When Sanders Muleya was just 17, and living in a poor farming community in Zimbabwe, he did something that was so audacious and visionary, even a person twice his age would have struggled to conceive of the idea.

Sanders, the 253rd person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, decided to build an investment property in a big town 300km away. Using money he’d earned from a job selling his father’s produce, he bought some land, sourced some materials, transported them to the building site, hired a construction crew – and, two years later, had a new house.

Three decades later, Sanders still owns the property and is still collecting rent, which he uses to support his family back home.

That’s not the only property Sanders owns. He also has 18 properties in Australia and is currently working on seven developments.

Sanders has come a long way since he migrated to Sydney in 2004, to escape the economic turmoil that was gripping his homeland. 

Sanders and his wife, who were both nurses, worked incredibly hard, holding multiple jobs so they could provide for their family and get ahead. Along the way, Sanders started buying investment properties, but made a string of mistakes, including overpaying and buying the wrong type of property.

That only made Sanders more determined. He devoured property books and courses, to build his education. He tried every sort of property angle imaginable, from renovations to property options. He sold off his low-quality properties, so he could afford to buy better assets and rebuild his portfolio. Later, he started a buyer’s agent business, Msisa Property, and quit nursing. He is now helping hundreds of Australians gain financial freedom through the same investment strategies. The profits he earns from his properties are used to fund his property developments.

Sanders is a quiet, humble, down to earth guy. He’s also a great example of how much success you can achieve if you’re prepared to work very hard, do continuous self-education, maintain a positive attitude, consciously look for opportunities and play the long game.