You’d probably say that he was an Entrepreneur, he’d agree with you and say he’s also been an “Entremanure”….. In Leith’s own words:
“I’ve been in so deep at times that I’ve had to look up to see the bottom; as it was only the depth that varied! I look at it like this, I don’t profess to be an expert, moreso it’s a case of; don’t do it this way, ask me how I know. I have made so many stuff-ups along the way, that if you simply just did the opposite of what I have done, you’d come out having made a pretty good job of your life. You’d be a success!”
Just imagine yourself at the tender age of 19, borrowing $60,000.00 to set up your first business. To put that into perspective in today’s dollars that would be the equivalent to borrowing over $600,000.00. In 1981 that’s exactly what Leith did!
Despite a severe drought in 1982/1983, he then went on to build a very successful earthmoving business employing a team of men contracting mostly in forestry and on farming properties throughout the main wool growing areas of South Australia, Victoria and NSW. Leith established one of the most significant agricultural contracting businesses in South East South Australia.
Unfortunately, it came to a head just 11 years later, when the floor price on wool was slashed and the business literally came grinding to a standstill overnight.
Around the same time a second disaster struck, he darn near got killed, he was electrocuted. His nervous system was totally demolished and his adrenal glands fried. His get up and go, had got up and GONE! Can you then imagine what it would be like at the age of 31 with a wife and 3 young kids, to be electrocuted, to be in bed all day every day and be unable to go back to work your own business for 15 months? There were bills to pay and machinery lease payments to make, he was given no choice at the time but to sell up his business to pay out the Bank and his creditors.
Thankfully over time his health slowly returned to normal. Unable to do the physical work he had done in the past, but because of his excellent people skills and study that he did, an ideal opportunity presented itself; to become a mortgage originator with Citibank. He started off slowly while learning the ropes, and very quickly rose to be the top “sales rep” in his district. When asked how he became the top salesman in his small rural town compared to some of the so called “big guns” in the city, he said “It’s quite simple really, you’re sitting at the wrong kitchen table. While you’re sitting all alone at your kitchen table at home, I’m sitting at a client’s kitchen table every week night doing a sales presentation!”
During this time he became accredited with all the major lenders throughout Australia. NAB, CBA, CBFC, Westpac, ANZ, Esanda, Macquarie Bank and St George, just to name a few. Because of his sales success Leith was then appointed as an Area Sales Manager to look after a team of 20 sales people stretching from Geelong to Ballarat along the coast all the way to the S.A. Border.
As time progressed, Leith felt that his clients were being restricted by the services he was currently providing. As an Entrepreneur, he believed if he were to run his own business he had far more to offer his clients, so he launched out on his own to become registered as a licensed finance broker and credit provider. He started a brand new company called e-Home-Loans Pty Ltd.
In addition, Leith was the first person in rural Australia to be granted a license with Wizard Home Loans. So, along with zero account keeping fees and the best interest rates in Australia at the time, plus the personal guidance from Mark Bouris, this total package with Wizard Home Loans gave Leith the competitive edge that he was looking for.
Wanting to get in front of his competitors, Leith believed that the latest technology available had to be put to use to gain the advantage, it was a case of stacking as much as possible, all the odds in his clients favour.
e-Home-Loans Pty Ltd was very much at the forefront at the time, as it was amongst the first finance brokerage companies in Australia to do “online lending” using an ISDN connection, this was well before the internet was even in existence. Having this connection meant that he could have an “electronic loan application” sitting on a lenders desk first thing in the morning while his competitors were stuck with having applications delivered next day by courier. Due the speed of this new service, it wasn’t long before hundreds of client’s began beating a path to his door, so much so that with numerous staff, e-Home-Loans grew in size to four offices. Three located throughout regional Victoria and in one in SA.
However, not everyone was happy with the new found success that Leith was experiencing, the ones who were most upset, were mainly the local bank managers. They hated it so much, to the point that Leith was summoned into a bank manager’s office early one morning and told that unless he pulled his head in, “they” would shut him down! He laughed at the time, big mistake…. HUGE! They shut him down alright.
In 2000, Leith basically went from Hero to Zero overnight. In June his accountant told him that he was worth a million bucks, by the following November by getting caught up in a messy corporate meltdown he was flat broke, had lost the family home, his cars, the lot! Talk about humiliation….
To cut a long story short, as the e-Home-Loans Pty Ltd Company Director he ended up in Court, the Judge & Jury found him guilty and as in Monopoly; he was sent to jail for 4 years, did not pass GO, nor collect $200!
You want to try and keep your life and family intact facing that as a challenge, it will certainly test your mettle, Leith can guarantee that! Leith has had to learn how to overcome adversity, and how to overcome situations and circumstances where many a good man would have been left broken and would have totally given up on himself. Some people have said to him recently, how lucky he is… “Luck be darned, it’s been darned hard work, it’s not an easy job keeping your family together, with all that we’ve been put through!”
No doubt you would agree, that regardless of your circumstances it’s not an easy job for any husband and wife to keep their family together nowadays and to remain united in today’s society; it takes dedicated energy, commitment and darn hard work to keep it all intact. At the end of the day, it’s just simply a case of doing whatever it takes.
At the time of writing this, Leith is 55 years of age and pleased to say that he is still happily married to his beautiful wife Angie for 33 years. They have 3 grown adult married children and 5 fantastic grand-children. And despite some of the chaos that they as a family have gone through, they have come through the other side of it, and lived to tell the story. That in itself is a miracle!
As Leith would say; Whatever It Takes… Don’t Give Up!!! Persist Until Successful…. Success is a journey, NOT a destination.
Make sure you enjoy the trip. Climb the Ladder to Your Dreams One Step at a Time.
Whatever It Takes! #DO IT TO IT!
Leith speaks good like a speaker should; why not do yourself a favour and book Leith to speak at your next upcoming event? Rest assured, you will be so glad you did…..