IN 2008, Melbourne man Bruce Oliver took the risk of a lifetime.
At 31, Mr Oliver was earning a six-figure salary as a finance broker and telecommunications sales representative.
But he always had a passion for real estate, and when a real estate agent and client suggested Mr Oliver was a natural fit for the industry, he decided to quit his two jobs and start his own real estate business.
There was just one problem - he had absolutely zero experience in the industry.
Mr Oliver was so nervous about the massive decision he had just made he didn't even tell his wife he had resigned at first.
And adding to the risk was the fact he founded his company, Xynergy Realty, with friend and business partner Ivan Tandyo - a man with even less real estate experience than Mr Oliver.
It was a bold and risky move, especially considering the world was in the grip of the Global Financial Crisis at the time.
In the early days, the company's client pool was mostly made up of friends, family and contacts, but with hard work and a bit of luck - a First Home Buyers scheme existed at the time, which saw a boom in Victorian property sales - the company began to take off.
Today, Xynergy Realty manages nearly 2000 properties and operates across three countries.
Mr Oliver said it was the "best decision" he'd ever made.
"I was actually quite terrified at the time especially because I didn't tell my wife - I just quit my job," he said.
"I'm a bit of a risk taker by nature and I like to explore new things, but that was 10 years ago. Now, if you put me in the same situation, I probably wouldn't do it because I have kids now and more responsibility.
"But then again - no guts, no glory.
"I was a bit hesitant to begin with, because real estate is do or die, it's commission-only - so if you don't make sales, you get no money."
Mr Oliver said despite his lack of industry knowledge, his telco sales experience had prepared him for real estate sales.
He said all his prior roles - including student gigs at fast food outlets - had also helped.
"When I was a student I was working at fast food outlets and learnt things the hard way," he said.
"The small things, like dealing with difficult customers, really toughened me up and taught me the best way to deal with people.
"And if you are good at sales it doesn't really matter what product you are selling, as long as you are good at what you do."
He urged other Aussies to find their passion in life and to not let fear stand in the way of making big decisions.
"You need to have a dream and imagination to achieve something big," he said.
"Overcome your fear in order to boost your creativity. In most cases, creativity never happens in your comfort zone.
"Find what your life is worth living for. Passion changes everything."
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