My Column

Cant sugar coat deals in property

  • Date: Monday 13th April 2020
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I have been an entrepreneur for longer than I care to remember, and I thought I’d seen it all.

But even I was stunned when my phone pinged last week and I opened a WhatsApp video message from none other than Lord Alan Sugar.


Don’t get me wrong, I’ve mingled with celebs and business people for years. Regular readers will know that I’ve rubbed shoulders with Barack and Michelle Obama, Leo DiCaprio and Bob Geldof. Hey, if I can’t name-drop in my own column, when can I?


My dealings with Lord Sugar this time wasn’t done at the usual star-studded gathering where it’s all polite conversation and chit-chat. No, it was very straight to the point. He wanted to set the record straight about a business coach who claimed Lord Sugar had mentored him.


You might wonder what this all had to do with me? Well, if you missed the story that appeared in The Scottish Sun online last week, here’s a quick explanation.


Last year I launched my own YouTube channel to help up-and-coming businesspeople and start-ups, and recently I’ve been investigating the potential pitfalls when it comes to property.


I’d been looking into a man called Samuel Leeds, who claims to help people become millionaires through property. He offers conferences for budding entrepreneurs, along with crash courses on how to be successful in the property market and says he’s invested millions in the past.


He was speaking at an event in Edinburgh last month, so I popped along to hear what he had to say. I just want to make it clear though, I’ve done over half a billion pounds worth of property transactions, so I wasn’t looking for any tips – it was research.


Anyway, he said something that I found puzzling. He claimed he’d paid Lord Sugar to mentor him. I wanted to check if there was any truth in this so I put a call into Lord Sugar’s office.


Just a few hours later, The Apprentice star himself had sent me that video message and was keen for it to appear in my next YouTube video.


And typical Lord Sugar, he doesn’t mince his words. Looking directly into the camera, he said: “I don't know Samuel Leeds. I met him briefly at a conference a few years ago and had a photo taken with him.


"Any claims that I've given him business advice and mentored him are pure fantasy and completely untrue. It upsets me that he misleads people into pretending to be an associate of mine.


"Especially after I instructed my lawyers to have him remove anything pertaining to this nonsense from his social media and website.”


Part of my success as an entrepreneur has come from property and asset management so I have a particular interest in this sector. There are loads of property gurus out there who like to sell you courses and business advice. The problem that I’ve found is that most of the advice they like to dispense is generally rubbish.


Don’t take the risk of giving your hard-earned cash to someone who doesn’t know their assets from their equity.


Look, I understand that the folk who sign up for these courses, and go on to hand over thousands of pounds for mentoring and one-to-one coaching, simply want to improve their lot. They just want to make life better. But there are no short-cuts and no quick fixes to making money in property. Keep your financial wits about you.

People shouldn’t purchase property courses at all. There’s no need. If you are keen to invest in property, check out my YouTube channel (it’s free and I would never charge anyone to access it), and speak to property professionals. I’m talking about surveyors, specialist conveyancing solicitors and reputable estate or lettings agents. They know the business inside out.


We all know we are living in uncertain times, so don’t make things even worse by taking any unnecessary risks with your hard-earned cash. Let’s look after each other…from a safe distance, of course.


And, if you want to check out my video with Lord Alan Sugar, just type in ‘Shaf Rasul Lord Sugar’ into the YouTube search bar. Let me know what you think.





With so much bad news coming out from across the country, my whole column could be a weep, as we read about people losing their lives directly to COVID-19.

Indirectly, it is also so sad to see the latest warnings that the Scottish economy could contract by up to a quarter if the current lockdown restrictions continue for a three-month period.

According to the Fraser of Allander Institute at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, their report found there is likely to be "a long road to recovery'' from the "unprecedented'' impact on GDP from the coronavirus pandemic, with GDP contracting by 20 to 25 per cent.

With the lockdown having such a huge effect, it does not look good for employment or the Scottish economy. It is a truly worrying time for everyone.



It’s amazing to see what Scots are doing to keep busy during the current crisis.

Looking through social media, there is a whole host of Scots bettering themselves through online tutorials. Everything from photography lessons to virtual PT sessions.

One tutorial I think many Scots have failed to visit though is ‘how to cut your own hair’. We have seen some hilarious attempts and downright fails, with Kevin Bridges home haircut being the best of a horrendous bunch last week.

Now, I’m not really in the position to call out someone else’s haircut, but these DIY cuts have certainly provided some light relief over the past while.

Business will be booming for barbers across the country once lockdown is lifted and I’m sure some amateur hairdressers are already counting down the days more than others.



I’ve already touched on many of the sectors and industries that are really feeling the pinch due to these extraordinary times.

From retail and hospitality to sport and entertainment, we have seen job losses, staff being furloughed and well known establishments closing.

One sector that is really feeling a knock on effect is Scottish charities. Reliant on kind hearted donations, volunteers and event attendance, nearly overnight COVID-19 will have knocked off millions from projected fundraising for organisations across the country.

What is worse, it is a vicious circle. As funding drops, demand for the support and services charities provide for so many will sky rocket. It’s truly worrying on what will happen to some of the most vulnerable within our society.

The government has stepped up to the plate to offer a support package of £750m, to help organisations get through this bleak time. However, while this is most welcome, many charities feel that more is needed, to prevent loss of services or even closures.

The government’s announcement last Wednesday conceded that it could not match every pound of spending that the UK's 170,000 charities would have received this year. A scary thought, especially when most charities rely so heavily on donations from the public.

With the likes of the Glasgow and Aberdeen Kiltwalk being postponed and other fundraising events across Scotland being cancelled or moved to a later date, the outlook for many charities just doesn’t look good.

Hopefully the government funding can help plug the gap to see charities through this lockdown and once back to normal, we won’t be counting a huge loss of charities that make such a difference to the people of Scotland.


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