Guy Standing

From Homelessness to Million Pound Success

Today Sandro Heitor is at the forefront of transparency in the construction industry through his multi-million-pound business Trio. However, his journey to success has been fraught with many setbacks along the way that while challenging, have motivated him to achieve the highest levels of success. 

Sandro moved to London in 1989 with his parents at the age of 4 but he originally hailed from Portugal. However this move was not one that brought instant yield as he and his parents found themselves homeless for a prolonged period, sleeping in churches and office spaces until they could afford a single room above a fish and chips shop between them. It was during this period that he was inspired to help others as when his mother could only afford chips but he wanted a red can of Coca-Cola, the shop owner kindly gave him not one but three cans. It was then he decided he wanted to have an impact on others like she had had an impact on him. The struggle felt by his parents meant Sandro has always been thankful for his later success and a key motivator has been to always be able to provide and give his parents the early retirement they deserve; to stop them falling back into homelessness his parents would work from 6am-8pm.  

Initially Sandro believed that financial freedom was going to be his route to happiness and success but this almost caused him to go bankrupt. Thankfully, he was able to turn around his misfortunes; however, he would not change these experiences because this put him on his current path. If he could give any advice to his younger self it would be to prioritise your own wellbeing and do not go after things which are outside your control. He believes in investing time in what is already in front of you as you may well find that everything you need and want is already there. Within his book The Entrepreneur Paradox, Sanrdo discusses the importance of all three pillars of wealth. He believes that business people should not focus solely on financial wealth, but they also need to invest in themselves emotionally. 

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Sandro is passionate about the difference in approach of Trio including transparency and methods when contracting, buying, developing and maintaining property in the real estate hub that is London. Originally a small property investment partnership, Trio has diversified its business and works across various verticals within London Property. 

Trio now operates in three divisions: the first is property maintenance and work with agents, housing associations, private landlords and hotels carrying out any maintenance work. They also have a contracting division where they do bigger projects on behalf of clients and their third division is their own property development, for which they buy land and any existing buildings to build their own beautiful apartments in London. Every area of Trio is done with a difference and they have over 60 brand new apartments agreed in 2019.

“At the end of the day, the goal is to be able to look back without any regrets and say, this was all worth it. That is the true mark of success.”

For Sandro, success does not simply equate to a large amount of money. Sandro is passionate that he wants to create an impact that is bigger than just himself. The public perception of contractors is so often fraught with negative stereotypes of unreliable and dubious individuals but this is something Sandro, and his business Trio, are looking to debunk through prioritising transparency. 

Similarly, Sandro has also noticed that many dedicated and hardworking sole traders do not get the opportunity to work with big clients as they are not able to spend the expected funds or have the insurance necessary for these opportunities. Trio was established to support sole traders and smaller contractors in securing these opportunities so they also have access to the biggest contracts. For Sandro, this not only benefits his business, but it benefits others around the world.

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Sandro is proud that he and his business are selective over who they choose to work with. Sandro creates meaningful relationships with clients that share the company values and understand and respect what it is they are trying to achieve. Small traders are prone to suffering from issues with cashflow but Sandro views client relationships as mutually beneficial.  

When asked what advice he would give to his younger self, Sandro said “Look after number one. Self-belief is so important, as is your mental health and wellbeing. The road to success can be complex and stressful, and it won’t necessarily be easy, so it’s really important that you do it all on your own terms. At the end of the day, the goal is to be able to look back without any regrets and say, this was all worth it. That is the true mark of success.”

For more information about Trio visit:

The Entrepreneur Paradox is also available for purchase on Amazon. 

Income Inequality

The Cultural Impact of Income Inequality

Over the past several decades, as tax cuts and other economic policies have benefited wealthy Americans at the expense of lower and middle-class Americans, the gap between the wealthy and the poor has continued to widen. A number of factors account for this; not only have wages remained virtually stagnant since the 1970s despite accelerating economic growth overall, but the cost of living has also increased, as have expenses for education and health care. This radical transformation in the country’s economic landscape has not only had effects on the financial world, but on the broader cultural environment that informs human behavior in society. Nearly every aspect of life is affected, from entertainment to politics to our shared system of fundamental values. 

Perhaps the most striking example of the broader impacts of income inequality is the fact that rich people live longer lives than poor people. For some groups of disadvantaged people, life expectancy is shorter than it was for their parents, pointing to the extreme effects of these people’s inability to earn as much as their parents did. A number of factors account for this difference in life expectancy; one possible explanation is racism in the healthcare industry, as minorities are both likely to receive less in wages and face discrimination in hospitals and doctor’s offices. Another factor is the fact that people are not able to retire as young as they used to be able to; many workers continue their jobs into their 60’s and 70’s, opening them up to stress and work-related health complications in old age. Additionally, as healthcare costs increase, many lower-income individuals may delay or opt out of doctors’ visits over financial concerns, leading to exacerbated illnesses and early death.

The type of work people engage in, too, is shaped by income inequality. While human societies have virtually always been divided by class, with lower classes working in service of the upper classes, the widening income gap between the classes has led to an explosion of service-related jobs, such as manicure and massage therapy. These types of jobs often employ immigrants and workers who did not receive a college degree, and are characterized by low pay and poor working conditions. Nail salons in particular are plagued by poor and illegal working conditions, leading to a statewide investigation by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. 

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This category of work, which many call “wealth work,” also applies to jobs like driving an Uber or delivering food. Though these jobs are beneficial to those without a college education, particularly in the aftermath of the collapse of the American manufacturing industry, they also point to a cultural shift towards more rigid definitions of class, which makes it hard for lower-class individuals to advance in their careers. What’s more, these jobs are often performed with a certain degree of anonymity, as they are performed through an app or in urban business centers far from the worker’s place of residence, in contrast with the more personal interactions between the classes of several decades ago.

The gap in income between the classes correlates with an increase in polarization in American politics; as the Right has moved further to the political right under authoritarian leader Donald Trump, the Democratic Party as a whole has moved to the left in recent years, with once-taboo leftist policy positions like a substantial raise of minimum wage, entirely socialized medicine, the cancellation of student debt, and the idea of a universal basic income becoming topics of open discussion. The wealthy class has also transformed politics through the use of substantial political donations, with Donald Trump having raised well over $100 million for his re-election campaign this year alone. Wealthy donors, including oil executives and Wall Street titans, have successfully lobbied to cut taxes on the super-rich and roll back regulations which are meant to protect customers but impose costs on large companies. On a large scale, the effects of these policy changes have been to further disenfranchise the lower and middle classes in service of the upper class, as evidenced by the rapidly declining quality-of-life of most Americans.