I was to be called Christina, but my mum had a C-section and when she woke up in the hospital she smelled a beautiful smell. She asked the nurse what it was and she said lilies. She said “Okay I’m going to call her Lily. This was how Lily got her name, but her success story is equally as special. Lily Dash shared with me her dreams as a child and her journey to see them come to reality.
So just how did her interest in the real estate profession get started?
“My mum has been inspiring. She set up a business here in Barbados as a single parent and from the age of ten I was out working alongside her with my sister. There is a funny story my sister reminded me of. On Sunday mornings my mother would park the car and tell me and my sister as children, to go show the properties. I started working officially in the business at age fourteen and continued every summer, Christmas and Easter vacation after that. At sixteen, my mom bought me a Toyota Starlet for about $5000, gave me a cell phone and a rentals list and that was it.”
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She started off working with her mother, but there was definitely a streak of independence that made Lily want to make her own way in life.
“I always wanted to be independent – never wanting my destiny to be in someone else’s hands. I studied in Canada from sixteen to eighteen and attended the Hugh Wooding Law School. It is very prestigious. Education is important but it is only half of it. It is your real-world experience that counts. I would be in class and doing up invoices.
In 2009 my mum got a call from a friend of a local celebrity who wanted somewhere to stay over the holiday. We never focused on short-term rentals. I had always literally dreamt of an opportunity to be in the luxury market. This was my launching pad. I started up my website and began moving the long-term properties that could work in the affordable luxury market over and it was great. It was really good because on leaving law school I could move out on my own, pay for my own offices and so on. My legal practice also specialises in property conveyance.“
So what does Lily believe it takes to be successful?
“I sincerely believe in the consistent and persistent search for knowledge. There is so much out there to learn and I love listening to podcasts and try to read a book a day or at least every three days since, being so busy. Living on an island you may not be able to get all the information you need here, so it is good to travel, meet people and expand the network. I love going to seminars and conferences. However, just because you are in Barbados does not mean you don’t have access. There is all this information on the internet at our fingertips so there is no excuse not to grow. You have to be careful with the friends you keep. The outside influence really affects you. Keep people around you that can nurture your mind. Continuously invest in yourself.”
Since no one is an island, there must be persons that Lily sees as mentors and sources of inspiration. She shared these with me.
“My parents of course. Both of my parents are entrepreneurs, very hardworking and diligent. My mom is English and my dad Canadian. My dad’s father was Barbadian.
In the last ten to fifteen years: Jim Rohn, Tony Robins and Richard Branson.
I have one incredible sister – she is a doctor and she is excellent. She is two years younger than me and we are extremely close. She was always top of her class and won Intern of the year at the QEH. She always wanted to help people.
I read a lot of psychology books, for example: “Civilization and it Discontents” by Sigmund Freud; “As a Man Thinketh” by James Allan; “Total Recall” by Arnold Schwarzenegger; “The Selfish Gene” by Richard Dawkins.”
It is great to be successful in business but even better if you enjoy what you do? Lily assured me she does.
“I get to travel and be exposed to the amazing places and people. Barbados is home. It is so beautiful. We live in the most amazing place. It is where home is, being in Barbados as a catalyst, not a limitation. I am also most proud of our customer portfolio.”
Five things most people may not know about this budding professional:
- My favourite colour is blue like the ocean.
- I love sailing. I love the ocean. I have been a boat captain since I was eleven and I used to sail for Barbados.
- I am an advocate for blockchain technology and enjoy trading in crypto currencies.
- I have recently started a new business.
- I am a big proponent of organisations which help to develop women and children.
She is now a veteran in the business, having started as a teen. She is a firm believer in the ability of the industry to make an impact positively in the economy on a larger scale. These are the improvements she would like to see:
“I would really like to see real estate transactions processed in a good time frame. It is supposed to be three months but very often it is six months or even more. There is a lot of room for automation and standardisation. If we could utilise the technology we could reduce cost and increase efficiency which could enable a more liquid real estate industry which would result in a greater number of transactions occurring annually.
We need to do better in real estate. It is one of our greatest tax and revenue earning industries for our government. We should make it so we can process transactions in days. The technology is there and it is possible, It will take a lot of data entry at first, but it is possible. We have to do searches manually when we should be able to access the information from our desk even if we pay for it.”
What is Lily dreaming of in the future.”
“A blockchain based real estate platform which would allow for fractional investment in real estate. I will continue to grow my businesses, my practice, my own personal development and my knowledge base.”
Her words to live by are: “Never, ever give up”.
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