Daniel Nagy is an active Real Estate Investor and founder of Emmett Leo Homes. Daniel is based in Winnipeg MB and involved in community programs and volunteer organizations. He is a member of multiple local real estate Investor networks, which focuse on investing through education. In staying active in the city, he understands the local areas and trends which are ever-changing.
As an active real estate investor that invests based on economic analysis and fundamentals, he is able to invest in economies that have strong growth and sustainability for the long term. He invests in cash-flowing residential properties through strategic, step-by-step systems. He, and his team of experts, look after all the tedious steps involved in acquiring investment properties.
Find out more about Dan Nagy at:
Stefan Aarnio: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the show, Respect the Grind with Stefan 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 has achieved mastery and examine what it took to get there.
Today on the show, I have a very good friend of mine, Dan Nagy. He is well known up in Canada for doing a luxury real estate builds, luxury real estate flips. He’s built a great brand, Emmet Leo Homes, and Dan Nagy actually, who was one of my students years ago, he has grown in leaps and bounds. He was Investor of the Year in Real Estate World Magazine 2016.
Dan, welcome to the show, Respect the Grind. Thank you so much for joining me.
Dan Nagy: Thanks for having me.
Stefan Aarnio: Dan, it’s been an incredible journey. How long have we known each other for?
Dan Nagy: What are we now? We’re about six years?
Stefan Aarnio: Six years, wow, and you know, it’s been incredible. I remember, was it 2012, we shared a hotel room out in Vancouver. I think you were nominated for an award. I was nominated for an award, and it’s been incredible to watch you grow over all this time now. For people at home who don’t know you that well, in your own words, can you tell people at home a little bit about who Dan Nagy is, and what you’re all about?
Dan Nagy: Yeah. So, I looked at myself like pretty much everyone else that you ever see, really. I mean, I was a firefighter at the time. I was an 11 year firefighter, and when I first met you, everything you said went over my head. Absolutely everything, and I was just … I was awestruck.
Now, at the time, I was married, and I thought to myself, how does somebody buy an apartment building? That was my very first thought of entrepreneurship. How do I buy that apartment building? And so I started breaking it down to, well, maybe I should buy a house first, and maybe I should learn how to do a few things, and lo and behold the universe, which never lies, and always has a reason behind something, found a way to get me to slow down, and I got injured, and I just about lost my hand in a stucco mixer.
And I had a lot of time off, and so I spent a lot of time reading, and so if there’s one thing that I can attest that the biggest trigger for everything, the biggest push was reading, and so I read about real estate. That was my vice, and so over the course of a year, I read and I read and I read about rental real estate, and I tried to figure out how somebody can really buy a house and make it a business.
After a year, I had to secretly buy a house, and I actually bought two houses without telling my now ex wife about it. So, we bought two houses, and that’s really where my journey began, I suppose.
Stefan Aarnio: Now, Dan, I mean, this isn’t a marriage show. It’s not a relationship show, but you went there. Now, I notice you said, oh, I was married at the time, and my wife at the time, and how she’s my ex wife, and I bought some houses. Tell me a little bit about … sounds like you had a job. You wanted to get out of firefighting into real estate investing. You wanted to be an entrepreneur. Tell me a little bit about the friction and having a spouse that maybe made you have to buy secretly, because there’s a lot of men out there, and I say men, because mostly men are interested in real estate investing. A minority of women are interested in real estate investing.
A lot of men want to do this kind of thing, and their spouse isn’t supportive. Tell me a little bit about why did you have to buy secretly? How did that happen? I mean, usually husband and wife in theory should be on the same page. Tell me about that.
Dan Nagy: Right. So, one of the big things that I’ll point out is at the time, I didn’t want to quit firefighting. I just had this push inside of me to do more. That was it, and when you told me, the first time I met you, and you told me, Dan, you’re going to quit firefighting, I didn’t believe you. Not one part of me believed you. So, that’s not where my head was at the time, actually.
But to get onto marriage and stuff like that, it really, sir, it was a big anchor as far as us not being on the same page, and I could sit here all day and blame one person, but I mean, it take two to tango, and ultimately I had to learn and buy those houses by myself mainly because I hadn’t earned the trust that is proven with consistency in a relationship, and so I don’t know if it was something that I did or didn’t do, but the trust wasn’t there, simply.
Stefan Aarnio: It’s interesting you say that, because I talk to men all the time. They want to change their lives. Maybe they want to get into real estate investing, take training or something, and they say, oh, I’ve got to talk to my wife. My wife won’t let me, something like that, and I’d be straight up with them. I’d say, you know what? If you were a successful man today, and had a track record of success, you wouldn’t have to ask.
Wayne Gretsky doesn’t have to ask his wife if he buys a new Porsche. He’s the great one. He doesn’t have to ask his wife. Donald Trump doesn’t have to ask his wife if he can buy a new helicopter. He just buys it. So, I like what you said there about the track record of success and the proven track record there to earn the trust. I think that’s one powerful stuff.
So, Dan, financially when you’re firefighting, you’re married back in the day, what was your wife like before you reached success and kind of got to the other side? I consider you guys got to the other side of this thing. You’re a pretty good entrepreneur now. What was life like before?
Dan Nagy: It was good. Life was good, right? And it was good until it wasn’t, and then it was good again, and we lived a little beyond our means, and we would just try to keep pushing a little bit, and it’s almost like we just kind of kept taking that little morsel, whatever morsels we could find. There was no true abundance. There was no … tires just weren’t gripping. We were moving along, and we were doing what everyone else was doing, and what we had been preprogrammed to, buying the houses and having the kids, and buying the mini vans, and it’s just the same old story over and over and over again until you get to a place where you start thinking how did I get here?
Stefan Aarnio: So, what was that trigger moment for you where you’re like, I’m in comfort, I’m in lala land, this is the mini van and the picket fence and all these things? What was the wake up moment where this turned on, and things changed for you?
Dan Nagy: So, it was about five years into firefighting, and I had three rental properties, maybe four rental properties at the time, nine sets of tenants, and I had gone into my bank to get … I needed a little extra money on an LLC, and I needed $1,000 to go do something that I wanted to do, and I couldn’t get an extension on my line of credit. I was making $100,000 a year as a firefighter, and I couldn’t get $1,000 from the bank, which really didn’t make sense to me, but at the time, I didn’t really know.
I was learning about finances, and I knew a lot about mortgages. I knew a lot about banks, but at the same time, my mindset hadn’t changed. I learned a lot of transactional stuff. I hadn’t learned a lot of transformational things where I started living in abundance, and I remember walking out of the bank thinking, something’s wrong. Something is really wrong here.
Stefan Aarnio: So, how’d you get to the bottom of it, Dan? I mean, I think everybody’s had that moment when they want to be in entrepreneurship, and they get into the bank, or they go somewhere, and the bank shuts them down. How did you get from getting shut down at the bank for $1,000, and now you’re flipping multi million dollar homes and building spec homes? What is the transition there? Because getting shut down for $1,000 is one thing. That’s almost like Money Mart kind of payday loan style situation, to a guy who’s building some of the greatest homes in the entire city that we live in?
Dan Nagy: Well, after that moment, it was a real eye opener, and I started to really push harder than I’d ever pushed, and what I was doing was there was no urgency in my life. I was a firefighter. I had a great job. I didn’t need to do anything, and that thought kept coming around, and it wasn’t until I really decided that I needed help doing it. It was at that moment that I thought, you know what? I’m not getting where I want to be, and it’s going to take me 35 years to make anything of myself, and I can look down the table at work, and I can see what I’m going to be, and for some people, that’s great.
I’m not knocking it. I think it’s the best job in the world if you want a job, but I knew where that was going, and that predictability absolutely ate me up inside. So, it was really one of those [crosstalk 00:10:47] yes. So, that was really one of the things of I need some help, and so where it just so happened that the one guy in Winnipeg who was doing something that I didn’t even think was possible, let alone didn’t believe him. I found a guy named Stefan Aarnio who was flipping 10, 20, and I think it was 20 to 30 houses the year that I signed up with you to teach me how to flip active real estate and actually make some money, making a living out of it.
Stefan Aarnio: Cool. So, Dan, why did you choose real estate out of all things? Now, I got people on this show who are Olympic athletes. I got people on here who are bodybuilders. I got people on here who are artists and all sorts of different things. Why real estate out of all the different things you could have chosen?
Dan Nagy: So, I grew up in construction, and I just that was what I knew. My dad was really good with his hands. He could build stuff. I built stuff with him, and that’s really what I knew, and it was tangible. It was right in front of me. I could smell it, touch it, feel it. When I first moved to Winnipeg, I was hooked up with a financial advisor, and nothing against him. He did a great job. He did what he was supposed to, but I was investing in RSP’s, and 2006 to 2008, wasn’t great years for the financial markets.
So, I didn’t make any money, and I once again, couldn’t understand why, but I just didn’t have control of it, and so it’s that control that I really wanted, because I knew that I could push it. I knew that I could create something. I just didn’t know what medium to do it in, and what was right in front of me was real estate.
Stefan Aarnio: I love that. I think the biggest thing with people that we interview on the show that are really successful is they take the opportunity in front of their face, and when there’s an opportunity there, they grab it. It’s hard work. They have to do all these different things, but it really … it’s there and it’s tangible, and it’s real.
Stefan Aarnio: Now, let me ask you this, Dan. Now, you can interpret this question one of two ways. Did success change you, or do you have to change to become successful?
Dan Nagy: Oh, definitely the second one.
Stefan Aarnio: Tell me about that. So, you had to change from Dan Nagy 2012, to Dan Nagy 2018. Tell me about some of those changes.
Dan Nagy: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So, the first change that I had to go through was thinking about money and real estate and the way that business actually worked, and that I was lucky enough to get while coaching under you. Now, that taught me about business, and that was something that completely changed my life, because I was never in business. I was an employee, and that’s all I knew.
So, to transform your mind from the mind of an employee to an investor is a huge jump for people. Now, there’s no way that we can get out of the problems that our minds get us into by thinking the same way, right? We do stuff over and over and over and over and over. We think that things are going to change, and to me, that meant, okay, there’s something else out there, and there was always a thought, to me, that we all have the same 24 hours. Why is it that one person looks at an opportunity, and the other person sees the same thing, and sees nothing?
And that’s when really I decided that my mind and investing in myself was the most powerful and well to do investment that I would ever put money, time, and energy towards.
Stefan Aarnio: So, Dan, tell me about that. Henry Ford says that, is a quote by Henry Ford. He says, I think the advice to give young men on saving money is wrong. Until I was 40, I invested every penny into myself, and Henry Ford was the most powerful man in the world. He was a billionaire at a time when it was a big deal to be a millionaire. I think he might have been the richest man in the world at one point. Henry Ford said investing in himself was the best investment. Tell me about investing in yourself, because I meet people every day. Every day I got somebody reaching out to me, and they want the result. They want to flip houses. They want to be a real estate investor. They want laptop lifestyle, freedom, live on the beach, whatever it is, right? And they want that, but they don’t want to invest in themselves. Tell me why should someone invest in themselves, and what kind of returns do you see investing in that versus let’s say stock, bond, mutual fund, or even real estate?
Dan Nagy: Right. So, the way that we see ourselves determines everything, and the way that our minds see everything determines the quality of our life. I once had someone say the quality of the questions determines your life. There’s a lot of cliché sayings that are actually true, and when we start pushing … our minds are incredibly, incredibly powerful, and it wasn’t until I really started diving into what some people would say the intangibles like meditation and diving into spirituality and even masculinity, what it means to be a man, a business man, a father, a husband.
When we think about this stuff, it’s all how we act. It’s how we see things. It’s our perception of the world. The frame in which we see things determines our triggers. It determines our feelings, our stories, our desires. That leads everything for us, and if we invest time, money, and energy into ourselves, nobody can ever take that away from us.
I had a cousin call me the other day, and he said, I lost my job. What do I do? Right? If we lose our job as entrepreneurs, if we go bankrupt, nobody can take all the experience and everything away from us. We just lose some money, or we’ve hedged a little too much. We’ve risked a little too much, but we’re never going to … nobody is ever going to be able to take that away from us, which is so powerful if you think about it.
Stefan Aarnio: Right, well Henry Ford, he was challenged in court, and they wanted to take his companies away, and one of the reporters in the audience said, Mr. Ford, you’re a billionaire. So what? What if you lost all your wealth tomorrow? He said, I’d have it all back in five years. Do you agree with that?
Dan Nagy: Absolutely.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah.
Dan Nagy: Absolutely, I do.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, it’s incredible. I really think that what you say there, Dan, about the spiritual, the unseen, the investments you make in yourself is really, especially the skill sets, is something, you’re right, no one can take it away from you, and I think it’s always interesting. I talked to a guy the other day, and he said, well, I don’t want to invest in myself. I can buy another property, and the finding is if he invests in himself, he could buy 20 properties this year, but he’s going to hold onto his one grape instead of having half a watermelon. You know what I mean?
Now, Dan, you’re a really special individual. I know you intimately, because I coached you for some time. Now, what is your obsession? Every entrepreneur I meet has some sort of obsession. They have a thing that they’re just crazy about. What’s your obsession, either in your business or in your life? What’s something you’re obsessed about?
Dan Nagy: I think that the biggest push for me, and it’s taken a long time to really dive into myself and figure out what was really pushing, and I think that ultimately, you ask somebody what they want in life, and most of the time you get, I just want to be happy. Right? You get this generic bullshit that nobody thinks about. So, what is it that makes people happy?
Well, it’s proven that moving forward towards anything, whatever it is, as big or as small as it is, if you’ve incrementally moved forward to something that you’re going to be happier, and that concept is really what I’ve seen in my life as making the biggest change, and has really become an obsession of mine, is lifting up every aspect of my life all at the same time, rather than jumping all over the map. Right?
I work really hard at business, but I don’t work out, and now I feel like garbage, and I’m overweight, and I can’t get out of bed, and I’m tired all the time, or I’m really well connected with my family, but I lose a sense of purpose and self, and I don’t trust myself, and there’s so many things that we can push in and get so out of whack. So, for me, my big thing was how do I do this and not burn out in one area of my life or all of them at the same time? How do I push really hard and create a foundation for myself?
And so learning and growing and moving forward to grow my body, my spirit, and myself, my being, my connection with my family, and my soon to be wife, and my son, and really my business. If I can push all those four things all together and really successfully do it on a consistent basis, and see where I can go from there, that has been my obsession.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, Dan, I think it’s a really honorable and amazing thing you’re doing with having the well rounded holistic approach. There’s so many people out there, I’m one of them. I’ve overdeveloped in one part of my life and underdeveloped in other parts, and you’re one of the more well rounded people I’ve probably had on this show, and it’s a great thing. What motivated you to become well rounded in all those areas, because a lot of people they do obsess over their body.
Now, I’ve had bodybuilders on this show. They got their body together, don’t have a business together. Then, you’ve got people who have like a great business, but they’re divorced and alone and probably cry every night. And then you’ve just got all these people. You’ve got people who’ve got great families but nothing going on. What really made you say, hey, I’m going to hit all four of these things, or four or five sections of life? What made you go into that approach versus just getting obsessed like so many people on this show?
Dan Nagy: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So, I had … it was about three years ago that I had built my first million dollar home, and it’s one that was something that was absolutely crazy to do, and I never thought that I would be in that industry and that I would be doing that, but that was one of the definitions of success to me was moving into a big, big home, and I remember that I moved in in February, and got divorced in July.
Stefan Aarnio: Ouch.
Dan Nagy: So, to me, that was a real, real wake up call of like I’ve been pushing and pushing and pushing myself to be developed in business, and I mean, I’ve always been an athletic guy, so I always kept my body at peak. I wouldn’t say elite or pro athlete or anything like that, but I was always in pretty good shape, and the areas of my life … I just, I couldn’t figure out, and it’s when … we’re only as strong as our highest core competency.
Right? If something’s dragging us down, if you have a business that’s burning down, your life sucks. If you’re a millionaire, a billionaire, even, and you get cancer or you get sick and you’re in the hospital, and they tell you you’re going to die, you would give all of your money away for that, right? And it still blows my mind to this day how people will push themselves and push themselves and push themselves and not realize what they’re doing to their body, their minds, their families, or their businesses.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. I think it’s incredible, and I love that story. You moved in in February, and divorced in July. It’s usually the darkest moments of disgust and the darkest moments where, I notice on this show interviewing so many powerful people, that it’s the darker you go, the higher you jump, and it’s incredible, man. You’ve got a lot of wisdom for such a young guy.
Now, let me ask you this, Dan. This is a question I like to ask everybody. What’s a moment you thought you were going to fail, and this all just wasn’t going to work?
Dan Nagy: Every second day.
Stefan Aarnio: Bipolar entrepreneur life everyday. I’m a genius. I’m bankrupt. I’m a genius. I’m bankrupt.
Dan Nagy: Yeah, I mean, there’s been some times that have been really bad, and one of them was in coaching with you where it was before my mind had decided that I was actually going to do this. I had made up my mind, and I had moved into this realm and saying that I’m going to be a different person. I’m going to do different things. I’m going to follow this program, and success does not come easily. I mean, even if it does, [inaudible 00:26:47] long time, and that was the first real kick in the teeth of, okay, this has to be something that I’m doing consistently.
And I’m part of a group called Wake Up Warrior, and we say simple success swings singles, and that’s really just doing the core stuff every day, and so that was … there’s been times when we get into the luxury market here, multi million dollar homes, the game is risk mitigation, and we do as much as we can to mitigate that risk, but at the same time, there’s still risk, and if a home’s not selling, we’re holding a lot more. If someone’s making a mistake, it’s no longer a $1,900 mistake. It’s a $19,000 mistake.
So, everything’s just amplified, and it’s bigger money, it’s bigger stakes, and I would be joking if I didn’t say probably once a week I think that things are not going to work.
Stefan Aarnio: So, Dan, let’s talk about luxury real estate for a second. It’s a dream for a lot of people. For a lot of people, I’ve been in the real estate business for a long time flipping 10, 20, 30 buy, fix, sell homes a year. The team I run in, we do about 50 wholesales a year. I got some big renovations going on, but nothing multi million dollar level of luxury residential homes like you got. What is the big difference between … I remember when you started working here flipping little $150,000 homes, little starter homes. What’s the difference between a starter home and flipping like a mansion for one of the richest guys in town, or maybe a sports start or a business leader? What’s the difference between the little crappy home that not everybody wants to live in, and the ultimate peak home in the market that you do right now?
Dan Nagy: Well, I mean, there’s the obvious things, right? There’s the material. There’s the finishing. There’s the guys that you have working, but really it’s … I mean, it’s a lot more stressful. You have to have … can I say bigger balls?
Stefan Aarnio: We can say balls. We can say swears. We can say anything on this show, man.
Dan Nagy: It takes a lot of balls to jump into, and I’ve talked to guys that are doing 20 flips a year who have come to these deals, and just not had the cojones to do it. I mean, I spoke with an investor yesterday, and really what he wanted to know was, he wanted to know really the basics. What material do I use? Is that much different? How do I deal with the … do I use the same contractors? I’m creating a master class on it, and one of the funny things about it is, is that I don’t teach the fundamentals, because the fundamentals stay the same. So, I’m not going to be teaching a guy that flips 30 homes a year how to find deals or raise capital.
We might have to talk about how to raise 10 times the capital, but he’s still going to have to know the fundamentals and the nuts and bolts of it, but ultimately, it’s the circles that you’re in. It’s the people that you talk to. It’s who you have on your team. We bring in one of the biggest things is how we deal with realtors and designers. Those two things are something that aren’t really used the same way in luxury real estate as they are in entry level.
Stefan Aarnio: So, talk about that for a second, Dan, because a lot of the starter real estate guys out there aren’t using designers. They can’t afford it, and then the realtor game, I mean, a lot of guys, they either aren’t using realtors, trying to do stuff private, or what I do is return it and burn it in large volumes and realtors. Talk to me about the luxury realtor game, and talk to me about the luxury designer game, and how that’s different, because there’s a lot of people at home that either aspire to be real estate investors, or they are real estate investors. Let’s talk about how it’s different.
Dan Nagy: There’s nothing that makes my heart bleed more than seeing an MLS listing and knowing it’s a flip, and knowing that Joe and Fred chose their own cabinets, and they chose poorly, and they chose their own flooring, and this thing has been sitting for 60, 70, 80 days on the market, and then it sells for $50,000 less than it was supposed to. It blows my mind, and those are just people that haven’t had professional training, which is fine.
I mean, that’s what they can do, and if that works, great, but when I see stuff like that, I realized very quickly that I could barely tell the difference between all the whites, let alone green and blue. I would meet with my designers, and I’d say, you’ve got to get rid of that green, and they start laughing, because it was some form of fuscia or blue or who knows what it was.
But those are not my strengths, and the sooner we can realize what we’re not good at, and we can bring in people who are very good at it, that’s when we can really create a business around us. So, designers play a very big part, and how we use designers is when you’re in luxury, you have to know what the people that live in that neighborhood that are running those circles, you have to know how they live. You have to know what they expect in a house, and there’s only so many ways that we can learn what people expect if we’re not from there, right?
If we don’t live in that neighborhood, and we weren’t brought up there, and we’re not dating someone from there, or we’re not breaking into houses and watching through the windows, it’s very difficult to find what people expect in a home. So, when we’re choosing a design firm, we have to make sure that they’re up to date with what people want in that neighborhood, and that’s a big thing.
You can’t just hire a design firm from Vancouver if you’re working in Halifax, right? So, you have to know what people expect. Now, as far as realtors are concerned, the game shifts, because we go from wholesale to retail, and in entry level, we stage homes to create emotion and show people the lives that they want, and that’s no different in luxury. However, when we’re buying homes, the trust factor comes in.
So, when little Mary who’s living in this 600, $700,000 home that smells like cats and the family’s kind of embarrassed about it, when they go to sell that home, they have a bunch of pride, and they have a family name, and they’ve been trying to keep up with the Jones’.
Stefan Aarnio: The Jones’, yeah the Jones’. I’ve never met the Jones’, but I’d like to meet them.
Dan Nagy: They’re probably a nice family. So, they really, I mean, they have this ego about them, and I’m not saying that that’s good or bad. I’m just saying that a lot of the times that’s what happens, and so when they go to sell, they will generally call someone that they trust, and that’s the biggest difference is that the person that they call is generally a realtor.
Stefan Aarnio: The family realtor they’ve had for a long time.
Dan Nagy: That’s right.
Stefan Aarnio: They sold mom’s house and dad’s house and grandpa, and they knew him for years, and he comes to the Christmas dinner, and drops off the cookies. That guy?
Dan Nagy: Right. That is the man that they call, and they say, listen. Ricky, we want to sell our home, but we don’t want it on the market. We don’t want a sign. We don’t want people walking through it. We don’t want our neighbors to know that we’re selling. We don’t want people to see family heirlooms, pictures. We don’t want disturbing grandma or grandpa, or be embarrassed by all the boxes or how they lived, and they really just say, listen. Start spreading the word with people you trust and realtors you trust.
You vet the people that come in, and they better be serious when they come. So-
Stefan Aarnio: Pocket listing world. We’re an exclusive pocket listing world. Is that what you’d call that?
Dan Nagy: Right, and 50% of the properties in the highest neighborhood in Winnipeg trade off market.
Stefan Aarnio: I didn’t know that. 50% trade off market. Wow. That’s incredible. I noticed this, Dan, and I’m not a luxury player like you. That’s something you’ve done on your own, and I commend you for it. A neighborhood in Winnipeg, like let’s say East Gate, Middle Gate, West Gate, you’ll notice there’s never anything for sale in there, but those home are trading privately. So, you’re saying some of the neighborhoods, these top, top neighborhoods, you just never see a listing, but they are trading privately. That’s what you’re saying?
Dan Nagy: That’s what I’m saying.
Stefan Aarnio: Okay. Awesome. So, tell me more about this. So, you’ve got the designers in there, the really hot local designers. They’re on the beat. They’re on the market. You’ve got the really top, probably top 1% hot realtors who are the local area specialists trading these private homes. Is there anything else different about this game?
Dan Nagy: Yeah. One of the biggest things is, I would say, is how we also, back to the realtors, is that we use a lot of realtors, and we have to use a lot of realtors, because I can’t guarantee that one person’s going to hear everything. There are realtors that are amazing, and that know every second house, but there’s the houses in the middle that they don’t know, and that’s why we have to continuously dig through realtors and figure out who’s in the know. Who hears stuff?
We get our core group of people, but one of the big things about realtors is that they’re used to being lied to from people. So, they get very, very, very … what’s the word? They get very used to being lied to.
Stefan Aarnio: Jaded? Jaded?
Dan Nagy: Jaded, and they’re simply, I mean, 80% of them are kind of all the same, right? It’s the 80/20 rule.
Stefan Aarnio: I was going to say, Dan, just to add to that, would you say credibility’s a huge factor here, because I’m training people all the time to get into real estate. They’ve got to make their 50 calls. They call realtors. They sound like a dumb ass on the phone. The realtor reaches through the phone, breaks their neck, tells them they’re a dumb ass, and then they come back to me or my coaches crying. Oh, the realtor was mean to me, because they have no credibility. They have no power behind their voice. How do you differentiate yourself so they know that Dan Nagy’s for real and not some punk calling who took a seminar for two days on the weekend?
Dan Nagy: Right. Yeah, I’ve had my neck broken through the phone many, many, many times, and it’s just through doing the reps that we strengthen our muscle. Right? We hear no. We hear you’re an idiot. We hear is this for real? What are you doing? Stuff like that. I noticed my biggest change when I could start saying, hi this is Daniel Nagy from Emmett Leo Homes.
Now, at the start, people wouldn’t really understand anything. It didn’t mean anything to them, but once we grew the brand big enough that people started recognizing it, and as a luxury home builder in the nicest neighborhood in Winnipeg. Once you have the brand, whether it’s a company brand or it’s your personal brand, it’s still a brand, and once people start recognizing either your name or your brand or your company or whatever it is, you start to really get a little bit more space in there before they start thinking that you’re … you buy a little bit of time right at the start of the call where they’ll actually listen to you, and with that, it’s the confidence that we get from all of those calls of just understanding what we’re actually talking about, and knowing that really the rules that are generally there, aren’t really rules at all.
Stefan Aarnio: I love what you’re saying there, Dan, about the personal brand. I used to make realtor calls, and I’d have to wrestle with the realtor on the phone, and wrestle for credibility. It’s funny now, I don’t do many realtor calls anymore. I’m kind of lazy. I’ve got acquisition guys to do that now, but when I make a call and I say, hi, it’s Stefan Aarnio calling. They go, oh, I have your book. I know you. And it’s almost every realtor now, because we’ve got so many Facebook ads and so many books going out there. It’s taken the fun out for me, because I don’t get to wrestle them as much anymore, but it’s interesting, because you always got to get your credibility.
Even though they know who I am, they still want to see are you for real? Can you close? Do you have the cash? It’s always the same thing. People always disbelieve.
Stefan Aarnio: Let me ask you this, Daniel. With people disbelieving, you do a great job in creating credibility. You do a great job of creating reality and realness with what you do. What are some ways that you constantly prove to people Dan Nagy’s for real, and that Leo Homes is for real? How do you show that over and over again? Because it doesn’t matter how good you are. It’s only how good’s your last deal? Are you for real? How do you prove it over and over again?
Dan Nagy: I think we can sum it up with do the shit that you say you’re going to do. That’s a very wake up warrior phrase, but it’s true. Tell the truth, and follow through with your commitments, and if you say that you’re going to close, and that you can close, you better close, because if you don’t people are never going to call you back. The high end realtors and the high end brokers and design firms and stuff like that, they only give you one chance, right?
You get your foot in the door, that gets you a few more minutes, and you just keep moving through there, and I’m not saying that I haven’t not closed on things, but I was always very honest about it. So, honesty is something in our world that is completely, completely forgotten and underrated as the foundation of what we have to create everything out of.
So, I’ve learned that being very, very transparent, very honest with everyone. There’s times when I would think seven, eight years ago, I wouldn’t talk about money that much to people, because it made me uncomfortable, or I wouldn’t ask those uncomfortable questions about well how much are you getting paid on this deal? Or I know that I’m going to somebody else, and someone over here’s doing work for me, I wouldn’t say anything just because I didn’t want to be uncomfortable.
And that was the biggest … that was huge for me. My life got so much lighter and easier and more fun and everything, because I stopped fucking lying.
Stefan Aarnio: Let’s talk about that. Stop fucking lying. You did a speech at a [inaudible 00:44:02] real estate investors association, my club, awhile ago, and you talked about that lying to yourself, lying to others, and making that switch to telling the truth. Elaborate on that a little bit.
Dan Nagy: Yeah, so, about two years ago, I found a video, and it really spoke to me. I was at a very, very, very low point in my life where things just weren’t working, and I had a guy named Garrett J. White say stop fucking lying, and I started to listen to him, and it was from that moment that I realized that every single day, I was telling myself bullshit, and I was trying to wrap myself in pretty cloth to really hide a lot of the bullshit that was underneath.
Now, it wasn’t like I was doing this on purpose. It was just how I thought the world was supposed to work. It was my fears and insecurities. It was my failing marriage. It was the fact that I wasn’t a millionaire at the time that I thought that I wasn’t enough to be in certain circles, and to do certain things, and my best friends growing up were professionals, and doctors, and lawyers, and accountants, and I was just this blue collar firefighter.
So, understanding that going back to investing in your mind, if we can really, if we can call bullshit on the stuff in our heads, we can shrink time frames, and what happens in we hear something, and automatically that triggers a story in our head, right? We see something, and we start thinking about all of the possible reasons that something happened or somebody said something or anything.
We can take any situation, and it’s that story that really dictates where our life is going. So, we can either live very passively and just float like a fart in the wind, or we can determine and figure out what those stories are, and we can kill the ones that don’t serve us.
So, one of the things that I’ve realized is, really there’s no right or wrong. There really isn’t. Every right or wrong has just been passed down through generations and generations and generations of what’s expected in the social norm and different circles, but in our lives, right or wrong can be as simple as does something serve me, and does it get me what I want? And when I say that as does it get me what I want, I’m coming from a place of truth and love and openness, not this bullshit instant gratification hipster bullshit that we see on social media.
Sorry to bang on hipsters. That just came out, but you know.
Stefan Aarnio: You can bang on hipsters, snowflakes, everybody who thinks they’re special.
Dan Nagy: Love it. Yep. That’s not the terminology and the road that I’m going down. When we actually figure out what we want in life, and that’s a big one. When I transition into different things and thinking, okay, well what do I want now? I’ve accomplished what I want here. Where am I going now?
And really focusing on the clarity that I have to have to get there. Without that clarity, if we don’t know what we want, we’ll never get it. We’ll never get anything close. We’ll take whatever anyone gives us, whatever the world gets, right? The more that I’ve learned about the universe or source or God or whatever you want to call it that’s around us, this infinite intelligence, we can legitimately point ourselves and point our lives in a specific direction, and our subconscience will absolutely rocket us toward something the more clear we are.
We can shrink timeframes from 10 years to six months if we’re actually clear on things and have the backup and the tactics to back us up, but if we don’t have those fundamental foundational principles of self and morals and ethics and all that shit that we never listen to in Sunday school or our parents yell at us about character, which my dad was huge on, and it never made sense until I was 28. Our lives will just float past us, and we’re 55, and we still think like our 19 year old self just with a little more experience.
Stefan Aarnio: So, Dan, I’ve got to wrap up the interview here pretty soon. If you could go back to the beginning to 18 year old Dan Nagy, what’s a piece of advice you’d give to yourself?
Dan Nagy: Read, read, and read, and read, and stop watching TV. It really just, it ruins everything. It really does. Social media and TV and all that shit is … we can become so much greater than ourselves if we just stop watching TV and read a little bit, and then the second thing is you’ve got to learn to be honest and stop lying, because if you cannot build anything worthwhile on lies, on shit mountain as John Stewart called it, or bullshit mountain.
Stefan Aarnio: I love it. What are the top three books that changed your life?
Dan Nagy: Well, I can remember the very first book. It was Don Campbell’s book about real estate investing 2.0. Now, that taught me what rental real estate, but what it really did was it started the motor of actually learning. That was the first book that I had ever picked up about learning. Let’s see.
There was an amazing book that I just keep passing on to people is about real estate, and it’s a phenomenal read, and it’s by yourself, the Self Made. I’ve given that book to a lot of people, and it’s changed a lot of people’s perception about education and entrepreneurship and jobs and the way that we’re brought up in life.
I would say the biggest one that I’ve picked up in the last two years was … it was the warrior black book, and I bought that book. I invested in it at the time. It was $1,000 for a book, and I bought this book, because I believed in a concept, and I bought that book, and it’s completely transformed the way that I live life everyday.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. I love that. I think it’s fantastic, and thank you for the shout out on Self Made. I appreciate that. Dan, three more questions before we wrap up here. What is the one thing that young people need to succeed nowadays? The millennials, the generation zed, everybody’s banging on these guys. I think you might count as a millennial. I’m a millennial. What’s the one thing young people out there need to succeed right now?
Dan Nagy: A sense of realizing that they are not entitled to anything. Entitlement is absolute bullshit. When we realize that we’re entitled to only the things that we’re committed to, and we are what we do every day, that we have to push and push and fail and get up, and fail, and get up, and fail, because it’s like doing rear ups at the gym. We’re not going to grow the muscles that we need to without doing it.
So, it’s something that it’s a sense of just never quitting, and not being entitled to anything.
Stefan Aarnio: I love that. I think it’s powerful, man. Entitlement is a real poison. Second to last question. Are there any resources you recommend for people starting out today wanting to follow a path like yours?
Dan Nagy: Well, I can only speak from experience. So, I mean, I went to you, because you’re the only person that was actually doing something that I didn’t even believe was possible where we lived even in Canda, let alone anywhere that I had ever heard of. So, if you want to get into real estate, i would say go with the proven system. Go with something that teaches you the nuts and bolts and is a step by step process.
Putting together my master class, I started thinking do I have to teach people all the stuff that I’d learned? And I started thinking, why would I teach something that somebody else, that I’ve gone through, and I trust does it so much better? So, if you want to get into real estate, and I’m not doing this because I’m on your podcast. I’m not doing this because I coach with you. I truly believe in it, and I would never be here without it.
Stefan Aarnio: Awesome. So, that’s fantastic, Dan, and you got some shout outs. You mentioned a couple different programs. You mentioned the Wake Up Warrior program. I know it’s done great things for you. You mentioned my program a little bit. You mentioned Don Campbell and [inaudible 00:54:31]. You’re truly a synthesis of so many things, and those things come together and create a product like yourself. Now, before we go, do you have any … how can people get in touch with Dan Nagy if they want to know more, if they want to get into your master class, Dan, how can people get in touch with you?
Dan Nagy: Yeah, so, I’m a pretty easy guy to get ahold of. You can go to my website. That’s dannagy.com. My last name with throw you off a bit. It’s spelled Dan Nagy dot com, but you’ll find me. My company’s called Emmett Leo Homes. You just type that in. You’ll find me. I’m on Facebook, Instagram. I don’t do near enough Instagram and social media marketing as I want to and will be doing, but you can follow me there, and quite frankly, I just got a phone call from an investor in Vancouver, because she looked me up and found my phone number, and called me then. So, I’m pretty easy to get ahold of.
Stefan Aarnio: Well, you’re handsome, too, Dan. So, if you’re handsome, of course people are going to call, man. Thank you so much for being on the podcast, Dan. Any final words for people at home?
Dan Nagy: Yeah. It’s one of the things that you really have to just … if there’s any inkling in your life that things could be better, trust it. Things could be better, and you can push more, and there are real things out there that don’t want just to take your money. There’s real programs out there, and real people that give a shit about delivering real value, and once you get through the surface level bullshit of what most of people are trying to sell you, you really start finding a network of people that are amazing. Like marketing from Russell Brenson, or Alex Sharpton, Garrett J. White. There’s so many amazing people out there that if you’ve been burnt before, you might get a bit too jaded to dig through all of the bullshit again, but it’s there, and you just have to have that little inkling that you could do more and be more and provide more for your family and your loved ones and even yourself, that you really just have to keep pushing through it, because you’ll get there, and you can only lose if you quit.
Stefan Aarnio: I love what you said there, Dan. I want to say this to people. You might get burned. You might sign up with the wrong guy. You might take the wrong program, but you got to open your heart, and you got to love again, because if you don’t open your heart, if you don’t love again, what’s a life without trying again? I hired, in 2016, I hired three coaches, two were crap. One was great. One made me more money than all the losses and everything put together, but those other two really sucked. You’ve just got to open your heart, and just try again.
Thank you so much, Dan. Appreciate having you on the podcast today, Respect the Grind, and hey man, I’m going to see you over and over again. You’re doing great things. Really appreciate having you on the show.
Dan Nagy: Appreciate it. Thank you very much.
Stefan Aarnio: Hey, it’s Stefan Aarnio here. Thank you for listening to another episode of my podcast, Respect the Grind. Now, if you liked the content on this podcast today, you are going to love my new book, Hard Times Create Strong Men. Now, we live in an age right now where the men have become weak. Society has become weak. The mindset has become weak. What does it mean to be a man? Now, whether you’re a man or a woman, you’re going to find value in this book, Hard Times Create Strong Men, which reveal the philosophy and the power of what it takes to be strong in today’s market economy. Go ahead and get a copy of Hard Times Creates Strong Men at hardtimesstrongmen.com/podcast. That’s going to give you a special offer just for podcast listeners. That’s hardtimesstrongmen.com/podcast. Get the book. You’re going to love it. It’s going to change the way you think.
I’m Stefan Aarnio. Respect the grind. We’ll see you on the next episode.