Five years ago, Jon Downing was at a point in his life when he realised that his financial security was at the mercy of his employers. While he enjoyed his work in the financial services industry, he wanted to find a better way to build long-term wealth for himself and his family.

"I was transitioning from one company to another and realised that this was just a transactional way of trading time for money," said Jon. "Yes, working in these environments was very well paid and remunerated but when they stopped, particularly if they stopped unexpectedly, then obviously the income stopped as well. So, I wanted to take control and started looking at how I might be able to achieve that."

Taking nothing off the table, Jon looked at setting up his own business, partnering with other people, consultancy and contracting. Already a landlord of one traditional buy-to-let property, he also considered investing in more property. During his investigations, he also started to get more familiar with franchising. Finding that many of the franchise opportunities were similar to jobs in that once you stopped doing that work, the income would stop again, he almost gave up on that particular idea. But, he then came across Platinum Property Partners (PPP) in What Franchise magazine.

"When I saw an article on PPP, I became really excited," added Jon. "This was a true partnership with the franchisor; an opportunity to set up your own business buying your own properties with the training, mentoring and support from an expert team and network to be able to turn those properties into highly profitable, income-generating assets. It was something I could put my own stamp on and have control over. I also knew that if, at a point in the future, I departed from the franchise, I would own a portfolio of assets and have gained the knowledge and experience to continue running the business for the rest of my life if I wanted to."

At around the same time, Jon was also offered a job that he couldn't refuse, and so decided to continue building his PPP property business alongside working full time. He now has a profitable portfolio of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Brighton, but feels safe in the knowledge that he has created long-term financial independence and security for himself and his family.

Jon added: "The great thing about PPP is the flexibility that the business offers and so I was able to take it on alongside working full-time. At some point I will be ready to move on from 'traditional' work and have the freedom to choose how and where to invest my time and energy."

However, when Jon joined PPP, he had no idea of the added impact it would have on his life. As well as learning how to successfully build his own specialist buy-to-let property portfolio, he began to take advantage of the additional personal and professional development mentoring on offer from PPP.

Working closely with PPP Founder and Chairman, Steve Bolton, Jon realised that he wanted to take his passion for personal and professional development to the next level and learn how to mentor and support other people.

"I hadn't really set out to join a franchise to be so positively challenged around my own life goals, aspirations and opportunities but joining PPP has really motivated me over the years to think about how I can do more and add more value in the world," said Jon. "I embarked on an advanced mentoring programme with Steve in February this year and it's been a really positive and stimulating journey for me. It has helped me work towards achieving some of the broader life goals I set myself, not only in a work and business environment but also in my family life and charitable interests."

Throughout the mentoring, Jon has been looking at ways he can give back, and one of his big challenges is to write a book about his own interests in personal development, coupled with his passion for cycling.

Jon concluded: "Steve immediately helped me to see that there's a really strong power around mentoring and development in the cycling world and that writing a book on such a subject is not such an unachievable and tricky goal. The purpose of the mentoring for me was not related to any problem with my PPP business, but about the bigger picture - taking my personal and professional goals to another level."

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