The son of an Ecuadorian immigrant and a first-generation Italian American WWII veteran-turned-schoolteacher, Anthony grew up poor in Brooklyn, NY. When he was just six years old, he made his mother a promise that he would make their family wealthy one day. And to her credit, she never let him forget it. That promise lit a fire under Anthony that led him to get his real estate license at age 19. By 23, he was a millionaire with his own brokerage, Rapid Realty NYC, and a growing portfolio of rental properties to his name.
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Stefaan Aarnio: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the show Respect the Grind with Stefaan Aarnio. This is the show where we interview people who’ve achieved mastery and freedom through discipline. We interview entrepreneurs, athletes, authors, artists, real estate investors, anyone who’s achieved mastery to examine what it took to get there. Today on the show I have Anthony Lolli. Now this man has invaded my Instagram life. He is a best selling author. His book, The Heart of the Deal, no, it’s not the Art of the Deal, it’s the Heart of the Deal, is just taken over. I see it everywhere. He is the CEO of Rapid Realty, hailing out of New York City and he’s also a real estate investor. Love his stuff. Excellent speaker as well. Anthony Lolli, welcome to the show, Respect the Grind. Thank you for joining me. How are you doing in NYC today?
Anthony Lolli: I’m loving it, I’m loving it. It’s a little chilly out. I still don’t understand, it’s April 12 and it’s still cold. But I’m loving it.
Stefaan Aarnio: Damn, man. The weather just, it’s always like spring is coming, spring is coming, they just keep teasing you but it doesn’t ever really come. You know Anthony, do you prefer Anthony or Tony, what do you go by here?
Anthony Lolli: Anthony.
Stefaan Aarnio: Anthony, okay. Anthony, for the people around the world, we have people listening from Sweden, Australia, I’m in Canada, all over the US. For the people who don’t know Anthony Lolli yet, in your best words, can you self describe yourself so people know who Anthony Lolli is and what he’s all about?
Anthony Lolli: Well I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve been doing real estate work for about 21 years. I started when I was 19 years old, I’m a bestselling author, an international speaker, a real estate investor and developer, franchisor, father, husband, son, all around human being.
Stefaan Aarnio: Nice. I love that. Very humble man. I saw you speak in Toronto, we were at one of those trade shows. I had a boot, you had a booth. You had a bunch of dudes at your booth, I had some hot models at my booth, like peanut butter and jelly, they just met. And I love your story. How did you get start, Anthony? Tell the people at home how you got started because this show’s called Respect the Grind. There’s a lot of people wanting to be entrepreneurs now, they want to be in real estate, they want to be real estate investors. How did you get started? You got a great story, let’s share it with the world.
Anthony Lolli: Well I started when I was 19 years old. I took a real estate crash course. I dropped out of college. You know a that point in time I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and I saw that real estate was the pathway to success, so I took a one week course to get licensed and I never looked back. When I was in the real estate class, I said this is it, man. There’s no way that I’m going to lose this opportunity. I looked at it like a trade school, people go to school to become mechanics and nurses. I looked at this as a real estate trade school, and if I pass it, the rest is up to me. I can put my skills to dictate my income.
Stefaan Aarnio: I love that. And the sky’s the limit in real estate, it’s one of the greatest things. There’s nothing stopping you from making an unlimited amount of money. Now I have a lot of people on the show and a lot of listeners, Anthony, who are real estate investors. What attracted you, now you’re a realtor, you’ve also got a brokerage, a big national brokerage. I see some of your guys getting tattoos on their arms, like a gang, this guy’s like a New York City gangster over here. What attracted you to the real estate sales side of things first, or did you come from an investor side first? Was it sales or was it investment?
Anthony Lolli: It was investment. What attracted me was rentals. As a sales person, as a real estate agent, I started noticing that everybody was focused on doing sales, so I always say there’s riches in niches. So the niche that I wanted to focus on was rentals. And I started making a lot of money doing rentals and there was no competition. And I like to say when you’re in your own lane, there’s no traffic. So I decided to do as many rentals as possible that would equate to one sales transaction. And before you knew it, it was like I was doing hundreds of sales transactions because I was doing thousands of rentals. So I saw that as a lane that allowed me to go very quickly and generate income without having to deal with bank attorneys and title and insurance issues and all sorts of stuff, that I could sort of show somebody an apartment, they like it, they love it, introduce them to the landlord, and I’m signing leases like the same day and actually getting the commission the same day.
And so it only took me to make $2000 in 15 minutes where you know, I said man, I forgot what the math is, but it’s like $3700 a day makes you a $1 million a year. And if I’d make $2000 in 15 minutes, I said there’s definitely a way I can become a millionaire.
Stefaan Aarnio: Right. I love the millionaire math. There a little meme on the internet, it’s like $100 a month, you need this many customers to make $1 million, $200 a month you need this many subscriptions. I love the millionaire math, which is $3700 a day is a millionaire?
Anthony Lolli: Yeah I forget, divide it by 365, but it’s in the $37-3900 a day range.
Stefaan Aarnio: Wow, I love that. And Anthony’s got a great thing there for the kids at home, for the younger people, making $1 million isn’t impossible, it’s just breaking it down and doing the math. Now you’re selling leases, so you weren’t selling buildings, you were filling suites in New York City and that’s where you’re like, how does the money break down on that? Because I’m from Winnipeg in Canada. All the realtors here are doing 4%, 5%, 6% selling properties. How does the lease market work? This is something I’ve never even heard of.
Anthony Lolli: Well basically you know, landlords and management companies, they outsource leasing their rentals, their units. So we would charge 20% of the annual rent, or sometimes one month’s rent commission to either the landlord or the tenant. So typically an apartment in New York starts at $2000. So the commissions at minimum would be two grand, but they can go upwards to like $2500. Then of course the numbers change when you’re leasing commercial spaces, so that’s something else that I would do is rent out storefronts and big box retail where the rents were $5-10,000 a month, and therefore the commissions are equal to the rent or more.
Stefaan Aarnio: Wow. And it’s still a transaction. Instead of selling the whole place, you’re collecting all these two grand, two grand, two grand over and over again, you’ve got a high velocity, it’s a really good lesson-
Anthony Lolli: Well not only that, every year, especially in major metropolitan cities, people move in and out. They upgrade, they downgrade, they get married, they get divorced, they get roommates, all sorts of stuff, so you get to make that money in perpetuity.
Stefaan Aarnio: Yeah, exactly. Once you’ve got the relationship with the landlord, they say hey Anthony, rent me out again, I don’t want to deal with this. That’s what I do, I hire a management company. I pay the leasing fee. I don’t even want to deal with it, I don’t have time.
Anthony Lolli: Exactly.
Stefaan Aarnio: That’s awesome. Now Anthony, do you believe that success is more talent or is it more hard work?
Anthony Lolli: I think it requires both, you know. You have to work hard. But you also have to be talented. I think in the world of real estate and negotiations you have to have those kind of skills. You have to have personality, you have to have tenacity. You could work hard but if you don’t have tenacity to overcome those struggles and stumbles, you’re not going to succeed.
Stefaan Aarnio: I love that. I love the word negotiation too. You threw it out there, we’re going there. Now with your book, The Heart of the Deal, tell the people at home about The Heart of the Deal. I see your memes up there every day, I see passages about burning bridges and all sorts of things. Tell people at home what The Heart of the Deal is about.
Anthony Lolli: This is The Heart of the Deal. This is The Heart of the Deal right here. This is a book, took me a couple years to put together, and it’s The Heart of the Deal, how to invest and negotiate like a real estate mogul. And so what I did was I have this saying, if you could download everything that’s in my brain that I’ve accumulated over 21 years of real estate, would you do it? And the answer is, it’s in my book. So what I did was I broke the book down into multiple parts. The beginning talks about my story, how I got started. And then it gets into the meats and potatoes about negotiations, about selling and buying, investing, it breaks down all the different types of real estate. It even talks about buying out tenants if you’re investing in buildings. It talks a little bit about the tattoo story, how I’ve had over 100 people tattoo the company logo. Brand loyalty.
And it boils down to the human being business. So it really teaches you about the art of negotiation, the art of sales, and what the heart, every deal has a heart to it. Everything has a root. And so it really breaks down the heart of any particular transaction. So this is like a good beginning and intermediate guide to real estate. Once you do this book and you soak it in, the things that you can apply, then you’re on your own. Then you can actually start free styling and taking the craft and making it your own.
Stefaan Aarnio: I love that. It sounds like a real 101, 202, base foundation for a lot of people.
Anthony Lolli: Right.
Stefaan Aarnio: Now how important is negotiation to real estate?
Anthony Lolli: It’s extremely important because there’s so many different things to negotiate, from price to terms to financing to what’s included, what’s not included, to liability, limits to liability, to insurance. When you buy a property, you’re negotiating all that and then you have to insure the property so you’re negotiating the insurance. You’re negotiating your utility bills now because now it’s non-monopolized, you can negotiate electric and gas. Then you’re negotiating your leases for your tenants. You’re negotiating with your contractors when you’re looking to renovate the space. I mean everything and anything, even from negotiating the super of the building who’s going to take care of the building and do the maintenance, everything is being negotiated. So negotiation is in the heart of every transaction.
Stefaan Aarnio: Now Anthony, you know, you probably are training all sorts of guys. You’ve got brokerages, you’ve got education. How good is the average American at negotiating? Is that something that’s in our blood or is it something that people forget? Does the school system beat it out of people? I notice a lot, I’m from Canada, Canadians are the worst negotiators in the world. We’re so nice, we give everything a way. We’re always going to split the difference. Do you think that the average man, North American man or woman, are they not so great at negotiating? Tell me a bit about that.
Anthony Lolli: I think negotiation boils down to your character. Some people negotiate from a position of desperation. Some people negotiate for the sake of negotiations. Like hey, this shirt is $10, I’ll give you $5. You know. And some people negotiate because they love the sport of it, and they like to see their talents, they like to show off. Some people negotiate just because it’s good business or they have to. A penny saved is a penny earned. So I think it’s all relative to your personality or how you deal with adversity. You may be in a situation where you have to negotiate because you can’t afford it, or you have to negotiate because the numbers don’t work. So that’s a different type of thing on the line.
I equate negotiation to a boxing match. Are you fighting for your belt or are you fighting for a prize?
Stefaan Aarnio: I like that. There’s a lot of push and pull in negotiation. I wrote a book myself about negotiation because like you, I started at a very young age. Oh, Anthony, you there?
Anthony Lolli: Yeah. Somebody wants to call me now.
Stefaan Aarnio: Somebody’s calling you man, they love you.
Anthony Lolli: Probably want to negotiate something, I don’t know.
Stefaan Aarnio: Exactly. So you start negotiating at a young age, and real estate’s a real street business. You’re always meeting people on the street, you’re on the street, the deals are on the street, you’re signing leases on the back of a car or the hood of a car and you’re out there. With negotiating and learning to negotiate, did you have to become a different person or did you just become a better version of yourself?
Anthony Lolli: I think going back to boxing or let’s say MMA, every opponent, every person you’re negotiating with is completely different. They have a different set of skills, different set of experience, different approach. They might be a south paw, you don’t know. So you kind of have to be versatile. For example, if you’re looking to buy a property and the person is selling it because they’re looking to retire, then they need X amount of dollars to retire on. So you’re very limited as to negotiation, versus buying a property off of somebody that is flipping where they have a big enough margin and they’re just looking to make the most amount of money they can on a flip. So every negotiation is really about doing your due diligence on who you’re negotiating with and for.
Stefaan Aarnio: Yeah, I love that. It’s all about collecting that information, knowing who you’re going up against. Now one story that I love from you, Anthony, I saw you speak in Toronto. One story I love is a story about you were buying billboards for your real estate education company. You’re training realtors, you’re buying these billboards, and you’re paying all this money for billboards. And then you went across the street to some guy and you said hey man, can I hang this tarp on your building. Tell me about your sign company and the real estate education, tell the people at home about that. Because I love the creativity inside that. I think there’s a great lesson for the people.
Anthony Lolli: You know, there’s always deals inside of deals inside of deals, you know. Like those gift boxes where you open one up and there’s another one, there’s another one, there’s another one. That’s how I look at every transaction, how can you monetize the transaction? So what you’re talking about is two things. One is I started a real estate school that became the second largest school in New York City, which gave licensing classes to over 40,000 people so that they could get into the industry as a licensed real estate sales person.
And breaking into that business was very difficult because there’s a lot of schools that were out there at the time that had been around 30 and 40 years that were doing [inaudible 00:15:05] strictly on referrals. And so I needed to really create a new market and introduce people into real estate, so I took it upon myself to sell people on getting in real estate and then after they were sold about getting in real estate, to actually go to my school to get licensed. So that was like a two prong attack.
And so I went and did good old fashioned guerrilla marketing. This was before social media and the internet was really the way to market. This was like grassroots fliers and billboards and things like that. And so I started leasing out billboards and I was paying thousands of dollars a month to billboard companies to have signs on buildings, on the highways, and I started noticing that there were buildings directly across the street or next to that had the exact same size but the walls were empty. And so what I did was, I would go to the building owners and I would say to them, I would like to lease your wall. Could an ad like the one across the street, and that’s my ad, and I’d like to pay you your annual taxes up front so you have no more real estate taxes to pay on your property, that’s going to be my rent to you to use your wall.
And I’d lock them into like five year leases. But what would happen is that when I would put my billboard on the wall, all of a sudden competing billboard companies would call me and they would want to sublet, sublease the actual billboard, so I would sublease it to them after I got my billboard up and got like 30 to 60 days worth of advertising, I would sublease it to them for what I was paying a year, I would charge them the same amount per month. And I did that over 70 times.
Stefaan Aarnio: Wow. So what kind of multiplier, we’re talking a 12X multiplier there-
Anthony Lolli: Exactly.
Stefaan Aarnio: Wow, so your base cost is one, you’re making 12, whatever the multiplier is, you did it 70 times.
Anthony Lolli: I did it 70 times. Not only that, I got a chance to basically cut corners on my own personal advertising. So the other thing I would do is I would paint my sign on their walls so that whenever they had an ad, like a Coca Cola or a Pepsi or Heineken, it would cover my sign. And when they took the sign down, my ad still lived.
Stefaan Aarnio: Nice. So you were truly the landlord. You came in there, you controlled but you didn’t own. And then they came in as the tenant and if they were vacant, Anthony was always taking it. I love the creativity. What kind of money would one of those signs make you? This is probably opening up people’s brains at home everywhere going man, I gotta do some sign businesses or something now. What kind of money could you-
Anthony Lolli: Well you can do the maths. In New York, some of the taxes are $5000 and $10,000 and $12,000 a year. So I would charge that same amount per month. So it would be a nice size transaction, really.
Stefaan Aarnio: So in Winnipeg where I live, the average Winnpegger makes $35,000 Canadian a year, which is like $2 American. What’s amazing about that, and this is the power of creativity, one sign like that could make someone quit their job, would you agree?
Anthony Lolli: Yes, absolutely, yes. I mean it’s over six figures, sure.
Stefaan Aarnio: Right, exactly. If you did two signs, three signs, four signs, I mean what I love about this story Anthony, I love the creativity you bring to the table. Because you’re in the education space, you’re in the brokering space, you’re in the developing space, you’re in the ad space, you’re in the book space, you’re dominating. Let’s talk a little bit about your book and your domination, your speaking gig. Every time I open up my Instagram I see Anthony Lolli. He’s speaking somewhere, he’s promoting his book. Talk about how you took what you learned in real estate and applied it now to the internet, social media, your speaking tour. Because I think I asked you at one point, who’s booking your stuff? You’re like I do.
Anthony Lolli: Yeah.
Stefaan Aarnio: So tell me about that because you’re dominating on social media right now.
Anthony Lolli: Well I think what it is is that you need to know how to pick a crew. I have a good crew of people that work for me, that are dedicated, that are loyal. And you have to give people good direction. You can’t do it all on your own obviously, but I do give direction to my team and my staff and you build enough of a reputation that people want you to speak at their events, people want to learn about you. And you know as an author and as a successful author like yourself, having a book, the word author itself means authority. Right? So you’re the authority in your industry.
So I think the fact that I’ve lived it and I’m a real life entrepreneur, real life success story, and I’m still young relatively speaking, I’m only 40, and so I have many many more years to continue to grow. I think people can relate to that. I think there’s a big difference between sitting with somebody that’s 60 or 70 year old billionaire where they’re just getting started 30, 40, 50 years ago, versus somebody like myself where they can read my book and see where I’ve been, where I’m at. And then follow me on social media and continue to follow my growth. So I give you the road map to where I stopped at the end of the book and then you get to pick up because in the end I give you all my social media handles so you can actually follow me. So I put them all in there, Facebook, Instagram, and God knows what’s going to be five, 10 years from now.
But you know, basically people can follow my journey so my social media approach has just been transparent, showing the day in the life of and really inviting people to closings, to properties that I’m buying. And with Instagram doing the stories, it makes it more fun to not have to put so much thought into a post, just push the button and show people what’s going on in real time.
Stefaan Aarnio: Wow. That’s, I love what you’re bringing there. You’re bringing an authenticity to the table. You’re saying hey man, this is the closing table. Hey this is what Anthony Lolli’s having for lunch. I’ve seen some lunches on your Instagram and I’m going for a workout, hey I’m buying a watch, hey we’re going in a car, hey we’re renting a penthouse. How does this change the game in marketing and how does this change everything because there’s a whole new industry, a whole new world here, Anthony, with social media, coaching, training, mentoring. Does it open up more businesses for you? How do things change?
Anthony Lolli: I think you know, it opens up more relationships. You mentioned it earlier. I wouldn’t have been in Canada if I wasn’t out promoting the book and I wouldn’t have been able to meet you and we wouldn’t have been able to become friends and do this interview. And you have thousands of listeners and viewers that now know who I am. And that’s the power of the book, and that’s the power of social media. I think we met and I think we impacted each other, and since that point we were following each other. So you found it worthy enough to have me on your show based upon your due diligence of following me and vice versa. So I think the power of social media really solidifies relationships that, you know, how really would we have been able to keep up with each other and what we’re doing if we only met one time in Canada and never really spoke to each other after?
So you know. I wouldn’t have had the time to go through your podcast and listen to all the shows or I might not have been interested, but since I’d heard about it and I followed you and I see you’re equally as successful. I said man, this is a great opportunity on both ends. So social media, you know.
Stefaan Aarnio: That’s amazing. And it really brings you to another level Anthony, having the book. And I say there’s three parts to leadership and wealth. There’s, the first part is self mastery, you’ve got to get yourself together. If you’re a drug or a drunk or you can’t manage your checkbook-
Anthony Lolli: Right.
Stefaan Aarnio: You’re in that first space, self mastery. And then the second part is mastering a business, so it’s like you and a small crew or you and multiple crews or whatever, that’s the business mastery. And you’re in the third part, which is you’re creating a movement, and the movement is you’ve got this magnet, you’ve got a brand, you’ve got a book, and it’s pulling people in and it’s creating something bigger than a business.
Stefaan Aarnio: Talk to me a little bit about Rapid Realty and how what you’re building is more of a movement than just a business.
Anthony Lolli: Well it’s a company that I started when I was 21, when I started focusing on rentals. And I quickly saw that there was a huge appetite for people that wanted to do real estate because through the real estate school, which I actually gave to my parents to run as a gift because my dad was public school teacher so I didn’t have the time to run it, so I gave it to my dad and he ran it. And I started seeing some good talent in the school and started recruiting people. And I was able to build the small team that became larger and larger and larger, and then eventually the teammates wanted to actually own their own Rapid Realty.
So I actually learned a lesson because I was such a great trainer and mentor that I didn’t have the opportunity of franchising back then, so they actually left and opened up their own brokerages, so I kind of lost all the revenue potential there. So I decided to franchise as a way to kind of retain top talent, reward top talent, and guide top talent. So I broke into the franchise industry and really never looked back. I expanded little by little. We opened done, 10, 20, 30, 40, eventually we had opened up like 70 locations nationally. So it was a really really good opportunity for people to become business owners and kind of dictate their own income.
Stefaan Aarnio: Wow. I love that. And I guess you had such a good system and such a good base product that with franchising, it’s not about so much what you make, it’s about can that guy make money and keep running it and keep sustaining and can you train him and support him?
Anthony Lolli: Right.
Stefaan Aarnio: Because if the franchisee’s not making money, if the guy on the ground’s not making money, it’s just not a good company. So where is that franchise going? Are you going global with that brand, are you going international-
Anthony Lolli: Yeah, eventually, you know, global is on the horizon. It’s an opportunity to really grow the footprint. It’s a unique concept, it’s rental centric, it does do sales. But definitely national expansion, continued national expansion. We’d love to get into Canada. You know, Canada’s the home of other real estate franchises that have been equally successful if not more. So the foundation has already been laid in Canada. There’s a lot of real estate transactions that happen there. And so there’s an opportunity to kind of grow in some of these other international markets. So I’d love to see it be everywhere.
Stefaan Aarnio: Yeah, that’s powerful, man. Tell me about the tattoos, the tattoo, you’re showing people getting tattooed, Rapid Realty tattoos. I thought holy shit, that’s real loyalty, that’s gangster. Real leadership is kind of gangster, getting the tattoos. Tell me about how that went down because I’ve never seen somebody with their team getting tattoos that say-
Anthony Lolli: Well let me tell you something. When you first hear about it, it sounds crazy, right? But here’s what happened. There was a really good real estate agent that worked for us. And he rented a commercial space to a tattoo artist, and he gave him a really good deal on the space. And as a thank you, the tattoo artist wanted to give him a free tattoo, his first tattoo in the store. So he asked the salesperson, what do you want? And he said I want the Rapid Realty logo tattooed on me. So he called me in the middle of his tattoo session, he didn’t tell me. He called me and he said Anthony, I want to show you how happy I am for the opportunity you gave me. I’ve been making so much money with your company, I’ve made so many friends, it changed my life, I’m getting the company logo tattooed on myself. I want you to come down and see it, take a picture with me.
I said oh my God. I flew down there, drove down right away, and I said, I was shocked and amazed and I said what do I owe you, man? Let me pay for the tattoo. He said no, it’s free. And I said I tell you what, I’m going to give you a higher commission split. I’m going to give you the highest commission split the company can offer on all of your transactions for the rest of your life. And so when people in the company heard that there was an opportunity to get a higher commission split, all of a sudden I’ve got 20 more agents that wanted to get the tattoo.
And then when the 20 agents got the tattoo, I got agents that already were on a high commission split that just wanted to get the tattoo for the sake of getting the tattoo, just to kind of show their loyalty. And then it went from guys that are our age and younger, in their early 20s getting tattoos, to grandmothers in their 60s that were real estate agents for us getting their first tattoo. They didn’t get a tattoo in 60 years but they made Rapid Realty logo become their first tattoo. So it was nuts.
But you know, as crazy as it may sound, I don’t have any tattoos myself but I’m a big tattoo fan. When I think about it, there are people that tattoo the Yankees and the Knicks and the Jets and the Giants and they have to pay to go and watch the game. They don’t make money from the Yankees or the Jets or the Giants. They tattoo Bob Marley on themselves, Marilyn Monroe. And they tattoo Indian and Asian language on themselves and they’re not making any money and half the time they’re not even from that descent. So there are people that do crazy things like that that I don’t understand. They’re die hard fans of a sports team that they still have to pay to watch.
Stefaan Aarnio: That’s the next level billboard and branding of Anthony Lolli. You put it right on your body, man. You’re putting a tarp on a building, you’re putting a tattoo on a dude. I salute you, man. None of my employees have a Stefaan Aarnio tattoo on them. But man, that’s really something. It’s really special. And you know what I like about it too is that it is an income generating thing. When you gave the guy the split, you said I’m going to give you a better split, it’s like you’re paying the lease, it’s a better lease on that billboard.
Anthony Lolli: That’s right.
Stefaan Aarnio: We’re just going back to the billboard, man.
Anthony Lolli: Yeah.
Stefaan Aarnio: So let me ask you this, Anthony, is it better to have a great brand or is better to have a great business?
Anthony Lolli: I think it’s important to have a good business but I think that if you want the business to survive without having to pour a tremendous amount of marketing dollars into it, it needs to have a brand, you know, it needs to be a brand that is recognized. I think that word of mouth and brand association and brand feeling play a major role in people wanting to continue to do business. Or you know, you’re in the first impression business, so having a brand that’s solid helps you not have to fight for the business.
Stefaan Aarnio: Yeah, I think that in the age of Amazon and the age of eCommerce, especially you’re in the real estate business, which is a commodity, right?
Anthony Lolli: Right.
Stefaan Aarnio: Renting out suites is a commodity. Agents are commodities, and anything you can do to make the Anthony Lolli experience or the Rapid Realty experience different and proprietary is what’s going to make you survive, because you’re either going to live as a brand or die as a commodity.
Anthony Lolli: Correct.
Stefaan Aarnio: Now inside of that, the deal in the deal in the deal, for Anthony Lolli, what’s your obsession in your life and your business? Because what I find Anthony, is a lot of really high performers like yourself, like myself, like anybody, they’re obsessed with something. What’s your obsession?
Anthony Lolli: I think being all that I can be. I think knowing that I’m achieving to my maximum potential and at the same time, helping other people along the way. So I think I’m obsessed with that. I’m obsessed with quality of life. I think that the reward for a good product or good effort is obviously income but also lifestyle, and I think you can help your family and your friends, and myself personally I’m involved with dozens of charities so I love that the more I make, the more I can contribute. I love that the more I learn, the more I can teach. And I love the fact that you know, the price of success is how much life you’re willing to give up for it. But if you’re successful you can actually hire people that can kind of buy your freedom, so to speak.
Stefaan Aarnio: Let’s talk about that for a minute. So there’s a lot of people out there who want freedom. They want freedom, they want to go on the beach, they want to have the nice dinner like Anthony Lolli. They want to go to the gym, they want to live the life, but a lot of people don’t want to put anything in. I don’t know if it’s a generational thing or a millennial thing or is it a social media thing where we want it all fast. What do you say to the people who want the success but like you said, you want to pay the price? What do you say to people who just maybe they want it, they want the benefits, but they don’t want the cost?
Anthony Lolli: You know, I understand. I could have been a doctor, but I didn’t want to spend the next eight to 10 years of my life in school, so therefore I’m not a doctor and I don’t have doctor type benefits, so I think that they need to kind of come to terms with that. Like you can’t have it without putting in the time and the effort and the energy. Always think back to this analogy of being a doctor. You have to put in the educational time, the practice, and pay your dues, and then after a decade, you can start reaping the rewards. So I think any level of success is a long term play.
When you look at companies like Facebook and all these other social media companies, they were not making money for a long time, five, seven, eight years before they actually started generating revenues and making enormous profits. And in that time period, they had to give up a lot of equity and actually borrow or get investors committed, so there’s a lot of time where you’re kind of like eating dirt and that’s you paying your dues. I still don’t know anybody except somebody that wins the lottery that can kind of be sitting pretty without actually paying their dues.
Stefaan Aarnio: Well and the truth of the lottery is when the guy wins it, if he’s in a trailer he’s going to go into a mansion but he’ll be back in that trailer and bankrupt and committing suicide because he can’t even drive the bus of being a multimillionaire. He’s going to crash the bus, you know?
Anthony Lolli: Exactly.
Stefaan Aarnio: So I like what you said there, Anthony, about Facebook, because Facebook, they’ve been not profitable for a long time. Dumping money, it’s almost like building a skyscraper in the internet. And another company like that is Amazon. They’ve been around for 20 years, they’re still not even profitable. But Jeff Bezos is obsessed with market share and he’s obsessed with growth and he’s obsessed with owning everybody’s information. It seems to me that the longer the time horizon somebody has for willing to put stuff in to get the reward really determines the size of their success. Would you agree with that?
Anthony Lolli: I do. I di think that, you know, they also say more money, more problems, right? Look at Mark Zuckerberg. He was in front of the committee yesterday or the day before. I mean listen, that’s the cost of success. You have to kind of deal with that. You start something really good with good intentions and then you have people that think differently, people are entitled to their opinion. That’s the cost of success and not everybody can deal with that type of adversity, you know? It doesn’t come without adversity, challenges, haters. That’s how life is, and some people break easily. Their spirits get broken, their pockets get broken. And so the cost of success is being able to withstand the storms so you can enjoy the sunshine.
Stefaan Aarnio: I love that. What was a moment for you, Anthony, where you thought you might get broken by the storm?
Anthony Lolli: I think it was very early on in my career. I had a building fire. I talk about it in the book. When I was 21, and somebody died in the building. And that right there was like oh man, do I really want to do this? It wasn’t my fault and it was an accident but still, somebody died. So that was tragic and it was enough to break anybody’s spirit, especially at 21 with the second property that I bought.
So then after that I built a wonderful company and then I had about a dozen people that were my top performers, my Michael Jordans, that left me to compete with me, and then I was in a big legal battle with them. So that would have been enough to break my spirit, where you have people that you were close to now kind of going against you and then it’s costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars and possibly your business.
So I’ve been through all those things, and there’s a common denominator in that whenever you’re going through an adversity, it’s like they’re saying when you’re going through hell, keep going. Because you’re just going through hell. Just like an airplane that goes through turbulence. You’re just going through turbulence. Just keep going because if you stop you’re going to stay in that hell. So the idea is that you just keep going and going and going. And you fall back on your experience, you fall back on your tenacity, you fall back on your strengths, you fall back on your skills, you know? And you just plow through.
And success is always at the end. Always at the end.
Stefaan Aarnio: I love that. The road to heaven begins in hell.
Anthony Lolli: That’s right.
Stefaan Aarnio: If you want, you know everybody wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die. Don’t they say that in the Marines?
Anthony Lolli: That’s right, yeah.
Stefaan Aarnio: What motivates you to be great at what you do, Anthony? Because everybody operates, you know, there’s some guys that operate mediocre, there’s some guys who operate subpar, there’s some guys who operate at cutting it or just above cutting it. What motivates you to be great?
Anthony Lolli: I hate to use this analogy again but the art of boxing and the art of fighting is combinations. Knowing your combinations like automatic is your ability to kind of hit the opponent nonstop because it’s like a button. You punch once and it’s only once but if you’re hitting somebody with a perfected combination that just comes secondhand to you, kind of like if somebody taps you on the shoulder in the dark alley, you might turn around right away, like ready, and you’re prepared. You’re shocked, it’s a natural instinct.
So I think that you have to have these instinctual business combinations where things are second nature to you. How to lead people. How to create business plans and execute on them. Standard of excellence. Daily to do lists and daily achievement accomplish lists. Checking yourself. Time management. These things should be automatic, no different than a boxer, a championship boxer, let’s say a guy like Floyd Mayweather or even Connor McGregor, doing pushups and sit ups and jogging 10 miles in the morning, that’s like standard before breakfast. You don’t have to drag them out of bed, it’s automatic, you know what I mean? So 10,000 punches on the punching bag and sparring even before you start working out is standard practice.
So I think that when you put it in your mind that you have these standard things, business pushups and business jogging miles and miles, then everything else is easy because you’ve already put in the work. If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready. Just like a fighter, if he’s always in shape and always in fighting shape, he can take on a last minute fight and win. So it’s just a matter of watching a couple of videos of the opponent. So same thing with business, if you keep your mind sharp and your finances sharp, you’re always ready for the next win.
Stefaan Aarnio: Man, I love that. This show’s called Respect the Grind, by the way. I wear my Respect the Grind shirt, it’s got the [crosstalk 00:40:59]-
Anthony Lolli: Love it.
Stefaan Aarnio: Carving himself out of stone. And I had a student once, and he was complaining. He was like we’re trying to flip houses and we’re writing offers. And I tell my students, you’ve got to do 50 calls and 10 offers every week, that’s the deal. Minimum 10 offers. I had a guy on my show, he does 70 offers a week, flips 50 homes a year. He’s a champion, he’s also a fighter like you’re talking about. And I said to the student, his name is Jason. I said Jason, you’ve got to respect the grind, man. It’s going to take you 10 years and 10,000 hours to be a master, and what makes you think you can cut the line? Because guys like Anthony Lolli are in the line, guys like Stefaan Aarnio, I’m in the line. It does take that 10 years and 10,000 hours. Now what do you think is the biggest cause of failure in people? You’re training guys, you’ve got brokerages everywhere. What causes people to fail?
Anthony Lolli: You know, same thing, one of my building supers, right, I asked him to put together a piece of furniture for me, and the furniture has a manual. And he decided to skip the manual and just put the furniture together. And I walk in on it, and I see him taking it apart. And this is after I told him, I said read the manual. And so you know, so he has the left and the right, the wrong screws, things are missing. He has to take the whole thing apart and start over. I think a lot of people are looking for that quick fix. They don’t want to study the manual. They don’t want to read books like yours or books like mine. Like mine’s a four hour read, you know? Your book is equally as excellent, and you have many books, too.
Filling yourself up with knowledge, watching shows like yours, really paying your dues, what does paying your dues mean? Understanding all aspects of the business. I swept and mopped my own buildings. I’ve done my own construction and my own buildings. I’ve carried materials and purchased materials so I know every single aspect of real estate because I’ve done it myself with my own hands. I know how long it takes, I know what it takes, and therefore I can relate to the people that I hire because I’ve done their exact same job.
Stefaan Aarnio: So you come from the trenches? You’re a leader that’s willing to get in the trenches. I’d quote Jay-Z but there’s too many N-bombs in there and people are going to call me racist if I quoted Jay-Z, but he says you never send someone to do a job you can’t do himself. And I love that, you know, it’s a true leader that’s able to bend down, sweep the floor, bend down, pick up the trash. You’ve got to bend down, pick up the power and the leadership that comes with that.
Stefaan Aarnio: Now Anthony, in your business, do you ever get doubters or haters and people say he’s not all that and a bag of chips? He’s not who he says he is? Tell me how you deal with the haters and the doubters.
Anthony Lolli: You know, I think they’re fantastic. I think they’re doing their job. There’s a movie that Howard Stern put out called Private Parts, right? And there’s a scene in Private Parts where they say his ratings are off the charts and it’s mainly because he has more listeners that like him or hate on him that are listening. And so I think there’s again another common denominator of successful people that end up winning. The more hate you have, the more, it’s kind of a like a rocket ship trying to break into outer space. Right at the tip when you’re breaking out of the atmosphere is when it’s at its hottest and most difficult point. So you know, when you look at people that are going through a lot of hate and haters, usually the byproduct is massive success.
Because if you have haters, you have people that are jealous because they can’t do it or slighted for whatever reason, and so it’s a good indicator. I look at it like a video game, right? When you’re playing a video game, the closer you get to winning, the more ghouls and goblins and people come out faster and it’s more challenging. But that only means you’re actually about to win. So for me the more that the hate comes out, the more people are trying to bash you or bring you down or doubt you or whatever, criticize you, then I’m like I love it. I’m like yes, I’m doing something great. I’m almost there. I actually get worried when it’s too quiet.
Stefaan Aarnio: I love what you said there. It’s sort of like, I don’t want to get political, but Donald Trump, half the people hate him, he became president. Like 50%, they’re beheading dolls of him on TV which is crazy, and he’s still the president. It’s insane. So I guess there’s power and there’s energy in having haters. And my personal haters, I’ve got haters on my Facebook that every single post, they post you can’t do that or something.
Anthony Lolli: Right, right.
Stefaan Aarnio: I always think about blocking them and I’m like no, man, I’m going to leave them. Because like your billboards, they just keep promoting me.
Anthony Lolli: That’s it, man. It’s more views, more likes, more dislikes, whatever it may be, may actually motivate me, you know? I look at it like what a challenge. I love it. It makes me strive for more. Lets me know that I need to achieve extra massive success. There’s nothing like making a hater mad. I love it.
Stefaan Aarnio: Well yeah when you just keep winning, it’s crazy, my original hater was my dad 10 years ago. He said you’ll never buy a property, you’re never going to do it, and even if you buy a property the bank’s gonna foreclose on you, they’re going to call the mortgage, you’re going to be bankrupt, you’re going to be bust. I just hired my dad, he works in my office and actually did his fifth or sixth deal. So you know, you keep doing it til you’re hiring your haters to come work for you.
Anthony Lolli: That’s right. I love that, hire your haters, that’s great, I love it.
Stefaan Aarnio: Hire the haters. You should put that up as a sign, Rapid Realty, hiring all haters. You know?
Anthony Lolli: I love it. I love it.
Stefaan Aarnio: What are three books that changed your life, Anthony? Every reader’s a leader. What are your top three books?
Anthony Lolli: I like Outliers. You talked about the 10,000 hour rule. Malcolm Gladwell’s an excellent author. He puts a lot of thought into his writing and I like that analogy. I think circumstances also play a major role in your success. What were your personal circumstances? So that’s a number one book that I like.
I also like, trying to think of the name of the book. There’s another book called Punk Marketing. It came out right before social media really banged and it talked about the way people are marketing now. I have a whole collection of books as a matter of fact here, let me see if I can bring you over to them since we’re on this topic actually. Here’s my pool table here.
Stefaan Aarnio: Nice. At the Lolli mansion, we’re at the Lolli mansion. It’s not the Playboy mansion, it’s-
Anthony Lolli: So you know, I have a bunch of books here. I have a book about Patron, built to sell, built to last.
Stefaan Aarnio: Dude, you got mine right there.
Anthony Lolli: There you go. Look at this book right here. look at that one. See that?
Stefaan Aarnio: Right on the shelf.
Anthony Lolli: You know, people buy you, this is an interesting book. This book here, the seven habits of highly effective people. this book about Tasty Delight. This book about Bill Gates. Books about franchising. Jack Welsh’s book here. The book Middle Class Millionaire. And of course I have Trump’s books here. Another book, Good to Great. The Truth About Leadership. So you know, there’s books like that. I have more down here. But you know, better than normal. I mean, The Richest Man in Babylon. I mean there’s so many different books that I can’t equate it to one.
But it’s, when you read a book, it all depends on where you’re at mentally at that point in time also. You have to think about these things, because you may not be in a situation where, I always say re-read the book because you might be in a different place mentally, financially, emotionally, physically, where now the material’s going to hit you a little bit different. And all of us take the time to kind of watch movies over and over and over again and we kind of get a different experience every single time. So I think it’s the same with books. You should really pick up a book again and re-read it depending on where you’re at in your life because it might affect you completely differently. It’s almost like going back to your elementary school and you’re like man, this is so small, it’s tiny. You thought it was larger than life back then.
One of the things I did is I went and visited one of the first attorneys that I used when I first started my career. I went back to his office, I think it was his birthday or something. And I remember that his office to me was like a real fancy schmancy office when I first got started in business. And I was so impressed by that, that my personal office kind of mimicked that. And so when I went back to his office, I hadn’t been in his office in like 18 years or something, I noticed that my office was 10 times nicer than his office ever was, but it was only because what I felt at that time. So going back and looking at his office and saying man, it’s not really as nice as I thought it was. It was just something that I had in my mind.
So same thing with books. They may impact you in a certain way in the beginning of your career, but if you re-read them again, it may give you a different perspective.
Stefaan Aarnio: I love that. It’s like reading Art of the Deal by Donal Trump three times. I read that three times, different every time.
Anthony Lolli: Yup.
Stefaan Aarnio: Think and Grow Rich, Rich Dad Poor Dad, lots of these big real estate books are different every time. We gotta wrap up here, Anthony, but what’s the one thing, talking to the millennials, the young generation right now, maybe even generation Z. What do you think is the one thing people need to succeed these days?
Anthony Lolli: I think they need to learn how to sell. I think they need to learn how to sell, either sell themselves, sell the product, but they should start small. Sell a tshirt, sell on Amazon. Sell on Etsy, sell your used clothes. Learn negotiation and sales because you’re going to need that no matter what you’re doing unless you’re going to become a mechanic and collect the salary. And even at that point you have to sell your resume to get the job. So you know, I think you have to realize that they need to learn how to generate income first, even if it’s small amounts of income. But they should really be trying to make money out of thin air first. Impress themselves.
Stefaan Aarnio: I love what you’re saying man. There’s only one way to make money, that’s to sell. Either sell your time or something else.
Anthony Lolli: Right.
Stefaan Aarnio: Learn to sell something else. I love it. Is there any resources you recommend to people starting out who want to follow a path like yours?
Anthony Lolli: I think that the world of social media, they could follow me on Facebook, Instagram, follow you, Facebook, Instagram, listen to your podcast. I think that you and others like you introduce people in an intimate way to people that are on the next level. It’s a different game when you’re talking to Richard Branson, who’s a billionaire for the past 20 years. That’s different insight. But when you’re talking to a multimillionaire that’s on its way to become a billionaire, then that’s something that you can kind of reach and are close enough to grab, where you can still kind of direct message somebody and get their attention. So I think that a lot of people, they spend a lot of time with people that are already in outer space and trying to achieve 50 years of work in 50 days. It doesn’t work that way. I think they should really start off in the little leagues before they get to the big leagues.
Stefaan Aarnio: I love it, yeah, having that mentor who’s the next level is almost more important than the Richard Branson. Because Branson, he won’t even be able to talk to you because he’s on level 100 and you might be on level six.
Anthony Lolli: Right.
Stefaan Aarnio: One final thing, Anthony, how can people get a copy of your book?
Anthony Lolli: The book, it’s pretty simple to get. It’s on Amazon, it’s on the website, theheartofthedeal.com. It’s on anthonylolli.com. It’s in Barnes and Noble, I mean literally anywhere and everywhere, The Heart of the Deal is there. And they can keep up with me on Instagram, which is Anthony Lolli. And I’m doing book signings everywhere. We’re going to colleges, we’re going to different Barnes and Nobles, different bookstores. So they can stay tuned or they can direct message me, email us, Facebook inbox us. We’ll put them in touch with the right links.
Stefaan Aarnio: Love it. Any final words?
Anthony Lolli: If you’re thinking about quitting, don’t.
Stefaan Aarnio: Love it.
Anthony Lolli: Simple as that.
Stefaan Aarnio: Thank you for being on the show, Anthony.
Anthony Lolli: Thank you so much, appreciate it.
Stefaan Aarnio: Hey, it’s Stefaan Aarnio here, thank you so much for listening to another episode of Respect the Grind. Now if you loved what you heard here today, I want you to check out my brand new wealth potentials test. If you’ve ever wondered what the next step is in your game, your entrepreneurial game, your wealth building game, if you want to know where you’re at and where to go next, wealth potentials measures your habits, your talents, and your leadership to show you where you are today in your wealth building and where you need to go tomorrow. This test has taken me over a year and a half to develop. Really powerful, really great way to see where you’re at now and where you need to go. If you want to try out my test, go to wealthpotentials.com/podcast, I have a special offer just for you. That’s wealthpotentials.com/podcast. Take the test today. It’s going to change your business and it’s going to change your life.