‘My faith is intrinsically linked to my property training business’ says Samuel Leeds!
Property Investors’ founder Samuel Leeds has been mockingly called a Christian rock god by comedian Joe Lycett and one critic even described him as ‘self-worshipping.’ But jibes aside, Samuel says his faith is hugely important to him and in fact it was being asked to work on the Sabbath that got him into business in the first place.
‘How can people knock your faith and call you ugly in this day and age?!’
Samuel Leeds finds it strange that people in the media – and on social platforms – often focus on his faith, rather than just his business.
When Property Investors was featured on the Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back consumer programme on Channel 4, the show’s star played one of Samuel’s religious songs, Angels Protecting Me. Afterwards the comedian sarcastically remarked (after calling him a Christian rock god) ‘well that’s won me over, to Satan.’
If that was not abusive enough, Joe Lycett went on to ask his co-host and fellow comedian Katherine Ryan, why people find Samuel so believable. She replied, while casually mixing a drink in the background, ‘Maybe because we’re hard-wired to find unattractive people trustworthy.’
It left Samuel wondering how in the year 2020 people can get away with knocking someone’s faith and calling them ugly!
There have been other references to his religion. One poster on social media accused Samuel of being a self-centred, self-worshipping Christian. Another stated: ‘The word Christian is a word in the dictionary which comes before SCUM.’
Samuel says that if people want to talk about his business and critique it, he is happy to have a debate – he has already defended himself on his YouTube channel against many claims which he regards as unfair or false by people who have not even attended his courses.
However, he finds it odd that his faith is so frequently mentioned. Part of the reason, Samuel suspects, is because he puts himself out there as a Christian. “I’m not a secret Christian. I have had advisers, who have said to me, ‘Samuel don’t talk about your faith, don’t talk about religion or God, you’re going to alienate people. You’re going to lose business
“Has it lost me money talking about Christianity? I don’t really know because I can’t do a split test and say, well this is what it was like when I did it because I’ve always spoken openly about my faith.
“Some people even say the reason I talk about it is because it’s some sort of PR exercise and I’m trying to get more money by doing it. I can’t really see how that would work exactly.
“The truth is, believe it or not, that my property business is absolutely intrinsically linked to my faith which has helped me so much in my life.”
‘I went into property because I wanted the freedom to go to church’
When he was a boy, Samuel’s parents made him go to church. He was a reluctant worshipper.
“I never really wanted to go to church. For me it was a religious, boring thing to have to do. It wasn’t until I left school when I actually had a spiritual experience and became a Christian.”
Attending church every Sunday became part of Samuel’s life, but it brought him into conflict with his father.
By now Samuel was employed by his dad on his entertainment business, performing at children’s parties and magic shows which required him to work on the Sabbath.
“Suddenly, I’ve gone from being forced to go into church, when I didn’t want to, to now working for my dad’s company and not being able to because my dad was making me work on the family business.”
It provided the teenage Samuel with a powerful motive to go into business himself. After three months he left his job and became a property entrepreneur. Ultimately it led him to establish Property Investors, the UK’s largest property investment training business.
“My strongest reason for getting into property was because I wanted to leave my dad’s business.
“I left that business and got into property to give me the freedom to go to church which is really crazy. I wanted to pursue my faith which is why the two things are intrinsically linked.
“Maybe, if you’re not a Christian, you might be able to relate to this because you might want to do something else. You just want more time to write poetry and that’s your spiritual side, or you to want to travel. Maybe your religion is football and you just want to play a lot of football, but you haven’t got time to do recreational things because of your job.
“Well that was me. The reason that I really desired to get out of having to be a slave and work for money was because I really wanted to pursue my church activity.”
Mission work gave me a sense of fulfilment
A trip to Spain, which Samuel’s church was organising, was the immediate trigger for him to leave his dad’s business. The church was asking for volunteers to give practical help and support to people at a drug rehabilitation centre and so Samuel signed up.
When he was 18, he spent a month in Zambia, working in orphanages and at Chengelo School, a co-educational Christian boarding school in the beautiful, rural region of Mkushi in the Central Province.
It made him realise he wanted to dedicate his life to the cause of helping people and loving God.
“Whenever I go on a mission trip, I do it from a place of wanting to help but there is also a selfish part of me that just really enjoys doing it. I like travelling and the feeling of helping people.
“I always find that I go out to make an impact but then end up being impacted even more myself probably than they were. So going on those early trips was a real spiritual thing where I found I was happier and more fulfilled.
“And of course to help people, to dig wells and bring clean water, and to provide food, you need money because money makes things happen. This is why I believe money is not good or bad. It’s just a tool depending on whose hands it’s in.”
Handing out free pizzas to people in need outside clubs
He was still living at home with his mother and stepfather Tim who were also heavily involved in the church. As a family, they would hand out free pizzas to people in need.
“We used to go out to the clubs in Walsall town centre in the early hours of the morning. There are always people who are really destitute, or they’ve been left by their friends or got drunk and can’t get home – or there are women who are in a really bad place.
“We would just give them a free pizza. We hooked up with Domino’s and the church was also involved. We’d give them a pizza and listen to their stories. It’s just something that I really enjoyed, and I wanted to grow my property business alongside all this work.”
By the age of 20, the young businessman had built up a healthy property portfolio and was financially independent, he says. It made some people in his church uncomfortable. “They were saying, ‘Samuel you shouldn’t have too many houses. It was a real poverty mindset which is why I wrote my book, Do the Possible Watch God Do the Impossible.
It was originally a dissertation which he produced while nearing the end of a three-year theology course at bible college, which he had enrolled on with his mother.
“This book really helped me. it released me from the guilt of earning money and showed me that actually you can be a capitalist but also have compassion. You can be a compassionate capitalist and the more money you have the more people you can help.”
During this period he moved with his family from Pelsall, a village just outside Walsall in the West Midlands, to the Leamore council estate in Walsall. Soon they were helping their community once more. They bought a minibus and took disadvantaged children on trips to local attractions, such as Alton Towers and Waterworld.
At the same time Samuel was continuing to grow his business and attending conferences. At one event there was a speaker who started quoting the Bible without crediting it. Samuel was puzzled why the man didn’t say so as he was a Christian.
“I thought that was a real shame. I believe it was a message in my heart from God that told me, Samuel if you ever get to be on stage, you can take the opportunity just to mention that you’re a Christian and not to be ashamed of your faith.”
When years later, he started running events, including the popular Property Investors Crash Course, which pre-Covid attracted around 1,000 people a week, he did talk about his beliefs.
Publication of best-seller leads to launch of Training Kings
After the publication of Do the Possible Watch God Do the Impossible, Samuel says people started reaching out to him, telling him how much it had helped them.
“I published it on Amazon, and it’s sold thousands of copies across the world. As a result, I launched a Christian business network, called Training Kings which ran for five years.”
The first meeting was held in January 2014 and grew into a network of 14 branches, employing staff and drawing in people of all different faiths, as well as atheists.
“It was set up initially as a Christian network because a lot of Christians didn’t understand money and they didn’t understand the difference between being a good person and actually making money. But it wasn’t exclusively for Christians. I would tell my audience you can’t serve God and money, but you can serve God through money.”
People began asking Samuel if he could teach them about property. As a result, Property Investors was founded in 2016.
Samuel says he owes his beliefs to his mother Sue Gray who has also written a book called One Life Make It Count: Finding Your Purpose Through Reason and Faith.
His faith helped him when he first met his future wife’s father, who comes from Zimbabwe. Despite the cultural differences, Samuel told him: ‘We are one in Christ.’ It united them and gave them an understanding of each other.
Samuel regards the Mosaic Church in Coventry as his spiritual home. He and his wife Amanda are still mentored by Pastors Gary and Helen Spicer. They have also found a church to go to which is nearer to their new home in Buckinghamshire.
“My belief in God is not only something that got me started in business and is a mission for me. It keeps me focused even through bad stuff. I’ve had serious accidents, including a near death experience. People have stabbed me in the back, and I’ve had lonely times.
“It’s my faith in God that gives me the strength to keep going and also purpose to always look forward.”
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