- Antoine Dixon-Bellot's first post-graduate job only paid £15,000 a year which he left due to low raises.
- He's built three independent companies, but grew the bulk of his net worth buying properties.
- He credited multiple income streams, delaying gratification, and buying real estate to his success.
- Read more from Personal Finance Insider.
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It was another long day with low pay for Antoine Dixon-Bellot when he hit his breaking point. Having completed an undergraduate degree in digital broadcast media and a Master's in digital film and animation, Dixon-Bellot was working at a corporate production company doing motion graphics and editing work for clients like Suzuki, British Telecom, and Accenture.
He was paid £15,000 — which is equal to a little under $20,000 — and spent three and a half hours a day in total just commuting back and forth from central London by public transport.
After paying his rent, bills, food, and transportation costs (which he estimated to be about 25% of his salary alone), he only had about £150 to £200 left per month. Still, it was all supposed to be worth it.
"Having a media or film degree, it's very, very hard to get real experience and paid work," he told Insider. "So I found myself lucky enough to get an opportunity to work."
A year later, Dixon-Bellot asked his manager for a raise. He'd been working hard and his supervisor agreed that additional compensation was in order. When he was only offered an additional £1,000 per year, Dixon-Bellot knew he wouldn't stay any longer at the company.
"It was about £80 more a month," he said. "That was nothing."
He quit with the hope that there were better opportunities out there for himself, and he was right. In just a few short years, Dixon-Bellot went on to build four successful companies collectively worth over £2.2 million, or roughly $3 million. He also has a property portfolio now that's worth about £11.9 million, or about $15 million.
Achieving this required a lot of strategic planning of his personal finances when he didn't have a steady job anymore and little to spare. Here are three strategies that Dixon-Bellot used to get his finances where they are today.
1. He established multiple income streams early on
Since leaving his first full-time job, Dixon Bellot has always had more than one income stream.
"I would always encourage a minimum of two income streams," he said. "That was helping cash flow [for] me."
When he first embarked on his own ventures, he was working as a wedding videographer while building his own video production company, Mastermind Media. Between the two, he was able to make the leap away from corporate work to entrepreneurship.
Later, when he wanted to save more money to invest further into Mastermind Media, he took a new full-time gig doing motion graphics for another post-production company.
This income stream helped fund his personal needs — like food, rent, and other bills — so any income from Mastermind Media could be saved. His goal was to invest in camera and film equipment so that when he was making his videos, he wouldn't have to spend money renting appliances and other supplies.
Once he saved up enough to buy his own equipment, he began making even bigger profits from his business — which grew his net worth even more.
To this day, Dixon-Bellot still has multiple income streams. In addition to Mastermind Media, he also earns money from CineHouse (a film equipment rental company), Cinescope (a film lens company), and a property portfolio that consists of both residential and commercial spaces like his own film studio East London Studios (which he sometimes rents out to other film companies).
2. He invested in real estate
Dixon-Bellot said that he wanted to have an income stream that would be more passive than his film companies. With this in mind, he decided to invest his money into a real estate portfolio.
According to documents reviewed by Insider, Dixon-Bellot now owns 32 different properties, both commercial and residential, worth a combined total of £11.9 million.
Instead of saving for multiple down payments, he used declared profits from his businesses to afford the deposit or sometimes the full cash value of the property.
Many of the properties that Dixon-Bellot bought are either undervalued or in need of development. Because of this, he said he's "often able to remortgage with an equity release," essentially allowing him to pull most or all of the initial investment back.
This strategy is often called a cash-out refinance and can be done with personal properties as well. Home equity lines of credit are also potential options to tap into the equity in a property.
Once he has the cash back from that initial investment, he'll use that same money to afford the down payment of the next property.
"[It's like a] conveyer belt acquisition system," he said. "This way you actually don't need any more money."
After every property is refinanced and in his name, he's able to afford the monthly mortgage payments through the rental income — with any difference going into his pocket.
3. He lived well below his means until he had a huge passive income portfolio
Despite increasing his income significantly since leaving his £15,000 job, Dixon-Bellot hadn't lived a life of luxury until fairly recently.
"When I started buying huge country manners and supercars, people said to me 'have you secretly won the lottery?'" he said.
From an outsider's perspective, it may have appeared that Dixon-Bellot's financial circumstances changed overnight, but it was actually part of a long, quiet plan. Instead of letting his income dictate his lifestyle, he chose to let his desired lifestyle dictate what type of income he would need.
"I could have done this years ago, but I decided to stay humble in terms of my spending, because I was busy buying cash-flowing assets [rental properties]," he explained. "I built the [passive income] in order to pay for the lifestyle that I knew would be a lot more luxurious."
Once he had enough passive income from the properties that he wanted, then he started living a corresponding lifestyle. Living off of this income, instead of from his other business' income, was extremely important to him.
"I'm not naive enough to think that you're always going to win," he said. "If all my firms crash tomorrow, I'm good just from my rental income."
Katherine McLaughlin is a writer based in Brooklyn, New York. Though she consistently forgets to post, you can still connect with her on Twitter or at her personal website.
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