For the majority of us, the world of investment can look challenging. Deciding where to invest, how much to invest and which sector to invest in. This is where an expert with a wealth of financial acumen and knowledge comes into the picture. One such educator is Aniko Smith, co-founder of Touchstone Education. Inspiring regular people every day in wealth creation, Aniko brings a depth of experience in mindset training, accounting and business structure.
“Touchstone Education exists to give regular people the systems, tools and confidence to change their lives through sound property investments.”
In an interview with Insight Success, Aniko shares her professional journey and how she has helped drive Touchstone Education to be the leading property education company in the UK.
Being at the helm of Touchstone Education is a journey.
I was born in Gyoma, Hungary in 1970. My schooling was behind the “Iron Curtain”, politically dominated by the USSR and therefore ideologically dominated by communism. I was 19 years old when the Berlin Wall came down. This was a pivotal moment for me, literally the rest of my successful entrepreneurial life was enabled at this time.
I completed my degree in accountancy in Budapest, graduating top of my class, in a nation coming to terms with newfound freedoms. Freedoms many in the Western world take for granted. To me they are precious, valuable and hard-won privileges to be treasured.
I was determined to grasp my incredible opportunity with both hands. Hungary was rapidly emerging from the communist shadow and into the sunlit uplands of the free market. In so many ways Hungarian society needed to evolve quickly. Compared to many Western nations, gender equality was lagging by decades: I was determined to prove that this Hungarian woman was any man’s equal.
I secured a position with Procter & Gamble in Budapest and rapidly became a senior manager. This taught me the importance of having a wonderful, strong and caring team to achieve excellent results. I became a Director with Allied Domecq, again in Budapest, before transferring to the UK. Two “Blue Chip” international companies and two wonderful careers. I will be forever grateful for my personal growth that this enabled and the life-long friends I made. My final salaried position was as Commercial Director on the main board of a company turning over billions and with profits in the hundreds of millions, being responsible for hundreds of staff.
Towards the end of this time, I met my husband Paul at work. Shortly after this, our company was acquired for 18.6 billion and we chose to embark on a new life together, literally. We married, took a severance payment and started our own businesses.
Finally, I had a partner that treated and valued me as an equal. We are both strong, capable people. Unless we both agree to do something, we do not do it. “I told you so” has no place in our lives.
We had created huge shareholder value in our corporate careers: now it was our time, time for us to become truly wealthy.
After a number of successful small business ventures as owners, we started Touchstone Education.
We started Touchstone Education in 2014.
Already we had a number of businesses and increasingly we were acquiring and investing in real estate.
It was obvious to us that real estate investors would benefit from our business experience and education. We both have MBA’s and decades of experience.
We are businesspeople in the property market, not property people trying to make a business of it.
I love to empower and develop our teams.
I embrace and celebrate their growth and achievements. Many of our staff are developing their own property business alongside working for Touchstone. In short, we seek to inspire greatness.
If I look back at the biggest challenges that I have come across in my career, as a business leader, I’d say that I have a short answer.
I needed to give myself permission to fail. I used to be a perfectionist paralysed by analysis to “prove” the deal would work. Now I do my level best. Mostly the deals work, sometimes we need to learn to succeed. This has been huge for me.
Our plan for the future of Touchstone Education is to have a full stock market listing within five years.
We are serving many thousands of clients every year, enabling them to become wealthy through property. Growing our business to serve tens, then hundreds of thousands of people will enable a really valuable service that is of significance to our customers.
Our students call us the Touchstone Family.
We focus on delivering the ability for our students to become wealthy. I continually reinforce the message with our team that we are here to change people’s lives and we must do everything we can to enable the change to take place.
In our training events, we give people all of the information that they need, there and then, to be successful in property investment. We share our knowledge and experience openly and give people the confidence to take the next steps. We only work with professional, vetted and approved mentors and entrepreneurs as this ensures our students receive the best advice, support and guidance on their real estate investment journey.
The combination of investor experience, business and financial acumen and mindset coaching is what allows us to stand alone above our competitors and be recognised as the UK’s premier wealth creation training company for entrepreneurs.
Professional training and coaching have endless positive impacts.
Touchstone Education gives property investors and entrepreneurs the systems, tools, confidence and support to grow their portfolios, businesses and change their financial status completely through sound property investments. We deliver the only CPD accredited wealth creation programmes in the UK, sharing insights and innovative learnings to get started in the industry or grow your preexisting business or portfolio.
We are the only company to deliver company structure and tax training as part of the property investment programme, whilst simultaneously coaching and training individuals in developing their mindset and encouraging confidence in achieving their dreams.
We want to help people become financially secure and self-sufficient, enabling them to spend the rest of their lives as they wish. Our courses deliver the ability to become wealthy. This enables financial and time freedom. My passion is to see others succeed. Working to identify barriers and release personal and deep-rooted blocks. I work with individuals as they move forwards to achieve their goals. I work with setting people on their trajectory to financial freedom, as a result, thousands of people are benefitting from our training on an annual basis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put additional responsibilities on educators.
The safety and wellbeing of our delegates has always been a priority of ours, and not just from a mindset perspective! Pivoting the learning to being online has meant that we can continue to offer our education and training in a secure way. Everything we teach makes peoples income Covid and “lockdown” secure. Warmth, shelter and security are basic human needs; that is what our courses provide.
My journey has meant that I have been awarded and accredited over the years.
I have received many awards. Best Businesswomen (Coach Category) and Scale Up for GB Entrepreneur Awards. I am also a Trained Demartini Method Facilitator and Licensed Facilitator in the Application of Values and pride myself on how my coaching has helped empower and change lives, enabling many people to achieve goals which they never thought possible.
Dare to dream your dreams and find people to help you realise those dreams.
I have wonderful and inspiring family homes in Scotland, England and the South of France. I have a multi-million real estate investment portfolio and multiple businesses valued at many millions. I say this with due humility as a girl born in communist Hungary.
I have evolved and so can each and every person reading this; grasp your opportunities, give yourself permission to fail and make the most of each and every day of your life. I want you to die with wonderful memories, not regrets.
“Dare to dream your dreams and find people to help you realise those dreams.”