B Invested

How my family inspired me to take risks and back myself

As a teenager Nathan Birch knew all about the courage and audacity that’s essential for business success. He watched and learnt as his mother boldly started her first business in her 50s.

“Seeing Mum working 24/7 to make a success with sheer determination and grit, instilled in me that hard work and a burning desire to succeed could take you anywhere,” he remembers.

By age 13 Nathan was helping in his mother’s store and starting to save for his first house deposit. He continued to save every cent he earned working for a real estate agent after leaving school at 17 before taking a job selling ads for a car magazine, with a second job on the side working in a bar.

At 18, he made his first purchase, a three-bedroom home in Mt Druitt for $248,000, with enough rent to cover his interest-only mortgage and other costs. By 30, Birch has accumulated a portfolio of more than 170 properties worth around $35 million.

While some may see a risk as audacious, to Birch risks are necessary and calculated.

“I have always had an unwavering belief in my own ability and that I would always find a solution to any problem or objection I encountered along the way,” he says. “I’m not saying I have never experienced fear, but I never let it take over me and paralyse me from moving forward.”

Blue mountains property

Barbara Grace, Director of the School of Modern Psychology, says it helps to know what your risk profile is.

“Some business people are tight rope walkers, meaning they will take chances and do what it takes to succeed. Others require more of a McDonald’s strategy – a step-by-step system to produce solid, stable results”, she explains. “Knowing their risk profile can help business owners become more bold or audacious.”

Colins Skin Care

The Collins family have just launched their skin care product called Black Leopard L to r: Father Peter, 58years, Lachlan, 30years, Tyson, 27 years and Murdoch, 25 years. Picture: Janine Eastgate. 

Peter Collins has a quarter of a century in business with a varied portfolio that stretches from IT to horse breeding, retail and property investments. Most recently he has launched a male skincare range company Black Leopard with his three sons and he credits his family for giving him the courage of his convictions.

“You have to sell the idea to your family first and if my wife and my four kids say ‘Dad, give it a go’ I am half way there. Courage comes from having that strong foundation. I also know that they will tell me if my idea is ridiculous!”

Black Leopard is a truly family affair with sons Lachlan, Tyson and Murdoch making up the Collins team. And Peter says that valuing a sense of camaraderie and teamwork is another lesson his many years in business have taught him.


“Anyone who plays in a team knows that when you look at each other and say ‘we can do this’ it makes a huge difference’” he says.

Grace says the biggest barrier to boldness in business is overcoming fear. But that fear can be managed by gently stepping out of your comfort zone and learning to reduce its intensity. It’s something Birch learned young and has never forgotten.

He says: “I love the quote ‘fortune favours the brave’ and believe in that 100 per cent. Nothing worthwhile was achieved by playing it safe. If you believe in yourself, back yourself and make it happen – no matter what hurdles or setbacks you come across, because there are going to be a lot of them along the way.”