it? What did you learn?
John: Knowing what you are worth.
In my first two years, I lost about 60–70 hours to a few families who took all my Intellectual Property and fled to the lender I had recommended.
It was time I could have spent on more deserving — and paying — clients.
So many brokers I know undersell themselves and do not charge what they are worth.
Brokers are paid commission, but only after the loan settles.
Many of us spend an inordinate amount of time, working on complex deals, in the vain hope that clients would proceed with us after we’ve blown them away with our presentation.
It took me 2.5 years before I started charging a Fee for Advice, which I increased over time.
Since I introduced a Fee for Advice model, my client base has tripled.
Fee-paying clients are also those who want to work with you, and they’re good clients.
Q. What is the Most Memorable Thing You’ve Done Since you Started your Business?
John: A client of mine, who is buying through her SMSF, has been looking at regional VIC for a while.
SMSF purchases can only be investment properties, but upon retirement, the applicant can move into it.
And this is what’s on my lovely client’s mind.
She found a lovely 4 bedder and 2 bathrooms and made an offer.
I advised her to get her purchase contract vetted, and a Building & Pest inspection done.
Fortunately, she listened as the inspection picked up rising dampness and mold in the 2 x bathrooms, and the vendor tried to cover it up with new tiles and simple craftsmanship
It would have cost $25,000 for each bathroom to be completely gutted and redone
The client immediately assumed she could use $50,000 from her SMSF to do the renovation.
She didn’t have $50,000 lying around either.
I warned her immediately that the Superannuation Industry Act prevents any funds from the SMSF to be used for renovation.
I also warned her, that the $50,000 costs are just approximated, and it may spiral out to $60,000 or $70,000.
She assumed it was like a standard home loan, and after my advice, she rightly pulled out of the purchase.
A mistake like this could have crippled my client financially, and made me look really bad!
Q. What is one book you recommend, and why?
John: I’m currently reading ‘Someone Has To Be The Most Expensive, Why Not Make It You? by Andrew Griffiths.
This ties in with knowing what I’m worth.
The biggest mistake all entrepreneurs make, when sales are low, is simply lowering their prices, so they are the cheapest.
It’s a race to the bottom, and people begin to cut corners just to make a profit.
This book reminds me of the value I bring, and not fooling myself into thinking I’m the real winner here, simply by lowering my prices.
Q. What are your top 3 favourite online apps, tools, or resources and what do you love about them?
John: I love Canva, as it allows me to design my social media images.
The free version is perfect.
Is Google calendar counted? I can’t live without it!
I plan my entire life around it; even my wife has jumped on the bandwagon as she got tired of asking what I was doing at 5 pm on a Tuesday!
Facebook and Instagram — are both owned by Facebook.
Pretty self-explanatory — it’s my social media presence!
Q. In terms of legacy, what is the mark you’d like to leave on the world?
John: Letting everyone see how I have pursued my personal interests, and still succeed in life.
If you have a desire to make a difference, and start a business OR pursue a passion project, don’t ever procrastinate.
I know so many people who have good-paying jobs but are deeply unhappy in their roles.
Q. In one sentence, what’s the best advice you’d give to someone just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey?
John: Value your time, respect yourself, know how much you are worth per hour and never stop meeting new people.