Trial by Fire: One Client’s Journey to Becoming Her Own Boss

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Leaving the security of a steady paying job to start your own company is not an easy decision. There’s a lot more to becoming your own boss than we think and the risk is substantial.

But what about the dream? What is a dream of leading your own company if you never bring it into reality?

Not too long ago, Ann-Marie Bomba found herself wondering about what it would be like to manage properties on her own. For nearly three decades she had been working for a much larger management firm, moving her way up from a leasing agent to becoming a regional property manager who overlooked 12 properties for a fixed salary.

Bomba stepped away from the comfort of her stable employment and took on the risk of starting something completely new. She joined forces with Wendy Rae Walker, who also had years of experience in the multifamily industry, and formed Topaz Asset Management, based in Dallas.

“We both had the same goals when it came to running the business and what we wanted it to be all about – which was the people involved,” Walker said.

Walker added that she and Bomba were both dedicated to growing a business based in customer service, following the idea of “redefining the customer service experience.”

“We wanted the customer service experience to be completely different for all entities involved,” Walker said. “We want to give the best possible experience to our residents, but also our vendors, clients and especially our employees. We have about 75 employees today and we truly care about each and every one of them.”

When Walker and Bomba first started, they had just one client who had enough faith in their business model to give Topaz a fighting chance. Bomba and Walker grew by word of mouth and now manage nearly 2,500 units in three states.

“Before we started Topaz, we had to work around so many overhead expenses,” Bomba said. “The platform we built at our firm is far superior for people like Wendy and I because we can manage less properties while still delivering high quality customer service.”

But let’s not pretend that starting your own company is purely sunshine. Bomba said becoming her own boss was a constant trial by fire and didn’t unfold exactly how she expected.

“We started this thinking – that Wendy and I are operators, and we’re going to be on the ground operating the properties, serving our clients and really digging into training. We didn’t really factor in health insurance, accounting, payroll and everything else that comes with starting your own business,” Bomba said. “That’s why we decided early on to partner with more experienced third-party companies that focus on those individual things. We wanted to bring in the best vendors for our business and that’s how we found Ascent.”

With Ascent, Bomba said she discovered a vendor that was capable of managing the back-office responsibilities so she and Walker could focus on what they were really passionate about – serving their clients with quality.

“We’re never going to get too big where we don’t know our properties, where we can’t get there and support our clients or our team,” Bomba said. “This model is very streamlined, it’s fluid, it’s transparent, and we always want to make sure our clients get the best customer service above anything else.”

For more information on how you can start your own property management firm with Ascent’s help, call Mike Ballard at 702-467-0789.

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