After suffering tragic injuries whilst in the military and then being medically discharged from the British Army in 2013, Stephan Van Niekerk was given a second chance when he joined Platinum Property Partners.

Left with a permanent disability and dented self-belief, Stephan was struggling to find professional purpose again. Having come from such a demanding role where he’d built confidence, mental and physical skill, he wasn’t sure how he could bounce back.

“I’d been left shocked and scarred by my experience. Not only did I have to accept my new physical state, but also the utter disappointment that I could no longer continue my career in the military – which I loved,” said Stephan. “I had to re-invent myself, which without the unwavering support of my wife, family and friends, I probably would not have managed so well.”

Stephan knew he needed focus. As well as applying himself to getting physically fit, he decided that starting a new business of some sort was a route he wanted to follow. But, it needed to be completely new and exciting, and he’d always wanted to invest in property.

He first heard about PPP from a former colleague who was also in rehabilitation: “I was sceptical at first, but decided to go along to a Discovery Day with him. Immediately, I was impressed and convinced by the model and wanted to join straight away.

“PPP fitted perfectly with what we value. It was also an opportunity for me to have a business where I could be earning money in property and not having to do the 9 to 5 routine working for someone else. My wife needed further convincing however, but she got that by meeting Steve Bolton and having all of her questions and concerns answered directly!”

Using his team and time management, problem solving and planning skills developed in the military, Stephan has built a successful portfolio of three House in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) for young professionals and key workers in less than two years. On average they achieve a 15% annual return on investment and Stephan wants to keep growing his business until he retires, with at least 10 more properties under his belt.

The added benefit of joining PPP is that Stephan’s wife, Sadie, has been able to give up full-time work to spend more time with their two children. The passive income that they get from their property portfolio has also given them more time to spend together.

Stephan added: “Joining PPP has given us a focus and a great challenge! The most unexpected benefit is the feeling of being part of the PPP family - It’s a good step away from military life, to know that there is all that knowledge to call upon and the support behind you to help you and encourage you to succeed.

“The personal development that PPP offers is fantastic too. We have more insight, aspirations and goals now. We want to achieve more and help more.”

Stephan’s advice to other ex-servicemen and women is this: “Definitely look at franchising first, especially if you have no previous business experience or knowledge. Choose something that is tried and tested and where you get the opportunity to do some proper due diligence, which is vital. Try to speak to people who have done what you are doing and see how they found it. Make sure that what you choose to do fits with your skill set and is something you would enjoy. Also choose something that will give you good returns with a strong foundation in case times get hard again. Try to do as much self-development as possible.”