We spoke to Jason Arden, the CEO of Eastbank Studios, about who he admires in business.
What do you currently do at Eastbank?
I am the CEO of Eastbank – we manage, develop and retain a growing portfolio of properties in East and South London.
We do have two sides to our business – at the moment, we let out approximately 250 units but we also buy and develop property. We also let out 5 HMO’s (Houses of Multiple Occupancy) to young professional people who need affordable accommodation in London.
As you know for a young person this is hard – we provide high quality shared accommodation where they have bills paid and are provided with internet and TV. They each have their own private room yet live in a comfortable communal atmosphere so that they do not feel isolated when they may be away from home for the first time.
This doesn’t just apply to young people though, we home nurses, people that have been divorced and need affordable accommodation until they are perhaps back on their feet again. Our one and two-bed flats also suit young people and make excellent first homes.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
My background is estate agency so obviously my skill set was going to transfer to running my own property company but I’ve always felt, in my heart, there needs to be more social responsibility and awareness about the private housing market and I’ve always wanted to be able to help people get on the property ladder or at the very least help provide decent, affordable houses for people in this super expensive city – this was a lot of the inspiration for the development and refurbishment side of the business.
Who do you admire?
I admire a few prominent figures who have given their all to either a cause or to the country but moreover, I just admire ordinary people who get off their backsides and make something of their life, especially when the odds have been stacked against them for whatever reason. I have huge respect for entrepreneurs who start up new businesses, when there’s no guarantee of success but they have a go anyway, rather than sit back and wait for opportunity to knock or for the right job to just fall at their feet. I also admire anyone that has hit rock bottom but have had the strength to build themselves up again and get themselves back on track.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
Yes – I would have held on to more property than sold and I also personally regret not becoming a professional surveyor or architect – I always wanted to be a fellow – RICS – RIBA
Also, there have been a few business decisions that I didn’t quite complete on which I have chalked up to immaturity at the time.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
I would tell anyone starting out in any business, not just property or investment, that they must always be themselves, be true to your ethics and don’t let anyone else persuade you to agree on something just because it works for them.
Being successful in any business takes time – there is no overnight success formula or magic wand so try and focus on what you have – not what you don’t have and get up every day prepared to work hard.
Working hard and believing in yourself is my mantra – with self-belief, anything is possible.