Get out of Teaching

Get Out of Teaching Podcast Season 4, Episode 9, Bernadette Janson (Founder of The School Of Renovating)

September 08, 2021 Elizabeth Diacos Season 4 Episode 9
Get out of Teaching
Get Out of Teaching Podcast Season 4, Episode 9, Bernadette Janson (Founder of The School Of Renovating)
Show Notes Transcript

Bernadette Janson is the founder of The School Of Renovating

She has been passionate about renovating since she completed her first project as a 13 year old.

Renovating enabled her to retire from nursing at 29, pay off a mortgage, help her young adult children with their first home deposit and earn a serious six figure income while still having time to pursue her personal interests

She personally completes an average of  2- 3  renovation projects per year using her signature 100k renovation system

Bernadette also has an interest in the financial empowerment of Australian women. She believes that many are financially vulnerable, especially when approaching retirement due to their tendency to sacrifice their own ambitions and financial security in order to be the main caregivers in families.

She now helps women channel their creativity and flair for homemaking into renovating for-profit and Airbnb so they can earn a six-figure income working part-time. She is also the host of the She Renovates podcast, community and Annual Conference

Social Media 






Aired on September 8th 2021


 For show-notes and other resources, visit

 For all podcast episodes, visit

 Get Out of Teaching website (Larksong):

 Join the ‘Get Out of Teaching!’ Facebook group:

 Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts:

 Connect with me on LinkedIn:

 Connect with me on Facebook:

 This podcast is a member of the Experts on Air podcast network

Elizabeth Diacos  0:02  

Welcome to Season 4 of the Get Out of Teaching Podcast presented by Larksong Enterprises. This podcast is for teachers who are considering leaving Education, but feel like they have no options. I'm your host, Elizabeth Diacos. I'm a career transition coach, she guides overwhelmed teachers through a five step process, out of Education and into a life they love. I'd like to see a world where the work of teachers is valued and respected, and that teachers have a career pathway that enables them to continue to offer value to society beyond their work in the classroom. So in this season, we'll be speaking to other experts, who help people to change careers, as well as a few ex-teachers who forged the pathway into something new. So come along for the ride as we get out of teaching. 


Episode 9. 


Hi, everyone, and welcome to the show. And on today's show, I'm very pleased to be interviewing Bernadette Janson, who is the founder of the School of Renovating. Welcome to the show, Bernadette,


Bernadette Janson  1:03  

Oh thanks so much for having me, Elizabeth.


Elizabeth Diacos  1:06  

So Bernadette, I'm really curious because I put out the call to people who help teachers get out of teaching, and I got an email from you. And you said that you run this amazing organization, I just wanted you to maybe fill us in on what you actually do.


Bernadette Janson  1:23  

Well, yeah, so. So I have the School of Renovating and basically what I do is teach renovators, predominantly women, how to replace their income using renovating, Airbnb, property strategies. And that might be to actually to get out of a job now, or it might be someone who's poorly prepared for retirement and wants to just build their you know, their retirement savings.


Elizabeth Diacos  1:57  

Okay, so, I've been using this example of a lady, a teacher named Donna, who's 52. And she's decided she wants to leave teaching, she feels like she has no options. And she's ill prepared to move into another kind of work, or that's how she feels at least she's got this amazing skill set as a teacher, what would you say to someone in her position?


Bernadette Janson  2:23  

Okay, so um, I would say that if you have an interest and a passion for homemaking for one of the better word, like, if you're, you know, most of us as women love to have the home looking as best we can, and, and you have an interest in property, then renovating is a really amazing way to totally turn around your financial fortune in some ways, I dunno whether that's the right word, but anyhow, so I just want to step back a bit and just say that, um, a lot of women sort of tend to not look after themselves financially. Because that, you know, we're bringing up as mothers, particularly we're bringing up children, were focused on their well being, and often we will get to 52, or, you know, mid 50s, and think I'm doing something that I'm not really loving, and, and but feel trapped and can't get out of it. 


So that's where I think that renovating, if you have that passion for homemaking, it's a great way to turn things around. And so what we do is, so in order to do a project, you need to you've got to have some financial capacity. And so you need to either have the capacity to get a loan, you need to have that. And you need to have some cash, which we usually get out of a line of credit on either a family home or another home, and the time to do it. So that's sort of the recipe for making a profit from renovating. And, 


Elizabeth Diacos  4:10  

Sorry, just run through it. So you need ready cash. You need a lot or line of credit, you need the capacity to borrow some money.


Bernadette Janson  4:19  

Yeah. On an in, so you have you need to have the capacity to be able to buy an investment property, get the loan for an investment property. 


Elizabeth Diacos  4:26  



Bernadette Janson  4:27  

And you also you need to have the time to do it. But it's usually four to six weeks, we do what's called a cosmetic plus reno, which is a little bit more than a cosmetic grant reno but not a full on structure reno. And so, you know, you put those three things together, do a project. We work on around about 10% profit. So if you're looking at making you want to make say 50,000 out of your project, you're looking at a project that's roughly you know, 4 to 500,000. If you want to make a 100,000 out of a project, you're looking at something that's between 8 to 900,000. Now, there are lots of exceptions to those rules. Like I have women, they're doing much bigger profits in much lower price price points. But that's how we base our feasibility. Now, so I've forgotten the name of your lady again.


Elizabeth Diacos  5:21  



Bernadette Janson  5:22  

Donna. So Donna, so she's 52, let's say, you know, she's, she's in that boat, and she's quite keen to get going. But let's say she's missing one of those components let's say she can, she could probably get an investment loan, but she doesn't really have enough cash to be able to, to do the project, which is often you know, 30, sometimes even 40% of the value of the property. And so what we then do is we team up renovators, so two women will team up in what's called a joint venture and do a project together. And so they will do that until they build up enough capacity to be able to do them on their own. So that's what I would say to Donna, if you're interested in this. And it's something that you want to do. That would be the path that you would go down. 


And then the next step on from there is would they, so buying, renovating and selling or flipping is, is quite a short, it's not really an investment strategy. It's quite a short term strategy, because you sell the golden goose, you sold the property. And so then I be suggesting that she looked at other strategies for developing more passive, like it's never truly passive, but more of a passive income using those property skills. But the first thing is to get that first project done, and maybe two or three after that. So she's generated cash flow, replaced her income, and then she can start thinking about, you know, every one or two projects, maybe doing something that she can hold. Does that answer your question?


Elizabeth Diacos  7:02  

I think so. So, so what you're saying just to me to kind of go back over that, again, the first two or three, you're using to flip and sell at a higher price than what you paid, and make a profit. So then you've got your little nest egg there that you can then say, the next project that I renovate, I'm going to hang on to it and maybe use it as an Airbnb or rented out to someone. Is that right? 


Bernadette Janson  7:26  



Elizabeth Diacos  7:27  

Yeah. Okay. Nice. 


Bernadette Janson  7:28  

Yeah. And the other thing is that, um, the other thing that we do is really look at what else you've got, because, you know, Donna may, she may have have an empty nest, and may be able to convert some of her home into a to have some earning capacity. And so we would look at that, because, you know, where there's possibility we try and use that. And yeah, sorry.


Elizabeth Diacos  8:03  

Okay, go back to that the earning capacity. So are you, are you thinking about something like rent a room out to a student, that kind of thing?


Oh no. Um, no, I'm not thinking about imposing on her lifestyle, but a lot of people, my generation have got to a stage where they were in a big house, and, or, and don't have the need for it anymore. So they're rattling around with it wondering what to do. I would look at that house and see if we can do some minor adjustments to it. So it could have something that was self contained. Like ah...




Bernadette Janson  8:37  

And so that they could either rent it on Airbnb or rented on long term and have a potential income.


Elizabeth Diacos  8:47  

Right. So with a separate entrance, maybe in a little kitchenette. Mm hmm. Yeah, I actually could see the potential in my house for that we've got a back entrance into the main back bedroom. And there's a little bathroom right next to that. So it's like an ensuite and then another bedroom that faces opposite that but they separate from the lounge room like so there wouldn't be a lounge room as such, but it could be like a kitchenette, lounge room, and then the bedroom and you could settle a kind of studio almost. 


Bernadette Janson  9:20  

And so we have like because I I've been doing Airbnb since long before it was popular. And so I really I built up a program around it just so that our students could, you know, leverage what they had and we've had some really amazing results from that as well. The other thing is being a teacher and having, I know that you work long hours with marking and whatever, you know, all the other stuff, extra curricular stuff that happens. But you do get decent holidays. So I would be saying to Donna, don't toss in your job until you've done your at least your first one project or two projects until you've established yourself, because it's a lot less stress doing it when you're not relying on the income. And yeah, and once you've got a couple of projects under your belt, then you're in a position to be able to think "Well, yes, so now I'm, I've pretty much know what I'm doing. So I can, yeah"


Elizabeth Diacos  10:27  

So that would be like a great six week summer holiday project. 


Bernadette Janson  10:31  



Elizabeth Diacos  10:31  

Perfect for that. 


Bernadette Janson  10:33  

Yeah, yeah.


Elizabeth Diacos  10:33  

And then, and then sell it off before the school year starts. 


Bernadette Janson  10:38  



Elizabeth Diacos  10:38  

Sounds too good to be true. So okay, I'm a big fan of going to Bunnings and wandering the aisles. What sort of skills do you need to have to be able to do this because this sounds scary to me. It sounds like I need to be a carpenter and a plumber. And


Well, that's what you don't need to be. So I should just go back. I started renovate. I've been renovating for 35 years. So I was a nurse. I trained at St. Vincent, in Melbourne actually. And, and, and I met my husband who was in the building industry who, and I thought that that was the recipe for the riches because I had a bit of an eye for design, he was a bit, you know, a builder. And, and so that's why we set off down that path. And so as we had children, we had four children, ultimately, where I renovated while, you know, Anne was a stay at home mom at the same time. And we got to a point when I realised, we DIY'ed everything like he would do the roof frame and you know, I remember that tiling 40 square meters of tiles when I was nine months pregnant, not all his stuff. 


Bernadette Janson  11:50  

And we got to the point where I thought we are really working for barely wages, this is not working. And I realized that that we'd made a fundamental mistake in that we thought it was all about the construction side of it. But it's not. And that's where I think DIY really trips you up. Because you get so focused on you're down in the weeds, and you can't see the woods for the trees for you know, one of a better word. And so I then I basically said "That's it, we're not doing any more DIY, we need to buy well enough that we can pay trades to do the work and still make a profit." And so and it was really only then that we truly started making a profit. 


And it's, it's really around, its around. Firstly, its strategy. And so and so getting the right property, like you can have two properties side by side, one of them you can make a profit on, they can look identical, one of them, you can make a profit on the other one, you can't, because of how much you have to do to work to deliver the same outcome. So, it's really making sure that you pick the right property, making sure that you know your market. So you can deliver a product that they're going to love making sure you're selling to an owner occupier market, the ones that get really emotionally involved with your property, and just managing the budget, the trades, the timeframe. So it's a, it's an exercise in project management. And it's something that I think teachers are quite good at. 


Elizabeth Diacos  13:36  

Well, I mean, anytime you do anything at the school that's bigger than just what's in your classroom. It's a project. So if you're organizing an excursion, and you have to take 60 kids on two buses and take them to the art gallery and give them lunch and make sure we can all go to the toilet and then get them all home safely and don't leave anyone behind. That's a project. It's got a beginning, a middle and an end. So that's all it's it's just that, isn't it? And there's all it is.


Yeah. And that the sound of that totally freaks me out. Because dealing with little people that are not necessarily rational. 


Yeah, they're wildcards.


Bernadette Janson  14:13  

Exactly. Yes. So, um, so it is just a process and, and that's what I have done is really refined the process to reduce the risk and to make it easier to manage. And so yeah, and it's fun. 


Elizabeth Diacos  14:32  

Yeah, I totally resonate with what you said about the owner occupier, we were looking for an investment property that we were actually going to put our daughter in if she because she wants to move to a house with a backyard so she could have a dog. And we were just looking and we done a market research in the local area and we knew what we should be paying and we found a property we got it valued. I think they valued it at around about 650 and it was just a weatherboard house. Not on a huge block of land much smaller block than our home, our family home. And but in a nice little pocket was okay like not great, but location wise but not bad. 


And in a good suburb like the name of the suburb helped, even though that part of the suburb wasn't that great. And so it was valued at 650. And we thought we'll go to 720. You know, that's that right? Reasonable. It went for 880. And it was at the start of this huge property surge at the start of this year. And we were just gobsmacked because the real estate educator coming over and said, "You want to beat again," and we're like, "No" but they obviously, this couple that bought it, you can just tell I didn't matter what happened, they were going to get that house at the end of the day, it didn't matter how much they had to pay. They were just there. Because I loved it. It was really cute like in that they'd done a nice job of, you know, styling it and everything. And it did look really nice and very kind of homey, but they definitely paid too much for that house. 


Well, I think that about everyone that buys our renos.




Bernadette Janson  16:06  

Because, yeah, because we've expanded all opportunity. And, but that's what we do. And there's a market for it. Because not everyone has the capacity to renovate or has the stomach for it. So it's something that we love to do. And it was funny because one of my so we have a program called Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman Renovators and which is intentionally sort of what's the word out there because I really believe that we've got to own our power, not be shrinking violets, you've got to we've got to get out there and, and, and seize what we want out of life. So and so, and she was talking about someone that she, that they've been discussing their reno, and she said to them, "If you just do this, and that," you know, "it's only a minor, no, you'll add another 50,000 to it." And she said, "they just could not be bothered." 


Like, you know, they just said "Oh, no couldn't do. I couldn't go through that." And so yeah, it's interesting. So everyone has their thing. And so yeah, but the other thing, so in the time that I've been doing this, I have discovered, you know, sort of worked through a lot of the problems that are that women, the women that we work with have because one of the things is that I found was a big stumbling block was pressing the button on which property to buy. So someone would come through a training and then would be out there looking for months and months, even years, and just never quite have the courage to say, "Yeah, this is it." And so I had never worked with a buyer's agent before. But I started working with buyer's agents to test them to you know, figure out who, who's who in the zoo. And so now we have a team of really great, incidentally, they're all female buyer's agents who will source the property for them. And that makes a massive difference. So, yeah.


Elizabeth Diacos  18:15  

And gives them confidence that they're making a good decision. Yeah.


And like we all need that it's not, you know, like, even when, I think, unless you are in the market all the time, you need to take into account the opinions of others that are in the market. And so that's one of the benefits of using a buyer's agent. Like if I'm, I don't always use a buyer's agent, but I will still get the feedback from the agents, the local agents in the area, because I'm not at the opens every single Saturday. And that market knowledge is really important. Yeah.


So do you only operate in Sydney? Or do you?


No, well, technically, technically, yes. But practically no, like, I did a project in Queensland, not that long ago, because a lot of my students were doing what's called splitters where they are buying properties 2 lots, 2 lots on one title. And so I thought I better go and do one of those. So I did, I went to Queensland, and because there's a lot more of them there. I'm currently doing one in Newcastle. I've got a project, I'm doing a project for my brother actually in Etruca. 




Bernadette Janson  19:32  

And so I like to work locally, but I really just work where where the opportunities are best for what we're doing.


Elizabeth Diacos  19:42  

So you're still doing that while you're training other people how to do it yourself, as well.


Yeah, I do about three projects a year.




Bernadette Janson  19:50  



Elizabeth Diacos  19:50  

That's amazing. 


The other thing...


Yeah, go on. 


Bernadette Janson  19:52  

The other thing that we're doing, and you'll be interested in this is, so we've got four young adult children and we wanted to make sure that they sort of got a start in life. But we weren't that keen on putting our hand into our own pocket to give them a deposit. So what we do once they get their first full time job is we do a project with them. So they go off and get the loan. And we put the cash in from our line of credit, and we do a project together. And then so we agreed that we would, each of our kids would get 100,000. So the first one we did with our daughter who lives in Melbourne, and so that was a two bedroom apartment we had we made 155,000 on that. 


So she got the 100, we got the 50. And then we did one with our son that only made 100. So we didn't get a payday, but that was fine. And so I'm about my third daughter is actually a design and technology teacher. But she got married and had her first baby not long after she graduated. And so she then had three very quickly one after the other. So we haven't really been able to do one with her because they have to be able to get a loan. That's sort of how it works. But she's now the youngest is almost going to preschool so and she's now said she doesn't want to go back to teaching because she sees her teacher friends working themselves to the bone. And she doesn't want to do it. 


Elizabeth Diacos  20:35  

Oh, Sophia's a teacher?


Bernadette Janson  20:51  

Yeah, yeah. So after Christmas, we're on mission get Madeline into full time renovating. So that's going to be my next quest. So...


Elizabeth Diacos  21:32  



Bernadette Janson  21:32  

To be able to help your kids, and do it in a way where it's, you know, I just love the fact that as a family, we always have a project to talk about. It's, yeah, it's good.


Elizabeth Diacos  21:44  

And it's like bringing them into the family business, isn't it? In a way you're able to, like, so we said to our children, you need to come and help us clean this house, because this is going to be your you know, one day, this is what you'll inherit. But yeah, so the daughter that we put into the investment property, when we did eventually find one, she actually had already bought herself a little unit. So she's renting that out, that's paying and she's paying us rent. So it's not she doesn't own it, we own it, or the bank really owns it, actually, truth be told. Um, okay, so what if someone wanted to like your you've got your projects that you're running, but you're also doing this training for people? Can you explain what that would look like? So I'm Donna, I ring you up and say, "Hey, Bernadette, I'm thinking I want to avail myself of your training," what what happens next?


Bernadette Janson  22:36  

So what happens next is, um, so we have, so during COVID, I used to always do my trainings live. But during COVID, I had to do the big switch. So now, and I always resisted it, because I was worried that you would not you would lose that connection, if it was online. But fortunately, that's not been the case. In fact, it's been the opposite. And so we have our training online in nine modules. And so you work through that at your own pace. But then we have a series of tutorials. So with each module, there's a corresponding tutorial. So every Monday night, we meet with all our students online. And so that really helps us to understand where they're at, and what they're wanting to achieve. And, you know, be in the best place to help them take the next step. 


Once they're about halfway through the training, we get them to book in a strategy call. Because by that stage, they know enough, they know enough to start formulating their ideas on what their next step is. 


Elizabeth Diacos  23:28  



Bernadette Janson  23:31  

That's where we look at what they've got, are they making the most of that. Some have negatively geared properties, we try and deal with those. Look at their family home, are they maximizing what they can be getting out of that, and then think about what the next, what the next project is, and, and map out a plan for them getting to the point that they where they don't have to work anymore. Once that's over, people can come and just do that, and nothing else. But most go on into the Wonder Women program. And there are varying levels, but basically, that's, that we have two or three goals in that actually, one to monitor their progress through their and support them through their projects. 


Two, to broaden, to deepen their knowledge. So I've been in this for 40 years, and I'm still learning new stuff. And so I, whatever I learned myself, I I share that with our community. So I run master classes and you know, a whole lot of bits and pieces. Three to have to be part of a really robust community, like mostly women who are doing the same thing. So they're an amazing support not just me, because they're all in the trenches renovating too. And four, if they want a joint venture partner, that's where they will find that person. So and so then so they have their plan for 12 months, and then they, you know, go to town and work on it, with our support to get to where they want to go.


Elizabeth Diacos  25:20  

And so they, if they, they come in and do the online training first. And they're in the group that meets every Monday night, is that a, like a rolling intake of people coming in? Are they all at different stages.


Bernadette Janson  25:35  

So basically, we do have an intake. So we do a formal intake once a quarter, however, we do have people come in between, because it doesn't really have to be done in quarters, I just do that to manage my workload. But we do have people come in between that they will get in touch and say, you know, "I'm really busting to get going and blah, blah, blah, you know, discovered yesterday, I hate my boss, and you know, I can't stand it a minute longer." And so yeah, we take them in, because you can start at any time, it's just for me, I just prefer to have a bit of order. So yeah.


Elizabeth Diacos  26:15  

Right. So you're, you're running the you've got this quarterly program, and and so over Christmas, you're still running? like...


Bernadette Janson  26:22  

We take about, we take about three weeks over Christmas.


Elizabeth Diacos  26:25  



Bernadette Janson  26:26  

Some of it. So we have a couple of levels of Wonder Women one level Sapphire. And the other one is, we've got the base level, which is 100 private renovation boot camp. One women, Sapphire, one a woman, Diamonds. Diamonds I meet with every single week, with exception to Christmas. So basically, it's around, you know, making sure that they kick their goals and are accountable and are supported. Sapphires that like we've got several levels, levels of support, but that actual accountability meeting is really prized, I think the word is, but we have lots of other things. Seems like, so one of the side effects of being a, bringing up your kids on a building site is they, you know, get sucked in, basically. 


And our son, our only son has been drawing pictures of houses since he was two, all he ever wanted to do is be an architect which I tried desperately to talk him out of it, because it's not very well paid. But anyhow, money's not everything. And so now he consults to our business. And one of the things he does, which I absolutely love, because most of our projects, you don't have the budget to spend 5 or 10 grand on an architect, but he does this session where he will work out the concept for you. So you take your floor plan to him for about $400, he will work out the concept for you. So if you can't afford to go any further than that, and for a lot of our reno's that's enough. 


So we get an architectural design without the big price tag. And that's, that's, you know, it's something that we're we're able to offer that is quite unique. Yeah, we've got and of course, I did mention my husband's in construction. So he's probably one of the top 50 project managers in construction in the country. And so we also have him as a go to person for construction. So I'm, my expertise is really, like obviously, I'm a bit of an all rounder, because I've been doing it for a long time. But everything I learned about construction, I learned from him, but my sort of side of it is I'm more around the strategy. And you know, the I call it the housewife resourcefulness meets professional project management, basically. 


Elizabeth Diacos  28:48  

Yeah. Nice, okay. And so these women are really they they're putting someone else to do most of the work and they're doing any themselves? Are they painting, are they?


Bernadette Janson  28:58  

Uhm, some do. So some like, we've got a student, she's relatively new. She came in less than 12 months ago, actually. And her husband have been retrenched. And so she is the driving force in, in the relationship, but he does the reno. So he does a lot of DIY?


Elizabeth Diacos  29:21  



Bernadette Janson  29:21  

For most of it. And so, but as a result, like their first project they paid 275 for and I sold it for mid fours, I think and they made over $100,000 on a very low buy-in, because he did a lot of the work.


Elizabeth Diacos  29:40  



Bernadette Janson  29:40  

So there, we actually met with them on the weekend and they're into their second one. And and so now they're starting to think about where, at what point in their progress where they will phase him out of the DIY, so that they can get more leverage because while he's in on the tools, they you know that they're telling me things that I could just about screen. Things like he drove to Sydney from Canberra to pick up a dishwasher. And like they see now that it was crazy thing to do. And and he got stuck here. So they lost two weeks on their job because of COVID. He got stuck in Sydney. So like, yeah, so you've got to really rationalize what you're doing yourself. Even if he hadn't got stuck. I said, "You've got to factor in what he's worth in a day. And it's got to be 6 to $800 a day. And it's cheaper to have it delivered." So yeah. So yeah, where did that come from? I'm sorry. I'm raving. Oh, stay on track.


Elizabeth Diacos  30:44  

Okay. All right. So I'm just curious as the kind of people that come to you how like, what age group are they? Where? What's their background?


Bernadette Janson  30:52  

Okay, well, so we've got two main cohorts. So we've got quite a few women in their 30s, who basically want to be stay at home moms, they don't want to, often they will come during the maternity leave. Or they might have older children, but one, two, and have got a little bit of capital behind them and want to make that shift. And then the other demographic are women in their 50s and 60s, like one of my best renovators most prolific is well into her 60s. Okay, so, and that's the thing that I love about renovating, because it doesn't discriminate. 


Elizabeth Diacos  31:34  



Bernadette Janson  31:34  

You can do this however you like. And so she was already retired when she came to us, but she had a goal to really get a family going. And so and she's done, you know, some amazing things. She's in Melbourne, too. But yeah, so and usually the so the younger ones are usually moms. And then in the middle layer, there's a lot of women who have had a bad relationship. And and, you know, sort of want to get they don't just want the financial benefit. They're wanting some more joy in their life, more creativity. And then there's women that are in an older demographic that are getting organized for retirement, and some are just doing it because they love doing it.


Elizabeth Diacos  32:22  

Yeah, yeah. So that really, that is like exactly the kind of people I talked to. I talked to a lot of teachers coming off maternity leave. And they're worried about the financial security for the future. "I can't really afford to leave teaching," but they don't really want to go back because they know what a massive workload it is. And so something like this is an amazing opportunity. And for the person getting retrenched there's a nest egg there already to get you started. So that's...


Bernadette Janson  32:46  

Yeah. And the other thing is something that I noticed is often when someone has had a trauma or or, you know, either lost their job or got retrenched or, you know, come out of a bad relationship, often make really, really bad decisions, you know, go to a property, decide they've got to do something, go to a property thing, end up buying something off the plan that is an absolute dud, just about everything off the plan is a dud. So yeah, so I love to try out. That's why I really try and get our message out there. Because I want to try and get in before they start, you know, going to these very slick shows where they end up, I always think you can't go too wrong with Education. 


But when they they marry that up with the property purchase. It's a dangerous situation. So yeah. There's just one more thing that we're doing at the moment. This is a new thing, which I absolutely love is we, our project, so I always like to have a teaching project so that when someone's coming through boot camp, they can see live how it works. And it's always been our project. And then I I've got a financial planner, in our student body who said to me, why don't you get all the students to put some money in and buy it and cash. And I thought I didn't really know whether that would go but I thought I would give it a go. 


Using it, they, we outsource the leagal's for our joint ventures. So I you know, like which I find very liberating. And I found out from them, we could have 20 people in a joint venture. So I put the call out, and I ended up with 14 people. And we've between it so we've put in I've contributed as well. We've put in about 1.2 million. And so now we do our teaching project with sort of as a group as a big group. And so that's been really good because yeah, it's I think it's just a lot better when it is actually the community that owns it. And not just us. 


Elizabeth Diacos  35:00  



Bernadette Janson  35:00  

And so they it's also a great learning experience. So we call that the class project. And so that's the property I mentioned, we've just bought, we bought a house in Newcastle because 1.2 million does not buy you a house in Sydney in an area where I would want to work. And so yeah, so and I'm mentoring one of our Wonder Women through that project. So I hope at some point in time, My dream is to have one of those projects in every capital city. We're just starting, as my husband said, "Don't get too far ahead of yourself."


Elizabeth Diacos  35:33  

That's an amazing idea. And so who who oversees that? Because if you've got 14 people that must be hard to... 


Bernadette Janson  35:40  

Okay, so one of the things that we do in a joint venture with is we nominate a renovator one person takes responsibility. And that's me, obviously, because I'm the custodian of other people's money, money, I want to make sure it's looked after.


Elizabeth Diacos  35:53  



Bernadette Janson  35:53  

And so and I report to the heart, the group as a whole, so they're across what's happening. But I work one on one with Carrie, who's our main mentee, but um, she lives in New Castle, which is great, because while I'm in lockdown, I can't go out there. So she's able to deal with on the site.


Elizabeth Diacos  36:14  

Yeah, great. 


Bernadette Janson  36:15  



Elizabeth Diacos  36:15  

And so how do how do people source trades people? Because that seems to be one of the biggest for me, that would be one of the biggest issues. That would really want me, make me not want to do that.


Bernadette Janson  36:26  

Yeah. So basically, we have a system for that. And it's really around the due diligence. Okay. So, you know, people say to me all the time, I can't get good trades people. But I actually, I don't really have that problem, because I do do the due diligence on some when I'm, when I'm inviting trades to quote, I will invite half a dozen. And then I will check them all out, check their license, check their reviews, do reference checks, check that they're covered for Occupational Health and Safety. And then the other side of it is how you look after them. And the thing is, if you do that, and you build a trade team, and you're giving them regular work, you will find that they look after you as well. 


The other thing that we have is we have like a brain starts like we've got people all over the country renovating and so sharing of trades like I've never done a reno in Newcastle, but I do have students there so I'm saying to them, "What trades have you got?" also my buyer's agent, she's given me trade. So I you know, I'm thinking it'll be interesting to see how I go when I've got no team and I'm in a new town. But I managed to do it without too much trouble at all. No, yeah.


Elizabeth Diacos  37:45  

Yeah. Because that would be the biggest thing for me. I'll be like, "Oh, my gosh, we've had a few pretty hairy incidents, just on our own house with people who've lied to us and stuff like that. And you know, got a couple of cases with Vtech at the moment."


Bernadette Janson  38:01  

Really? Wow. 


Elizabeth Diacos  38:04  

Sadly, one guy was like, just there. He's got a chain of victims to his for his lies and so. 


Bernadette Janson  38:13  

Did you do reference checks on him? 


Elizabeth Diacos  38:17  

For that one, my husband found him so I don't know. But...


Bernadette Janson  38:21  



Elizabeth Diacos  38:21  

He it was from a site like a booking site. 


Bernadette Janson  38:24  

Oh, okay, okay. 


Elizabeth Diacos  38:26  

But he also has like false names and other things. It wasn't...


Bernadette Janson  38:29  

Oh so, he's a real crook. 


Elizabeth Diacos  38:31  

He went out of his way. Yeah, that's right. It wasn't just us not not jegging. 


Bernadette Janson  38:37  

Wow, wow.


Elizabeth Diacos  38:37  

He's got a whole system in place. Anyway, that's another story that probably doesn't need to be on this podcast. 


Well, the thing is, you are going to come up against people that are unscrupulous. And you do need. And that's why because sometimes people will say to me, students will say to me, "Do I really have to do this?" And I'll say, "Well, do you want problems with your trades or not? If you want, if you don't want problems. Yes, you do need to do it."


Get them to ring me if they have any doubt. I'll tell them the horror story. 


Bernadette Janson  39:06  

Oh, I had one situation where a student did a local high end renovation on a plate in a place called Finger Wharf. And she followed the process to a point, but she skipped a minor part of the checking. So didn't check that his license, he was licensed to do the value of work he was doing. And at the end, she she had all sorts of problems with him. And at the end, she couldn't get the certificates out of him. And then she found out that she had paid him for what used to be called homeowners warranty. And he hadn't delivered the policy and the reason he hadn't delivered the policy was because he was not licensed to do that value of work. 


So he'd done hundreds of 1000s of dollars worth of work. And so it was a, it was a bit of a carry on to get them through that but eventually, they were able to complete it, they actually made oh, well over 300,000. But it was just, you do need to be dot your i's and cross your T's, unfortunately. And that's the best way, you know, things like preparing a scope of work. So that you're, you've got documentation for what they've quoted on, and you've got some means of something to go back to if they decide to charge for variations that you don't think should be included. So just really just following, you know, simple project management processes. 


Elizabeth Diacos  40:36  

Yeah. Great. Wow, this is a fascinating conversation. 


Bernadette Janson  40:42  

Do you think so? 


Elizabeth Diacos  40:43  

Oh, yeah, it's awesome. Like, I love that there's this whole hidden way for women, particularly, who often get caught up in this, you know, they've, they don't have a lot of superannuation, they get sick, their partner gets sick. And then suddenly, they wake up one morning, and they're like, I don't want to go back to my teaching job. It's really not doing it for me anymore. But I'm stuck there now because I cannot possibly do anything else. You've just opened up a door to a whole world of opportunity that they don't realize existed. So...


And the great thing is that I, the thing that I really love about what I do is that as women, I think we tend to undersell ourselves, like and I love to see women really delivering on something that nobody for that are ever capable of, I think ends you know, as women, one of the things that we'd love to do as moms is make our kids proud. And for your kids seeing you sort of revel in that environment is, I think, an absolute joy. And the other great thing about it, I don't know about you, but as a mother of four kids, I used to feel like there was a level of invisibility in it. Like, you feel like you're someone's mom, your someone's wife, but, and it knocks all of that on their head. 


Bernadette Janson  42:03  

Because, you know, the minute you go somewhere and someone says, "Oh, you know, what does your wife do?" "Oh, she's a renovator." "Oh, really? Is she?" You know, like, so, you know, it's like it, you know, it gives you some sense of which I know is superficial. But you know, it's, you know, we are very tied to our identities. So, as women, we deserve a better than what we give ourselves.


Elizabeth Diacos  42:25  

Nice one. All right. So before we wrap this up, Bernadette, I'm gonna ask you one final question. What's your favorite song?


So my favorite song? Well, one of my favorite songs would be the Beatles Blackbird.


And it's it's music, but it's also a song. I love it. 


Bernadette Janson  42:43  

Yeah, yeah. 


Elizabeth Diacos  42:44  



Bernadette Janson  42:45  

Oh, it does have words. 


Elizabeth Diacos  42:46  

Yeah. Yeah. I guess I'm thinking my daughter used to play it on the guitar. Just the music side of it. But yeah.


Bernadette Janson  42:52  

No, I really love that. Yeah. And what's yours? 


Elizabeth Diacos  42:55  

What? Before you, I answer that? What's it about that for you? What, what is it about that? 


Bernadette Janson  43:00  

It's just the melody. I just really love the the melody. 


Elizabeth Diacos  43:04  

Mm. Yeah. Nice. What's mine? One of my favorite songs. Actually, I'm kind of slightly embarrassed to admit I was a big Meatloaf fan in my teenage years. And that but the the right writer for Meatloaf was a guy called Jim Steinman. And there's a song I didn't actually what's it called? I don't even know what it's called. But it's the lyrics are "the waves pounding on the sand tonight. I want to" Oh, how does it go? Anyway, the bit that I remember that I really love is that "the sky is trembling and the moon is pale. We're on the edge of forever and we're never going to fail." And I just, oh love it. I love that sort of balance, you know, that those kinds of song in this sort of haunting music as well. And what's it called? Surf's up that's what it's called. 


Bernadette Janson  43:46  



Elizabeth Diacos  43:48  

Yeah, beautiful song. 


Bernadette Janson  43:49  

I'm sure I have heard it. But you know, I'd I don't have much of a memory for, for music. Yeah. 


Elizabeth Diacos  43:55  

It was probably. It wouldn't have been one of the more famous ones it was it was on the Jim Steinman album rather than a Meatloaf album. I also really love Meatloaf too. But then I'd repeat that, you know, not for general publication, most of his songs. So. Alright, we're gonna wrap it up there. Thank you, Bernadette Janson so much for coming on the show today.


You are very welcome, Elizabeth. Thanks so much for inviting me. I've enjoyed it.


What a great episode. I really enjoyed that conversation with Bernadette and I realized after we got off the call that I hadn't really promoted her website, which is She also has a podcast called She Renovates. So if you're interested in finding out more about the work, Bernadette does, check out the website and the podcast and I will put the links to those in the show notes for this episode as well. 


You've been listening to the Get Out of Teaching Podcast presented by Larksong Enterprises with your host Elizabeth Diacos. Do you know of someone else who could benefit from you hearing more stories of hope and transition from teachers all around the world. Please take a moment to share this and other episodes via your podcast app. Each share helps me reach listeners just like you who can benefit from this content. The Get Out of Teaching Podcast is proud to be part of The Experts on Air Podcast Network. For show notes and other resources please visit


Transcribed by