Born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, Wasseem Dirani has led a fruitful career in finance and security. His career launched during his time as a student at Western University where he studied for two years before receiving a job offer at Prudential Securities. He later earned his insurance and securities licenses and succeed in those industries before opening his own video rental and sales company. Due to his ability to adapt to any given situation, Dirani was able to scale his business to included four other stores and franchise another two. After six years of operating in that space, he had the opportunity to return to the financial sector. After working for a large financial company, Wasseem Dirani made the decision to open his own business, Taxes to Save. There he acts as a financial and tax consultant for new and small businesses and has been enjoying that role ever since its opening.
What do you love most about the industry you are in?
What I love the most is there’s something new every day. I can take an idea and run with it and there’s nothing that can’t be done if you want it to happen. There are always things that come up on a daily basis that will change my day, and sometimes they are things I haven’t even heard of. I really like the idea that it’s not the same every day. My clients come from all aspects of different industries, which gives me the ability to learn about other industries as well.
What keeps you motivated?
Helping others achieve their goals and helping people understand their businesses better really motivates me. Many of my clients are getting into business for the first time, and I’m helping them get out on their own and succeed.
How do you motivate others?
I would tell them that I have seen it all, and that helps me reassure them to put their trust in me or let me redirect them to where they need to go.
How has your company grown from its early days to now?
My company has grown tenfold thanks to the amount of referrals I’ve received. It’s a testament to my work ethic and the trust my clientele has put into me. I have over 1,000 clients I work with on a yearly basis, and that continues to grow. It’s keeping me quite busy, that’s for sure. It has all been organic growth.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I think it’s from the passion to help people with their businesses and finances. I thrive on seeing others who are inspired by starting a business or going into some new career change. For me the inspiration is that I can really help someone along the way to achieve whatever goals that they have. I like to see companies succeed. The better they do, the more they will refer or do things for me. If they’re doing well, I’m hoping that part of it is because of the ways that I’ve helped them.
Who has been a role model to you and why?
I’m a believer in the Bible, so Jesus is a role model to me for how he walked here on earth and seeing how he loved others. The love he showed to others is how I want to show love as well. My love of Christ helps increase my love of people and what they’re doing in their own business. My clients know that I’m looking out for them, and I care more than anything else about them doing well. There is a financial benefit to me in their success, but I also like to see the benefit they get out of knowing that they’re able to succeed in doing something they’re passionate about.
How do you maintain a solid work life balance?
I make sure to put my family first and foremost. I schedule time with them deliberately and the rest of my work schedule falls into place once that’s done. Once I put my family’s interests first in my schedule, I can usually plan around it pretty well. I remember early on I would work 18-hour days and I didn’t have a good family life and that really hurt me. Once I was able to work that family-first balance, everything came together for me on a personal and career level. You must have those breaks away from the business. Otherwise, you’d hate your business life, and that’s detrimental to your career in the long run.
What traits do you possess that makes a successful leader?
I don’t micromanage. I make sure that I can lead people by letting them see my work ethic through work, not talk. It helps to get people around me that are smarter than I am and tapping into those people and their strengths. The smart people around me are the ones who make me look smart, and that in turn helps make me credible as a leader of a strong organization.
What suggestions do you have for someone starting in your industry?
In my industry, it’s all about experience and putting the time in. You really need to love what you’re doing and understand there are going to be times when you don’t make any money, but you have to overcome your fear about that. And once you do, you can have a very successful business.
What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?
It was early on when I was self-employed, and I didn’t get a paycheck for months on end. I was building up my business and trusting that things were going to get better. I had to have enough saved up for six months at a time. But once I got through that, I knew that I had what it took.
What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?
Ask for referrals. It’s the reason I don’t need to solicit for business. I try to explain that to people who come on board with me. I remind them that there were six other happy clients before they finally got to me. The power of the referral is something I try to pass on to others so they know how important it is.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
I think my greatest accomplishment was the day I reached a level where I didn’t have to worry about day-to-day finances, and I could just concentrate on growing my business. In business, if things are going right you reach a certain point where you are earning enough revenue that it’s self-sustaining. That frees you up to do the things that allow you to grow.
Outside of work, what defines you as a person?
My family defines me and my love of Christ defines me.
Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?
I’m always looking to expand, but I’m also hoping that eventually my son will take over the business down the road. That’s a lot further away than five years, but I hope within that timeframe he’s considering working with me to see how it goes so I can one day give it to him.
Explain the proudest day of your professional life.
The day I went out on my own. I decided to take a leap and do what I wanted to do in my work life. It was incredibly difficult, and I made a lot of mistakes early on. But one thing I learned is that I’m not a quitter, and that I’ll persevere to find the success I want to achieve. That day stands out in my memory as one to be proud of.