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The Disruptive Educator

Steve Trang and his plan to create 100 millionaires

Those familiar with the best-selling book Rich Dad Poor Dad know it is an exploration into personal finance, investing and making money work for people rather than the other way around.

Steve Trang read it and came out with a different interpretation—he should become a Realtor.

“I look back now and it’s kind of funny,” Trang said. “As you get older, you get wiser. That kid, 27-year-old Steve was an idiot. He read Rich Dad Poor Dad to learn about passive income and from there became a Realtor. That’s not what the book was about.”

Trang might have taken the wrong lesson from the book at the time, but his initial misstep has paid off for him in a big way. He’s now fully immersed in the real estate industry in several different sectors. Trang owns the Stunning Home Realty brokerage, offers real estate coaching and mentoring services, created the OfferFast Homes mobile app to help wholesalers more easily and quickly promote their properties, and hosts Real Estate Disruptors, one of the top podcasts in the nation today.

That’s not bad for someone who was at first just looking to earn a solid income and thought real estate was the way to do so.

“I think like a lot of other people in the real estate investor space, you read Rich Dad Poor Dad and think, ‘Oh, this W2 thing is not what I was supposed to do, it’s not what I was designed for,’” Trang said.

So instead, Trang started an investment club with some friends, and they attempted to buy properties. Unfortunately, this was in 2007 when banks had stopped lending. Trang’s fortunes eventually changed when he met a real estate broker. He wondered why he, with a Master’s Degree in Engineering, was making $70,000 a year while this broker who, “just kind of hangs around with people all day” was earning six figures.

“I thought, ‘wait a minute, what am I doing here?’” Trang said. “I asked him what it would take to learn what he did. He told me to get my real estate license and he’d teach me everything he knew. I got my license in two and a half weeks.”

Early foray into the real estate world

Trang gave his two-weeks’ notice at his prior job after he earned his real estate license. He quickly learned how difficult a Realtor’s job can be. Trang went from having one boss to several as every buyer and seller, as well as his broker, had essentially become his boss. The Realtor journey led to a lot of credit card debt and even a face-off with foreclosure.

“The ‘D’ word was dropped a couple of times because that’s what happens in financial distress when you’re married,” Trang said.

Trang avoided divorce as his real estate career saw more success after he began to work with Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Fannie Mae as a listing agent for those banks. As 2010 approached, Trang knew he’d eventually have to pivot. Not only was the foreclosure era winding down, he also did not find traditional real estate very fulfilling. He had two choices—find a new real estate-related path or return to a prior employer.

The quest to create 100 millionaires

About three years after Trang entered the real estate world, he decided to re-educate himself. He reached out to some of the top agents and investors in his market and said he needed to get into coaching or do something other than what he was doing. He was referred to Craig Proctor’s Real Estate Coaching and Seminars, which he signed up for and changed the way he saw the industry.

“That is when I learned the difference between a business owner and paid employee, which a Realtor is,” Trang said. “A wholesaler is also a high-paying job.”

Getting into coaching helped moved Trang away from real estate “jobs.” He also got a better understanding of marketing and sales, the importance of having a buyer’s agent and listing agent as well as how to find sellers.

“I also learned about how to find distressed sellers,” he said. “And once I got better at finding distressed sellers, I got into the flipping side of the business versus just being a Realtor. It was around the same time I opened up my own brokerage.”

Gaining this knowledge wasn’t enough for Trang, however. He wanted to share what he learned with others so they could thrive, too. His inspiration to coach came from a story he’d heard about Andrew Carnegie, who at one point was the wealthiest person in the United States. Carnegie was once asked why 18 millionaires were working at his company. He replied that they weren’t millionaires until they started working for him.

“That made me say, ‘OK, it’s great that I am trying to become independent and chase my dreams and this and that, but I’ve got to help along the way,’” Trang said. “It was always an inspiration. I opened a brokerage in 2013 and one of the mission statements was to create 18 millionaires, to be an Andrew Carnegie.”

If you check out Trang’s website, you’ll notice that millionaire target has grown a bit from 18—his legacy is now to create 100 millionaires. His goal changed after he created the Real Estate Disruptors podcast, where he interviews some of the most prominent figures in the industry about topics like wholesaling, house flipping, investing, and more.

“Since starting the podcast, I figured if we’re going to have a national stage, 18 millionaires is going to be a joke. Let’s make it 100,” Trang said. “Which is why that has always been the mission of this podcast.”

The Real Estate Disruptors podcast started as a branding tool. Trang was advised to create a blog, write a book, or start a podcast. After the first two didn’t work out, he hoped the third time would be the charm. Fortunately for Trang it was. The show has gained nearly one million views on YouTube since its premiere.

Unlike a lot of podcasts, Real Estate Disruptors found success early on in its run. The initial success happened for a couple of reasons. First, Trang didn’t waste much time launching it. He got the podcast advice on a Saturday, announced the following Wednesday on Facebook that he was starting a podcast and one week later he was recording his first episode on Facebook Live.

“That’s me in a nutshell,” Trang said. “I’m a really fast mover. I won’t have all the answers. What I’ll do is screw things up and then fix them along the way.”

“I describe being an entrepreneur like this—if you were to build a dam, you’d get the survey architect, do the math, this and that. Whereas I say, ‘See you there tomorrow.’ I’m going to show up with a bunch of rocks, and we’re going to get started. Where the holes are, we’ll find more rocks to plug them. That’s how I run everything.”

The second key to the podcast’s success was Trang took big swings when it came to booking guests right away. Sometimes podcasts will try to build an audience and go after big name guests once they are established. Doing the opposite allowed Trang’s podcast to become well known much faster.

“I was intentionally finding people with a big microphone to come on the show,” he said. “I want to say it’s the content, but if we are talking about why it grew, it’s because we found people with reach. I am told all the time that we have the best content. I think it’s pretty good, but [the podcast] grew because we put influencers on the show.”

Teaching the tricks of the trade

The Real Estate Disruptors podcast is just one of the tools Trang is using to create 100 millionaires. Even though by Trang’s own admission, someone could probably listen to every episode and become a millionaire, it would just take that person five to seven years to do so. If someone wanted to reach that pinnacle faster however, the Disruptors’ coaching and mentoring programs are full of workshops that are designed to help people achieve wealth through real estate. Students will learn the skills necessary to work in the field including sales, landing investors, data management, business operations, wholesaling, and more.

“Since 20 people are talking to the same homeowner, how do you win?” Trang said. “I teach how to separate yourself from everybody else. We’re not selling a service or widget; we are selling us—the human being. That’s what we’re trained on—how do you sell YOU? I don’t care if you’re an engineer, I believe anybody can be trained to sell.”

Even those who aren’t born salespeople can succeed in this course, which includes 12 modules and weekly group calls. Trang equated learning sales to learning to speak a new language—it’s much easier to do when you’re immersed in the process until it becomes second nature. Working on it here and there won’t help once the person has to put the language to work out in the field.

“We have the course, but we also have someone that wants hands-on coaching,” Trang said. “It’s a weekly group call—it helps everybody. I firmly believe that’s what it takes. That’s what I did when I learned it; I was meeting with my instructor three times a week.”

For those interested in wholesaling, Real Estate Disruptors is offering a free course in 2021 that will be available on YouTube. All the questions Trang’s been asked on the subject will be answered on his channel.

“Now you have no excuse to not be successful,” he said. “Instead of answering questions one by one, I’m just going to link to the video I recorded on YouTube. It’s right there.”

Trang’s hope is that the millionaires he helps create will go on to inspire another class of millionaires. That hope appears to be taking form; Trang has had multiple podcast listeners eventually become so successful that they end up being guests. One listener in particular was $350,000 in debt but signed up for Trang’s course and found his way out of that hole.

“It’s ironic because I wouldn’t take him on a as student now because he had not done a deal at that time. But he came on, I coached and mentored him, and he paid off all of his debt.”

Real Estate Disruptors is also going to gamify the learning process. Students can register on the company site and pledge to become one of the millionaires. As they progress, they can attain different certificates like “Closed my first deal”, “Closed 10 deals”, “Made $100,000 in a year” and eventually, “Made $100,000 in a month.” When a student reaches millionaire status, Real Estate Disruptors will give them an engraved plaque that reads, “Certified Millionaire.”

“In 2007, I’d say, ‘coaching is stupid,’ because I thought I knew everything; I was smarter than everybody, right?” Trang said. “But what I’ll say now is there’s no better return on investment than investing in yourself. Everyone says that, but it is true. You can’t buy more time, but you can definitely reduce the amount of time it takes for you to get somewhere. If you want to (become a millionaire) in two to three years, you have to invest in coaching.”

Family matters

Trang’s students aren’t the only people in his life who he’s looking to help build rich futures. He also has three daughters and is working to create three great citizens and contributing members of society.

“I want to be the best father and husband I can be,” Trang said. “That goes back to working less than 40 hours a week. I think the coolest thing about getting into real estate isn’t the money—and money’s great—but it’s the things I’ve had to learn. If I were still in engineering, I wouldn’t be reading as many books. I would not be spending as much on personal development.”

“So the coolest thing is learning about all of this and teaching it to my kids—they’re going to have such an unfair advantage. The things I’m learning, people pay me thousands of dollars for and I teach it to my kids. I’ve got three closers growing up, three people who are going to understand business.”

Some might say Trang has the best of both worlds—a strong work ethic and the desire to always be there for his family. Both are perhaps born from his own childhood. He came to the U.S. as an immigrant with his parents who often worked 60 to 80 hours a week. Trang would often stay up until midnight in elementary school so he could see his mom when she’d get home around [12:30] in the morning. Now, Trang takes his children to school every morning, stays off his devices as much as he can during the evening, and doesn’t work on the weekends—a lifestyle created from a successful real estate career.

“With all I’ve got going on, I also own a brokerage with over 100 agents and almost one percent market share in Phoenix and I own a title company,” Trang said. “I do all of these things and my goal is to do them in less than 40 hours a week. I’m intentional with my time; work-life balance is not lip service, it’s intentional. One of the reasons I’m so passionate about what I do is because while we’re trying to create financial wealth, it’s so the financial wealth leads to time freedom.” •