When I was in my 20s, I was a victim of identity theft. I had no idea how to navigate the system but wanted a better understanding as to why and how to prevent this from happening to anyone else, and what to do if it did. I started looking into credit and how much it contributes to one’s wealth. Once I had a full understanding, I looked into mortgages so I could help others with bad credit start over and build wealth through real estate. Now, the Founder and CEO of one of Canada’s fastest growing mortgage brokerages, Mortgages of Canada. Recently named as “Woman of Influence” and “Top 100” by Real Estate Professional Magazine, I am constantly on the pulse of the latest real estate and mortgage trends. Known throughout the industry for my vital tips on real estate, mortgages and financing, I was featured on major outlets such as Business News Network (BNN), CTV’s Your Morning, The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg, The Toronto Star, CBC News and many more.
Upcoming Speaking Engagement:
At the Black Mom Connection's Financial Literacy (#BMCFinLit) event on Saturday, March 4, 2018.
Discussing the Basics of Budgeting and Building Credit
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business? How did the idea for your business come about?
Before I started Mortgages of Canada, I was working full-time and I kept getting sick from the stress. During my last two years there, I would end up in the hospital whenever there was reporting deadlines and it just didn't make sense. I was doing mortgages part-time but never really wanted to give up the "guaranteed income" for a commission-based career.
One of my friends who is also a realtor said to me "Sam, you are an amazing mortgage broker. Not very many people know as much as you and are able to close so easily. You should really think about doing mortgages full-time because if you put as much energy into your own business as you do this company you’re working for, you will be extremely successful. You have everything it takes and more. Think about it." Those words have never left me. That same evening I started doing market research and executed my business plan. Three months later I registered the business. The following month I had the business name and three months after that, Mortgages of Canada was born.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
Money! You need money to start up. That was my only hurdle and once money was no longer a factor, I just re-invested everything I had to get the business off the ground. The other hurdle was marketing, knowing who to trust and which marketing strategies would have the biggest impact. Initially it wasn't successful, however a friend recommended her husband who was a marketing specialist and he changed my marketing plan.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
I’ve had so much support from everyone in my family. I helped my husband start his own business and it was extremely successful, so everyone was really supportive when I started another venture.
In every instance whether you win or lose, it's a learning process. I look forward to my losses because I know when I win after learning from that lesson, the results and success are astronomical.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
Changing the marketing plan and strategy to focus on a personal brand rather than a corporate brand.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
The entrepreneur’s life cycle is something every entrepreneur needs to know. There will be ups and downs in your cycle but you never want to stay there. Getting yourself out of the trenches is the greatest feeling because you learn so much about the journey. No matter how much the consumer cycle changes, you will find a way to make adjustments and end up back on top!
What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Be consistent and get ready for the ride!
It's lonely at the top but as long as you have a purpose and your dreams are bigger than your goals, it will be well worth it!