For Meaghan Hastings (pictured), founder and CEO of The Mortgage Coach, an unshakeable foundation in the form of timeless business sense has proven instrumental in her career so far.
“For me, the decision to get into mortgages was a very natural progression,” Hastings told Mortgage Broker News. “I have diplomas in marketing and accounting – subject matters that I constantly draw upon in my mortgage business today.”
Diving into the industry as a mobile mortgage specialist, first with TD back in 2000 and then with RBC, Hastings said that working with banks has highlighted the importance of being able to provide clients with as many options as possible.
“It made me uncomfortable to recommend a mortgage to someone when I thought a different lender may have better options,” Hastings said. “So, in 2008, my passion for working with homebuyers/homeowners and love of talking about money led me to the broker channel, where I joined Invis as a licensed mortgage agent. I was thrilled because I could now offer so much more value.”
Subsequently, Hastings cut her teeth into progressively more crucial roles, which she said aided in the development of “a vision for the type of brokerage in which I’d like to have a leadership role.”
“This ultimately led me to launch The Mortgage Coach in January 2019 under the CLC Network,” Hastings recounted. “I hit the ground running – starting out with a team of five agents and quickly growing a power team of 40 like-minded individuals within just 12 months. I welcomed my business partner, Kevin Boucher, to The Mortgage Coach in January 2020, which has led to even further growth. We’re now part of a fabulous team comprised of more than 60 agents.”
Hastings emphasized that this aspect of building a brokerage was essential to long-term success.
“I believe this is a relationship business, so it’s essential to surround myself with the right team members,” Hastings said. “I love how this industry is constantly changing and there are always more areas of personal and professional growth to explore. From increasing product knowledge and learning new tech to improving leadership skills and exploring new marketing ideas, everything revolves around building and fostering relationships.”
The collaborative spirit is core to what the mortgage space should achieve both on the client and the agent side, Hastings added.
“This industry can be very isolating. One of my greatest strengths is being exceptional at creating, cultivating and growing a company culture that’s the opposite of the ‘lone wolf’ mentality,” Hastings said. “Agents are attracted to The Mortgage Coach because they want to feel supported and inspired while also being part of something bigger than themselves.”
Such a “many hands make good work” approach has helped Hastings through the most challenging periods of her career, and especially when working as a new mother.
“Shortly following my entry into the mortgage industry, and after a few years of trying to conceive, my husband and I were coming to terms with the idea that kids may not be in our future,” Hastings said. “Coincidentally, I was presented with an opportunity to buy a senior mortgage agent’s book of business, so we decided to make the investment and ‘double down’ on my career. My activity and volume quickly grew to 10 times what it had been the previous year. I was basically thrown in the deep end and forced to swim – which, of course, is when we learned I was pregnant with our first child.”
Hastings recalled the significant difficulties during this period, particularly when she was advised to remain in bed rest during her pregnancy.
“Later on, I tried to keep my giant belly under wraps because I was worried referral sources would stop sending business my way and clients would assume I wouldn’t be reliable with motherhood looming,” Hastings said. “I literally ordered an appraisal from the delivery table and ‘mat leave’ was not in my vocabulary.”
Ultimately, it is the people-focused approach honed through more than 20 years in the industry that served as the most effective solution.
“There’s no ‘secret sauce’ to being self-employed and a mom (or involved parent),” Hastings said. “I give my focus to the person (or activity) currently in front me, time block, list priorities, track my goals and hold a clear vision of the future I’m building, exercise (sporadically) and drink lots of coffee.”
“One of the most important lessons for me involves staying focused on my own vision and business. I find that when I’m not getting the results I want, it’s because I’ve spent too much time comparing myself to someone else’s journey and results. I go ‘faster and farther’ when I put the blinders on to distractions and, instead, focus on what’s in front of me and within my control. Having the ability to concentrate on my own race has impacted my business in extraordinary ways.”