Struggling artist given a blank canvas is now a Ferrari-loving property entrepreneur
12 min read
03 April 2017
Multi-millionaire Rob Moore is able to live the high life now as a property entrepreneur, but he had a humble beginning to business as a struggling artist.
Today, Rob Moore is a well-known property entrepreneur, having launched Progressive Property, but that wasn’t always the case.
Before he achieved success with his training community for those seeking a career in property investments, Moore was £40,000 in debt and struggled to make ends meet as an artist.
Inspired after seeing his parents retire after four decades of hard graft with little, he decided to make the move to become a property entrepreneur.
Now, Moore can be found in locations such as Monaco and Dubai, funding his young son’s golfing passion and cruising around in Ferraris.
Find out more on his lifestyle as a property entrepreneur below as Moore reveals all for Business Class.
(1) Were you born into wealth or has your success been self-made?
Whilst my family gave me every start in life they could, when I started my first business as an artist I was in personal debt and had no capital or financial help to get started.
My parents worked very hard for nearly four decades in the pub trade, and retired with very little to their name. I didn’t want to end up that way, so in my 20s I took the leap to become a property entrepreneur.
With hindsight, starting up with no capital or help was a good thing, because you learn to run a lean business. Whilst cash was tight at first, my overheads were very low too. My first venture as a property entrepreneur started when I met my business partner Mark Homer at a networking event. It was this partnership that changed the game for me in business.
Whilst you could say I am “self-made” in that I had no money handed to me to start, in fact I am not self-made at all because without my partners and staff I’d still be a one-man band artist.
(2) How much did your first job pay?
My first real job, working for my dad in his pub, paid £200 a week. I used to spend £150 of it on clothes when payday came!
(3) When did you decide art wasn’t the right path for you?
I never really turned my back on art, I just caught the property bug and I tasted making some disposable income for the first time. My initial plan was to paint through the night and work in property in the day, and see if property worked for me.
I never painted again after that first day, because property saved me from being a hand to mouth artist. I never officially stopped or “retired” from art. I may paint again in the future, but property and business is too much fun for me to want to go back.
(4) What prompted the move into the property sector, and how lucrative has the market been for you?
At the end of 2005, a gallery owner who hung some of my art had been encouraging me to go to a local property meeting. He told me you could get into property with less money than you think.
I dismissed it many times because I didn’t think I could do it, after all I had no money or knowledge of property. He persuaded me to go, and I never looked back.
We now own/co-own over 500 units and manage over 700 tenants, and property has made us millions of pounds that I would not have been able to make in my previous enterprises.
(5) What has been the most extravagant property you’ve bought, and what has been the most significant return on investment you’ve achieved from a sale?
We bought a trophy private men’s club in central Peterborough and converted it into 37 separate units. It has great character but was unloved, and we brought it back to life both in appearance and function.
We are currently working on a 90,000 square feet retail complex in central Peterborough with a view to turning the upper floors into up to 90 flats. This is due to exchange any day now, planning permitting.
(6) What has business ownership taught you about money management, and do you get more satisfaction from spending or saving?
Business has taught me the difference between profit and cash flow. You can be profitable but run out of cash, so how you manage cash is possibly the most important factor in business behind sales and marketing (getting money in the bank in the first place).
As you grow if you don’t watch your cash closely you can have a good business on paper, but one big debtor paying late or going bust can break your business.
You must be sharp at getting money in from your debtors and balancing the time lag of paying creditors. Make sure you stockpile cash, do not draw all your profits, leave some retained earnings in to protect against irregular shocks, and also to invest in marketing and growth at the right times.
(7) What was the first thing you bought, or did, when you became a millionaire?
I know this is a terrible cliché, but I always wanted a Ferrari since I was maybe four-years-old. As soon as I had more than enough cash, and felt I could “waste” some money, having watched Magnum over and over as a boy, I went out and bought a Ferrari. And then another one.
To this day, I spend no more than 30 per cent of my income, so I like to make sure I can easily afford opulent items before I buy them. I was brought up in the early years of business to keep costs lean.
I also got my private helicopter licence, which was another dream of mine since watching Airwolf on repeat as a child, though the Helicopters I fly don’t have missiles on them!!
(8) Tell us about your smartest investments
The smartest investments we’ve made have been properties. It’s important to have a balanced portfolio and not all in one class, but property wins every time for us because it is a proven asset class and importantly one we know well.
We bought our offices, then we bought our training academies. These have been great because they serve a dual purpose of being a good commercial investment and housing our businesses. We bought 100s of single let units in our early years, all of which have virtually doubled in value in less than a decade.
(9) On your website you talk about truly living – how do you define that term and how do you truly live?
Truly living is doing what you love and loving what you do. Merging passion and profession, vocation and vacation. Having your family involved in work and life, not having a job you want to run away from, and living on your own defined terms.
I personally love “work” and it is as much a hobby as it is a profession. Having this work lifestyle, where you can be fully globally mobile, and being around your family, for me is truly living.
I am currently in Grand Cayman, where Progressive Property runs a mentorship each year and my son plays three weeks of golf. It is different for all of us, and not for me to judge. Be clear on your vision and value, and live it now, don’t delay it until later, which may never come.
(10) What are your most expensive hobbies?
Flying is not a cheap hobby. Nor is owning a fleet of cars. My son is one of the best six-year-old golfers in the world, with three holes in one by age five, and taking him around the world and funding his golf equates to a full-time yearly salary!
(11) How about your most prized possession?
I love watches, which I also use as an investment. I invested in my birth year ’79 Rolex Daytona, this is possibly my smartest, classiest possession. I like wearing my AP gold Schumacher and gold Richard Mille RM-011.
I feel like I shouldn’t enjoy these material items as much as I do, but I do. And they have gone up in value which is a nice way to justify buying them to my fiancée!
(12) What are your favourite luxury brands?
Audemars Piguet. I have good relationships with many of the staff and they are the very best at creating a luxury brand experience. I like Givenchy, Vivienne Westwood and Patek Philippe.
(13) Where has your most luxurious holiday take you?
I go to Grand Cayman each year for a few weeks, as well as Dubai, Monaco and the US for the two major world golf championships. Some of the Villas in Cayman are like what you’d find on MTV Cribs and Monaco is a great place, though very busy.
(14) Excluding property, what has been your most expensive purchase?
Ferraris. Anything above a few hundred thousand should probably be rented. There’s a saying about that. I don’t like water so that saves me from boats, which is a good thing!