Bindar Dosanjh

I created my ideal reality through property

Bindar Dosanjh is an award winning property entrepreneur, property mentor, international speaker and a family lawyer. Read her amazing story of how she went from an upbringing in poverty to becoming a highly successful family lawyer, suffering a traumatic event, then losing almost everything financially but bouncing back to achieving a several million-pounds portfolio through property investment.

You lived in a small house with four other siblings and you didn’t have a television until you turned fourteen. Can you tell me more about your upbringing?

Life was hard and growing up we didn’t have much money. We wore second-hand clothes and shoes. It was a bit more relaxed for my younger brother and sister, but myself and my other sister had a strict Indian upbringing. I remember us having a black and white TV and it was a luxury and very exciting when we first had our colour TV around the age of fifteen. I still remember my parents hiring an old VHS video recorder and we would watch Indian movies all night and return the recorder the next day as we were unable to afford to buy it outright.

My parents moved to Birmingham from India. My dad came to the UK in 1957 and my mum followed him in 1964. Neither had an education or were able to read or write. They were from a farming background and what they knew was to work hard and to strive to be the best that you can be. Both my parents worked in the factories as labourers. Dad was very careful with his money as he wanted his children to have a better quality of life than he had.

Myself and my sisters were taught that our role in life was to be a good housewife and a mother. We were brought up in the knowledge that one day we were going to have an arranged marriage. Growing up we were not allowed to have an opinion and we had to do what we were told. We couldn’t talk to boys, we couldn’t cut our hair or drink alcohol. We were told that if we did it would be disrespectful and we would bring shame to the family.

I went to a Roman Catholic school where there were just four Indian children including myself and my sister, and we were bullied because we were different. Our parents did not allow us to socialise with our school friends after school. So when we got home we would change into traditional Indian clothes and help our mum in the kitchen.

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What did you want to be when you were at school?

My dream was to become a doctor. Unfortunately I soon discovered that I wasn’t cut out for it because I am very squeamish. For example, one time when my dad had a nose bleed I fainted when I saw the blood. I had a fit and broke my tooth and the emergency doctor had to attend to me before my dad! Another time I accompanied my younger brother on a visit to the dentist and I fainted when he was given an injection. So I took the advice of my school careers officer and became a medical secretary instead.

How did you go from being a medical secretary to a lawyer?

When I married in 1986 I moved from Birmingham to London and eventually got a job as a legal secretary for a conveyancing lawyer. I soon came to the conclusion that I could do a better job myself so I embarked on a four year part time course to study in my spare time to become a Legal Executive. I then did another three years of study to become a fully qualified lawyer.

How did you manage to start your own law firm?

It’s a long story. It started when I worked as a solicitor at a law firm for 15 years which was started by my law lecturer. I was her top student back in 1993 when she set up her practice in west London and, on the basis of that, she offered me a job. After doing various areas of law I finally found the area that I was passionate about, family law. I wanted to make a difference and I was passionate about helping my vulnerable clients. I dealt with all types of family law including child abduction, domestic violence, care proceedings, and divorce, along with financial and child care cases. It was highly emotional and stressful work.

I was proactive with my cases and I worked extremely long hours. I had a high success rate and won most of my cases when my clients followed my advice. I became the highest paid lawyer in the firm due to the fees that I brought into the practice and I also threw myself into building my career and caring for my daughter. Sadly my marriage broke down in 1991 when my daughter was nine months old and I also knew how important it was for my daughter and her father to have a good relationship despite our marriage ending. The firm was sold to another law firm in 2007. I was appointed as one of the Directors of the Family Law Department. I was on an extremely high salary and managed a team of lawyers. However, I lost my job during the economic downturn in 2008. I also lost my self-esteem and the friends I had worked with for all those years.

I received a tremendous amount of emotional support from my family over the next few months and I managed to recover. I then decided to start my own law firm so that I could run things my way and everything went well. So much so that in 2011 I won a partnership award for my work with the Domestic Violence Unit and I was shortlisted for the Asian Professional Woman of the Year award.

I felt that I could no longer practice law as I was no longer able to serve my clients to my standards and provide them with the support they needed and deserved. I therefore decided to take my life in a different direction.

The events of 29th August 2011 totally changed everything. I returned home from work exhausted. At 5am I heard noises in my bedroom and when I opened my eyes there was a man wearing a balaclava and rubber gloves in my face shouting: “Shut the f—k up, I’m going to kill you.” There were four burglars in my house and they took everything of value except the jewellery I was wearing. I saw my life flashing by and I thought it was the end…

I felt that I could no longer practice law as I was no longer able to serve my clients to my standards and provide them with the support they needed and deserved. I therefore decided to take my life in a different direction.

Was there any moment in life when you felt that you’d make a different living from how you grew up yourself?

I don’t think there was one moment but I do know that, deep down, I had a sense from a young age that I had a bigger calling. I didn’t know what it was but there were times when I found myself drawn to certain things. For example, in my law practice, I was always attracted to helping women and then I went on to teaching women to take control of their finances through property.

What is true is that my life is totally different to what I myself expected and what was envisioned and planned for me by my parents. Today, through my own hard work, I am an award-winning property investor with a multi-million pound portfolio. I am also a property mentor, a trainer, and I travel the world as an international speaker. Many women who I grew up with have never worked and have totally relied on their husbands for their happiness and financial security.

Who or what is your biggest inspiration in life?

Many people have inspired me. What my dad did in coming to this country in the 1950s with nothing and not being able to speak the language was incredible. He made something of himself with hard work and determination. He was selfless in the way that he helped so many friends and family members financially so that they could move forward with their lives.

My mum has been a massive inspiration as well. She shows unconditional love and always supports and encourages. She is 74 now and never has a bad word to say about anyone. She still contributes to others spending over six hours every day at her temple.

When I went through the tough times and wanted to give up, my daughter was a motivation for me. What kept me going was that I wanted to provide for her and to be the best role model I could be. This meant stepping up and being the person I had to be for her.

Now she inspires me because, at such a young age, she has very high levels of integrity and honesty. She is herself whether she is with the CEO of a global company or with her friends and family. She has the ability to walk away from negative people and those who no longer align with her values and beliefs. She’ll do this even if it is financially and emotionally detrimental to her as she refuses to compromise her beliefs and values.

Strong women like J K Rowling and Oprah Winfrey continue to inspire me. They weren’t born with a silver spoon. In fact, quite the opposite. They had to overcome tremendous challenges, continued to believe in themselves and persevered to come out on the other side as inspiring success stories.

How has your relationship with your daughter strengthened you?

She is the reason why I have always driven myself to be the best I can be. I wanted to provide for her, to protect her and to be an example to her and my nephews and nieces. Without her knowing it, she was the force behind me going from being a secretary to being a lawyer and again to being a property investor. I so much wanted to provide for her and for her to have the quality of life that I was not used to myself.

Can you tell me more about your work and the award-winning company that you are running today?

Helping vulnerable family law clients was my first passion but it was when I was confronted by death in August 2011 that I discovered my second passion. I was no longer able to continue with family law work after the robbery so I turned my part-time hobby of property investing into a full time passion.

I felt like I had to have a reason to live beyond myself and my needs. My mission now is to empower, educate and inspire other women to take control of their financial destiny and, in turn, impact the next generation.

Anyone can be involved in property. It doesn’t matter who you are, what your background is, whether you are wealthy or you have no money or whether you have good or bad credit. What matters is having the right strategies, tools and tactics that are right for you and your personal and financial circumstances.

I am very clear on who my ideal customer is. I am passionate about helping women aged between 28 and 60 years old. It doesn’t matter whether they are married, single, working or not working. My passion is the beginners who are thinking about investing in property or who are looking for another way to make money but are fearful about making the wrong decisions on property investments. It’s quite natural for them to not want to lose their hard earned money. They want to provide for themselves when they retire and have a good pension but don’t know how. They want to prepare for unforeseen circumstances in life, pay off their debts, pay for their children’s education or just want to have some extra money in their pockets at the end of each month. I get a buzz from seeing the huge difference from where they were when they first came to me and where they are now.

I wish I’d had a mentor to guide me on the right path. But I had to learn the hard way by making the mistakes and losing hundreds of thousands of pounds. I now run a one day financial independence workshop where I deal with mindset, the money blueprint, how to overcome limiting fears around money, and how to attract the right financial assets that are right for the individual.

I get a buzz from seeing the huge difference from where they were when they first came to me and where they are now.

I also carry out group and one-to-one mentoring where I hand-hold clients from the start to the finish of their property journey. I stay with them until they get the keys in their hands from their first property deal. It doesn’t matter how long it takes – me and my team of mentors and coaches are there every step of the way.

I also had a vision many years ago to create a supportive environment for women who might be interested in property, women who have recently started investing in property and seasoned investors who are looking for a supportive environment to network with other like-minded women. So a few years ago I created the Female Property Alliance (www.femalepropertyalliance.co.uk) to be just that. Like-minded women meet once a month to connect and build long-term relationships in a relaxed and fun environment over a glass of wine and nibbles.

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Is it difficult to balance motherhood with your work life?

This has probably been my biggest challenge and remains a work in progress. God blessed me with one child, so I have had only one chance at getting it right. This is a work in progress. When she was younger, like any child, my daughter was dependent on me. I took her and picked her up from school and took her to after-school activities. I wanted to be fully involved in my daughter’s school life, I actually got involved in the parents activities such as pantomimes, dance classes, cooking classes and Christmas Carols services. I’d sit in the car or in a coffee shop for hours doing my law work whilst waiting for her to finish her after-school activities. I helped and guided her with her homework until she got into the teenage years and then her homework was beyond me! Then she got to that age when, as parents, we become taxi drivers.

Then she became an adult and my role changed again to being there when she needed me and had the freedom to live her life as she chooses and to spend time with her friends not like me. But I am still always there to support her just like my mum is there for me and my siblings. My daughter doesn’t need me in the same way as she did when she was younger and now it’s about prioritising and making sure we schedule family time in both our busy lives.

 

How would you describe your journey into property?

It started back in 1991 when I became an accidental landlady after my arranged marriage had broken down. I had a nine months old baby, debts, and at the time I was earning just £7,500 a year. The interest rate on my £50,000 mortgage was 15%. The numbers didn’t stack up so I had to rent out rooms in my own house. I moved into a bedroom with my daughter.

I knew the potential of property because my dad used buy to houses. But I didn’t have the knowledge or the financial intelligence. At the time I believed that in order to create stability and security for my family I needed to have a good career. So I started studying law on a part-time basis over a seven year period whilst caring for my young daughter and working full-time. I decided to move closer to my daughter’s school. However, I couldn’t let go of our family home so I decided to rent that out and I saved for a deposit to buy my second residential home.

I then transitioned into being an amateur landlady. Once I became a lawyer, I had more money but had very little time on my hands. I saw an advert in the newspaper with the headline “Become an armchair investor”. I thought that was exactly what I needed. Unfortunately, I gave my financial power away to an investment property company believing they knew more and they would take care of my needs.

They sourced ‘off-plan’ properties. I purchased properties all over the country and abroad. The problem was that I trusted this company, believing that they were the experts and that they would provide me with the right properties. How wrong I was as, sadly, it later transpired that the deals stacked up in favour of the investment company, their brokers, their lawyers and their letting agents but not in mine. I and many other investors lost a huge amount of money. It was hundreds of thousands of pounds. I lost my money, my self-esteem, my confidence and I also put my family at risk.

I had to let it go as it was bad energy. I had to move on. I took my share of responsibility because I knew that I should have done my own research and due diligences. I should have viewed the properties and done my numbers. Hindsight is a great thing. Those mistakes were my greatest lessons and learnings as I had to make those bad deals work. I had to think creatively to do whatever it took not to fail because otherwise the only option open to me was to become bankrupt. But I couldn’t do that because if I did that I would have been unable to practice as a lawyer. So I had no option but to make it work.

I lost my money, my self-esteem, my confidence and I also put my family at risk.

That’s why I teach people how to protect themselves in the property game so that they can keep themselves safe. It’s about making calculated decisions and weighing up the risk of various strategies.

I took what had happened to me and what I had learned and finally made the transition to becoming a professional and experienced property investor. I took control of my life and got myself financially educated. I went on to source and acquire property after property and learned a huge amount more in the process from my mistakes. I began to receive accolades for my efforts which I am very grateful for. 

What message do you want to share with our readers?

Like I would say to my daughter and my mentees – you don’t have to be passionate about property, but you have to be passionate about your life and prepare for the unforeseen circumstances that life can throw at you. Property is just a vehicle to achieve your goals and aspirations and provide you with the choices, security and freedom to do what you want to do. When money is no longer an issue then people can breathe and start living and making better choices. Everyone works hard. Either you work hard now and reap the rewards later or you reap the rewards now and work hard later on in life. We all have a choice.

Anyone can invest in property but not everyone can invest in the right property for their needs and financial and personal circumstances. My advice is to get the right guidance from the right mentor so that you learn the process once and can be independent and not dependant on anyone. I live my life based on what I call the GAP Principle – Gratitude, Action and Perseverance. You must believe in yourself and surround yourself with like-minded people.

 

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