From newspaper delivery to Managing Director - Ironfish

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From newspaper delivery to Managing Director

Here at Ironfish, we are proud to practice what we preach. Many of our staff are property investors themselves, and have kindly agreed to share their individual stories and their own personal property investment tips. 

Jimmy Yan

Managing Director, Ironfish Melbourne CBD

“Joining Ironfish has been life changing for me – not just in terms of my investments – it’s the mindset: changing the inside to change the outside.”


  • Joined Ironfish Box Hill as a Strategist in 2009
  • Portfolio of 10+ properties
  • Grew with Ironfish to become our youngest Managing Director

The long road to Toorak

Last year, Ironfish Melbourne CBD Managing Director Jimmy Yan moved his family into their brand-new house in the affluent Melbourne suburb of Toorak. The move in many ways marks a milestone in a highly successful career with Ironfish that began when Jimmy was in his early twenties.

At 24, Jimmy was delivering newspapers by day and working late as a kitchen hand by night. He took an interest in property investment after reading an article in one of the newspapers he was delivering. He wanted to learn more and to start investing, but struggled to afford it.


“I was working hard but not really moving forward. At the time, Ironfish was the only company I could find who were helping people learn about property investment and I went along to a seminar in 2007 – because it was free (and I had no money!). The content was great, really interesting and I learned a lot about investment. But I was still a bit skeptical, and in ‘self-protective’ mode – I thought their seminars were all about selling property, and I couldn’t afford to buy.

“But around a year later, someone from Ironfish got in touch with me and came over for a one-on-one appointment at my house – free of charge. The experience completely changed my perspective on Ironfish. Throughout the entire meeting, we never talked about property. We were from similar backgrounds and we had a frank discussion about life and where I was at.

“Although I wanted to buy, the Ironfish strategist told me I should wait, and instead think about how I could earn more money to achieve my goal of investing.”

Melbourne property consultant

Jimmy Yan, Managing Director, Ironfish Melbourne CBD

Starting as a strategist

Jimmy kept in touch with his Ironfish strategist and the following year, he decided to come along to our income expansion master class.

“It cost nearly $2,000 to join the course, so it was a massive commitment for me – more than half of what I had in my bank account at the time. But looking back, it was the turning point in my life. It totally changed me. I learned that if you want to achieve success in life, you need a coach or a mentor. Listening to Joseph [Ironfish CEO & Founder] – I knew I had found my mentor, I thought he’s the guy that I want to follow and that’s why I decided to join Ironfish.”

After starting as a strategist in our Melbourne Box Hill office, Jimmy quickly found his niche under the mentorship of Joseph and our Melbourne Managing Director, Ellen Bian. Jimmy fully embraced his training, immersed himself in study and soon developed a loyal customer base.

“After 6 years of working as a strategist and building my own portfolio, I really took to heart the Ironfish ethos of ‘adding value’. I was given an opportunity to become a team leader within my branch for an internal comp we were running. But even after the comp, I kept my team, and continued to meet them weekly, working together to build on our achievements.

“One day, about 2 or 3 years ago, I was having lunch with Ellen and Gary [Gary Ma, Ironfish Melbourne General Manager] and Ellen asked me where I see myself in the future. Have you thought about opening your own branch in the CBD? I was grateful for the opportunity, and for Joseph and Ellen in seeing my potential as an honest, reliable person who is willing to take responsibility as a leader. But that’s just the Ironfish culture – if you prove yourself as someone willing to take responsibility, opportunities come to you. It’s why the company has grown so quickly in the last 13 years.”

Melbourne property consultant

Ironfish Melbourne CBD office

All-round nice guy

Today, Jimmy is known among both the Ironfish team and his customers for his kind, genuine and generous nature, always willing to share his knowledge, expertise and time.

“I always say to my team to bring your heart to your work. Property is a long game. You have to build true friendships with your customers, because if you don’t become their friends, then you’re not going to be able to support them long-term. It’s also about adding value to your customer, and not just with property. If you have some other resource or knowledge – share it. Learn more so you can help others more. Follow through on your promises, lead by example and do what you love – people know when someone is being genuine.

“In my experience, when you have that trust, it goes a long way. For example, I founded a soccer club in Melbourne some years back, and spent many hours volunteering to manage the club, being the chief coach, marketer, accountant – whatever was required. I did this purely for my love of soccer, not because I was expecting anything else out of it. But what happened was that the friendships and trust I built from that time meant that when some of those people were looking for property, they came to me. Because they already knew me as someone who could be trusted and do the right thing by them.

“My life changed completely after I joined Ironfish. I not only learned more about investing and built my own portfolio, I also found my career path. I never thought back then that any of what I have achieved today was possible. The biggest gain from Ironfish was the possibility thinking – and the platform. Now I am proud to help others like me – knowing I have the opportunity to influence people and change their lives, the way mine has changed – this is what I love most.”

Jimmy’s property investment tips:

  1. I learned from experience that having a mentor can make the world of difference. One of the customers I’m most proud of helping is Lucy – a single mum who was working two jobs and really, really wanted to invest. She said having someone to guide and ‘push her’ meant that she ended up changing jobs to earn a higher income to be able to achieve her goals. She now owns three properties.
  2. Don’t be afraid to sit down one-on-one with someone – there’s nothing to lose and potentially everything to gain! I’m glad I made that decision 10 years ago!