with greg layton

The Inner Chief is for leaders, professionals and small business owners who want to accelerate their career and growth. Our guest chiefs and gurus share powerful stories and strategies so you can have more purpose, influence and impact in your career.

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In this episode we talk with KnowHow Property Founder and CEO Bushy Martin on success, playing the long game and living like every day will be your last.  

This episode is brought to you by The Build a Better Agency Podcast with Drew McLellan. The podcast has a new episode every week that helps small to mid-sized agency owners and leaders ensure that their agency is future proofed, scalable and more profitable than ever before.


Bushy is the founder of the KnowHow Group. His team helps time poor professionals that don't know who to trust or where to start to replace their income through property. But, much more than that, Bushy is the author of Freedom Formula, a killer book I read cover to cover, the host of Get Invested Podcast, and avid property investor, and just an all around top bloke.

In this episode we'll talk about his journey from being completely broke to being financially free in 15 years, how he wrestled crocodiles in Papua New Guinea, how he started and built a successful business, and a life full of interesting stories.


  • Tell us about your time in Papua New Guinea working with crocodile farmers and living wild
  • What did you learn about yourself when your marriage broke up and your father died?
  • How can busy professionals create their own future and vision?
  • What is the freedom formula?
  • How can people build additional wealth without investing or creating new revenue streams?



  • I was a runt at school, Greg, to put it politely. And, my old man was a stock and station agent, so we moved. Every two years we were in a different country town. And, as a result of that, I ended up being about two years younger than everyone else in the class. And, because I had such a … I was a really chronic asthmatic in those days, and what I learned in the early days was that the only way I could keep up was to work twice as hard as everyone else. So, that's exactly what I did, mate. I worked my ass off. It didn't matter what I was doing, I was going 200%, whereas the rest of the guys were doing 100%. And, that became the story of how I approached everything from thereon in. And, that was great. It gave me some really good successes early on in life. But, it also had its downside in that … I was pushing the envelope almost too hard and became a victim of my own success in relation to, I thought I had to reach those expectations, what everyone else thought of me, to the point where the old health started to fall in. And, I became trapped in my own routine as a consequence of that. So, that caused some issues later on.
  • I've always been a pyromaniac, Greg. Give me a match, and particularly crackers mate, and look out. I'll blow anything up. And we did. We made a famous of the local silos throwing penny bangers into the holes
  • I've gotta say I knew zip about architecture. There's no family history in it. I really knew enough to be dangerous. And, I scraped through the first year of uni by the absolute skin of my teeth. Because, in high school, for most of us, I did the math 1, math 2, business, chem, English. Black and white answers pretty much. And, you knew if you put in the energy what the result was. Well, in architecture, it's totally at the discretion of the person who's looking at your design. And, some people will hate it, and other people will love it. And, it probably took me three years to work at that my way of actually getting through uni was to understand the lecturer, and what they like, and then give it to them.
  • I came out of uni in Adelaide, and the only thing that was being built at that time were gravestones
  • A job came up with a ex-patrol officer in New Guinea who made a fortune selling crocodile skins to the Japanese and the French bag makers, and shoe makers. And, he decided he wanted to get into property development. And, he thought, “Well, I'm not gonna pay these exhorbitant fees to architects. I'll employ my own and get him to do the work that I need to do.” So, being young, naïve, and foolish, jumped on a plane.
  • We come around the corner in Port Moresby to go up to his place, and, seriously, mate, I thought there was a small war happening. There was tear gas. There was police running. There was people with bush knives and spears, and all sorts.. And, I'm sort of trying to climb through the floor to hide myself. And, he's sitting there quite leisurely with his arm out the window, just taking it all in. And I said, “What the hell's going on here?” And he said, “Oh, don't worry about it. It's just a domestic dispute.” And, sure enough, I was expecting it'd be front page news in the newspaper and all the rest of it. It scored a tiny little square close to the back page, and the headline read, “Woman loses head in domestic dispute.”
  • A wing and a prayer is what they call most of the airlines up there because you're praying that you're gonna get out the other end.
  • And, this particular airstrip, it ended in a cliff. And, you couldn't quite get the speed up to get airborne, so when you dropped off this strip, you would actually physically drop towards the water before the wings got enough uplift, mate
  • But, we used to have these inter-village football competitions. And, I remember it was Christmas one year, and we decided to go up and visit a village. It was right on dusk. There was dolphins playing with our little outrigger canoe, 'cause we all went up in the canoes. I fell over, and just took the skin off my knee. Thought nothing of it. But, tropical ulcers up there just go crazy. And, within a matter of hours, me knee looked like a soccer ball. And, because they're so superstitious, the guys that I was with from our village thought that the other village and put a curse on me. So, they pretty much left me for dead. So, I spent four days on the beach surviving on coconut juice … waiting for these guys to come back.
  • I came out of that and then joined an international architectural practise. And I said, “Send me back to Alice Springs,” 'cause I was gonna put this guy out of business, which is pretty much what I did. Interesting reasons, I guess. But, I went back to Alice Springs, and I stayed there for about eight years, and ran him out of town. I just cleaned up. I went so hard. I was so focused on really making a mark. And, I got to do things in Alice Springs that I would never have got the opportunity to do anyone else. So, mate, I met … The people I got to have dinner with and meet in Alice Springs, 'cause everyone goes to The Rock, and everyone thinks Alice Springs is in the backyard of The Rock. It's not. But, it means that I had dinner with John Howard
  • That's been probably a bit of a signature all the way, man. It's just, “Well, what's the worst that can happen? Just have a go, and if it doesn't work, learn from it and then do something else.”
  • But, that was around that time that my workaholism, 'cause, mate, I was a fanatic. This whole work twice as hard as everyone else routine was starting … the cracks were starting to show. And, I was married, I had a young son. Absentee. Never there. If I was there I was too buggered, didn't have time, no interest, useless. Surprise, surprise, lost my marriage. Massive wake-up call, Greg. Massive wake-up call for me. 'cause, I was one of those guys who, country boy, believed that you get married, and then you just work hard until you retire and survive on your super. So, I turned my back and looked around, and “Shit. It's all gone to shit.”
  • And, that really forced me to have a really good look at what I needed to change.
  • We came in and shipwrecked all of that. Cut the organisation in half. And, those that survived hated me from day one, 'cause it was my fault that I'd cost them their job. 'cause, we then sold the department to a private sector engineering organisation. I went totally grey in 12 months over that period because, once we'd settled the team, it was very difficult to manage them. One, they hated me. But, two, you couldn't sack anyone from that point onwards. So, to try and motivate the team … and we're under enormous pressure. Part of our … performance measures was to run a profitable organisation from guys who'd never worried about the time clock. They took as long as they liked.
  • So, I almost had a nervous breakdown at that time. Now, we managed to sell the business on. And, I took a 12 month … I was a recluse for 12 months, mate, 'cause my marriage had gone belly up, dad was having health issues. I managed to negotiate to do my masters in business at that time, 'cause I just needed head space. I needed time out from the world, actually. I called it my Howard Hughes year, mate, where I just retreated from the world, and licked my wounds, and started to look in the mirror and say, “Okay. What are you gonna do differently here?”
  • And, at the time when … 'cause, he saw what was going on. He actually grabbed me by the collar and said, “Son, learn from me. Don't spend all of your life working for money. Start getting your money to work for you.” And, that was a pivotal moment for me, mate. It completely switched my thinking. And, from that point on, it was like, “Okay. I need to change my mode of operation here.” And, that started to lead me down the path that I'm now taking. So, everything from that point on was about, “How can I create passive income that then doesn't rely on me to deliver, because if I do that, I can get time back. And, if I've got time back then I can start living a more balanced lifestyle.”
  • I was pretty selfish up to that point, Greg. It was all about me. Everyone else, and everything else, was pretty much secondary to my single ambition to be a hero. And, really taught me to stop and prop in to give before you get. So, my whole psyche turned around from that point. And, I was lucky to meet my wife Sonya around that time, and she's the most giving person you're ever gonna come across. And, I think it just … it allowed me go with the flow a bit. Time had always been the enemy to me up to that point. I was always in a gut-busting hurry to get things done. And, the combination of what I saw dad do, and everything else, was to learn the lesson that if you embrace time as your friend, and allow time to take its course, any success comes from … playing the long game. And, that's proved to be the case.
  • Totally. Totally. It really was. And, if I look at that compared to what we're doing now in Know How … Know How is a family. So, we're very careful about who we let into that family. Their values have gotta be right. And, that goes not just for the person who's joined but their family. So, everyone that comes on board with us, we'll spend time with their family to make sure that we're all on the same pathway. And … we also make it crystal clear to people that while you're gonna take personal responsibility for what happens, you're never gonna be in a situation where we're gonna cut your throat. Because, if you're part of the family, we'll support you through tough times.
  • And, everyone has tough times, mate. We all do. But, if we're creating that circle of safety around that, then the loyalty that that engenders, and the desire to wanna give back by each and every individual, means that the team performs really well. We interact really well. But, then evidence is in the interactions we have with our clients and customers. It's completely changed the whole ethos of what we do on it's head. And the success and the results that have flied from that have been exponential in comparison.
  • accumulating wealth of any description is a cyclic process. And, because time is the most important ingredient that will impact on the end result, hence the reason why I refer to it as a clock
  • So, we spend a fair bit of time on that vision process, very similar to what we do in the business, actually. But, we then transfer that into the experience with our clients. So, we spend a fair bit of time going through what we call The Living by Design Process. So, if we get crystal clear around how someone wants to live, then that becomes both the magnet and the compass that's going to draw them towards that end goal. If it's compelling enough, and it's strong enough in their mind, then when they come up against the inevitable hurdles that will occur on that journey, then they've got enough attraction to it to stay the course.
  • But, it also means, if they're crystal on that, then every decision they make on a day to day basis, it acts like a compass. And, they can say, “Well, is this taking me closer to that or further away?” And, suddenly, life gets a lot clearer so that the clarity starts to come through by getting the why right first. And, once we're crystal on the why, it's really easy to monetize what that lifestyle looks like.
  • So, the why is the “W.” We then move into the examine. And, the examine is getting crystal clear around monetizing that lifestyle. Because, once we're clear on how much your perfect lifestyle costs … It's that age old question of, “How much is enough for you, Greg?” So, it's getting away from what I was doing in my early days, which was just chasing career, and chasing money for the sake of chasing money, to, “No. Once I build up enough of a nest egg to give me that income, that's it. That's job done. That's all we need to do.”
  • We believe, in property is to have an independent players in each and every key position. It's a bit like playing AFL or rugby. You need really good players in each. They're all independent of each other, but they all understand what the team strategy is. You're effectively the owner of that team. If you assemble the right team who invests in property themselves, so they know the ins and outs of what you're talking about, your only job is to manage that team.
  • So, for those that are doing the grind, that are up against it, that don't feel like they've got any time to do anything. Their weekends are spent ferrying the kids around, and they just don't have a second to scratch themselves, do yourself a favour and get on board with someone who's actually going to help you get crystal clear on what you're doing this for. So, it's going back to that process we spoke about, Greg. Is, get crystal clear on what is your ideal lifestyle. Spend some time doing that. Meditate on it.
  • Dream like you're gonna live forever, but live like you're gonna die tomorrow.