She came to Canada from Zimbabwe with $5 in her pocket. Now she’s a real estate investor and educator. Thembi’s view on what makes a successful entrepreneur: “Be okay with the fact that you just risked everything you have in life to take the next step.” Do you agree? Listen to her interview and decide.
FROM POVERTY TO PERSEVERANCE
How did you get to do what you are doing now?
Where I came from there was poverty.
I left to leave the country.
I didn’t know anyone coming to Canada.
I came with $5 in my pocket.
I stayed at the YMCA for a month.
I wanted to give back, because I got so much in this country.
I told myself “As soon as I am able to do it, I will help other people like me and help other women who could be stuck in uncomfortable situations because of their financial status.”
That’s really what started everything for me.
How did you go from having $5 in your pocket and living at the ‘Y’ to being in real estate?
I went to nursing school.
Just after I started working there, I realized that the nursing salary wasn’t enough for me to make an impact.
I came across an article in the newspaper, which said, “Get out of the rat race.”
I attended an event based on that article.
I learned so much about real estate.
I learned that 90% millionaires become so through owning real estate.
I decided I was going to be one of them.
You have to take action.
Do you remember the day when your mortgage got approved for your first property?
It was 2008, in February.
It was a very happy moment.
It was a townhouse.
I still have it.
I went onto buy many properties after that, and renting out those properties.
I did not move into my house of my own until 2010.
We need to put all the vacations to the side and see what we can do to reach that goal.
It’s about focusing on that one goal.
Just the one thing.
IMPACT AS A MEASURE FOR SUCCESS
Your vision has always been empowering other people and giving back.
It is about helping the next people.
That is my philosophy.
That is what I live by.
Changing everybody’s lives everyday.
SQUEEZING IN TIME FOR EDUCATION
How was it for you juggling motherhood, educating yourself, and hunting for those properties?
I will be honest, it wasn’t easy.
But nothing in life is easy.
For the education part, I had a lot of CDs.
Every time we would travel, 4 – 5 hour drives, I would listen to that.
I could squeeze in time for education.
I ended up working night shifts, because I used to get longer breaks.
During that time that’s when I could study and research more about real estate.
I believe we have to sacrifice to achieve what we get.
MASTERMINDS CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
I imagine during those seven years you didn’t see the light?
Those moments would come where I am ready to quit, saying, “I am just going to back to work at the hospital. Forget this business thing. I just want to be like every other normal person.”
That friend really helped a lot.
She would pitch in and say, “You can do it.”
It is those moments when you have someone like that to help you with your mindset.
You need a mastermind or an accountability [partner].
It is not easy to be an entrepreneur.
The first few years are very tough.
I used shop at Valley Village for my clothing.
Because I couldn’t afford go into a regular store.
You need to save each and every penny.
Was it an easy journey? No.
Was it worth it? Absolutely!
GAINING INSPIRING WORK ETHIC
Were there entrepreneurs in your family before you?
She used to go and sell fruits and vegetables on the street.
It wasn’t a real entrepreneur.
It was a survival mode kind-of-thing.
But I saw that in her.
That’s how she managed to pay our tuition and help us survive.
Having come such a long way, from Zimbabwe, when you look back and you look at yourself how have you changed?
People in Canada have so much gratitude.
I think I learned a lot through that.
Sharing. To give to charity.
It is characteristics I didn’t grow up seeing because more people were lacking.
I came with nothing. I got furniture, I got clothes.
Not even knowing these people. They just gave it to me.
Just giving a stranger your furniture so they could have something to sleep on.
“I did not start giving because I have a lot of money. I started giving when I had nothing, when I was living from paycheck-to-paycheck.” That was Oprah.
It doesn’t start with having a million dollars in my bank account. It starts with having $5.
PAYING IT FORWARD
What is the big vision behind your vision now?
We would be able to eradicate poverty in Africa.
We would be able to make those big changes.
I started teaching people in Africa how to invest in real estate.
They can create wealth to impact others,
A tsunami of wealth sharing.
“WHEN YOU FIRST JUMP, YOUR PARACHUTE WILL NOT OPEN RIGHT AWAY” – STEVE HARVEY
You have been so unstoppable. What has enabled you to really take this big leap? What’s different about you?
It’s not about me.
It’s about every entrepreneur, being able to stand up and take action.
Not only take action. Take action that may lead you to be bankrupt.
Every time I sign on that mortgage paper, I’m increasing my debt.
I am millions and millions in debt.
Take action and be prepared to lose everything.
It impacts many people at the same time.
BETTERING OUR CHILDREN’S FUTURE AND PRESENT
As a woman, have you experienced limiting beliefs about what you can and cannot do?
Investing in real estate takes a lot of travelling to go to seminars and events.
When I do that I have to look for someone to take care of the kids.
Sometimes I take them with me, and they stay in a hotel watching movies all day.
Every mother does not feel comfortable doing that.
That has been truly the most challenging thing.
Leaving my children behind as I attend the educational seminars to advance myself.
However, I look at it and I say “If I don’t do this my children won’t get to go to Disney Land by the end of the month.”
It is a temporary sacrifice, which I am doing for their future.
There is that guilty consciousness as a mother and as a woman.
But you look at the big benefit of it.
Taking the sacrifices so that they can have a better life.
You took my quiz, Your True Selfie. Any aha moments?
It was a true selfie.
For me it was honestly the truth of who I am.
My result was Abundance.
That is my true belief.
I believe in the abundant mindset.
OUR FAVORITE TIPS FROM THEMBI
Focus on only one goal.
Put your own personal needs aside to priorities your business.
It is important to have an accountability partner or a mastermind.
Take risks that could lead to bankruptcy.
Don’t measure your success through money, but your impact on other people.