The BTR housing provider’s managing director on rising to challenges, embracing opportunities and doing your best, while not being overly competitive

Paul Staley_headshot (1)

Why did you choose construction as a career?

I have held several roles across the property sector in various capacities. In 2008 I became involved in one of the first modern UK build-to-rent projects and was immediately hooked by its potential. I’ve been involved with and driving BTR ever since.

What are you most proud of in your career to date?

That’s an easy one. The pride I felt at seeing the first Wise Living scheme develop in Mansfield is unmatched. This was the first scheme where we did everything ourselves, including raising the funds, finding the site and building it out.

Outside of day-to-day work, I often find myself taking part in charitable activities with key partners, such as the Great Glen canoe challenge, which I undertook with number of others and by which we raised almost £50,000 for the Douglas Macmillan Hospice, which is based in Stoke.

What has been the biggest challenge of your career to date?

I have found that the hardest challenges are always the ones you are facing in that moment. Once you’ve overcome them, they never look that scary but are always replaced by the next challenge!

Though I have had many challenges to contend with over the years, currently it’s the economic uncertainty and the fact that not all investors are seeing the opportunity that is causing the biggest hurdle. Although BTR – and single-family build-ro-rent [SFH BTR] especially – has experienced a massive increase in investment uptake, I still believe there is a huge potential not being filled. Through collaboration and communication, I’m starting to see faith returning to a sector that I wholeheartedly believe in.

Great Glen Loch Oich

Paul took part in the 60-mile Great Glen canoe challenge and helped to raise almost £50,000 for the Douglas Macmillan Hospice in Stoke

If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be?

Although it comes with its challenges, I wouldn’t change anything about the industry right now. As in life, there is no silver bullet and I believe that overcoming challenges helps to show worth and knowledge like nothing else can.

The BTR SFH industry will always come with challenges and we welcome being able to use our expertise to succeed where competitors cannot.

What is the most helpful advice that you have been given?

You can only ever do your best.

What single piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in your profession?

Again, it would have to be that you can only do your best. It is a simple yet effective mantra and, if you are passionate and put your best into it, then there is every chance you will succeed.

What is it like being you (and doing your job)?

Sadly, not as glamorous or as easy as people might think. When challenges appear, it often rests on my shoulders to work with my team to get them solved. However, with this responsibility comes a sense of pride when we do manage to overcome everything that comes our way.

Do you have a life philosophy?

You only get one life, so try to embrace every opportunity.

What do you think your best qualities are?

I like to think my best qualities are my cheerfulness and optimism. These are things I try to never to come into the office without.

What trait do you most dislike in yourself? And in other people?

For the sake of candour, I am going to say my overly competitive nature. The unfortunate thing is this makes me a sore loser, which I absolutely hate in myself and others

Name three things that you like?

One would be great food paired with high quality beer or wine, as well as the feeling after a good workout. But most of all my favourite thing is spending time with my wife and children.

Tell us about a secret skill that we don’t know you have

Making bonfires!

What is your most prized possession?

My power tools – or my dog.

Early bird or night owl?

Early bird.

What is your favourite food?

I love too many to have just one!

What would your superpower be?

I would love to be able to fly…

Paul Staley is managing director of Wise Living, a provider of single-family, build-to-rent housing