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Dan Lok, a.k.a The King of High-Ticket Sales, is one of the highest-paid and in-demand consultants in the real estate and high-ticket space. Dan has an inspirational story that resonates around the globe.
The Dan Lok brand is a global movement with one mission: To empower 1,000,000 entrepreneurs to become successful in life and in business.
Dan is one of the extremely rare keynote speakers and business consultants that actually owns a portfolio of highly profitable business ventures.
To learn more about Dan Lok visit:
Stefan Aarnio: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the show, Respect the Grind with Stefan Aarnio. This is the show where we introduce people who have achieved mastery and freedom through discipline. We interview entrepreneurs, athletes, authors, artists, real estate investors, anybody who has achieved mastery and examine what it took to get there. And today on this show, I have a friend of mine, Dan Lok who is a well-known international entrepreneur. His YouTube channel is crushing it right now. He’s been a top copywriter, multiple, multiple businesses, multi-millionaire. Way from the West Coast out in Vancouver, Dan Lok, thank you for joining me on this show today, Respect the Grind. Thanks so much for joining me.
Dan Lok: Hey. Thank you buddy, happy to be here.
Stefan Aarnio: Awesome. Dan, you know for the people who don’t know Dan Lok yet at home, why don’t you tell them a little bit about yourself and how you came to be an entrepreneur.
Dan Lok: Well, I immigrated to Canada when I was 14 years old, and as a single child, the only child in my family. My mum and dad got a divorce when I was 16 years old, mainly because my dad in Hong Kong, he had an affair. So my mum decided that she didn’t want to stay in the relationship and that’s why we immigrated to Canada. At the time also in Hong Kong, I was getting into a lot of trouble. I was hanging around with the wrong people. I think growing up, I didn’t quite fit in with the whole school system. I was quite rebellious and you could say a little bit weird, and I wasn’t doing particularly well in school. And at the time, there was one time I was actually in a police station in Hong Kong and the officer basically said to my dad, “You got to get your son out of this environment because if he continue like this, he’ll end up in jail.” And he did. Within six months, he just moved me from Hong Kong, boom, to Canada.
Dan Lok: And when I first got here, I didn’t have any friends and didn’t speak a word of English and didn’t have a lot of money. And just my mum and I were staying in a one-bedroom apartment in Surrey at the time, not a very good neighborhood. And my mum would sleep in the bedroom and I would sleep in the living room, and that was the beginning. And I think growing up, I didn’t have a lot of confidence but one thing I did know is I wanted to take care of my mum. Then surely after that, when I was 17 years old, my dad went bankrupt in Hong Kong and he owed about $1 million US to his partner. So at first he was sending us a bit of allowance, and one time he had a phone call with my mum and basically saying we’re on our own, he cannot send us money anymore. And it was the first time in my life I felt, “You know what? Even your parents, you cannot count on. You have to learn to be self-reliant.” I have to learn to take care of myself, take care of my family, kind of protect my mum. And I knew that I couldn’t provide for my mum working a minimum wage job, so I got into business. I wanted to make money.
Dan Lok: The funny thing is money never interest me. At the time, my biggest goal … Because I was getting bullied in school and so I was taking martial arts classes. At the time, my biggest dream was to open a martial arts school, to teach some students. That was it. I never thought of becoming a businessman and what I do today. Not in a million years could I ever imagine I would be kind of doing this. So, yeah. And fast forward today, of course, I’ve had a lot of these failures as you know. The ups and downs, we’ve all experienced that. And talk about respect the grind, I remember the first five years of my business career. While my friends they were drinking and chasing girl and watching sports game, for the first five years when I was building my business, I didn’t take a single day off. I was working 10, 12, 13 hours a day every single day for five years straight. Didn’t take a single vacation, didn’t watch a single sports game and that’s the grind, that’s the first five years.
Dan Lok: So sometimes, people look at me, I’m 37 years old, I’ve done a lot of things, I’ve accomplished a lot of things but the truth is I think I pay my price earlier. I’ve made the decision and say, “You know what? I’m going to spend the first 10 years of my life just working on business and building a foundation so that the rest of my life, so that I can enjoy more of what I do.” And that’s exactly what happened. Just recently, literally, April 1st, I just moved into a second residence. So my primary residence today, it’s a 4,300 square foot home. Six bedrooms, seven bathroom, looking over the water. You know how expensive Vancouver real estate is, right?
Stefan Aarnio: What is it? $800 or $1,000 a square foot?
Dan Lok: Uh-huh (affirmative). And then my secondary residence, I just recently moved in which will be my Dan Lok headquarters. Cole Harbour, a $15 million penthouse. So thinking about going from the one-bedroom apartment to a $15 million penthouse that Mel Gibson has stayed in, that Liam Neeson has stayed in, that Thor from Marvel has stayed in.
Stefan Aarnio: The God. You and the God together at last.
Dan Lok: And now … Yeah. And now, it’s going to be my home.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. And that’s going to be your private residence or is that your secondary?
Dan Lok: That’s my office.
Stefan Aarnio: Oh. Oh, just the office. Wow, beautiful.
Dan Lok: Just the office.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. That’s a massive change, Dan. Now, I have to ask. I’m a Canadian guy. My dad, he’s an immigrant from Sweden so I know the western world, that’s where I grew up. I went on a fast in Costa Rica in the jungle in the winter and there was a guy, he was a lawyer and he had a Chinese wife. And so he was from New York, his wife was from China and what he was saying is the little girls in China right now want to grow up and become second wives. Is that something that goes on in China right now or is it … You said your dad had an affair. Was that customary back then or not customary?
Dan Lok: Well, it’s pretty customary in here. In Vancouver, you have a lot of the second wife, the mistress, they’re going to school. Because in China, keep in mind, you only have one kid back then, right?
Stefan Aarnio: Oh, okay. Yeah.
Dan Lok: So if they want multiple kids, they will have the other woman and then they would send them here. So they might have a wife, a kid in China, then they have different kids in here. It’s quite common just because with the booming economy, everything in China. In a very short period of time, a lot of people have created a lot of wealth, a lot of money. And sometimes, money changes people. Sometimes, it doesn’t. But in this case, yeah, there’s a lot of money. Of course, even there’s a lot of money in Vancouver. As you know the real estate market, a lot of that is driven by the market price, it’s driven by foreign money, right?
Stefan Aarnio: Right. It’s pretty much an extension of China. It’s an extension of Asia pretty much over in Vancouver. I’m so curious. I’m so curious with the Chinese culture because it’s a rising superpower right now. With the laws, you used to have one baby over there. Do they now have too many men and not enough women?
Dan Lok: No, there’s a lot of … When you have that kind of population, there’s a lot of men, there’s a lot of women and it’s still growing. But I think what has changed … I think in the first economy, when it’s booming, people had all the wealth and sometimes I think it gives the Chinese a bad name in Vancouver. They see the second generation that come here, they buy these big houses, they drive Lamborghini and they think they’re douchebags and all that. Frankly, a lot of them are douchebags. I agree. I’ve met a lot them. But also … So you have the second generation, they’re spoiled brats.
Dan Lok: You have a lot of those but you have also a lot of second generation now, the parents send them to … Why they send them to North America is because they want them to get a good education, so they’re highly educated. You go to UBC, you got to SFU, you see a lot of them. They are not spoiled brats, they are entrepreneurial, they’re learning the North American way of doing business, the philosophy. And then they might want to go back to China to take over kind of the business, the parent’s business, or a lot of them, they just start a new business. They don’t want to rely on their parents. They want to kind of make something on their own. So I see a trend where a lot of them are starting business in North America, which I respect, which I think it’s a great thing to do. And so you can see that transition happening. So a lot of them are spoiled brats, second generation, and you saw also a lot of them are very entrepreneurial, want to do something great, want to be independent and those I respect.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow.
Stefan Aarnio: So Dan, coming back to … You went from living in a little apartment in Surrey to $15 million super penthouse in Vancouver, which is one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world. It’s unbelievable. How did you get started on your rise? Because there’s probably a whole bunch of people at home who maybe they’re getting started, maybe they’re on hard times and they’re living in the little apartment with their mum. I lived with my mum, also divorced when my parents were 17. Living on my mum’s couch. Just like you, wanted better things. How did you get started on this rise?
Dan Lok: I think for me, at first, I was just like everybody else. I was seeking the answer. How can I be successful? So I went through a kind of a personal development journey. I was reading the books, and Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy, and how to be successful, and set goals, and affirmations, and thinking we’re rich. I’ve read all those things. I went to different seminars and I tried all kinds of businesses. I was involved with a vending machine and trying to fix computers for people, anything that could make a living because I didn’t have any direction.
Dan Lok: But I think my life didn’t start to change until I found my first mentor, his name is Alan Jacks and he was the founder, you’re familiar with, so the Don Campbell. So Alan was a genius marketing person, a marketing genius, and he was the first one that brought Robert Kiyosaki to Canada, he was the first guy that brought Robin Alan to Canada. At the time, Alan ran one of the most successful financial seminar companies in Canada and so I worked for him for one year for basically next to nothing, volunteer, and I always refer to that year as the turning point because I got a lot of education from him. And so it may not be the answer for everybody but that was the answer for me, finding a mentor who kind of took me under his wings.
Dan Lok: And from then on, right afterwards as you mentioned, I started … After kind of learning from him for one year, I started my own one-man advertising agency as a copywriter, just write copy and sales letter and sales literatures for business owners and entrepreneurs. At the time, I was probably in my early 20s. I don’t know. 21, 22. And I was making about $10,000 a month as a young guy. It may not be a lot of money for some people but back then, boy, that was a lot of freaking money. I felt rich at 10k a month.
Stefan Aarnio: Well, I think a lot of Canadians feel rich at 10 grand. I’m teaching and training people now and it’s amazing. We did a survey then and most real estate investors in my database only want to make 10 grand in 90 days, that’s their number one goal, which is 40 grand a year. And in Winnipeg where I live, average income’s 35 grand a year. So if you’re doing 10 grand a month, you’re a baller, dude. In one month.
Dan Lok: Exactly. I felt like a baller. So I was able to take care of my mum and pay off some debt that I accumulated because of all the business failures, and that was my kind of first little taste of success. Now, to give your audience a bit of context, I started and failed at 13 businesses before having that first success, so that’s a lot of failure. So sometimes I think people look at what I do and they look at my social media and all of that, they look at where I am and I always wanted to tell them, “Hey. You know what? I came from somewhere. This is not overnight success. Far from it. This is far from overnight.” And to me, I’m still growing. I’m still learning, I’m still kicking ass and going out there, building my thing and still I feel like a beginner.
Dan Lok: So that was the answer and then from there, I made my money … Now, I do have to say because I was very early, gotten onto the internet. I was online before a lot of these different people doing business online. So I took some of that money and I was looking for … We’re talking about … Remember Yahoo? The search engine? What’s the other one? Microsoft … There’s another one.
Stefan Aarnio: Ask Jeeves?
Dan Lok: Oh, no. Overture.
Stefan Aarnio: Overture. Wow.
Dan Lok: Overture. Netscape, right? That was when I got started on internet. Bulletin board. I was selling stuff there, I was selling stuff on eBay. I was buying Bruce Lee collectibles from Hong Kong and selling them on eBay.
Stefan Aarnio: I was going to say. Dan, back then, wasn’t the internet just porn? It didn’t have anything but porn back then.
Dan Lok: It was just text.
Stefan Aarnio: It was text. Oh, it was before porn. Wow.
Dan Lok: It was just text. And it takes … The modem, you got to dial, right?
Stefan Aarnio: Oh my god, wow.
Dan Lok: You got to dial the modem to get online and the picture takes forever to load. That was when I went online.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow.
Dan Lok: And I couldn’t … Forget this merchant account thing. At the time was collecting payment through money order.
Stefan Aarnio: Oh, man.
Dan Lok: Right? So that’s how early I was. So because of that, you could say timing, you could say … I would say because of the marketing skill that I have … I was writing sales letter. Remember those long form sales letter? Back then, it was a pioneer way. Nobody did that kind of stuff. I was early, early on. And I was fortunate. I got into affiliate marketing, all kinds of businesses. We had very little competition. At the time, I was able to drive traffic dirt cheap. Forget what we have. Back then, nobody advertise, so it was dirt cheap. And I was hardly 24, I was making ridiculous amount of money. I remember I would go out on a night with a bunch of friends and we would drop 3 grand a night. I don’t even freaking drink. And I would buy them dinner. I’m not saying that’s the smart thing to do. I was just being dumb because I’ve never seen so much money. And just like any young guy, I would get the fast car every year, all the stupid shit that I did. And I was making it, I was spending it and didn’t know the concept of what you teach like investing. That didn’t … Because it was so easy to make money. It was so easy to make money and it wasn’t good but I was still making a lot of money.
Dan Lok: And I was doing these internet stuff and people started asking me, “Dan, how do you do these things?” I said, “What do you mean how do you do it? You just click, click, click and do this.” “Oh. No, no, no. Can you show me how to do it?” “Show you? What if I didn’t want to show you?” “No, get a couple of people and …” Okay, fine. I said, “Here’s a computer.” I got three or four people, “Here’s how you do it.” And then I started charging for it. Now, I didn’t even understand the concept of a seminar back then. I just start teaching these stuff and then they like it and then it grew, and it grew and from 20 people, 30 people … Before you know it, I was hosting a 100 people seminar while I was still building my internet business. I think that’s also why my event was popular because I’m not teaching them something that I don’t do, I’m showing them, “Hey. Here’s what I’m doing for my businesses. Look. Here’s how I get traffic. Here’s how I convert. Here’s my sales page.” And people love. People just absolutely love it.
Dan Lok: And then I started developing programs and all of that, and before you know it, I accidentally became a teacher. I wasn’t thinking about becoming a speaker, it just kind of happened. But also I love it because I love … I think maybe thinking back, even when I was young … I talked about I wanted to open up a martial arts school. I think I’ve always liked to teach. I have the teacher’s heart. So I always like to teach but now the teaching takes a form in a different way because I’m teaching-
Stefan Aarnio: Which is teach leadership now, Dan. I think of myself as more leadership than teaching. Sure, you do teach but are you not just leading the market? You’re just leading and showing people how it’s done.
Dan Lok: I think yeah. I think leading, teaching and what gets me excited is to see people’s lives transform in front of me from where they were, whatever’s holding them back. It could be resources, could be limited belief, could be whatever, mindset, could be business vehicle. But seeing them transformed, that is very exciting for me. That to me is very exciting. So that’s why I create all this content. And I tell people, the content and the podcast and YouTube, all that is good, it’s the right thing to do because I get to share, I get to get these feedback and comments from people all over the world, at the same time, it’s also the smart thing to do. It’s a very powerful way to build your personal brand. And so, yeah, and then fast forward, that’s how we do the so called social media influencer. Yeah, that’s what I do today.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah. Dan, I remember I first saw you in … Oh, man. It must’ve been 2008.
Dan Lok: Nah, man. You’re making me feel old.
Stefan Aarnio: Well, I’m 31. You’re what? 37?
Dan Lok: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Stefan Aarnio: It’s funny. I went out with this girl on Sunday and she said I’m too old for her. I said, “What are you talking about? I’m 31.” I’m not even … I’m the youngest of the old people and the oldest of the young people. But at 2008, I saw you speak and this is actually … It’s in my book, Self Made. I went out, I was broke, I was a guitar teacher. I got in a car, drove across the country to Edmonton to Darren Weeks’s Fast Track Super Conference and I see Dan, the man, Lok speaking and Dan is … I think you were doing some internet marketing or affiliate marketing crash course thing.
Dan Lok: Correct.
Stefan Aarnio: And I remember I bought it. Well, I bought a bunch of stuff. I was this dumb kid. I had 5,000 bucks saved up in my bank account from guitar teaching. I bought three or four things and I ended up returning your thing. I went home and I was like, “Oh, man. I got too many things. I need to return something” which people do. Now, you’ve evolved from being an internet marketer, affiliate guy sort of thing and now you’ve got almost a media empire and a top tier brand I’d say. With the TED talks, you got your red shiny suit, you got the private planes. Your YouTube is just on fire. I know I’m always asking about your YouTube. Because you told me you had what? 4,000 followers last year. What are you up to now? 150,000 subscribers?
Dan Lok: Yeah, it took me … This is the first … It took me from zero to 1,000 subscribers, that took me six months. And then-
Stefan Aarnio: That’s the hardest, isn’t it?
Dan Lok: Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: The first thousand. Oh my god.
Dan Lok: It was a bitch, quite frankly.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah.
Dan Lok: So from then, from 1,000 to 10,000, that took me one year. From 10,000 to 100,000, it just took another year.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. Wow. So you’re 10X-ing it and then you’re 10X-ing it again the next year. So for the people at home, it’s almost like a profession nowadays. Little boys, little girls say, “I want to be a YouTube star. I want to be a social media influencer.” The girl I went out with on the weekend, she said she wanted to be an Instagram wife, whatever that is, Instagram influencer. How does somebody go and create that kind of growth in social media? Because it’s not easy. It is not easy at all. I remember getting my first thousand subs, it took me forever. Tell me about how you grow 10X year over year in social media.
Dan Lok: Sure. I think for social media, people have to understand that … We’re all assuming that’s the future. It’s not just the future, it is now. It is the present tense. Social media is where people are paying attention to. And nowadays because of the internet, because of technology, there’s so much noise in the marketplace. I don’t care what it is that you do, what business you’re in, what product services, they are a lot of people there who are doing something similar to what you’re doing, so it takes a tremendous amount of effort. I think people underestimate, “Oh, I’ve got a good product. I’m an investor. I can do this or …” No. It has nothing to do with how good you are. It takes effort to cut through the noise.
Dan Lok: So I believe the most valuable commodity nowadays is not money, it’s not even the real estate. The most valuable currency in business is attention. Attention is new currency. Because you don’t get attention, you don’t get interest. You don’t get interest, you won’t get business, you won’t get buyers. And people think about social media … And of course, social media is definitely one of the most powerful ways to get attention because that’s where the attention is. People spend money, spend time on Facebook, they spend time on Instagram, they spend time on YouTube. YouTube is the new TV. Your podcast is the new radio. Instagram basically replaces your photo book. Facebook is the news station and it’s almost-
Stefan Aarnio: It’s almost the yellow pages even.
Dan Lok: It is, it is. And then LinkedIn replaces your resume. So that’s where all the growth and everything that’s happening … Now, in terms of being a social media influencer, I think for young people, anybody … Because I have young people come to me and say, “Hey. Dan, how can I build followers? And how can I get exposure?” I always reply, “For what?”
Stefan Aarnio: For what.
Dan Lok: For what? What do you want to do? So you get these-
Stefan Aarnio: That’s a masterful answer. That’s a masterful answer from the master himself, “For what?” So tell us all for what.
Dan Lok: Because you got to build it on substance. You cannot build just on high, “Oh, yeah. I got all these followers.” I have a friend of mine … I won’t name any names. She is one of the top 5, top 10 influencers on Twitter. Been featured Twitter top 10 influencers, has massive following. She’s broke. She makes less than $25,000 a year.
Stefan Aarnio: Oh my god. Are you kidding? Having top 10 Twitter influencers.
Dan Lok: Makes no difference. And I thought that was a unicorn. I’ve met so many social media influencers that are freaking broke because here’s the problem with social media. Of course, you show the happy stuff, you show the nice things and all these stuff and the people think they have the perfect life. Nobody has the perfect life. I don’t have a perfect life. Nobody has a perfect life, we just have life which is living life. And most people will think, “Oh, they’re doing so well.” No, they got no money. I talked to so many. I’m talking YouTubers, two, three, five, a million subscribers, barely scraping by. Instagram with 100, 200, half a mil, a million followers, barely paying the bills. So the currents that influence the follower doesn’t necessarily equal money. You got to something, a mechanism, a business, a value, an offer that you deliver that helps people to solve problems and add value, then you convert their attention into money, into cash. And so that’s why I say, “Oh, I want to be a YouTuber.” No. The way I see it, the biggest difference is this. I don’t see them … Because if people say, “I want to be a YouTuber. I want to be Instagramer.” They view that as a business on its own, which I never do. I only view that as … It’s simply a platform. Facebook’s a platform. Instagram’s a platform. YouTube is a platform. It is just a way-
Stefan Aarnio: And books. Books too.
Dan Lok: Books? Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: People are like, “I want to be an author.” Dude, an author sells 100,000 copies as making 60 grand on a bestseller. You’re a New York Times bestseller, you make 60 grand. You’re the top-
Dan Lok: That’s not a lot of money.
Stefan Aarnio: Oh my god. 60 grand. I had 60 grand for breakfast yesterday morning. That’s not a lot of money.
Dan Lok: That’s what I mean, and people they have this illusion. I was doing a talk too at a conference called Influential and we had hundreds of men, a lot of them are influencers, YouTubers, people who are in men styling but they’re all influencers. And I basically told the audience, “Let me ask you this question. Whatever how many followers you have right now and let’s say hypothetically you have 10,000 followers, whatever it is, and you’re not making money. What makes you think if you have 100,000 followers, suddenly you will make money?” Because you cannot multiply zero if you don’t have a business model. If you don’t have a business model that can monetize 10,000 people, what makes you 100,000 people will make any difference? You just get more exhausted and get more tired. So if you’re not making money with small followers …
Dan Lok: I will share something kind of with you. This is pretty powerful. Why I’m such a big believer in YouTube, here’s what happens and then you might find this helpful. As you know, I’ve done a lot of books in my life. I’ve written 13 books now. I’ve done a lot of speaking engagement. I’ve done a lot of different things. I have never walked down the street and people would come up to me and say, “Oh. Hey, man. I read your book.” Or, “Hey, man. I listened to your podcast.” But I’ve had many, many incidents, and before even my channel was that popular, I walked down the street or I’m eating somewhere and people say, “I watch your video.” That’s when I “got it”. At the time, I might have … I don’t know. 10,000 subscribers? I said what if I had a million subscribers? What if I have 5 million subscribers? Then, something clicked for me as a business person. I said, this is TV. This is the most powerful platform that I could leverage, so I went all in.
Dan Lok: Now, here’s what happens. When I had five-figure subscribers, I was directly … I’m talking directly from YouTube. I had five-figure subscribers, I was making about six-figure. Six-figure from YouTube, just directly from business, leads, opportunity from YouTube. Now I have six-figure subscribers, I’m polling about I would say seven-figureish.
Stefan Aarnio: That’s a business onto itself.
Dan Lok: Just from YouTube.
Stefan Aarnio: That’s its own business.
Dan Lok: Just from there. Not including Facebook, not including … I’m strictly talking about directly from YouTube, it’s seven-figure. So the question is, what if I have seven-figure subscribers? You do the numbers. What if I have eight-figure subscribers? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to calculate those numbers. And that’s why I’m such a big proponent. Just right now, just to give you … I’m looking at my statistics. Just from my phone right now, real time. You’ll love this. So I’m looking at the numbers. Right now, in the last 28 days, 5.5 million minutes of my content were being consumed. 5.5 million minutes in the last 28 days. So somewhere, someone, somewhere in the world is watching my content while I’m having a chat with you, while we’re just chatting. So think about the power of that. I’m not there selling. I’m not there doing anything but it works for me 24/7 around the world, that’s why it’s such a power thing for any business people, for any marketers, for any entrepreneurs. And also same thing, Facebook, Instagram. Same thing.
Stefan Aarnio: It’s infinitely scalable, Dan. And I guess a question I have is, I wrote a blog a while ago about how big-box stores are dying. The malls are dying. The movie theaters are dying. And people nowadays … And I put seminars in there. Live seminars are dying too. And the reality of today’s buyer from what I gather is he’s lying in bed naked, covered in pizza, naked with this woman and they’re watching Netflix. And the question is how can you bring your business into his bedroom, into his Netflix stream so he can buy your stuff directly from bed? Would you say that is an accurate representation right now?
Dan Lok: Very accurate. And more than that, he’s sitting in bed watching Netflix while playing on his iPhone, right?
Stefan Aarnio: That’s right. He’s not even watching the Netflix-
Dan Lok: No. Distracted while maybe trying to have trying to have a conversation with the girlfriend and boyfriend, whatever, right next to them. And that’s why the people nowadays, their attention span is so low. They cannot focus, they cannot pay attention and that’s why attention is extremely valuable. And here’s the thing. Think about it from a business perspective. It takes so much effort to get someone’s attention. Once you can get the attention, you can build trust. You achieve that top-of-mind awareness. Here’s the good news. It is very, very difficult for someone else to compete with you because you’re there and people are now too … They’re too distracted. They’re too lazy to, “Do I really want to look for 10 service providers? To go through all of this and do this research and all of that? Let’s just pick the person who … I see the person all the time. I remember that person. Let’s just give him some money if I have a problem that he could solve.” You know what I mean? And not look …
Dan Lok: Back then, they say they’re looking for real estate mentor. Back then, they might go to two, three, five, a lot of seminars, a lot of workshops and going to different things and find that one person. Nowadays, no. No, they don’t have time. They don’t have the patience. They just want, “If I really want this problem solved, let me just go for who I think is the best, who I think is the most credible, who I think has the most social media currency.” That’s it. That’s how they make the decisions. The way they make decision’s so much shorter now. They don’t have a lot of time to think about this. I’m sure you’ve seen this from your students too, right?
Stefan Aarnio: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dan Lok: Yeah. And the good thing is once they find you and you’re good and deliver value, they kind of don’t want to move. They don’t want to move. It’s good.
Stefan Aarnio: It’s unbelievable. It’s almost … One thing I noticed, Dan, I was going into a traditional seminar model … Because I got two businesses. I got the real estate business, it’s a major business. The other one is training in real estate, and I went to a traditional model in the winter. We went into seminars, so we did the two-tier seminar. We filled up the room. We spent $75,000 in freaking money to put 40 guys in a room, that’s how expensive it is in the traditional model.
Dan Lok: Correct.
Stefan Aarnio: And what was amazing … This blew my mind, Dan, and you can probably add some light to this. We live in the modern world. Back in the days of you sending money orders at the beginning of the internet over the money orders and selling books over the internet back in the late ’90s, early 2000s, the internet was looked at as a scam and nowadays, these people meeting me in the hotel basement at the Marriott think that because they’re meeting me in person, I’m a scam but if they saw me on YouTube every day, I’m for real. So it’s a reversal now where YouTube is more real than reality.
Dan Lok: Not just that. I’ll give you a perfect example. You talk about digital marketing. Digital marketing back then was, “Oh. I do different types of marketing, advertising, print or live event or billboard.” Or whatever. Nowadays, digital marketing is marketing. I’ll give you a perfect example. I’ll take you back let’s say five years ago. From my phone, I might know about let’s say 50, 60 guys that are doing seven-figure online. Five years ago. Today, my phone, I’ll probably have guys who doing seven-figure, probably couple hundred people. I probably have at least 100 people that’s doing eight-figure and I have a number of them doing nine-figure.
Stefan Aarnio: Just online?
Dan Lok: Just online.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow.
Dan Lok: Right? So now when people tell me seven-figure business online, what’s the big deal? Not a big deal.
Stefan Aarnio: Seven-figures, that’s like middle-class now.
Dan Lok: Yeah, it’s not a big deal. I was just in a mastermind with a private mastermind with a couple of my buddies. We’re all eight-figure guys. We’re all doing over a million a month. What’s the big deal? It’s not. And we’re not like, “Oh, yeah. We did …” No. Let’s talk about how to get to nine-figure. That’s all we’re worried about, how to scale that. And things have changed, so digital marketing is marketing. That is the marketing. And I think a great insight I can provide for you, talking about the live event, because when you do a live event or any kind of one-on-one interaction with people, it puts a lot of pressure on you because you’ve just spent $75,000 to get the people in the seats, get potential buyers in the seat. It gives you a lot of pressure to “get the return back”, to close sales, to get a good return on investment on your marketing dollars. The problem with that is if you don’t it’s like now, yeah, you may be able to follow up with this or that but you know if you don’t close the sales on the spot, chances are you won’t close sales in the future. They might come and buy down the road but it’s slim to none. Instead of more social media, it’s this. Now, for the event that you did, how long was your presentation?
Stefan Aarnio: That was a three-day … It was a two-hour presentation-
Dan Lok: And it lead to three day?
Stefan Aarnio: … and we sold it to a three-day … Correct, yeah.
Dan Lok: Okay. So what happens … Now my model, what I believe in, I’m taking the three-day and I’m breaking them down into 3, 5, 10-minute, 10-second segment. For 10, 15 seconds, it’s Instagram. For 3 to 5 minute, I’m putting on Facebook. For me, 5 to 10 minute, I’m putting on YouTube. I’m breaking that three-day down into hundreds and thousand pieces of microcontent and I distribute online over a period of time so people can consume at their leisure from their comfort of their own home and when they are ready to do business, then they come to me. That’s the difference.
Stefan Aarnio: It’s unbelievable, Dan. I got the exact same … I was on your podcast a while ago and I said for every hour someone spends with you, you can charge $1,000.
Dan Lok: Correct.
Stefan Aarnio: So if you can get a guy to 30 hours, $30,000 ticket. Now, let’s talk about monetization because we’re talking about the kids at home that want to be YouTubers, they want to be Instagram wives or whatever that means. How does somebody create a good monetization? You’re obviously monetizing if you’re in the eight-figure game. That’s awesome. I got two businesses and seven-figures. How does somebody create great monetization out of their thousand-person following?
Dan Lok: It’s so simple. You sell them something. Yeah, because you sell them something. You make them an offer. Well, “How do you sell them something, Dan?” You get them on the phone.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah. Okay. So Dan, you’ve been in marketing forever, man. I love how you got into marketing early 20s. I just self-identified myself as a marketer maybe three months ago. I now call myself a marketer and it took me 31 years, took a long time. I understand making an offer, I understand getting on the phone, I understand selling stuff. For the average guy listening to this, especially Canadians, you probably got a lot of Canadians to this, selling is foreign. Matching a product to your audience is foreign. So if someone is just wanting to get started with matching a product to their audience, how do they do that?
Dan Lok: Again, goes back to my … I was sharing with you about Influential, the conference I was speaking at. And I said, “You guys, when I say the word, ‘sales’, what word comes to mind?” Sells snake oil, slimy salesperson and manipulation and all the negative words. So I said, “Okay. It’s like a taboo. It’s a four-letter word.” I said, “How many of you don’t like sales? Put up your hands.” And we have 500 people in the room, probably half the room put up their hand. And then I said, “Okay. Let me see. Let me think. Hold on a second. I got to …” Kind of pretend I’m a psychic, “You’re broke.” And the audience just cracked up. It’s true. Because if you don’t like selling in business, you’re not making money. I’m a salesman, you a salesman, Bill Gates is a salesman, Warren Buff is a salesman, Richard Branson’s a salesman. We all selling. Nothing happens until a sale’s made.
Dan Lok: So the first thing is if they have a negative association about selling, yeah, you got to solve that. And second thing is if you don’t have a negative association … And I’m not talking about the way that you twist people’s arm and you push them and, “What you need?” All the traditional close where, “Would you like an B or an A? Would you like in blue or red?” I’m not talking about shit like that. I’m talking about having a conversation with people that you ask questions, you find out about their needs and you give them a solution that they want to take advantage of. I call it high-ticket closing. And everything that I have in my life … Think about everything that you want in your life. I don’t care if it’s contacts, I don’t care if it’s money, capital, opportunity, money, relationship. I wouldn’t be married if I didn’t “close” my wife. So everything you ever want-
Stefan Aarnio: You got to close, man. You got to close.
Dan Lok: You got to close. So everything you ever want in your life, guess what? Somebody else has it. All you have to do is close them. So that’s why closing I believe is the number one skill in business. And so it’s not about what you sell really. Once if you know how to close, you can come up with an offer, you can promote other people’s offer. You have an audience that trust and like you and respect you, you can just close. The problem is people focus on the thing. My widget, my product. I always tell them it’s not the thing, it’s the thing that sells the thing. It’s not my program that makes me money. I create a program anytime. Has nothing to do with that. Absolutely zero, nothing to do … It’s same thing with your coaching program. It’s not your coaching program, it’s you. If you’re able to communicate the value, you’re able to sell, you’re able to teach, you’re able to help them and change their lives, that’s what sells the program. The program itself to someone else it has zero value, to you it’s worth seven-figures. That’s what I’m … The only difference is you’ll be able to close. And I think most people, they don’t spend enough time working on that and that’s why they struggle. You’re not good with sales, you can forget about making a lot of money in business.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. That’s a great quote. If you’re not great in sales, you can forgot about making a lot of money.
Dan Lok: And here’s my belief. You don’t have to buy my belief. Here’s my belief. If I believe in what I sell, I’m morally obligated to sell to people. When I make an offer, when I sell someone on a phone, when someone says no to me, I’m always puzzled. I’m like, “What? What do you mean you’re not buying? What part of that you don’t understand? Let me explain again.” Just imagine. You go into any sales situation, any encounter with people, if you have that kind of certain and conviction, you would sell because people love … I always say now in this day and age, we are selling … I don’t care what it is that you sell. Product, service, coaching seminar. We are selling certainty in an uncertain world.
Stefan Aarnio: Oh, damn. That’s good.
Dan Lok: We are selling certainty in an uncertain world, so how certain about you about your offer? How certain about your products? I’m damn freaking certain about what I do. When you have that kind of conviction, people love to buy. They want to buy. They’re looking for leadership, “Thank god. I don’t have to go through 10 people, interview 10 people and see if they’re good. Please take my money. Help me solve my problem.” That’s the difference. But most people, they just don’t … You ask them, “Well, what do you do?” “Well, I kind of do a little bit of …” Fuck. You don’t even sound convinced about what it is that you’re offering. How can I buy? I don’t want to buy. You don’t even want to buy your own stuff. That’s the problem.
Stefan Aarnio: So Dan, I got one of your books on my nightstand next to my bed, F.U. Money and it’s got the middle finger of money right on the front.
Dan Lok: That’s correct.
Stefan Aarnio: Took me a while to figure that out.
Dan Lok: It’s a subliminal message.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah. Great cover, man.
Dan Lok: I think probably only 1 out of 100 people see that, so kudo to you.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. I’m special, my mother told me when I was a little boy.
Dan Lok: You are. You are. Very few people ever spot that.
Stefan Aarnio: So tell the people at home a little bit about F.U. Money and the philosophy inside of that book.
Dan Lok: Well, F.U. Money, I wrote a number of years ago. And sometimes people say to me, “What does that mean, Dan? Is it FU Money?” No, it’s fuck you money. It’s exactly what it is. It’s to make enough money that you take shit from nobody. That you can say fuck you to your doubters, the people who doubted you, to people who … To your boss, to a situation. It’s a metaphor. It’s a metaphor of living life … Because I love people that talk about freedom and I think freedom to a lot of people, they think … You ask most people, “What does freedom mean to you? Define it for me.” They’ll say, “Freedom is to do whatever the hell I want. If I want to sit on the beach, I could do that. If I want to travel, I could do that.”
Dan Lok: F.U. Money, the way I define freedom is a little bit different. The way I define freedom is you don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to do. Because no one in my life at this point, there is no people in my life, there is nothing in my life “I have to tolerate”. There’s no customer I have to tolerate. There’s no employee I have to tolerate. If I don’t want those people in my life, they are not there. If I don’t want to do something, I’m not there. Believe me. If I want to do interview or we chit-chat as a friend, let’s do that. If I don’t want to do interview, I ain’t doing an interview. That’s F.U. Money, being able to live life on your own terms. True freedom. True, true freedom. If I don’t want to do an event, I’m not doing a fucking event. I don’t need to do that to make the money. I don’t need to do certain things to make the money. No. If I don’t like to teach, I’m not teaching. I like to teach and I teach. That’s power and that’s what F.U. Money stands for. That’s what it’s about.
Stefan Aarnio: Oh, I love that. I love how F.U. Money is almost a replacement for the value of freedom, which so many people that want freedom, they have freedom. I’m wearing my American flag here because America used to be about freedom when they started. Freedom is so big. Your book F.U. Money, Dan. That’s your book. What are top three books that changed your life and your development?
Dan Lok: That’s such a good question. There’s so many. I’m just like you. I’m such an avid reader. I’ll read two, three books a week. I would say-
Stefan Aarnio: Well, there’s two ways to do it, Dan. Are you going to do classics or current? Some people go current, some people go classics. It’s up to you.
Dan Lok: I think I’ll give you classic and I’ll give you a couple of current one. Classic, the book that changed my life is from my second mentor, Dan Pena, the $50 billion man. He wrote a book called, Your First 100 Million. That book, at the time, I actually bought it on the eBay for $400 US. When I first saw that book, I thought, “What kind of freaking idiot would spend $400 on a book?” And then before you know it, I bought it. And that book changed my life. You were talking about how I was doing internet marketing?
Stefan Aarnio: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dan Lok: That book changed me, transformed me from being “have an identity of an internet marketer” to a real entrepreneur. I’m not just … So nowadays, I don’t see myself as another copywriter. I have copywriting skill. I’m not a speaker, I have speaking skill. I’m not a marketer, I have marketing skill. I’m just an entrepreneur. I have all those skill sets. So I would say You First 100 Million by my mentor, phenomenal book. Changed my life. Because long story short, the claim to fame of my mentor is he grew a company from zero to $450 million in eight years in the oil industry. So he’s been my mentor for more than 10 years. So that book, number one, I would recommend that book.
Dan Lok: The second book I would recommend is actually 80/20 Rule by Richard Koch. A lot of people … 80/20 Principle. A lot of people have read that book. I don’t think most people understand that book very deeply. They think, “Oh, yeah. We’ve all heard it. 20% of your results come from … and 80% of effort.” That kind of stuff. 20% of revenue … No, I mean 80% of revenue comes from 20% of your customers, 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort. All these things. But I don’t think people really understand the principle. I read that book probably 10 times, so it affect deeply about the way I operate.
Dan Lok: So I will give you a very, very concrete example. So before, I would be involved with so many different businesses, different company. In the last three years, I have consolidated a lot of what I do. So I sold off some companies, I shut down some companies and now I’m much, much more focused. So before, I would have a bunch of stuff that’s making seven-figure, six-figure, a little side hustle here and there. That’s where I was and now I got rid of all that junk and just, “You know what? I’ll focus on growing this one thing.” Very integrated my personal brand to a nine-figure and beyond, and it’s about simplicity. I believe simplicity is the ultimate sophistication-
Stefan Aarnio: Elegance?
Dan Lok:… and elegance. And everything I do, that’s why high-ticket. Instead of having 20 offers at $7.99 and $29, $199 and $997 and then whatever it is. No, I’ve got one thing. I do my numbers with all this with one thing, one offer, that can generate that kind of revenue. So 80/20 Principle, Richard Koch. I recommend that book.
Dan Lok: The third book, which is a little bit unusual. It’s called The Surrender Experiment, which is a spiritual book. And just like I think most entrepreneurs, for the first 10 years … Let’s say from 20 to 30 years old, I was just like most entrepreneurs, type A personality, get shit done, whatever it takes, grind, work, long hours, conquer the world, let’s make it happen. If there’s a wall, I’ll break through it, I’ll break through another wall. Nothing can stop me. That’s the first 10 years how I operated. After I read that book, I changed my whole philosophy about not forcing things, about not pushing, about kind of just let it happen. I called it the state of flow. And as a result, I’ve made more money, I’m happier, have very little stress and life truly is good. Relationship is good, my people around me is good. Everything becomes more effortless.
Dan Lok: Now, I’m not saying don’t put in effort. I think for the first 10 years, I put in the effort to build the foundation but once you get to a certain point, more effort is not the answer. It’s not like … Okay. I think from the zero to six-figure, yeah, work your ass off. From six-figure maybe to maybe even seven-figure, work your ass off. But I think when you’re seven-figure, you want to go beyond, it’s not just more hours. Because you know … Right, buddy? You know that. It’s just-
Stefan Aarnio: There’s no more hours.
Dan Lok: There’s no more hours. You are maxed out. You are as productive as you could be. You’re working as hard as you could be. It’s trying to get a couple people and maybe help you and build a little team. But I could tell you there’s a big difference, there’s a mental shift to go from this level to the next level because you cannot put in 10 times more effort. That’s not the answer. And you know this, as you put in more effort, the incremental … Like they say someone making a million, they want to get to two million, they would find that, “Oh, god. I’m just putting so much effort but I’m just increasing my results by maybe 10%. I’m not doubling it.”
Stefan Aarnio: Diminishing returns.
Dan Lok: There you go. And I think if you combine that with the 80/20 Principle, you combine that with kind of The Surrender Experiment where you surrender. You’re letting go of the need to control, which is very difficult for entrepreneur. Yeah, it’s very difficult. You’re letting go of the need to control the outcome. I know this sounds a little bit spiritual and woo foo foo, but I’m telling you this shit works. When you let go and you just left things … Instead of you making shit happen, you just let shit happen. You just let things happen and you’ll have the belief and the fate that it would happen because you have worked, you’ve built a strong foundation. And it’s unbelievable, it truly … So it changed the way I operate in a very, very big way. And I’m sure when you saw me back then, I was more like, “I want to make shit happen.” Even when I wrote F.U. Money, I was a lot more like that. Now at this age, everything I do is much more … It’s calmer. It’s more elegant. It’s a more gliding through it versus running. I don’t really notice … I think I’m sure you pay attention to my stuff, you know that. It’s a different vibe. Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: It seems more spiritually mature, if that means anything to the people at home.
Dan Lok: I think so. I think you described that perfectly. More aligned as well.
Stefan Aarnio: You come in like a warrior at the beginning and you’re taming the land, and you’re taking the arrows, and fighting the natives for the land and the pioneers. You’re bleeding everywhere and then eventually … I was in the jungle here in Costa Rica fasting over the winter and a voice said to me, “Do less.” Because I came to the same thing as you, Dan. You can’t grind anymore. There’s 18 hours in a day you can work, there’s 6 you got to sleep. That’s it. You can’t add more time. You got to do less at some point and I like what you said about getting in the flow and almost letting things happen. But I think the key thing in what you said is faith and you have the faith that it’s going to work out. Now, we’re just going to wrap up here, Dan. Before we go, what is the one thing that young people need to succeed these days? We’ve got the millennials, we got Generation Z. Everybody says these guys are lost. What do you want to say to those young generations?
Dan Lok: Well, they … I hate to say it but they’re fucked.
Stefan Aarnio: Generation F.
Dan Lok: Yeah, it is not easy because with so much distraction, they can’t focus. Even now … Nowadays, young people, they don’t read anymore. They think Facebook is reading or Instagram, that description, the post, that’s reading. You look at young people. When was the last time you see the young people picking a book and reading?
Stefan Aarnio: It’s either Harry Potter or Fifty Shades of Grey. That’s all.
Dan Lok: Yeah, that scares the shit out of me. So the odds are not good. It is truly not good. I think the upside of that is this. Our generation because with what’s happening with technology, I actually think you don’t need to do as much to stand out. You know what? If you read a book every couple weeks, that’s pretty good, because chances are your friends are not doing that. If you spend an hour listening to a podcast like this, educating yourself and getting informed while your friends are just watching three hours of Netflix every day, that one hour you spend maybe every couple days on a podcast, chances are people around you are not doing that, right?
Stefan Aarnio: Right.
Dan Lok: So I think for young people, same thing what I learned from before, is you got to find someone to kind of give you some guidance. I think that’s just so critical and chances are you’re not going to get that guidance from your parents unless they are very successful. And you got to find that mentor because … I don’t care how. I don’t care where but you got to find that person. Someone who you look up to, someone who you respect, someone who you admire, someone who you just want to be around. When I found my mentor … And I was searching and I was searching, I went through … I buy different program and I joined different group and this and that, went to different seminar. Quite frankly, most of these guys are not mentors, they’re salespeople. And not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s good information. It’s good, but I’m talking mentorship as much more like … I use a martial metaphor. More like the sifu and student relationship. The sensei and student relationship, kind of karate kid. You have the sensei and you have the student. That’s a very special intimate kind of relationship.
Dan Lok: Once I found my mentor … And that’s why both have been my mentor for more than a decade. It’s not like, “Go to the event and do …” No, no, no. It’s not like that. It’s a long commitment. And when I found that, I just went all in. When I found my mentor, I said, “You know what? This is a man that I could learn from for 10 years, maybe more.” That’s good. I don’t have to keep hunting for the next person. Same thing when I found my … I do martial art. When I found my current instructor, my sifu, I said, “This is the martial artist I could spend 10 years learning from.” He has so much depth and he’s still growing, and learning, and evolving. This is a guy I could learn from for 10 years. Thank god, I don’t have to try and found 10 different instructors. I think spending some time finding that person is very, very key. Watching some YouTube videos, that’s nice. Listening to podcast, that’s nice. But, I’m talking about that personal relationship. If you find that person that would … I think that you’ll have an edge for sure.
Stefan Aarnio: I love that. Mentorship is so rare these days and I think you’re right. A mentor, you’re not supposed to pay your mentor. You pay a coach but a mentor’s unpaid and it’s somebody who’s been there. And I-
Dan Lok: And someone who doesn’t need your money.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, exactly. They don’t need your money. And the other thing I noticed about mentors is that you get selected by your mentor. Your mentor selects you. They see you and they go, “I’m going to mentor this kid.” I have never seen anybody really succeed from going up to a mentor and saying, “Would you mentor me?” Doesn’t really work like that. You got to get yourself shiny enough so that a mentor says, “I like that kid. Let me spend some time with him.” Would you agree?
Dan Lok: 100%. I have people say I always … Because one of my YouTube video, very popular, they ask me, “How do I find a mentor?” I say you don’t find your mentor, your mentor finds you and that you have to … Like you said, shiny enough and also maybe just because someone is successful doesn’t mean they’re obligated to help you to become successful, you still got to close them. Maybe in some way … I mentor a couple kids where they were … Even though they have no money, but you want to try to find ways to add value to their life.
Dan Lok: Maybe you have some digital marketing skill … I don’t know. Example, if someone approach, you’re a young guy, and says, “Hey. Can I do your social media? Can I help you with different things?” You got to add value to their lives first. Maybe they’ll need something from you but from my experience, I don’t care how successful they are, just some area, some project, some initiative that they’re working on. And if you can somehow catch them at the right time and you could help them with that and boom, here you go. So bring that. Don’t just go in and just kind of like, “Oh, help me. Poor little me. You should help me.” No. Go in, add value. Don’t ask anything in return. If your mentor’s any good, they will see, “Oh. You know what? This kid is good. Remind me when I was younger. Ambitious, respect the grind. You know what? I’ll give you a bit of time.” And then they might in some way give you a little bit of time and they might even give you some projects if you’re good to help them with. That’s very, very powerful. Very, very powerful. So I’d recommend that a lot.
Stefan Aarnio: I love it, Dan. I think everything you say here is pure money, it’S F.U. Money. Is there any programs or causes you want to promote? We’re going to wrap up. How do people get in touch with Dan Lok?
Dan Lok: I think the best way is, since you’re talking about the F.U. Money book, they could go to www.FUMoney.com and they could actually download the book for free. I have also … I think in a couple of days, uploading the audio version, so they can download the audiobook for free as well. There’s nothing to buy. I think that’s a good way for them to learn a little bit about what I do. Again, leading with value first. If they like what I do and the other pro is if you want how to close on the telephone, how to communicate, they can check that out as well.
Stefan Aarnio: Amazing. I love how you’re just giving, giving, giving, Dan. It’s a noble cause, noble pursuit. You’re doing fantastic. Thank you so much for being on the show. Any final words before we wrap it up?
Dan Lok: Find a mentor.
Stefan Aarnio: Find a mentor. Awesome. Thank you so much for being on the show, Dan.
Dan Lok: Thank you. Thank you.
Stefan Aarnio: Hey, it’s Stefan Aarnio here. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of my podcast, Respect The Grind. Now, if you love this episode, I want you to check out my book, The Ten Commandments of Negotiation. Now, negotiation is one of the things that most entrepreneurs struggle with. In fact, many of them fail at it. My book, The Ten Commandments of Negotiation’s going to show you the exact method, the exact steps that people use all over the world for creating massive wealth in real estate or in any other business. If you need to close the deal, if you need to sell, if you need to make things happen, if you need to negotiate, this book is a game changer for you. So you can get a special offer if you go to XNegotiation.com/podcast. That’s the letter X, negotiation.com/podcast. I’ve got a special offer for podcast listeners only. That’s Xnegotiation.com/podcast for a special offer just for podcast listeners. Go there now. Don’t delay. You’re going to love what I have in store for you.