Tahani Aburaneh was born in a refugee camp and at age 15, was arranged to marry to a man living in Canada whom she had never met. Overcoming many adversities, today, she is the author of the bestselling book, Real Estate Riches and is one of Canada’s top real estate moguls and the founder of 5 companies: she owns her own brokerage, Urban Living Realty Inc., and is a builder, land developer and full-time real estate investor. Her successes have received international media attention, and she has been recognized with the prestigious Premier’s Award by Colleges Ontario, for outstanding economic contributions to the province. And while this self-made millionaire and single mother of two represents the quintessential Canadian immigrant success story, her more-than-humble beginnings, are both heart-wrenching and heart-warming at the same time.
My first job ever was… Working in a variety store when I was in high school. I used to look around and think: “I could open a store like this too one day.” And I did. I ended up partnering with my brother and opened a dollar store years later.
I decided to be an entrepreneur because… I had a hard time finding good work after graduating from college – so I created my own! The temp and shift jobs that were available to me were limiting and didn’t serve me as a mom. As an entrepreneur, I found the freedom to be ambitious and be there for my kids.
My proudest accomplishment is… Being approached by Wiley & Sons to write my now bestselling book, Real Estate Riches. When I first received a copy of my book, I was literally dancing I was so happy! Me, the girl who arrived to Canada not speaking a word of English, who in high school studied the dictionary, page by page, night after night, was now a published author – in her second language.
My boldest move to date was… Getting a divorce. I had gotten an arranged marriage when I was 15, so this was the first time in my life that I was entirely on my own. Not only did I have to rely on myself, my kids were relying on me too.
I surprise people when I tell them… If you give me a few hours, I can cook up a feast for 50 people just like that.
My best advice to someone starting their own business is… Find someone who has already done what you want to do, and ask them lots of questions.
My best advice from a mentor was… Don’t be a part of the herd. When other realtors would wind down for summers and Christmas, anticipating a slow season, I was advised to gear up and go further. That’s when I hustled even harder and created more business.
I would tell my 20-year old self… To just relax. And by this, I mean: keep taking action and moving forward, but don’t worry. Everything is going to be fine – better than fine, in fact.
My biggest setback was… Hearing “no, no, no” consistently when I first got into the real estate business. I was cold calling prospects every day for six months, before I finally got a “yes” for my first listing.
I overcame it by… Changing my strategy, instead of giving up. Since my status quo wasn’t working, I started going door-to-door instead, asking people in person if they wanted to buy or sell their house. And that’s how I finally landed my first client.
Work/life balance is… A myth. For me, they are one and the same today – fully integrated. I do think, however, that we sometimes tend to forget about self-care. I can be guilty of that too, but I know taking care of myself is very important – both for my family and for business.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… That I love dancing: salsa dancing, belly dancing, all of it stirs my soul.
I stay inspired by… Being around people who are ambitiously moving forward and impacting our world on a global scale. They push me further and inspire me to up my game. I call them energizers and I purposefully seek them out.
The future excites me because… Of all the advances I’m seeing in technology today. While some people are scared by it, I’m excited by it. Humans have benefited in so many ways, from better health to better communication – all around the world, and this is just the beginning.
My next step is… Building a new mastermind and mentorship community called F.I.R.E. (Females in Real Estate). This is specifically designed to help women build financial independence and wealth through real estate investing. Right now, I am planning an all-female Real Estate Investing Summit for this fall – the first of its kind in North America. It fulfills my soul to share with women all the knowledge I have acquired about real estate investing, how it transformed my life, and how it can do the same for them.