- Ms McDougall has always had an affinity for writing, spending her early career as a journalist and now co-authoring The Female Investor
- She purchased her first property with her brother, later retaining it as an investment
- Found inspiration for The Female Investor in her own journey to financial freedom through property
A talented writer, editor and award-winning journalist, Nicola McDougall took the road less traveled to a career in the real estate industry.
She has several accomplishments in the field to her name, including serving as the Chair of PIPA and co-founding specialist property media and public relations firm, Brick & Mortar Media.
Now, Ms McDougall has turned her sights to inspiring women to find financial freedom through property, co-authoring The Female Investor with friend and colleague Kate Hill.
A natural-born writer and creative
Ms McDougall has always been a creative at heart, considering herself lucky to have known what she wanted to do from a young age.
“I had been a writer since I was five. I was the type of kid who wrote poetry for fun and I wrote stories in my spare time in primary school, and would read them out to the class,” she said.
Originally hailing from New Zealand, travel has always been an important aspect of her life. She spent the better part of her 20’s living in the UK, on a kibbutz in Israel and working on fruit farms in Kununurra, before settling in Fremantle to begin a Bachelor of Journalism at Murdoch University.
She soon transferred to the Queensland University of Technology, where she completed her degree in the early 2000’s and interned at the Courier-Mail before landing her first position as a journalist at the Toowoomba Chronicle.
She speaks of her time there fondly, where she wrote general news stories with a particular interest in education, social justice and politics.
After several years of reporting and a foray back to New Zealand to work for a lifestyle magazine, Ms McDougall was craving a change of pace.
While property was never necessarily on her radar, she had a “natural interest” in property and credits her father for encouraging open communication about finance and property within her household.
“I just felt that I wanted a break from journalism. I was a bit worn out, I’d covered some significant stories, Bali bombings and things like this that were quite distressing.”
A successful application for a seven-month maternity leave contract as a communications coordinator at the Real Estate Institute of Queensland evolved into a seven-and-a-half year position, kick-starting her career as a real estate professional.
Securing her first investment
Ms McDougall’s own property ownership and investment journey began in her 30’s, when she purchased a townhouse 10kms out of Brisbane with her brother.
Having traveled in her youth and earned cadet wages as a journalist, she had only found herself in the financial position to consider purchasing property after securing the communications role.
“As soon as I was earning enough money to [purchase a property], my desire to do it was very strong.”
After living in the townhouse together for a few years, Ms McDougall bought out her brother’s share and eventually moved out to retain the property as an investment.
Looking back, she recognises that investing sooner would have been beneficial in regards to the market. However, she says the time she spent traveling will always be invaluable, and prepared her to focus on her career which has since blossomed.
“I was ready to do all of those things because I had spent most of my 20’s getting into adventures,” Ms McDougall explained.
Finding security through investment
From her first home-turned-investment property, Nicola went on to purchase two more properties, expanding her portfolio as an investor. Simultaneously, her career was moving in leaps and bounds.
She was named Editor of the Australian Property Investor magazine in 2014, before establishing her own specialist property media and public relations consultancy, Brick and Mortar, in 2018 in partnership with former API editor Kieran Clair.
Her most recent endeavour though, has been in co-authoring The Female Investor, a book inspired by her own journey to finding financial freedom through property.
“I am the female investor, in regards to the advice that we’re giving out in the book.”
“I forged out on my own, I did whatever I could to purchase my first property, and built a portfolio by myself as a single woman.
“Now that I’m married, those assets that I have created myself are outside of our marriage and the wealth that we grow together is what we do together, but they’re quite separate to each other.”
Ms McDougall discusses the importance of empowering women to invest in property, and what the current climate means for investors in part two.