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Worker Bee: Meet Julie Twist – entrepreneur, mother and inspiration

Julie Twist is one of the big names in Manchester's property business. We caught up with her to see what makes her tick.
Julie Twist

Julie Twist is an inspirational businesswoman, mum and entrepreneur.

She has run her property business, Julie Twist Properties, for nearly thirty years.

Working her way up from an assistant, she now sits proudly atop her own business.

Weathering storms, and riding waves of success, Julie puts her business longevity down to three things – hard work, determination and surrounding yourself with good people.

That and hard Mancunian graft.

We sat down with Julie to discuss her story, what makes her tick, and what she loves most about Manchester.

Tell us about yourself. Your background and recent projects…

I come from an amazing family who are very close, hardworking and know how to enjoy ourselves.

Growing up, I spend a lot of time with horses, competing in showjumping, dressage, eventing and even triathlon events. 

We moved house a lot and I followed in my parent’s footsteps by renovating houses. 

I bought my first house for £8k and got a grant for £10k then sold it for £32k. It’s all about the location – it was next door to a chippy!

I have two amazing children who always remember me for being late to pick them up from school. 

My son Louis now works with me and so does my daughter Kitty when I can pin her down. 

I have a very understanding partner and an amazing sister who works in the company and is invaluable.

My current project has been to move offices. I have been in Great Northern for 30 years and I will be sad to move but we have grown too big to stay and our new home opposite the Hilton is just perfect.

What got you started in your field of work?

Believe it or not, I started my career with a ‘job interview’ over a counter at the local supermarket, where I was working part-time.

I was offered the job there and then, called my employer that night and said I had another job which I was starting the next day. I still can’t believe I did that!

I started as an office junior, working my way up quickly to receptionist, and then I used to go to Crown Court. They branched out later into a property shop, where I found my niche.

Manchester has always been my passion. I loved Altrincham because it was a nice area, but it just wasn’t quick enough for me. I needed that buzz. Once I moved to the city there was no moving out.

After the firm split up it was a difficult situation, but Julie’s parents encouraged her to give the property side of things a go.

Property was my passion and seemed an area which I was good at, so my parents encouraged me to give it a go at just 23.

They gave me all the confidence and some money I needed so we went looking for a place to set up practice.

We found a property in The Great Northern which was only £6,000 a year. It was damp, old and needed a lot of work.

We didn’t have shop fitters like we do now so we had all to get stuck in

My Mum was my first employee and my auntie followed. It was and still is a real family affair.

Who has been the biggest influence on your work?

My mum and dad. They gave me the confidence I needed at 23 to set up my own business and set out alone.

I don’t think I could have done this without them.

Julie Twist
The Julie Twist properties dream team

What is your proudest achievement so far?

I think owning and running my own business and managing to raise two children has to be up there.

In 2005 we entered a UK-wide competition, with a swanky ceremony in London and we thought well let’s give it a go and see what it’s all about.

We won Best Small Estate Agent, which was huge for us at the time.

We also took home the Best Overall Estate Agent, which was so humbling and an unbelievable achievement. I’ll never forget that evening.

What does your typical day involve?

I was up at 5.30 am today and went for a walk with my dog, sister and niece.

That sounds good, doesn’t it?

I’ve only just started doing it so not sure how long it will last.

A lot of my time is spent with team leaders – they are all fantastic – just to see what we’re all doing and make sure we’re all on the same page.

I usually have lunch with the staff in the staff room that’s important, we are all friends.

And how do you relax on your days off?

I’m doing a lot of walking at the moment. We’re doing a big walk in Zermatt, Switzerland around the Matterhorn.

I had a new hip in December so I’m trying to get fit and do a lot of exercise now.

Spending time with the family is important and I do like my holidays 

What is the best advice you have been given or can give?

My best advice would be to surround yourself with positive people.

It will make all the difference when things don’t go to plan.

People with great character can get you through anything.

If things hadn’t worked out, what else could you have seen yourself doing?

I would have loved to have been in the mounted police.

I used to do a lot of eventing back in the day, and even when I see them now I think I’d love to have done that. It’s the best job in the world.

Tell us one thing about yourself people might be surprised to hear…

I had brain surgery last year . I have a condition called trigeminal neuralgia which is meant to be the most painful condition you can have.

The nerves cause tremendous pain, I’ve no idea how I worked through it.

The team here were amazing and my sister was just like a rock to me.

I’ve got a hole in the side of my head. I’m not sure if that’s interesting or not haha!

It was a bit scary but it was so painful, by the end it just needed to be done.

Secondly, I don’t drink. I don’t need it to enjoy life.

Red or Blue?

Well, I have to say United, I watched them win the Treble in 1999 in Barcelona.

If you could change one thing about Manchester, what would it be?

I’d give it more green space. There’s not much nice space you can go for a quick walk in.

And finally, what do you love most about Manchester?

It has to be the challenges and opportunities the city throws up.

Wherever you go in Manchester, if you want to do something, you’ll find a place to do it. It’s a wonderful part of the world.

You can find out more about Julie Twist Properties by clicking here

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