Amanda Coombs achieves a lot.
She’s a busy business woman with a great eye for investing in start-ups, is a prolific fundraiser and philanthropist, all while being a sole parent with a child who is profoundly disabled.
In this interview, she explains how effective ‘micro transitions’ between each facet of her life allow her to stay present in each moment and why education and patience are key to long term, fruitful investing.
Taking stakes in a number of start up businesses has taught Amanda a lot about investing.
She has discovered that when it comes to entrepreneurs, it’s as much about the leadership as the idea or product.
“I tend to invest in people and look for people who are flexible thinkers. The idea needs to be strong but it’s really about whether than can execute and be disciplined, but also remain coachable and agile”.
“What I’ve learnt is that it’s in the details, in the term sheet, how to put it together to motivate the entrepreneur but also keeping them in check. Making sure the reporting is clear. Really, it’s just a relationship. You need to be clear up front and make sure the expectations are clear on both sides”.
“SCALE CEO Laura McKenzie and the team are so well versed in the angel investment space that they really create that robust framework for you. You still have to do the work but at least you’re guided and supported and I think that’s where the success comes from.”
When it comes to your portfolio, Amanda believes that the art of successful investing boils down to two things. Patience and education.
“Firstly, understanding the stage of life you’re at and then planning for that – so making sure you’re investing in the right time horizon. For some people that will be about asset protection or making the most from market movement. For others, it will be about paying down a non-deductible debt. It really depends on what stage you’re at” she says.
“Beyond that, it’s around patience. It’s lovely to have a flutter account and lots of our clients have one, but really, with the bulk of their wealth, it’s very important to take an approach which is conservative enough that allows you to have the income you need but also in the down times you don’t need to feel under pressure”.
At a time when getting into the property market may seem near impossible for many first home buyers, Amanda has this advice;
“There is still affordable housing available if we are prepared to make sacrifices and prioritise. It’s all about being disciplined from a young age. When you are young focus, spend for your needs and wait for your wants. Learn to be ok living without the next pair of jeans”.
Balancing her professional commitments, Amanda is highly engaged in the lives of her children, including her son with severe autism, and has been instrumental in creating and fund raising for the Melbourne campus of Giant Steps School for Children with Autism.
Busy days call for excellent organisation and she has found the Cozi family organiser app invaluable.
She pulls it all together by prioritising energising activities and uses a simple technique, as advocated by Dr Adam Fraser in his book, The Third Space, to remain present in each of various roles.
“When I enter a new environment, which might be my workplace in the morning or home at night, I do so with full presence. Not on the phone, not checking emails. I pause and take a moment to think about how I’m going to enter that new place” say Amanda.
“I fit a lot in. Conference calls to and from work, making time to catch up with friends between engagements. But I make sure I spend at least three to five minutes in the car or garage if I have to do that, just pausing and resetting”.