Rhea Balfour is founder and Director of RJB Property Consultants and Surveyors, a boutique property concierge firm in Edinburgh.
Positioned specifically to meet the needs of property owners and investors across the city, RJB Property is regulated by RICS and delivers a suite of carefully considered services to the most exacting standards.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
My name is Rhea Balfour and I live in Balerno (Edinburgh) with my partner Martin. I’m originally from Shetland where all my family still stay including my parents, sister and her family and my grandparents (92!).
After having worked in the property industry for nearly 20 years, 15 years of which was spent in surveying, I was made redundant towards the end of 2019 and came to realise quite quickly that this was a defining point in my career.
Having had the idea of setting up a private property management service for years prior to that, I just really knew that it was now or never for me and so I made the jump and set up on my own. In a way, that redundancy was the Universe’s way of telling me to just go for it. I realised that I needed to learn to trust in my own experience and ability and show people what I could offer as an individual running my company – and so in January 2020, RJB Property Consultants and Surveyors was born.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
No. I moved to Edinburgh when I was 18 to go to university (hated it) and then worked a summer in Inverness with my uncle who was a surveyor. I originally started in admin, then went out on surveys with him and then that’s when I decided this is what I wanted to do. After being made redundant in November 2019, I decided to set up my own business and here we are.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
There is no hiding it, the last few months have created some very challenging circumstances for all of us but I’m a firm believer that much of what happens in life is about how we choose to behave in a situation, and I personally have worked so hard at remaining positive. The time in lockdown naturally slowed up things for so many businesses but I used this time to really concentrate on setting up and getting my business exactly how I wanted it to be.
I would also say that the surveying industry is still very male dominated and there have been the ‘usual’ comments about being the secretary, where’s the pink ladders etc! which I have found very frustrating.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Workwise, I would say that getting qualified, working my way up to senior surveyor and being offered a Directors role have all been great achievements. Setting up my business from scratch has probably been the biggest achievement for me though.
Personally, I have also run 5 half marathons and the London full marathon which I am super proud of.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
Honestly, I couldn’t put this down to one single thing as I think there have been a few things, critical to my success. Having the ability to trust myself and believe in my idea has been a huge thing. It’s all too easy to shrink back into your comfort zone and get sucked up by impostor syndrome, but you need to push past all of this and keep reminding yourself of why you set out to do what you are doing.
Knowing my strengths has also been a really important factor for me. We can’t all be amazing at everything, so I have taken time to identify what I am best at, which leads me on to my final point. Learning to use the support of people around me has been huge, with the right team, you open up so much more potential for you to grow and succeed as a business.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
I haven’t done either but have applied to be mentored through the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce. I would love to be a mentee in the future.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?
Equal pay would go a long way to accelerating the pace, it’s ridiculous in this day and age that there is still such a divide in that area.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Work hard, keep doing what you’re doing and go for it! There will be bumps along the way but trust in your gut instinct and things will work out the way you want it to.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
My business offers a bespoke range of services to a premium portfolio of clients, including overseas property owners looking to enter into the Scottish property market, second homeowners, families needing their house managed locally, or individuals looking for additional support to sell their property. My key aims for the future are to be a well-known and respected business helping a broad spectrum of customers both locally and globally.
WeAreTheCity has a back catalogue of thousands of Inspirational Woman interviews, including Cherie Blair, Paula Radcliffe MBE, Caprice Bourret, Anna Williamson and many more. You can read about all our amazing women here.