By Janelle Burrell

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – “Revenge season” is how one South Philly woman describes her mission of reclaiming what some consider to be some of the city’s most unwanted neighborhoods. Her millionaire mindset has taken her on a journey to wealth, which she’s now using to inspire others.

“I was always the kid that could keep a buck,” Real Estate Investor Ayesha Selden said. “My allowance, I was wheeling and dealing as a child.”

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And growing up in South Philly, where drug dealers ran the streets, Ayehsa Seldon admits she was tempted to sell marijuana and make extra cash.

“When you think about when I grew up in the 80s – who we looked up to in South Philly? It was drug dealers,” Selden said.

But her mom’s intuition intervened.

“My mother, who is a praying woman, came into my bedroom and said, ‘whatever you’re thinking about doing, don’t do it,'” Selden said.

So Selden set her sights higher.

“Literally, no one wanted it. So imagine a community where no one wants the homes,” Selden said. “It was a rough neighborhood to grow up in, but I knew that it wouldn’t last forever.”

She knew her South Philly neighborhood, mostly low-income housing at the time, had potential.

“I remember saying, ‘mom, don’t sell the house,'” Selden recalls.

Her mom sold their first house in the late 90s for $40,000. Today, it’s worth more than ten times that.

“The wealth that just slipped through our fingers because we didn’t know. We didn’t know what we had,” Selden said. “I look at our neighborhoods, and we’re often told no one is gonna wanna live there, it’s the hood, it’s ghetto. I want us to realize and recognize that what we have and what we do own is valuable and to know it’s valuable before someone else comes in and tells us it’s valuable.”

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And that was part of Selden’s motivation. After graduating from Temple, she became a stockbroker.

“My mission was to build and grow wealth, not through just stocks, that was my profession, but also through buildings, through land,” Selden said.

She started with her first rental property in her early 20s.

“My passion around what I call “buying the hood” started with that house. It started with what I call “revenge season,” Selden said.

Revenge season meant using her tenants’ rent to pay off the mortgage and then using the equity to get another loan.

“And I bought another house right around the corner from there and I literally kept doing that over and over, and over again,” Selden said.

She reached millionaire status by her 30th birthday.

Today, more than a decade later… “Now I own a few dozen properties here in Philadelphia and one in Los Angeles,” Selden said.

Selden is now using her expertise, inspiring others to take ownership of their communities. Giving talks around the country and using her social media platforms to educate. Hoping to help them create legacies of their own.

“That’s really what I want to make sure our community thinks about, just holding onto those assets, passing them down, generationally,” Selden said.

Ayesha says she remembers as a child, her mom would pack her and her sister in their car and drive from South Philly to the Main Line to admire all of the large houses. She says seeing that really helped her realize that being wealthy was attainable.

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She was able to do it by starting small and being persistent.

Janelle Burrell