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What it took for female London lawyer to give up her career and sleep on someone else’s sofa to start her own business.

Emily Bruce Watt, a London-based ex medical negligence Lawyer with a high-flying career, often spent time away from home on business or on holiday. In 2013, as a way of earning extra income, Emily started renting out her flat with a property management company but whenever she did, she realised that the company was taking a massive (and somewhat unfair) share of the profit.

In 2016, while boarding an urgent flight to India, Emily Bruce Watt, took the plunge to rent out her house by herself, listing it on Airbnb. It was this one decision, that would drive Emily to start a business which now manages 200 short-let properties, has triple digit growth and employs 10 people, 8 of them women.

Of course, renting out her home by herself while she was in India didn’t go smoothly. The person staying in her house wanted the heating on in the summer and had no idea how to use the washing machine! Emily quickly realised that to offer her paying guest a great service that dedicated on-the-ground support would be needed.

And with that, Air Peace of Mind, a full management service for short-term lets, was founded. Emily left her full-time job, rented out her flat in Battersea, moved into a friend’s house and started sleeping on the sofa. In doing so, the rent from her own property was able to fund the start of her 5* property management company.

Within 3 months, Emily had grown Air Peace of Mind from managing 3 properties, from the shared kitchen table, to have 35 properties in the company’s portfolio.

Air Peace of Mind now manages 200 properties and 900 bedrooms, mostly in London but with a handful of high-end international properties in Europe and Africa.

Emily feels she couldn’t have had the growth she has had without partners such as Guesty, who provides short-let property managers the tools to simplify complex operational needs.

Emily is most proud of the individual cases she has been able to help by managing their properties, stories include:

  • A couple needing two rounds of IVF who rented out their home to pay for the treatment
  • A burnt-out stressed London barrister who paid for a much-needed sabbatical from renting out his house
  • A couple who needed income to pay for their expensive trip to America to collect their surrogate child

Emily is passionate about hospitality and delivering an exceptional experience for guests and owners. She has been a London Superhost for 2.5 years straight (this means she has had to receive 80% 5-star reviews) and she personally inspects every property and meets every owner. This personal touch has only been achievable thanks to Guesty’s property management software which simplifies the complex operational needs of short let property managers by enabling them to automate and streamline their operations.

Managing high end homes and employing an amazing team of ten staff, Emily wanted to help those at the other end of the spectrum; the homeless and those struggling to gain employment.  With this in mind, Emily slept rough on the street in London in November for a Homeless Charity and is also supporting the Armed Forces Veterans through a charity that helps rehabilitate them with the aim of the Veterans gaining employment. Emily has been chosen as a Ski Buddy in March 2020 as part of their programme.

Emily has no desire to go back into a Law career, saying “you feel so alive when you have started your own company, and I love my business too much”.

 

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