Case Study: Charlie Knapp
After seven years climbing the ladder at one of the UK’s leading property agencies, Charlie Knapp made the leap to start his own business with Keller Williams in early 2021. Being powered through the Oxygen Marketing Centre, the last two years have been a journey full of ups and downs! But with an incredibly successful second year now complete, Charlie is focused on the future, with big plans for his business.
Charlie previously worked as a property manager and negotiator for a global agency in the salubrious locales of Henley On Thames and Windsor. His decision to go out on his own was fueled by quality of life, as opposed to financial reward. With a sizeable commute, set hours and the challenges of a demanding role, Charlie found it difficult to fit his hobbies and interests in around his job. Having learnt about Keller Williams a year before, he spent a long time researching the pros and cons before making the decision to launch his own business.
The first year of business was challenging, but ended profitably thanks to the support of his local centre and Charlie’s preparation for self-employment in advance of leaving his high street role:
“Making the leap is scary. To mitigate that fear, I thoroughly prepared and planned ahead. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and that the success of the business was entirely down to me. The other thing I learned in the first year was to roll with the punches. It doesn’t all just magically happen – you have to put in plenty of effort.
At the beginning, I learned that I was going to have to adapt. I took on listings from all over the place, as long as I felt I knew the area well enough to do a good job and provide a top-notch service. I didn’t carve out a niche with a particular type of property or client as I think it is important to understand all aspects of the market and offer a comprehensive set of skills.”
Charlie’s flexible manner of working set him in good stead, as his listings now include a £3m block of apartments in Maidenhead, and numerous high-price properties across the south of England.
Charlie is from an equestrian background, and so riding and keeping horses has always been an important part of his life. This, however, is now starting to play a part in his professional life, with equestrian listings now a key part of his business. With his connections in that world and his fairly unique understanding of equestrianism, these listings have led to a transformative second year.
“My biggest success isn’t a single moment or transaction, but rather the fact that I’m now the owner of a successful business that allows me to enjoy everything I want to in life. Being able to have time to do the things I enjoy makes life more worthwhile.”
Charlie’s partner, Nikki, is a joint director of the business, overseeing the administration and finance while Charlie manages the sales and lettings. The next step for his business is to consolidate his success and drive the business even further forward. When asked what advice Charlie would give to anyone else looking to start their own real estate business, he said:
“Go into it with an open mind and take time to prepare before you make the jump. Keller Williams will support you with the tech, processes, finance and all the tough stuff, but ultimately it’s going to take discipline and a bit of money behind you in the first instance to get going. Don’t pigeon-hole yourself at the start, take the leads as they come and carve your niche once you’ve spent some time learning.
Two years into it and life looks very different for me now, in the best of ways, and the journey has been every bit worth it.”
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For further commentary or photography please contactDylan Harper, +447547362525
Notes to the Editor
Keller Williams is the world’s largest real estate franchise by agent count and has more than 1,100 offices and 191,000 agents based in 50 countries across the globe. Since 1983, the company has cultivated an agent-centric, technology-driven and education-based culture that rewards agents as stakeholders.
Keller Williams launched in the UK under the leadership of Ben Taylor, a real estate professional of over thirty years’ experience in 2017. KWUK operates as a master franchise partner of the US based Keller Williams who have now successfully launched in over fifty-two countries worldwide, the premise of the business is simple – to provide coaching and technology to business owners thereby allowing them to follow Keller William’s proven systems to become a ‘millionaire real estate agent’.
KWUK, like all KW master franchisees, is made up of localised regional franchisees known as Operating Principals whose role is to build a team of support functions which empower individuals to become self-employed business owners and realise their entrepreneurial ambitions with the support and reassurance of a proven business model and systems.