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About 4 weeks ago 124
It’s time to let the secret out, the details of my new business venture in Malta.
Azure Associates is a marketing company for lifestyle products including fractional ownership of charter yachts, supercars and condominium style holiday resorts.
As regular Property118 readers will know, my wife and I are emigrating to Malta on the 19th March 2016. In part it’s a lifestyle choice, there are plenty of pictures of where my wife and I will be living at the end of this article.
After 27 years of being a landlord I feel it’s time for me to gradually cash out and to begin selling off my property portfolio, increasing liquidity and paying down debt as and when my properties become vacant. Living in Malta will enable me to avoid paying tax on the capital gains I made between 1989 and April 2015.
There were other reasons for choosing Malta though as well as Mediterranean way of life and it’s not the only EU tax haven I could have chosen. But more about that later into this blog.
I’m also up for a new challenge. People often ask me how I find the time to run Property118, my property portfolio and hold down so many non-exec Directorships and Consultancy positions in such a wide variety of businesses. Well that’s down to leveraging my time and having such an amazing support network. If you ever get to spend time with me I will be happy to explain more. Needless to say, I have a very active mind and I’m always up for something new if it excites me enough.
One of my best clients is based in Malta and he made the decision very easy for my wife and I to make the island our new home. Over the last two years he’s put us up in suites in his hotel (ranked by Expedia as the #1 five star resort on the island) and he’s also given us a week on one of his Sunseeker Charter Yachts, pictured below. Our Captain, Roger and his wife/stewardess Peggy were the perfect hosts and made it very easy for us to fall in love with the business model.
Most people can only dream of owning a millionaires yacht but using that as an example, given that they are priced upwards of £1 million and cost about 10% of the purchase price every year to keep in the water, it rarely makes sense to own one even if you can afford to do so. Sharing the costs and any charter income with a pool of other people makes so much more sense and also puts this exclusive VIP lifestyle within the reach of so many more people. The same can be said of the most luxurious holiday apartments and upmarket suites in the worlds best 5* resorts. What’s the point of owning one outright and then worrying about the letting, management and maintenance of it for the rest of the year when you can just buy what you need and share the maintenance and running costs?
One in three people who visit the resorts become members once they have experienced what is on offer and they understand how membership works. Members can also earn an income from owning shares in the charter yachts and from room letting.
I’ve been asked by friends and family – “is it timeshare?” Whilst that phrase sends shudders down most peoples backs (it certainly always has for me!) I actually think its a good description for my clients business model. It’s a real shame the worst timeshare operators have got the industry such a terrible reputation. The same is now happening to landlords as a result of just a few rogue operators 🙁 Sadly, timeshare companies have reinvented themselves so many times that they’ve used all the other good phrases to describe my clients business model, e.g. fractional ownership. Just like landlords, there are good ones and there are bad ones.
My mission is to build an international marketing franchise network in order to expand the fractional ownership / lifestyle business model, which really is phenomenal when it is done right. My wife and I can pay testament to this having experienced this lifestyle for ourselves.
My former business, The Money Centre (UK) Plc., worked on a very similar franchise model to Azure Associates. Many of our franchisee “Associate Partners” at The Money Centre earned upwards of £100,000 a year and enjoyed a superb work/life balance. This is what I intend to replicate, albeit with very different products but a very similar client demographic.
The Associate Partner role will be to promote * discounted introductory visits to the groups resorts through networking with like-minded aspirational people. As an example, a studio suite for two people at the Radisson Blu resort and spa at Golden Sands in Malta will be priced at just * £299 for a whole week. You’d struggle to find a comparable suite for a night at that price!
The Associate Partner marketing team (Azure Associates) will have nothing whatsoever to do with sales. The resorts and the yachts sell themselves when people visit them. Marketing is just that, i.e. creating attention and passing on details of people who express an interest. The marketing processes will be templated, I am already testing it and I’m pleased to say it’s working better than I could ever have hoped 🙂
Bookings and sales are somebody else’s responsibility. Guests can decide whether or not membership is for them when they are there. The main condition of the heavily * discounted introductory visits is that people spend half a day to understand the costs and benefits of membership. If you fancy taking a trip out to Malta to see why my wife and I were so impressed by this business model please see the form at the end of this article.
I can’t go into the details of how the remuneration and benefits package for Associate Partners works in this article and discussion thread because that’s confidential. However, subject to learning more about why you think you might make a good candidate as an Associate Partner franchisee, and subject to you signing a non-disclosure agreement, I can share that information with you if you are genuinely interested in the flexibility and high earnings potential that comes with Associate Partnership.
Initially I plan to recruit just a few master franchisees to help me to build the team and to promote the resorts and various other lifestyle packages on offer (e.g. fractional ownership of charter yachts and Supercar clubs). I will begin by recruiting in the UK and then divert my attention towards Europe, Scandanavia and the USA and Canada. The longer term objective is to build a truly international team of Associate Partners and to make the lifestyle dreams of millions more come true. Franchises and the lifestyle products themselves can all be financed by the group if required.
The qualities I will be looking for in Associate Partner franchisees are:-
Associate Partners will be able to work from wherever and whenever they choose. They will be in complete control of their own destiny. Given that I am looking to work with entrepreneurs like myself I am not at all concerned whether Associate Partners have another job or other business interests, providing they are not competing of course.
Recruitment will commence in June 2016 but I am gathering ‘expressions of interest’ now, please see the form at the end of this article.
Interested parties will be contacted before June and as much notice of the launch event as possible will be given. Selected candidates will be invited to attend a conference in the Mediterranean tax haven of Malta, a fabulous little EU island off the coast of Sicily. The group will pay for you to enjoy two nights (room only) at the five star, award winning Radisson Blu Golden Sands Resort and Spa. This will give you time to settle in on the day of arrival, then to spend the following day understanding the business and making a decision on whether the Associate Partnership opportunity is the right one for you. You will have some free time to experience Malta; its fine dining, stunning scenery and time permitting an opportunity to take a look around and enjoy a glass of champagne on board one of the group charter yachts.
Flights will be at your own expense. Several operators including Thompson, BA, EasyJet and Ryan Air fly direct to Malta from several UK airports daily.
If you are as ambitious as I am, or if you ever wanted to meet me in person, this could be the most cost effective opportunity you will ever get. You will get a nice holiday out of it (discounted extensions available) and because your trip will be for business purposes you will also be able to book it as a legitimate business expense and offset the cost against your taxable earnings 😀
If you are selected and you decide to extend your trip you have my personal assurance that you will not be compelled to attend any presentations other than the one I will be hosting personally to share more details with you about the Associate Partnership opportunity. Having said that, you are of course free to attend other presentations to learn more about fractional ownership of a charter yacht or resort membership if you wish to do so, time-permitting obviously.
Here’s the view from the balcony off our lounge …
We took these pictures last week, here the view looking in the opposite direction …
And here’s a few more pictures (also taken last week) of the area my wife and I will be living in …
Finally, here’s the view from the hotel resort ..
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