Posted on: September 07, 2020

Today’s guest is a serial entrepreneur and a podcaster himself. Steve Trang is the founder of the Real Estate Disruptors movement. He started his podcast in 2018 to encourage and inspire real estate agents and wholesalers to double their incomes by adding a second leg to their business.

Steve also provides mentoring and coaching to help entrepreneurs support their family, lifestyle, and goals. His primary objective? Create 100 millionaires!

In this episode, you’ll be in for a treat! Steve not only shared the game-changing books and seminars he swears by, he also shared many powerful insights and wisdom that can dramatically change your life and business.

If you’d like to learn from one of the industry’s best, this is one episode you can’t miss!

Key Takeaways

  • A little about himself
  • What got him into real estate investing
  • His transition from realtor to business owner
  • His biggest fear back when he first started out
  • What the impostor syndrome is all about
  • His favorite books
  • Favorite seminars he’s been to
  • His why
  • What he’s working on right now

RESOURCES:

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Episode Transcription

Lauren Hardy:
Hey guys. This is Lauren Hardy, and you are listening to the Wholesaling Inc Podcast. If this is your first time listening in, welcome. You are about to have your mind blown because today we have Steve Trang in the house. Steve is the host and creator of the Real Estate Disruptors Podcast. It is a huge honor to be interviewing him since he is usually interviewing very high level investors on his show. But today we get to learn more about Steve. Steve, welcome to the podcast.

Steve Trang:
Thank you very much.

Lauren Hardy:
So Steve, we met, what, a month ago. I was on your podcast, on the Real Estate Brokers Podcast in Phoenix. And that was a great opportunity. I had a lot of fun. And we figured out we had a lot of different things in common that we kind of [crosstalk 00:01:28].

Steve Trang:
We had more than we thought.

Lauren Hardy:
Way more than we thought. We were, “Are we the same person? This is weird.” I know we look different, but I feel the same.

Steve Trang:
Well, we had a blast. And it’s always a trip. It’s always an adventure. I mean, there are so many people out here that anytime you come out, it’s almost like a second home. I first met you when you were at Batch’s office to do Brent’s podcast and you were out for the TCP Christmas party.

Lauren Hardy:
Yeah.

Steve Trang:
[inaudible 00:01:53] So we go way back.

Lauren Hardy:
We go way back.

Steve Trang:
Yeah.

Lauren Hardy:
So Steve tell me about yourself, and not just in the real estate world. Tell me your family. Are you married? You got kids? Where are you from?

Steve Trang:
Well, definitely married, happily. In fact, it’s one of my things is every morning when I’m looking at my affirmations and vision is a cherished wife is number one. It’s number one on my vision board. So married, three kids. Three awesome, and also difficult kids. And then as far as where I came from, I came here as an immigrant seven months old, born in a refugee camp in Italy. So came here with nothing, literally nothing. And we were sponsored by some families, grew up living in cheap apartments, a mobile home, where actually the mobile home park I grew up in in Tempe is across the street from where I got my last two Teslas. So it was just kind of, it’s interesting to experience.
But grew up good kid, good grades. Mom and dad always said, “Do well in school, get a good job.” And I did that. Went full ride at ASU, full ride to UC San Diego. Did the corporate thing, found out the corporate thing is not for me. I always did good work, but man, working for somebody just was not for me. And I think that probably is true for a lot of people that are listening. Just working really hard for someone else to make a lot of money, that’s just not in it for me. I can’t do that. That’s what led me to getting into real estate. If it weren’t for a handful of books, I probably would still be an engineer. You don’t know what’s possible, and right now you’ve got YouTube and a lot of people are learning from podcasts and so on what’s available out there. But if it weren’t for a handful of books, you got [inaudible 00:03:46] a Tiara [Becker 00:03:48] and these books that are out there Napoleon Hill, I might still be an engineer because you can see what’s out there, what’s available.
And I didn’t have a bad life. When I quit my job, I was making 85,000 a year plus benefits. Health was good, health insurance was good, there were stock options. And it wasn’t stock options. They would just give you stocks. I was making after everything 100,000 a year when I quit. It was a really good life. But I also knew that wasn’t the life for me.

Lauren Hardy:
Right. So then tell me what got you into real estate investing.

Steve Trang:
So after reading Rich Dad Poor Dad, I realized that there’s ways to A, get out of the rat race. And I still have three best friends, and we formed an LLC together to buy rental properties. And thank God we got our loans denied, because this is back in 2006, 2007, because otherwise we’d have more foreclosures than the ones we already have. And while doing that, I met a broker who positioned himself as an investment broker, talked a pretty big game and I said, “Okay, well it seems like you’re doing really well and you make pretty good money. What do you do?”
And he’s, “I make six figures and all I do is talk to people.” Sound familiar? And he’s, “Yeah, you just talk to people all day. And you just make a lot of money.” It’s, “Well, I can do that.” At that point, I got my real estate license in two and a half weeks, immediately submitted my two weeks notice, and went full time into real estate, which in hindsight was a terrible idea because the market just took a massive dump at that point. But I only know one way, which is to go all in.

Lauren Hardy:
Yeah. One speed. Full speed.

Steve Trang:
Exactly.

Lauren Hardy:
That’s what I always say. I only have one speed, full speed. That’s it.

Steve Trang:
Yeah. It’s go big or go home.

Lauren Hardy:
So what year was this?

Steve Trang:
This was 2007.

Lauren Hardy:
2007. Okay, yeah. Crappy year. Crappy year to get into real estate.

Steve Trang:
Yeah. What was really cool was at that time, I was still working really hard. Worked way harder for myself because when I was doing really well at Intel, I was working 25 hours a week. I wasn’t working hard at all. So I was working way harder for myself. And what was really cool was talking to some people. They’re, “Man, if you can express this work ethic right now in these crappy times, you’re going to crush it when things turn around.” I had a couple people say, “I can’t wait to see who you become when the market turns around.” I was, “Wow, that’s kind of a huge compliment because I’m a nobody.” Clearly people saw some things in me that I didn’t see myself yet.

Lauren Hardy:
So now take me from the struggle to then you started out in it sounds like residential sales.

Steve Trang:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). As a realtor. Yeah.

Lauren Hardy:
As a realtor. And then what got you into being an investor?

Steve Trang:
So I did the realtor thing and it was cool and all. Not the most exciting thing. Turns out it’s a job. And around 2011, 2012, I got into coaching. So I struggled along the way. And then I got into my first coaching program because I knew something had to change. And so I got into coaching and that’s when I became… It transformed me from being a realtor to a business owner that happens to be in real estate. That was the thing that clicked in my brain.
And then after that, I’m always trying to find more leads, find more leads. And there was a guy that had a program House Buyer Network, which basically it was pay-per-click leads for sellers. And so I said, “Okay, well…” I tried to sign up for that, but it was exclusive per market, so I couldn’t get in. And I’m not one that takes no for an answer. I said, “Well, I can’t buy it from you. Then I’ll make it myself.” And so I did. And so I started doing my own pay-per-click marketing. And at that time the biggest competitor was Sean Terry.
And so for a couple of years it was basically me and Sean Terry again. What did I do? I copied his websites. As I made my own websites, copied his. And then there’s a tool. I don’t know if it’s still around. It was called KeywordSpy. And so using KeywordSpy you can find what other people are bidding on, so you can find the keywords they’re using and their ad copy. So what did I do? I copied his ad copy, and I copied his keywords. And I did this, and this actually got me a lot of listings. So what the problem was is that I was still thinking like a realtor instead of thinking like a wholesaler.
And so I would go to these appointments and I’d say, “Well, you don’t want to go with an investor. If we list your house, you’ll get more money.” And I got plenty of listings that way, but I did get a lot of people that also said, “No, I want cash.” Because, how did they find me? Buy my house, sell my house fast. And so when I would go in there, the first couple of houses I bought, it was, “We could list it for 100,000, in 30 days you’ll get 91,000 after all closing costs.” And so then we want to cash [inaudible 00:08:32] “Well, cash offer is going to be a lot less than that.” And they said, “No, we want a cash offer.” I said, “Well, the most I can offer for this is 80,000.” She’s, “Done.” I said, “I don’t think you heard me. If we list it for 100,000, you’ll get 91,000.” She’s, “No, I’ll take the 80.”

Lauren Hardy:
Right.

Steve Trang:
“Are you sure?” She said, “Yes.” I said, “Okay.” So I bought her house. And on the way home actually I called my wife. I said, “Hey, we just bought a house.” She’s, “What do you mean we just want a house?” “They wanted cash, so I made a cash offer.” And she said, “Okay, well how are we going to buy it?” I was, “I don’t know. We’ll figure it out.”
Hung up, called my dad. “Hey dad, do you have $80,000?” He’s, “Yeah, I have $80,000.” “Okay, great. We’re buying a house.” And so the first couple of times that happened, we bought them and we’d wholetail them. We were wholetailing before we knew what wholetailing it was. But eventually we ran out of money. And once we ran out of money, then I was, “Crap.” Now I learned about this and or assignee thing. “Let’s look into this some more.”
And so Jamil actually called me as a Zillow lead. So Jamil is a Zillow lead. That’s how we connected. I was a Zillow premier agent, Jamil was a Zillow lead. Called me, and he bought one of the properties that I bought as a wholetail. And I had it listed, I want to say 110. And he was, “I’ll buy it.” I said, “Okay, now you should know this doesn’t have an AC in it.” He’s, “Ah, don’t worry about it.” And he double closed on it. And I saw that he sold it for 123. Okay? I had a hard time selling for 110,000 in the MLS. He sold it as a wholesale for 123,000. I said, “Okay, well there’s clearly something I’m missing.”
And so I took him out to lunch. We went to Clever Koi. I still remember. And I grilled him. I’m, “Teach me more about this world.” And it’s not like I wasn’t familiar with the wholesale world. I knew about it. But it’s one thing to know about it, it’s another one to have Jamil teach it to you. And so I learned from Jamil and as we started doing more deals, at that time I was happy to make 3,000, which, God, is atrocious today. But at that time I was happy with 3,000. And then I did a couple with Jamil where I was making 10,000 on an assignment. And after that I was, “Well, it looks like this wholesale thing is legit.” That started in 2012, 2013.

Lauren Hardy:
And tell me now, when you were starting all this and you started wholetailing and wholesaling, what if you can remember, put yourself back there at that time when you didn’t have a ton of money behind you and you didn’t have a lot of experience. What was your biggest fear?

Steve Trang:
My biggest fear was getting found out, was getting caught. People finding out that I’m not really legit. That was my biggest fear because I was doing deals. But as a realtor, man. And this is just as bad in the wholesale world. But there are people that are doing deals, but are not profitable. And so that was me. I was doing deals. I think the year before I got into coaching, I think my best year was 53 total transactions a year. After coaching, I was consistently doing 100 transactions a year as a realtor. But what happens is you’re making that much money, it’s usually due to marketing. And so yes, you can make a lot of money. Your revenue can be very high and very lucrative, but no one really looks at the expenses. And so, yeah. I was making a few hundred thousand a year. I was taking home 115, 120.
And so for working 60 hours a week, that’s awful. So when you say what was my biggest fear, my biggest fear was being exposed. They’re going to find out I’m not as good as I look out there, as people think. Because you get the accolades, you get the awards for being a top producer and this and that. And so a lot of people chase, I call it vanity. It’s just like today it’s followers. You want to get as many followers as possible, you want to get this many likes, and so on. And I’m not saying don’t track it. Those are key metrics. Don’t make that your identity. And that was what was happening was I had this identity where people were looking in or looking from the outside. It’s, “This guy is successful, he does this many transactions, and this and that.” But in reality, the bank account did not reflect that success. And that was my biggest fear before everything turned around.

Lauren Hardy:
Yeah. The imposter syndrome, I guess you’d say.

Steve Trang:
Imposter syndrome. Yeah. It’s a very real thing.

Lauren Hardy:
It is a very real thing. And I even think once you are doing well, you still have it.

Steve Trang:
Yeah.

Lauren Hardy:
Because you’re, “What is so special about me?” You just still have that memory of who you were 10 years ago. I mean, I remember who I was. I haven’t forgotten where I came from.

Steve Trang:
Yeah. Well, I have friends that are super, super successful clearing a million a year and they’re terrified they’re going to get found out. And that I swear, it’s a conversation once a quarter, “What the hell are you talking about? You’re not going to get exposed because you’re the real deal.” But they still carry that. It’s kind of like you said, starting with nothing to getting to here. It’s hard for your brain to comprehend. “No, you actually are here.” But I think it’s also healthy to have that because if you’re not, you might get comfortable and you’re definitely the [inaudible 00:13:52]

Lauren Hardy:
For sure. Now you talk a lot about personal development. I think that’s something we definitely bonded on is [crosstalk 00:13:59] session with personal development. What’s your favorite book? Let’s start with that.

Steve Trang:
Oh man. Favorite book? I think recently I really love The Road Less Stupid, but I would go back to the classic of Think and Grow Rich, which by the way is an incredibly difficult book to get through. I didn’t know that. I had multiple people tell me that. But you know what’s interesting? What do they say is the number one key to success in that book? Persistence. But I read that book when I first got into the business, and then along the way I’ve read over 100 books. I have a spreadsheet of all the books I’ve read, reviewed, and so on. Not reviewed, but I think are worthy.
And then I went back and listened to Think and Grow Rich again, and I was, “Man, if I had just listened to Think and Grow Rich 10 times, I would have saved myself from having to read all these other books.” Because a lot of the principles that we’re learning that think are great, these books that come on in the last 10 years, they’re already covered, they’re already discussed, and Think and Grow Rich. So I would say that’s still the number one book for me.

Lauren Hardy:
Okay. Maybe I need to hunker down and [crosstalk 00:15:05]

Steve Trang:
If you get the Audible version, there’s an audible version of Think and Grow Rich that has Napoleon Hill’s speeches in there too. So it’ll be a couple chapters and then a speech that was recorded of Napoleon speaking. I really enjoyed that one a lot.

Lauren Hardy:
Okay. All right. Maybe I’ll go revisit it. But I do love The Road Less Stupid.

Steve Trang:
Amazing book.

Lauren Hardy:
That is a good book. That is-

Steve Trang:
Yeah. I think that’s a book that anyone that has been in the business for a year, needs to listen because you’re going to realize all the stupid stuff you’ve done.

Lauren Hardy:
I know. Yeah. Yeah. And just anybody in any business, not just real estate. It’s really a book for entrepreneurs.

Steve Trang:
Oh, yeah. Definitely.

Lauren Hardy:
Great book. Great book. Okay. So you’ve done lots of coaching programs. You’ve gone to some seminars, and not so much real estate. Okay? Because you’ve done a lot. You’ve done a lot of these the personal development stuff. What are some of your favorite seminars you’ve been to?

Steve Trang:
The best bang for the buck today still is Insane Productivity by Darren Hardy. Best bang for buck. I think it was 2,000 to go attend. It was more expensive to fly there and pay for the hotel than it was actually for the event. I would say by far the best bang for the buck and if you were to get it today, it’s a 12 week module but we covered that whole thing in one day. What he talks about on those 12 modules, that was a one day thing from 8:30AM to 5:30PM.

Lauren Hardy:
So it makes more sense to go and just knock it out in a day, versus 12 modules? Is that what you’re saying?

Steve Trang:
I think the great thing for me, I love going to events because you’re 100% present. There’s a difference between watching it on video and being present because if you’re there, there are no distractions. And not only that, I mean he’ll tell you from the stage, “Put your phone away, put it on silent, turn it off if you can.” If you’re watching a module, you’re still getting distracted, you’re going to have [inaudible 00:17:00] questions. Those questions never go away. So you’re going to have fires, but if you go to an event and you’re properly staffed, your staff will take care of stuff so that it doesn’t have to get to you. So I think that’s the big thing about going to the event.
And then, so I like that one. I really enjoyed his High Performance Forum. That was a two and a half day event. I think that was incredible. Strategic Coach has been monumental. One of the exercises they work on is actually to help deal with the imposter syndrome. And so I think that was a great coaching program. There are four one day events sprinkled throughout the year. So we started in May, then it’d be three months, three months, three months. And that was it. And you pay for the year. So that was really cool too.

Lauren Hardy:
Okay. So obviously there’s a trend that you love Darren Hardy. And so do I, as you know. My favorite book is The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Big Darren Hardy fan. But I haven’t done any of the seminars. So I want to maybe look into those.

Steve Trang:
You absolutely have to. You have to go to those things in person. And what’s really interesting is he seems like a really nice guy. He has got a smile on his Darren dailies and whatever. But man, he’s an intense person in-person.

Lauren Hardy:
Is he? Okay.

Steve Trang:
I mean, you talk about if someone is a 99 D on the disc profile, you can just feel when they’re in there in the room. You know what I’m talking about? When this person is in the room, the energy of the group just changes. And that’s him. And he’s intense all the time. He can’t even sit down and have a nice lunch. He’s just intense. Great guy obviously, but not someone that you would, “Hey, you want to go hang out?” Just, that’s just not going to happen with that guy.

Lauren Hardy:
Yeah. Okay. Now I’m very intrigued.

Steve Trang:
Yeah. I’m not even sure if he knows how to have fun.

Lauren Hardy:
Really?

Steve Trang:
Yeah.

Lauren Hardy:
Okay. They always say sometimes the worst thing is meeting your hero. And he is my hero. Darren Hardy, and there’s no relation by the way. But Darren Hardy is, I don’t know. Ever since I read The Compound Effect, I mean that book really changed my life. And I read Entrepreneur Rollercoaster after that. Life changing books. But I always wondered, “Would he be the same in person? Is it this person I built him up to be?” And yeah, I haven’t built [crosstalk 00:19:17]

Steve Trang:
He’s still my hero. But his position on family is you shouldn’t have kids because it will limit what you [inaudible 00:19:24].

Lauren Hardy:
Ah. Okay.

Steve Trang:
I mean, he’s all about business.

Lauren Hardy:
Right. Okay. Yeah. All right. Yeah. And we’re more about balance I think, you and I.

Steve Trang:
Exactly. Yeah.

Lauren Hardy:
So let’s talk about balance. What is your why? Why are you really doing this? Why do you do all this?

Steve Trang:
So I think that there’s a couple of things. I think I’m screwed up. I think that’s just the cocktail of coming here as an immigrant and having your parents in a Asian culture. I think like A, we came here to chase the American dream. So it’d be an absolute disappointment if we didn’t pursue the American dream. Take every opportunity that you can have in this country. So I am. There’s no hard ceiling on what you can achieve. And so I’m going to go as far as I can go.
The second thing is growing up in a Chinese family, and the oldest son, my parents always said, “When we retire, when we get old, you are responsible for taking care of us.” It’s not, “Put us in a home.” Or this and that. It’s, “We’re probably going to live with you. This is what’s going to happen.” And then it was also, “If anything happens to us, you are responsible to take care of your five younger brothers. You need to sacrifice yourself to make sure that they’re successful.” So this is what I grew up with. Okay?
And then it’s also you talk about the [inaudible 00:20:48]. No matter what you do it’s not good enough. And so that creates a competitive drive. After every exam you’re looking over the kids, “What did they get on their tests?” So there’s that. And then there’s again, well, I guess a really big thing is just being super, super competitive and knowing that no matter what you did was never good enough for mom and dad. I think that kind of screws you up in the head so that it makes you want to pursue and achieve everything. And then again, going back to what I said to Darren, it’s an achievement addiction. If the only way to get mom and dad’s attention is to do well, then you’re programmed to always try to do well.

Lauren Hardy:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). That is very true. And I’ve put a lot of thought what motivates everybody. Because now I’m a coach. I’ve got students, and I’ve got to figure out what every individual student, “How can I push them to succeed?” And I’ve figured out that it’s more emotional in nature than it is… I can give you steps A, B, C. That’s in my course. I can give that to you. But a lot of students will get stuck on something. They get stuck in an area of the business. And usually there’s this emotional component that it’s they’re struggling with motivation because there’s something in their head, and I’m not motivating them enough somehow. And so I’ve been paying a lot of attention lately to what is motivating everybody.
It’s funny. I really feel like it’s three things. It’s either there’s competitive people like you, so it’s either people are motivated by competition, revenge, or fear. And maybe sometimes a combo of two. So for me it’s revenge and fear all day long. I was saying this morning. I was literally just having this conversation this morning. I was, “I’m only…” Somebody was, “You’re not competitive other than in business.” And I was, “Actually, I’m not really a competitive person at all, not even in business.” I am really motivated by revenge and fear. I one time had a really crappy boss. I had a boss that was so bad and such a jerk, that that was this revenge. “I’ll show you. I will never work for someone like you again. I’ll show you.” That was my revenge. I’ll get myself out of this situation. And one day, I will get to see you and I will not be working for you anymore. And I’ll be so happy.” And so that’s what got me to be an entrepreneur was that [crosstalk 00:23:13].

Steve Trang:
Well, I think that’s great because there are a couple of things where that has happened where I’ve faced rejection, and it just fuels me. “Watch me. I’m going to succeed despite you.”

Lauren Hardy:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steve Trang:
Yeah.

Lauren Hardy:
And then fear is more of back against the wall. And I’ve heard that the human body apparently performs better under stress. Our performance is better under stress. And I think that, yeah, I perform much better under stress. When my back is against the wall and I’m afraid, I’m afraid of failure, I’m afraid of, “Oh no, I’m not going to be able to pay my bills.” Or something happened personally. So then I am, “Oh, I better make money so I can pay my way out of this.” It sounds like I have to pay my bail or something. But just, “Oh man. I need to throw money at this problem.” So…

Steve Trang:
But I think it’s great that you figured that out because that’s one of the hardest things is how to figure out how to motivate people because I can’t stand motivating people. And so I love that you’ve taken the time to figure that out because if you can motivate someone, you can get a lot out of them.

Lauren Hardy:
Yeah. You really can. I had a student and I was literally, I think he was a younger guy, and I could kind of tell. I was, “I bet fear motivates him.” And he’s this younger guy. And I was, “What’s worse? Making some offers low balling sellers or moving back in with your parent in your twenties?” And he’s, “Moving back in with my parents definitely.” I’m, “Make those offers then.”

Steve Trang:
Exactly.

Lauren Hardy:
Well Steve, it has been a pleasure. So what are you working on right now that’s big to you? I know you have the Real estate Disruptors Podcast where people can find you there, and they should absolutely subscribe. Is there anything else you want to share?

Steve Trang:
Yeah. So we also do sales training, which I think is one of the most important things that we need today given the prevalence of information and knowledge out there. We’re all pulling the same list, cold calling the same guy, texting the same guy. You need to be different. And so for me, I’m really passionate about running lean. So how can you make more money without spending more money? And the best way to make more money with us spending more money is to convert better. So convert more appointments, convert more calls to appointments, convert more appointments to sales, and buy them cheaper than you were buying before. And the key to that is to get better on the phone, and better in-person. So it’s through sales. So I don’t have the link right now. So I’ll send it to you.

Lauren Hardy:
Okay. We’ll put it in the show notes. Steve, thank you so much. Is there anything left you want to say? Or [crosstalk 00:25:42] Last thoughts.

Steve Trang:
Yeah. Last thoughts. I would say is you guys may have heard this before, but why not you? We live in the best country on the planet. You and I were examples of what can happen if you really go all in. So why not you? Why not now? Let’s go for it. Get everything that you deserve.

Lauren Hardy:
Awesome. All right Steve, thank you so much. We appreciate you.

Steve Trang:
Thank you. All right, take care.

Lauren Hardy:
Bye-bye.

Steve Trang:
Bye.

Lauren Hardy:
If you guys want to learn more about virtual real estate investing, check out my program at www.wholesalinginc.com/virtual. Thanks again. Have a great day.

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