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Ayesha Selden

10 mins read

Who wants to be a Millionaire? 5 Questions about Black Wealth Accumulation

Ayesha Selden, also known as EldRich Cleaver, Millie Holiday, Fidel Cashflow, Cicely Titles, and Dr. Julius Earning is a real state investor, coach, mentor, and author of the book “Mud 2 Millions.”

She has garnered a large online following no doubt due to amongst other things, her no holds barred, tough medicine style of preaching her message of “owning sh*t”.

We caught up with her to find out her thoughts on the ways that wealth can be created within the Black community.

What does wealth mean to you?

Wealth is the freedom of not having to trade time for money. Wealth is having the cash flow from performing assets support a life you deem comfortable. Wealth is being able to drop everything on a Tuesday and go spend time with your mom on her birthday.

Has becoming wealthy always been a goal of yours?

I grew up in a poor neighborhood in South Philly during the crack era where the wealthiest people we saw were drug dealers. Not only did I aspire to have wealth, I always knew I’d get there (legally or otherwise lol).

As a kid, I wanted a briefcase more than I wanted dolls. I was entirely fascinated by tall buildings, offices, and movies like Wall Street. My mom used to drive us to Gladwyn, an affluent suburb of Philly, to show us how the wealthy lived.

In stark contrast to the row homes and blight I saw in our neighborhood, our drives to Gladwyn showed me castle looking houses with pool houses larger than the modest home we lived in.

It was important for my mom to show us that there was more out there than just our neighborhood. I am so grateful for those car rides because it let me imagine what was possible.

Ayesha Selden

You are very vocal on social media about all things ownership and wealth building. Why are you so passionate about this topic?

I believe that we are the only solution for our community. Help is not on the way. It is the responsibility of “self-made” black people who came out of poverty to then reach back and teach others how to do the same.

Group economics is our way out but, chile, Black flight is just as real as white flight. We “make it”, head for the hills and never look back at those we have left behind. We then fixate on changing the political landscape, as our solution, and forget how powerful we are as a people.

And it’s easier to look at “voting” as a solution because it doesn’t require us to go back to “the hood”. We get to wear “I Voted” buttons and feel good about ourselves. Every election cycle reminds me of The Great White Hope meets Ground Hog’s Day.

Same promises (from normally some old white guy) and not a damn thing changes. We rely on a government system that has shown us for centuries that it shouldn’t be trusted.

Millions of Black people lived in poverty before we had a Black president and millions of Black people continue to live in poverty after we had a Black president. The government is not the solution for poor people and it amazes me that we think this same system we don’t trust will radically implement public policy to redistribute the wealth.

If we want to see real change in our communities, building an economy that allows the Black dollar to circulate and flip in our community the same way it circulates in the Jewish or Asian communities is where we start.

We then lobby with our capital to get done what we need. We buy a voice in Washington which is the only thing this country understands. Until then, a large percentage of black people will stay in poverty, we will continue to be shot by the police and we will keep marching and singing.

What do you feel is the first step on the path to wealth accumulation?

Let me start by saying that Black people are not at fault for the current state of our wealth as a people. Hell, the fact that we have survived generations of trauma is a testament to our resilience. Our income, wealth, and asset ownership are fractions of white wealth.

Systemic racism and the effects of redlining, mass incarceration of black men, racist hiring policies, etc all have a huge impact on black wealth today. I read a study done by Pew Trust that says even in the year of our Lord 2020, in most states, Black and Hispanic communities are taxed at higher rates than comparable predominantly white communities.

We now know that our communities are paying higher property taxes but also continue to see that our resources (schools, roads, sanitation departments, etc) are inferior to predominantly white communities. We are also overpoliced with our own tax money.

I can point out a million ways the playing field isn’t leveled and has never been. But where do we go from here?

I choose to normalize Black wealth because I don’t believe there is a politician or political party that will change this. The path of wealth accumulation is exactly why I wrote my book Mud 2 Millions. It was my journey to a million by 30.

Ayesha Selden

It sounds cliche but our mindset and our relationship with money are the genesis of wealth creation. We need a collective focus on changing the narrative in our communities. We need middle class and wealthy Blacks to come back and show those left behind how to build businesses and assets.

We also need some self-reflection about our individual relationships with money. Most of us weren’t left a penny of generational wealth. Most of us weren’t taught a thing about how to manage money. Most of what we were taught about money was a lie.

We need to completely deconstruct most of what we know about capital and how we feel about money and reframe with a mindset of building.

Once I change my mindset, where should I start on my wealth journey?

Your net worth builder is in that sweet spot between your income and expenses. We call the amount of money left over after all of your expenses are paid, “discretionary income”.

If you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck, there are generally two ways to tackle this:

Drastically cut expenses or generate additional income through a side hustle after your 9-5 and/or weekends. I prefer a combination of boffum–curbing expenses and a side hustle because I’m trying to get the bag expeditiously.

 It’s important to look at where we are spending our money. Is it on things we need or are we overcompensating for being teased as kids for having trash sneakers?

In my book, I talk about a dozen or so side hustles to generate additional income (vending machines, real estate wholesaling, arbitrage online sales, trucking business, etc.).

If you can earn an extra $500 to $1,000/month in income, that could be all the difference in building wealth and leaving a legacy for generations.

Again, while where we are is not our fault, it is our responsibility to change the narrative for ourselves and future generations.

Why? Because no one else will. Peace.

Ayesha Selden
Ayesha Selden

Read the remaining wealth steps in Ayesha’s book, Mud 2 Millions.

Tony O. Lawson

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3 mins read

Coronavirus and Black Entrepreneurship: The Impact On My Life And Business – AYESHA

Coronavirus was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Since then, it has spread quickly, causing thousands of deaths globally.

The virus has also resulted in a brutal decline in economic activity that is hitting many Black owned businesses and professionals hard.

In this series, we will be sharing personal stories from Black entrepreneurs and professionals about how they are dealing with this new Coronavirus reality.

AYESHA SELDEN – Real estate investor and stock broker

What were your initial thoughts when you learned about the outbreak?

I tend to be an optimistic thinker so I honestly didn’t think it was that big of a deal at first. It wasn’t until the CDC started to get adamant about shutdowns did I think this was really a problem.

How has it affected your business?

I have three businesses that are all impacted by this. First, as a landlord, i’ve already heard from a few tenants who’ve told me that they’re out of work for weeks without pay or their employer has cut their pay to keep the business afloat. That means my rents will be impacted.

Second, I’m a licensed general contractor for my own projects. The city has shut down which means I can’t submit plans or get permits. I’m at a standstill on multiple projects.

Lastly, my primary trade is as a licensed stock broker—so the markets being down over 30% (as of today) impacts every part of my business. I’ve spent a big chunk of the last two weeks talking to clients that were concerned about their assets and their income.

How has it affected your lifestyle?

I tend to love somewhat modestly so this hasn’t impacted my lifestyle very much. I’m also not an outgoing person so social distancing is actually a norm for me.

What new strategies have you implemented or do you plan to implement in your business?

I’ll probably go back to having a handful of section 8 tenants on my rent roll. That guaranteed government issued money would be clutch right now lol.

If you had one ask of your community right now, what would it be?

Stop panicking. It was very disheartening to see folks fighting over toiletries at supermarkets around the world.


Related: Meet Ayesha Selden, the Real Estate Investor who has Built a Multi Million Dollar Portfolio of over 30 Buildings


Tony O. Lawson

7 mins read

Meet Ayesha Selden, the Real Estate Investor who has Built a Multi Million Dollar Portfolio of over 30 Buildings

Ayesha Selden is a self made millionaire who has amassed a real estate portfolio of 0ver 30 properties and 41 units. We caught up with Ayesha to find out more about her incredible journey and accomplishments.

Ayesha Selden

What inspired you to get into real estate?

When I was a kid, we lived in a rough part of South Philly that was close to Center City. We left the area when I was 18, and I told my mom that I had a feeling that area would be valuable someday.

I told her not to sell our house and that she should rent it. She was nervous about being able to find a tenant and sold it in 1997 for $35,000.

Within 10 years of her selling, that house was worth 10 times what she sold it for and today, it’s probably worth around $500k to $600k.

That lesson stuck with me (and her ?) and always will.
Ayesha Selden

You are clearly an ambitious person. What drives you?

Two things:

1) I have always been money motivated. I could keep a dollar as a kid. Saving is innate in me.

2) My number one fear is failure. It’s my recurring nightmare. I graduated from undergrad 19 years ago and I still dream of failing an exam or missing a final.

What is your real estate investment formula?

I am a simple and long term investor. I ask myself two questions with every property I buy:

1) Would a reasonable person live here? 

I ask this because I don’t want unreasonable people living in my houses and I certainly don’t want to dance with an unreasonable maniac on the first of every month.

2) How long will this investment take to run my money back to me?

18+ months ago, the Philadelphia market was still relatively cheap. I had a requirement that any property I purchased give me a 20% cap rate. This means that I would get my entire investment back in 5 years or less.

Put simply, if I purchased a house for $50,000 cash and put $50,000 cash of renovations into the project, I’d need to be in a position to rent that house for at least $20,000/year. I’m oversimplifying but that was essentially my target. Everything beyond 5 years was playing with house money.

Briefly describe your first real estate deal and your most recent.

I purchased my first house in 2002 at age 24. I saved money by staying home with my parents after college. It was a foreclosure in Philly that I paid $67,000 for. I did a cosmetic rehab, moved in and got a roommate that basically paid my mortgage. I lived almost free. I saved more money and bought stocks and another property two years later—which was strictly a rental.
That first house I purchased would be integral in building the real estate portfolio I have today. I was able to use the equity in 2011 to begin buying and rehabbing more properties. My last property I purchased was a testament to everything I’ve learned over the last 19 years.

I purchased it from a wholesaler in a rapidly developing section of Philly. We had to remove so much of the house, it’s considered new construction on an existing foundation.

We basically have built an entirely new house minus the front wall of the house. It has been an amazing journey to get to this point.

What professional and personal traits have contributed the most to your success as an investor?

I attribute most of my success to discipline. I believe I am more disciplined than most. I have always been willing to forego nice things for long term prosperity. I was a millionaire right around my 30th birthday and basically had holes in my sneakers because I refused to buy more.

I value assets over things. I am strongly anti the normalization of having to own designer items to keep up with the Kardashians. I would love a culture that sees worth in things that matter.

Ayesha Selden

Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?

I’ve been grinding for about 20 years. I sacrificed my entire 20s and a good chunk of my 30s to hustle and wealth building. Within the next 5 years, I want to take time to finally enjoy the fruits of my labor.

At 41, I am traveling more, I purchased a personal residence in Los Angeles earlier this year that I was to use as an oasis. I will still work but I want to slow down drastically. I say all this but may end up buying another 44 units and grinding for the next 5 years.

The neat thing is that I could stop working today and live a very comfortable lifestyle. I love having choice.

Ayesha Selden

What advice do you have for aspiring real estate investors?

Most would-be real estate investors miss the crucial first step that’s required to be successful over time. A disciplined mindset. Discipline is what will prevent you from making mistakes like yanking out all the equity from your properties and balling instead of reinvesting.

Early on, investors should be focused on striking a balance between deleveraging and scaling. Too much debt on properties can be the demise of an investor. At the same time, growth is important. It’s easier to have 25 units than it is to have 2. Keep going.