Can a book really change your life? It did for Aidan - Ironfish

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Can a book really change your life? It did for Aidan

Here at Ironfish, we are proud to practice what we preach. Many of our staff are property investors themselves, and have kindly agreed to share their individual stories and their own personal property investment tips. 


Aidan Zhu

Ironfish Brisbane Senior Property Strategist

“I started with a $50,000 deposit and now I’ve got a $6 million portfolio working for me while I sleep. Knowing that I will have the income from this portfolio makes me feel very confident and secure about my financial future.”


  • Migrated from China
  • Former small business owner turned sales consultant
  • Joined Ironfish as a strategist in 2013
  • Portfolio of 8 properties with total value of $6 million

Reluctant migrant

In 2009, when his wife Irene first proposed the idea of migrating from China to Australia, Aidan Zhu refused. His wife worked for a global 500 company, spoke great English and was ready to take on the world. Aidan had a modestly successful smart home business and very little English.

“It seemed a pity to give up on my business which was heading in the right direction. And without English, the idea of building a new life in a strange land seemed too difficult to comprehend.

“However, Irene was determined to apply for a skilled migrant visa, which was accepted. She moved to Australia, but I continued on with my business in China.”

The power of a great story

In 2010, Aidan made a trip to Australia, and this time Irene had some news for him.

“Irene was really excited. She said she’d met someone who would interest me. He was formerly a Chinese diplomat, a graduate from the top university in China, and built a new life and a successful business from scratch in Australia.

“Irene was of course, speaking about Joseph [Ironfish CEO and Founder]. She bought a copy of his book ‘From Bicycles to Bentleys’ and asked me to read it.

“As soon as Irene left for work that day, I took myself to the park and read the book from beginning to end in one go. Joseph’s career path inspired me tremendously and made me determined to try to set up a meeting with him.”

brisbane property consultant

Aidan pictured with his wife Irene and Ironfish Brisbane customers Eric and Mandy

Good career advice

After some time, Aidan heard Joseph was on a business trip to our Beijing office, and made a special trip up north to meet up with him.

“Joseph listened to what I had to say, and my dilemma about working or migrating with Irene to Australia and he quickly gave me some very useful and honest career advice. He told me that Australia is a pretty fair society. If you work hard, you will get something back. However, many industries are already very competitive. So if you want an opportunity you’ll need to work harder than most people, or do something that others don’t want to do.

“He also told me fairly bluntly that my lack of employment experience in Australia, coupled with my poor English skills would make me fairly unemployable. He said that sales would be a possibility, but that I’d need to work hard on my English.”

Door-to-door salesman

The conversation with Joseph gave Aidan the direction he’d been searching for. Previously, when he’d asked his friends for career advice when moving to Australia, they’d suggested going to TAFE or doing odd jobs, which didn’t sound that great.

“Sales was actually very much in line with what I was doing with my small business in China, and I love dealing with people on a daily basis – so it made sense. It gave me more confidence about my future life in Australia.”

In November 2011, Aidan gave up his life and business in China, and landed in Brisbane – the same year, Irene started working in Ironfish. In order to improve his sales and communications skills, Aidan joined a sales business, selling electricity services door-to-door. A year later, after wearing out the soles of many pairs of shoes and trimming down a couple of belt holes, Aidan went from someone who could barely manage a sentence in English to team sales champion.

Approaching investing like a ‘business’

At the end of 2012, Aidan met up with Joseph again at an Ironfish event. Joseph was impressed by Aidan’s commitment, growth and achievements and offered him a job to come and work at Ironfish as a strategist, which Aidan accepted.

“Coming on board as a strategist, meant comprehensive training – not only in terms of servicing customers, but about investing in property in Australia. What I learned very quickly from Joseph is that building wealth requires a two-pronged approach. Firstly, to work hard in your career to progress and grow your income. The second aspect is to invest and build up a portfolio of assets. And you need to treat these assets like a business. Think about it as if you’re going into business with the bank – they put up most of the money and you pay it back, mostly with the help of your tenants and potentially a bit of help from the tax system. You just need to ensure you can hold onto the asset for the long term.

“This analogy made a lot of sense to me. As a new migrant, especially, it’s not easy to save $1 million based off what you earn from your job. But by using leverage, investing in the right properties, and holding onto them long enough – it becomes a possibility.”

brisbane property consultant

Aidan and his wife Irene, pictured with their customers at the Ironfish Brisbane Christmas party in 2018

From $50K to a $6 million portfolio

At Ironfish we are proud to ‘practice what we preach’ and Aidan is no exception. After joining Ironfish in 2013, Aidan quickly set himself a goal of building a $5 million property portfolio. Beginning with a $50,000 deposit, and using the Ironfish investment strategy, Aidan has since managed to build a portfolio of eight properties, with a total value of $6 million.

“Now, I’ve got a $6 million portfolio working for me while I sleep. Knowing that I will have the income from this portfolio makes me feel very confident and secure about my financial future.

“My hands-on experience has also helped me understand how others like me can achieve the same results. I now have many customers who are Chinese immigrants like myself, professionals who work across different industries. For me, it’s not just about helping them build their property portfolio, it’s about exchanging ideas about wealth, business, growth. That’s what so fulfilling – and it’s exactly what Ironfish did for me.

“Now when I look back on my uncertainty and hesitation in moving to Australia, it strikes me that your starting point isn’t as important as the turning point in your life. For me, if I hadn’t read Joseph’s book, if I hadn’t taken the bullet train to Beijing to meet Joseph, if I hadn’t chosen a tough job as a door-to-door salesman – I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Aidan’s property investment tip

Many people are slow to start investing, mainly because they’re trapped by their own thinking. Ironfish taught me that everything is possible, you simply have to dare to dream big, have a go and make sure you find the right people to help you get there!