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For Zaki Ameer, success didn't happen overnight, he says his journey from rags to riches was slow, steady and invaluable.
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SBS Small Business Secrets
21 Jul 2016 - 2:26 PM  UPDATED 19 Jan 2017 - 9:55 AM

At first glance, with a Potts Point apartment overlooking Sydney Harbour and career as a property mogul, Zaki Ameer’s life seems nothing short of glamorous. However, it wasn’t always the case.

Zaki was only 18 when he was left stranded on the street outside his Sydney apartment – he had been evicted. He was only six months into his studies in Australia when he received a call from his parents; they were no longer able to afford his university fees and he had to return home to Sri Lanka.

This wasn’t an option for Zaki.

“I actually put my jacket on and my tie and the only shirt I had, and just started applying for jobs, for any banking job possible.”

His first job was a data entry position in AMP in Circular Quay.  By day, he worked this full-time job, but by night he made the trek down to University of Western Sydney in Macarthur to complete his degree. This took a toll on his university marks.

Failing university

“I was just getting D’s, E’s and F’s. I think from 18 to at least 24 I struggled. So it was a very demotivating, dark age of my life.”

After twelve years of working to keep his head above water, he needed a change. With a little research on the property market and using the banking knowledge he had gained, he turned his $80,000 debt to a multimillion dollar real estate portfolio of 15 homes within 3 years.

Now, at the age of 36, Zaki owns Dream Design Property, a company he founded in 2012 to help others build their own investment portfolios.

“A lot of people think that you’re gonna get rich quick. So when someone goes to me ‘what’s overnight success?’ I say it’s 15 years.”

Zaki also acknowledges his parents as one of the reasons behind his work acumen.

“My gratitude is to my mum dad for giving me the values about honesty, integrity, building relationships. It was always about relationships first, money second.”

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