Updated: Jul 4, 2020
Nick Tang has an amazing story, escaping communist Vietnam as a child to learning things the hard way as a budding entrepreneur. Today Nick hosts one of the largest networking groups in the NYC metro area hosting multiple large summits per year. Aaron tells the story of how Nick helped him get started 10 years prior with his first box of "We Buy Houses" signs, Nick explains his past party business, how to fill a room and much more.
0:38 Aaron's first box of We Buy Houses signs
1:00 How Nick and Aaron met
2:49 Who's paying the phone bill
4:41 Escaping communism
7:27 Nick's party business
8:21 The key to success
12:17 Don't just jump into education
14:56 Nick's secret to events
20:48 How to provide content
23:07 content creation help
27:41 contact Nick Tang
The Passive Cash Flow Podcast is for beginner or experienced investors. Subscribe today to learn how you can diversify out of the stock market, own a part of an apartment building & start earning Passive Cash Flow!
Peoples Capital Group has been helping passive investors build wealth in NJ real estate for 10 years. Visit www.PeoplesCapitalGroup.com to find out if you qualify to start earning passive income and pay less taxes via investing in real estate. IRA's and 401K's are accepted.
Aaron Fragnito: All right, ladies and gentlemen. It's Aaron Fragnito, your host of the Passive Cash Flow podcast. We're back again with another episode, and I have an amazing guest. I've known him for almost a decade. We have Nick Tang. Nick Tang, how are we doing today?
Nick Tang: Thank you. I'm good, man. Great to see you, bro.
Aaron: Absolutely, my friend. I'm so happy to have you here. We met in 2010, I think. Is that right?
Nick: Yes, I think so.
Aaron: 2010, I was coming back from Steamboat Springs, Colorado as a ski instructor. I had read all these books about how easy it is to start a real estate investment firm. You bought me my first box of "We buy houses," signs. Is that right?
Nick: Yes, I did. I don't even know where we met. Was it at Jon and Randy's event?
Aaron: Jon Steingraber's event, yes, in Garwood. That's a good one. He packs the house there in NJRESN.
Nick: Yes. Jon's an amazing guy, and his events are amazing. I think we met there and then you sign up for a class with me as well. I think you said like I was the first class or something like that, or the only class you've ever signed before. [laughs]
Aaron: I went on meetup.com, right. I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I moved out to Colorado. I was like, "Okay, I'm going to do real estate." I read all these books about it. Came back home. I go at meetup.com. It's how you get in these networking groups. I went on there and you had a course about short sales, right, how to do short sale negotiations. This is when short sales were super hot and no one knew how to do this stuff.
I went to your course and there was probably about 10 or 15 other people in the room. You were getting started. It was good. You were starting to pack the place. Then I signed up for the bigger course and then that was packed. You had like a hundred people in there. Do you remember that?
Aaron: That was good. You had done some of it, and you knew about it, and you were trying to convey it to us, and I had a million questions. [laughs] No one else is asking questions there, but I was really engaged. I think you saw that and then we connected afterwards. We're the same age. It took off from there.
Nick: Yes. I don't know how long later you did your first short sale transaction, but I knew you did a lot of transactions even before that.
Aaron: Right. I was learning the transactions doing them as a realtor. They called me the $40,000 man. I just basically did anything, any transaction, how small, big. I met these guys that were just bottom feeders in the market just scooping up properties for pennies on the dollar. I was like, "How are they doing that? I'm going to learn from these guys." All the realtors were like, "Why would you sell $40,000 properties? The commission you make is so small." I'm like, "That is short-sighted. I'm on a long game here." [laughs]
Nick: Yes, you're right. They're still realtors and you're the guy that's now buying. [laughs]
Aaron: Now, they're my realtors. [laughs]
Nick: Yes, exactly.
Aaron: Now, that's great. I remember we had other "We buy houses," signs. I put those up in the telephone poles. Then you also got a phone number for me. Then about three months in, I didn't realize I had to start paying that phone number, and the phone number canceled, stopped working, but I was still putting up all these signs. A few months in I'm like, " Why am I not getting any more calls? These used to work so well." I'm like, "Actually, I'll put up more. I'll put up more and more signs."
I kept putting them more and more in a suit and tie in the hot sun in the middle of August. Eventually, I tried the number probably around a month later and it was like, "This number is disconnected." I was like, "Oh my God. I had all these signs."
Nick: I'm sorry, but I didn't even know. I don't know what number I got it from, what service provider I was getting it from. Well, if I did, I would have told you.
Aaron: No, it's fine. You know what? I'm more on top of my business. What a rookie move, really? The funny thing is I now call our number every few months or so just to make sure there's no billing mistakes or anything like that.
Nick: That's great.
Aaron: Yes, right? One time I called it and it was not in service. I looked it up and there was a mistake they made with billing, the phone company. I was like, "You guys have got to fix this and get my number back online because I got my, 'We buy houses.'"
Nick: Yes. That's great, man. It ingrains something within you.
Aaron: Yes, it did. Tell me a little bit about maintaining your business there, dotting your I's and crossing your T's, and also working smart, not hard, right?
Aaron: It was interesting. All right. Listen. Enough about me. This podcast is about Nick Tang. Here we are just talking about me. Talk to us about how you got started. I read a little bit of your bio back from-- I love your story coming to America. I know it's a little personal, but do you want to talk about that for a second? It's really incredible.
Nick: Yes. I think everybody, like a lot of people, they think I was just born rich or in a middle-class family. In Asia, I was rich, but then because of communism spreading, my family lost everything, because my family was also rich. In a communist country, they're not like, "Hey, sell us your business." It's, "Hey, we're taking over your business. We're taking everything that you own," type of thing. Because of that, my family decided to escape Vietnam.
During our escape, it's not like you can just buy a ticket and fly out of the country. You have to literally sneak out of the country, sneak into another country, and then from there, find a refugee camp or some sort of organization that can help you be okay or allowed to stay there. It's not like you don't know this. You don't know that you're allowed to be there until you're there. Do you know what I mean? [chuckles]
Aaron: Yes, right. That's crazy.
Nick: That was a journey itself, coming to Thailand, getting into Thailand, because we were captured by these pirates.
Aaron: Oh my gosh.
Nick: I was only like eight, so I don't remember everything, every detail, but I remember we were captured. I remember we stayed at a refugee camp for a year, and then eventually we got our paperwork, and we got sponsored. We came to America, lived in a poor neighborhood where my neighbors were bothering us, or teasing us, or trying to get us kicked out or whatever. Do you know I mean?
It's so weird. It's like I invest in low-income areas today, but I also lived in a low-income area. It's weird when you live there because it's not that it's weird in a way where-- The way it's weird is like everybody is calling after each other. It's like they're not together trying to do something. They're instead against each other.
Aaron: Yes, they're not on the same team.
Nick: Yes. We were just agents living in a bad neighborhood or low-income area, but for whatever reason, they felt we didn't belong there, and so they kept causing problems for us. Then eventually, we decided to move. I eventually made it to New Jersey and went to school, trying to learn English. I wasn't really interested in learning English. I was more interested in playing video games. At a young age, I became an entrepreneur. A lot of people think real estate was my first business. It's not. It's probably like my 20th business.
Aaron: [laughs] The rest were really successful. I just got tired of them.
Nick: No. The funny part is you do get tired of it. At times, you do get tired of it, because I was in a party business at a really young age, and I never even party. You're in a party business but you're not in the party. That sounds like the movie with Van Wilder where Ryan Reynolds, he comes as a party promoter and he throws the biggest and baddest parties. Well, I did parties, but I never was really an attendee at the party. I just fell into it. I realized that, wow, it was an easy way to make money. I eventually grew out of it, so you can grow out of doing what you do.
I think this is the biggest secret to success, is to figure out how to systemize or organize the business, or whatever it is that you do, in a way where it can continue running before you lose interest.
Aaron: That's a great piece of advice, because I think one of the biggest challenges I have, and a lot of business owners have, is burnout, because there are-- especially times like now when it's tough and perhaps the cash flow slows down or whatnot and then on the flips and stuff. They're in these tough times. It's hard to keep putting in those 50, 60 hours and not burn out. Figure out, "Hey, maybe I need to take a couple of weeks off, or a week or some time off." That's important.
Seth and I try to really recognize that in our business. We actually say, "Hey, you know what? You haven't taken a vacation in a year. You seemed stressed out. Take some time off. I'll cover some of your tasks for the next week." That's so important to be able to do that and to recognize that. Also, there's parts of your business. If you hate doing something and it just depletes your soul every time you're doing it, whatever copy and paste, figure out how to outsource that as soon as you can.
There's parts of my job if you put me in front of a crowd to speak, or I had to do a podcast 12 hours a day or whatever, I would love it. There's parts of my job I love doing, which is generally speaking and interacting with people, and there's parts of my job I don't really like doing, which is more of the social media marketing and the nitty-gritty of all that marketing and whatnot. I do enjoy the creativity of it, but it's important to outsource some of the stuff you don't enjoy more quickly than not.
Nick: I agree, but don't just do that. You can also outsource the stuff you like to do. One of the things that I got from Dave Lindahl's podcast I did with him, was he was like, "I've been teaching for like 15, 20 years, and I love teaching. I didn't think that I could ever stop because I didn't think it would work, a business. Guess what? It works. Not only that, it grew three times. It grew three X." He's like, "I didn't think it could work without me, but it does, and it grew three times bigger."
Aaron: Three X. I should get a hat. Three X.
Nick: It's crazy because it's like you don't think that it would even work, but it ended up being three X.
Aaron: Well, as we were talking about it before we started this podcast here, education of real estate is easier to sell than real estate itself, or the investment in real estate, right? [chuckles]
Aaron: I talk to so many people in a day and they would rather invest $2,500 or $5,000, or even $30,000 in a package of education-- maybe it's a mentorship or something like that-- than actually invest sometimes in the real estate. That doesn't make sense to me because when you invest in the real estate, you're going to get that money back and you're going to get cash flow and tax benefits. I understand the value of investing in education, but I also think there's a lot of crazy prices on some of this education out there.
People have to pick and choose what's the best fit for them, and make sure they have investment capital left over to actually invest afterwards. That's the toughest story you hear. We go, "I had $30,000 but I gave it to a coach because I went to a seminar for a weekend and they told me that was the way to go. I have a lot of questions still and they just want more money to have them answered, so I'm out." That's a tough spot. I do run into people like that. It's important not to put all your capital into education and [laughs] also diversify a share of capital to invest in real estate, I thought.
Nick: I think for me, one of the other secrets that I had discovered in life was, I tried doing things first and then education later. I tried to do as much free research as I can, and then from there I tried to do it. Then once you do it and it's something you still want to do, then get education on it, real education on it. That way you're like, "Oh, wow. I did that wrong." You know what I mean?
Nick: Versus, "Oh, wow. I need more education so that way, I can do it when I do it, if I ever do it the first time, it's going to go perfect."
Aaron: What people are paying for is actually ease and convenience, not education. I was getting pitched a YouTube marketing service the other day because I'm branching out to YouTube more aggressively. There's a lot of stuff I need to learn and understand to make this work properly. I'm looking at hiring a company to essentially coach me and mentor me along the way, but I'm also looking at all the content that company has for free, and then all their content their competitors have for free about how to do YouTube marketing the right way.
What I'm realizing is, I just wanted to be able to not have to do all this research. Now I'm recognizing, "You know what? If I just do the research and educate myself properly, it's amazing what's out there for free on the internet."
Nick: What we're paying for is-- It's like the education that we're after already is organized for us, or handed to us, versus we're going to go around Google or YouTube looking for it.
Aaron: You're basically paying for someone to check your work and be like, "Hey, am I doing the right thing? Am I following the direction that I read on the--?" That's helpful. I do have a branding and marketing expert that comes in and tweaks our stuff after I create it sometimes, and she's great. What I find is if you just have a really good branding and marketing consultant instead of paying for some package or educational thing for $5,000 or $10,000, just a good consultant on an hourly basis, I wanted about $175 an hour, and she's great.
I do a weekly session with her. She jumps into my ads. She tweaks them. She jumps through my SEO. That's really what I need. By doing that, I'm avoiding hiring some of these guys that are $10,000-
Nick: A month.
Aaron: - that you're going with. That's just way too much. Hey, listen. Everyone has their own value and their own package there. I really am amazed at what you can get on the internet these days for free. Hey, speaking of the internet, you do amazing events, right? Everyone maybe listening to this podcast has been to a Nick Tang event. I've spoken at them. I've met thousands of people there. I've built my industry there, my business. What's the secret, man? How do you pack that room? How do you do that?
Nick: The secret is pretty much you have to understand the audience. First of all, whatever industry it is, if it's real estate, what's the bigger industry? Which one is the bigger audience, realtors or investors? If you understand there's more realtors than investors, so it's right there packing an event that has to do with realtors is going to be easier. Let's say you're after investors. Well, it's fine. The point is that it's going to be a little harder to pack an event for investors than there are realtors. The point is you've got to understand your audience.
Once you understand that you're after investors, understand the audience even deeper. The majority of investors are newbies, and then at the other deep end is the pro-investors which have a ton of money. They're pretty much somebody everybody's after. Whereas the newbies, they're what? What are their profiles like? They either have money or they don't. They either are trying to get in and do it themselves or they have money and they're trying to invest.
At the opposite end, the pro-investors, they have money, they know what they're doing. The game with them is if they have mone, they know what they're doing, how do you get their money when they know what they're doing with their money?
Nick: You get what I'm saying? If you can answer that question, you will be now literally working with whales. Whereas on the other end, you're in an ocean where there's all different types of fish. You might end up with a whale or you might end up with a small little zebrafish or something like that. Do you know what I mean?
Nick: The opposite end, it's all whales, and so you now have to figure out how to communicate so that way the whales want to work with you. The other thing is the whale audience is way smaller. To pack a room of whales is going to be a little bit harder than to pack a room with all different types of people. How do you do it? For me, I'm after the easier thing first. For me, the easier thing was I'm just after big numbers, meaning a large audience.
The reason why I like going after a large audience first is because it's a branding play. In order for guys that are established to even look at you or consider working with you, in a way, you have to be known, or you have to be known for knowing what you're doing. Even though you might know what you're doing but no one knows, they're like, "Who is this guy? Yes, I get it he does these developments. I get hit all this stuff but no one knows him. Is he an overnight guy?" Do you know what I mean? I would create things, focus on the newbie audience, the larger audience first.
What do they want? They want education. They want mentoring. They want opportunity to invest. They want all this stuff, so you've got to provide that. If you provide that well, in an organized way, they will talk about you. Because they talk about you, what happens is that word gets out there, and eventually there's going to be enough whales that hear it. If you present correctly like, "Hey. If you to invest--" If you have that message in your events or your website or whatever, people are going to reach out. They're going to go on your website and they're going to invest, or they're going to start off with a $5,000-- very small just to test you out.
Then as you do what you say, which is return the investment or whatever it is that you're after, they're going to keep adding more and more and more, and then you end up with whales that you didn't even know were whales.
Aaron: That's a great way of explaining it. I really have relationships with those large investors, the whales, and also the smaller investors getting started. We pride ourselves on being a resource to both. I have some investors that invest $30,000 and that's all they're going to put to work, be able to put to work, and that's fine. Maybe a realtor that closed a big deal or something like that, or some of the self-directed there, IRA most of it. Then we have other investors that I know for a fact are getting started with us with $100,000 or $50,000 and they're able to do millions one day.
I have some investors that are up to that point with millions who I've been working with for years, and that's a nice place to get to over time. Essentially, what a lot of people in our position do with those relationships, build and build and build. What I understand is I need about 200 good investors. I talk to a lot of people that are-- We talked with David Hansen, with Alpha Funding. He's a great fundraiser. I'm going to invite him on the podcast as well. Hopefully, he accepts.
He was saying to me how 200 good investors, a good pool of 200 investors, is how he runs and operates his fund successfully, which I think just put together $50 or $60 million. That's really where it's at. Then giving them content, giving them something they really want is a value. How do you consistently provide content to your group of people?
Nick: It's like this. If you yourself-- I'm into content creation. I love creating content, but then there's a point where you get tired of creating content too. Not only that, but the content we create is from our perspective, and that's only one perspective. There's many people out there that's very successful at doing whatever they do. The cool part is they arrive at that point in their own perspective.
One of the ways I create content is, I would invite panelists or just do solo interviews like how we're doing right now. I would invite somebody on and I would interview them how they did it. That interview session alone is not only an opportunity for me to learn, but it's an opportunity for me to create content. It's I'm learning and I'm creating content at the same time. Because of that, it's attacking the game. It's like you're doing two things at once. You're serving your community, but at the same time, you're getting value. I learned that hosting events is not only a place for me to do an event for people, but it's also to do an event for me. That's why I love doing events.
Aaron: Oh, yes, absolutely. Doing all the speaking, going on the panels at your events. I've probably been on your panel maybe a dozen times over the years. It really helped with my public speaking. It helped me get the word out. In fact, we just had an investor move in with a nice $50,000 investment on our property we just closed just a day or two ago really.
That investor actually went to your events. He asked who's the best passive syndicator around New Jersey here, and the people told him Peoples Capital Group. He checked us out online, enjoyed the content, our website. That's the other thing. You can have a good reputation, you could go into a Nick Tang event and people could say, "Yes, check out Peoples Capital Group. They're a good resource," but if you don't have the content and the image and the know-how there online to back it up, which is your storefront essentially these days, then it doesn't matter how good your reputation is. The leads aren't going to follow in.
Now, do you have help with a lot of that as far as all the back office of answering questions and getting all this content out there, organizing the events and everything like that?
Nick: Yes. I read a book called Crush It by Gary V. In that book, he talked about how when he first started doing his podcast, he would just record. He wasn't going to edit. If somebody comes in, walks into the recording session, interrupts their session, or whatever happens, or the police siren goes off, something falls out of the sky, it didn't matter. He wasn't going to cut it out.
What I got from that was-- What he simply said was this, "Content creation is going to be the largest time-consuming thing that we should be focu-- Content creation is what we should be focusing on, not editing, not cleaning." Because if you really think about it, when we do an hour session, typically we're then going back, reviewing that whole hour and taking another hour, two to three hours, to edit that stuff. If I curse on the car or whatever, I'm not beeping it out. I'm just going to focus on creating content. That way, he's not wasting an hour or two hours to clean it up. Because of that, that's how I run my whole content creation business.
We record. Don't say anything you don't want to beep out because I'm not going to go back and beep it out. If you trip, fall, whatever, it doesn't matter. I'm leaving it there. Because of that, I don't need anybody to help me clean up the content. I just record. Then the platform I use, I'm going to share it with you after. It puts it automatically on YouTube for me. It puts it on Facebook as well, and it records it.
Nick: That's why I was asking you, "Was this going to be going live?" because going live is one of the most ways to rank yourself high on YouTube and Facebook today. YouTube wants their content live because it's fresh, and they also know it's original, and so does Facebook. When we do live streams on all our friends walls, when we do it and we're friends with them, it ranks first like newly created content that doesn't exist anywhere else. When you go live also, you can't really edit.
Aaron: I like that. It makes you feel like I'm on stage.
Aaron: I was talking to Seth. I'm like, "I miss being on stage." I went from the guy who's on stage four times a month, which is like an ego trip, to a guy sitting in his home office clicking away on social media. It's crushing in on social media, but it's like, "Put me back on stage. Put me in, coach."
Nick: What I'm trying to say is, to answer your question, is that I do content creation in terms of the backend in a really, really lazy way, because it's not about how pretty I look, or how the lighting is, or how clean the video is. It's all about the conversation we have. I focus on that, and then making sure that it goes on to the right platforms in as convenient way for me as possible.
Aaron: Yes, I'm all about that. I'm just casually discussing, getting the information out, trying to be very transparent. Not saying, "Hey, listen. Everything's rosy. Everything works. If you invest, you will see. You'll be a millionaire." No, it's just tough. This stuff is not for everyone. There's a lot of different ways to do it. Pick the one that's right for you. Yes, it's interesting how-- I think you're right.
I know Gary V. is a huge hit because he's pretty rough around the edges. Rough around the edges works. Look at our president after all. Listen, if you want to get notoriety-- That's my next guest actually.
Aaron: Talk about blowing up.
Nick: Warren Buffett's right after.
Aaron: Warren Buffett's right afterwards, yes. Who would be a better guest to have in your podcast, Warren Buffett or Donald Trump? I guess one's less controversial-- That's for sure-- but the other one will be pretty badass. Both of them would be pretty badass. Oh, man. We'll work on that. We'll work on that one day. All right, Nick. Well, this is awesome. I think we should wrap up here. How can people get in touch with you, or attend one of your events that we have going on?
Nick: I'm actually updating my website right now. It's going to be called nicktang.com. Give it like a week from today. It'll be up. You can check out some of the video content I have. Also on that site, I'll have links to all our events. In a way, everything that you could need in terms of-- or has anything to do with me, is going to be on there.
Aaron: Great. Great. I love it, nicktang.com. All right. Awesome, man. Awesome. No, I love it. I think that's great branding. You have all these different networks, Central Jersey, and then this and that. I'm like, "Just call it Nick Tang groups. That's what everyone else calls them." They're like, "Did you go to the investors REIA meetup?" "What? You mean Nick Tang's group?" "Yes, Nick's event. That's right."
Everyone just calls them Nick's events. No one actually calls them whatever they're called. No one even knows that at all. Something with an REI, IEA, I don't know. They're all the same. Now it's great, man. Good stuff there. I'm glad we're building our businesses together. I will see you at the top there, and hopefully, maybe we'll do something on your group. By next week or so, maybe we'll go live.
Aaron: Awesome, man. All right. Have a good day.
Nick: Thank you, Aaron.