WS349: Becoming a Self-Made Millionaire and Real Estate Influencer with Stefan Aarnio

On this episode of your daily Real Estate Syndication Show, we welcome on Stefan Aarnio. Stefan is an award-winning real estate investor, entrepreneur, author and winner of the 2014 Rich Dad International Hall of Fame award. He has been featured in Canadian Real Estate Wealth Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine, which named him 1 of the Top 10 Real Estate Influencers to Follow.

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Starting with only $1,200, Stefan has built a multimillion-dollar portfolio for himself and his partners and has been recognized on the self-made list. In today’s episode, Stefan shares his journey towards becoming an investor and how his life was changed after reading Rich Dad Poor Dad. We also dive into his strategies for building a strong personal brand, the concept of entertaining your investors and learning to stand out from the crowd. Finally, we dive into the importance of testing your products and why placing an emphasis on talking to others about the meaning of life is paramount to your success. For an inspiring conversation, be sure to check out today’s episode!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Stefan’s background and his incredible self-made story.
  • The current focus that Stefan has in his real estate venture.
  • Best practices and tips for raising capital.
  • Importance of an educational platform to help your business grow.
  • Why putting on a show and entertaining your investors helps you stand out from the crowd.
  • Stefan’s strategy for following up with investors and staying top of mind.
  • Learning to invest in yourself in order to build a strong personal brand.
  • Why testing your strategies and products is critical to your success.
  • Finding the balance between your personal content and your real estate or business content.
  • The most important lessons from Stefan’s book, Hard Times Create Strong Men.
  • How podcasting has improved Stefan’s business over the last year and a half.
  • And much more!

[bctt tweet=”There’s a certain amount of freedom you get with being a millionaire. — @StefanAarnio” username=”Whitney_Sewell”]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Stephan Aarnio

Stephan Aarnio on Twitter

Rich Dad Poor Dad

Money People Deal

Money People Deal on Amazon

Growth Hacker Marketing

Ryan Holiday

Hard Times Create Strong Men

Hard Times Create Strong Men on Amazon

JK Rowling

Harry Potter

48 Laws of Power


Simon Sinek

Start With Why

About Stefan Aarnio

Stefan Aarnio is an award winning real estate Investor, Entrepreneur, Author, and winner of the 2014 Rich Dad International Hall of Fame award. He has been featured in Canadian Real Estate Wealth Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine which named him one of the Top 10 Real Estate Influencers to Follow. Starting with only $1200,Stefan has built a multi-million dollar portfolio for himself and his partners and has been recognized on The Self Made List.



Full Transcript


[00:00:00] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to The Real Estate Syndication Show. Whether you are a seasoned investor or building a new real estate business, this is the show for you. Whitney Sewell talks to top experts in the business. Our goal is to help you master real estate syndication.

And now your host, Whitney Sewell.


[00:00:24] WS: This is your daily Real Estate Syndication Show. I’m your host, Whitney Sewell. Today, our guest is Stefan Aarnio. Thanks for being on the show, Stefan.

[00:00:32] SA: Thanks for having me, Whitney.

[00:00:33] WS: I’m honored to have you on the show, Stefan, and a little about him; he’s an award-winning real estate investor, entrepreneur, author and winner of the 2014 Rich Dad International Hall of Fame award, has been featured in Canadian Real Estate Wealth Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine, which named him 1 of the Top 10 Real Estate Influencers to Follow. Starting with only $1,200, Stefan has built a multimillion dollar portfolio for himself and his partners and has been recognized on the self-made list.

So, Stefan, thanks again for your time and being on the show. Give the listeners a little more about who you are, and I’d like to dive into your story a little bit, the $1,200 to getting to where you’re at now. Then let’s dive into one of your current books.

[00:01:17] SA: Thanks for having me, Whitney. So my story started when I was 16 years old. I wanted to be a rock star. I told my mom and I told my dad, “I want to be a rock star, I want to be a musician.” My mom said, “That’s a horrible idea.” My dad said, “That’s horrible.” But my mom said, “Look. I love you. I support you. Go to music school and maybe you can get a degree. If it doesn’t work out with music, maybe you can end up as a teacher or something.”

So I went to school. I dropped out of the music school, dropped out of the business school, dropped out of computer science, and I went to the officer. I said, “Hey, how can I get out of here without shaming my parents?” He said, “Take two English classes, and you can have an English degree.” So I took two poetry classes. They gave me an English degree and I left. After school, I had a rock band. That was my little business, and it turned out that having a rock band is a super difficult business. I’m playing shows. My band fell apart. I started to burn out.

Laid on the couch for a couple months, and I read a little book called Rich Dad Poor Dad. It said, “Anybody could become rich.” This is like right at the time I was giving up the idea of being rich and famous. I said, “I’m going to give that up. That goal is going to go away.” I read Rich Dad Poor Dad. It said, “Anybody can be rich. Anybody can build a business. Anybody can get passive income and a real estate portfolio.” I thought, “Damn! That sounds good.”

I had like 22 or 24 clients as a guitar teacher at the time and have these checks. I was self-employed. I was making $10 grand a year. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if I can get the same money in the mail passively without teaching guitar lessons?” So I went and took a little Donald Trump real estate 2-day seminar, and then I went to another seminar, another seminar. By 28 and ½, I became a self-made millionaire and did that by flipping houses, buying, fixing, and selling properties.

Now, I’m 33. I’ve got an education company. I still have a portfolio. I got another real estate company and then also have a social media company. So it’s been a real journey for a guy who just wanted to flip a house and make $10 grand. Now, here I am doing all sorts of crazy things I would never imagine. I’ve got 8 books that are going to be published by winter, by Christmas. I would’ve never imagined I’d be here today.

[00:03:17] WS: Wow! Okay. So 16, you wanted to be a rock star. That didn’t work out so well. But by 28, you’re a millionaire and all in real estate, just like you had read in Rich Dad Poor Dad?

[00:03:26] SA: Yeah. I mean, I made a lot of money buying, fixing, and selling properties. Then I also have a portfolio of holding properties. Between the two, that made me the millionaire. Now, here’s the thing. Millionaire these days doesn’t do much for you, l’ll say that. You’re middle-class if you’re a millionaire. You own a couple properties, you own a car, big deal. You can go on some vacations. It’s not like a millionaire in 1960 or a millionaire in 1920. Henry Ford was a billionaire. A millionaire was a lot of things. I was like 10 or 20 or 30 million nowadays.

So it’s a milestone. It’s cool. I don’t think it really changed your life. But when you’re a millionaire, it certainly takes away the want and the need for money. I can go buy what I want, when I want. I can have whatever I want for dinner. I’m down here in Indianapolis to hang out with my friends who does I think 400 to 500 real estate deals a year, and I can just do that. I was in Vegas on the weekend. I was in LA last week. I was in Ottawa, Canada. I was in Vancouver for two weeks. I can do that because guess what. I have the financial capacity to do that.

So there’s a certain amount of freedom you get with being a millionaire. But does it get you a private jet these days? No. It’s more like maybe 10, 20, 30, 50, 100 millionaire gets the jet. You’re still flying commercial if you’re a millionaire.

[00:04:38] WS: So what is it in real estate that you’re strictly focused on now? I know you did some flipping, some things like that to get that million. But did it stay flipping? What did you move into?

[00:04:47] SA: So there’s three things that I’m very good at. One is buying a $0.40-$0.60 on the dollar. So very, very good at buying distressed assets. Second thing is raising capital. I’m very good at raising capital. I came from the private equity world, so I learned to raise money for big deals. The third thing is personal branding. So for a long time, I was flipping, flipping, flipping. The last little bit, it’s been the buy, fix, refinance, hold. Now, I’m debating as to whether I should go into turnkey and start selling turnkey or should I just go into like a private equity fund. I’m leaning towards a private equity, because I’m a busy guy. I’ve got a lot of media. I have a coaching company. I’m always flying around, moving around. I can buy ads, buy media. I think a private equity is probably going to be what’s going to be on my end.

My partner and I, we’re looking at a $7.7 million or 30 in a building, and we got the money for boom! Like right away. We know how to raise money. My partner is a student of mine. We know how to do that. It’s just a matter of, “Okay, how do you organize this into a fund?” So I feel like that’s going to be the next thing for me, is some sort of fund, because I am very good at raising money, very good at selling, very good at marketing and building a brand. As far as bricks and sticks and dirt, man, I hate construction. I hate tenants. I don’t like doing all the boots on the ground and the dirty stuff. I’ve done that. I’ve flipped a house with 129 cats in it. I flipped houses with dead people in them. I had burned down houses. I’ve got 2 houses burn down on me. I’m just ready for something clean I think.

[00:06:12] WS: That’s why we love the syndication business, because we don’t want to manage tenants personally on a day-to-day basis.

[00:06:17] SA: Yeah, exactly.

[00:06:18] WS: No, that’s awesome. I’d love to hear more about – Maybe you give us your best tips on raising capital or getting – I know there’s like so many listeners who are wanting to get started in this business, and they’re trying to do it by raising capital. Maybe you could just shed some light there, and then we’ll move into maybe a couple things about branding and also your book.

[00:06:34] SA: Yeah. So the most important thing I think for raising capital is to educate your clients. I used to work for a company. We raised like $135 million and something a few years, and the business model was simple. Educate the market more than anyone else. So we gave out more free education than anybody else. Because we give out more free education, we ended up with more money.

When I got into business for myself, I started blogging. So I started blogging. Every day, I was writing articles and every day about something I learned. After 120 days or so, blogging every day, I had speaking engagements. I had a book. I took 35 of the blogs made it my first book called Money People Deal. You can go to Money People Deal, that book raised $5 million in capital for me in a year. So I took a little $3,000 how to make about course, I spent $2,000 bucks on production, and I went and raised $5 million bucks.

With that money – Now, I wasn’t the smartest guy back then. I just flipped and flipped and flipped. I should’ve like bought a $20 million building. If I was a smarter guy, I would’ve done that. But I was out flipping houses and I wanted to make 10 grand and 30 grand and 20 grand. I was just small-minded, so that’s what I was doing, making 30, 40 grand a month, which is a good paycheck for a kid who’s 26.

But the key in that story is it’s the education platform that allows you to raise capital, because lots of people have money. There’s millions and millions of dollars everywhere every day looking for a home, looking for somebody to take those dollars and grow them. But they don’t know who or how or what. So if you’re providing some of the education and making it easy for them to come and give you money, hey! That’s awesome. So that’s my first book, Money People Deal. From there, it was just a rocket ride.

[00:08:11] WS: How did people know about your blog? How did you get that out there so that many people knew about it?

[00:08:16] SA: So that was in 2011, 2012, and Facebook had quite the reach. So you could take your blog. You can post half of it on your Facebook and the other half on your vlog. I would get, I don’t know, a couple thousand visitors a month. Out of those couple thousand visitors, I go in the real estate groups, and I post, and I post, and I post, and I was shooting YouTube videos. It is a house I just bought. This is the before. This is the after.

Actually, that’s a great way to raise money too is flip houses, because people love to see the sex appeal of the before and the after. So that’s a great way. I have students I train and coach, and they want to raise money. Well, I was advised throw in a couple flips, because people love seeing the drama of a before and after.

So when you’re shooting your videos, “Hey! This is Stefan Aarnio. This is the before. Hey! This is the after. Look at this! Wow! There was a dead guy this house. Whoa! There was a cat over here.” Everybody goes, “Wow! It was amazing.” The investors, believe it or not, they like education and they like entertainment. So the more entertaining it is, the more inclined they are to invest with you.

One thing we don’t think about is the investors want a return. First they want security, then they want returns, and they want speed in that order. But they are human beings, and they love entertainment. So if you have a bit of a show to bring like someone like President Donald Trump, he has the greatest show around his real estate, so people give him lots of money. He has such a great show that he can put his Donald J. Trump on the stock exchange and raise $1 billion. He’s actually done that, because he is such a showman.

I advise my students and everyone else out there trying to play the game, make it a show. Make it exciting. Make a YouTube channel, man. Bring out the entertainment. If you’re paying 8% or 6% or whatever you’re paying, everyone else is paying that too. But if you’re exciting too, now everyone’s going to come to you. You want to give that a gong.

[00:10:00] WS: Please.

[00:10:00] SA: Do you like that?

[00:10:01] WS: This guy has a gong in his room. Not just everybody has one of those.

[00:10:06] SA: Well, bro, we’re shooting a podcast today. So when someone says something awesome, we give him a gong.

[00:10:10] WS: So tell me about – I know you said you started blogging. You’re blasting that out. You’re doing the YouTube videos, all those things. What was your system then for following up with investors and some of that to stay top of mind?

[00:10:21] SA: Well, what I would do is I would put out content every day, and they would come to me. I think that raising money is sort of like dating as a beautiful woman. Dating as a man, you got to be a salesman. You’ve got to call her up. You’ve got to approach her and be like, “Hey, baby! Do you want to go on a date?” That’s what a man has to do. A woman doesn’t do that. She puts on her best red dress and her sexy shoes, and she goes and stands somewhere where men are, and men approach her.

So my strategy for raising money is more of a female strategy. You put on that sexy dress. You make yourself look good. You got your good videos. You got your good content. All the bees come to the honey. They want you. Then you take your pick out of the bees that are showing up. Which bees do you want to work with? Which bees do you not want to work with?

I think that raising money – I’m up in Canada, it’s illegal to solicit for money. But if you attract people and get to know them, now that’s a little different. So I think it’s more of a seduction strategy. It’s more of a female reproductive marketing strategy than a male one. You’re not just going to start knocking doors. Well, you can. You can work your powerbase. You can phone your powerbase is something I teach. But I think you’re better off to create that sex appeal and create that brand around what you’re doing, so people go, “Oh! Man, I got to be a part of that.”

[00:11:33] WS: Nice! So that moves us right into branding. Help us to make that brand like that that’s professional so that we’re attracting those investors like that.

[00:11:40] SA: Well, I got a chapter in my book, Money People Deal: Live as a Brand or Die a Commodity and it’s I think 16 Ways to Build Brand. It’s little things like go get a $300 photo shoot, go get your hair done, go get some makeup, go get a nice suit that fits you that’s tailored, go get a good photo shoot. That’s a huge investment right in the beginning. Get yourself a decent website. Get yourself some decent social media content. Get yourself some decent business cards. Just the basics, right? You just start hitting the basics with this stuff. Start putting out some basic information into the marketplace.

Then what you have to do is test and measure, what is it that people like? For example people like hearing about my journey. They like seeing me win. I represent some sort of leader to them, so they like to see me win or triumph. They don’t like to see me tell jokes. They don’t like my jokes. I have good jokes, but they don’t like my jokes, because it’s like Arnold Schwarzenegger. He’s the Terminator. We want to see him kill somebody and shoot them with a shotgun. We don’t want to see Arnold’s jokes. Even though Arnold is pretty funny, we don’t want his jokes.

So you have to give the audience what they want, whatever that means, right? You’re going to represent something to them, and you have to fill that idea of what you are to them, if that makes sense?

[00:12:52] WS: It does. How did you test that or track that?

[00:12:55] SA: Well, testing you do it every day, man. I mean, I got a social media agency I own now, and we put out content every day, and we test it. We test it — There’s a great book you can read called Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday, and it goes through the growth hacking strategy for testing ways to grow your message.

So my new book Hard Times Create Strong Men was a blog I put out some years ago in 2016. It was a hot blog. It was one of my hottest blogs. Then I made a book cover for it. I tested it. It was hot. Then I ended up writing the book in 2017. It sold out right away, because it was a hot title with a hot premise. It was hot, hot, hot and everybody wanted it. It just seem to be the right thing at the right time, but it was testing and testing and testing and testing up to the point where we knew what was going to work, because we already tested all the elements.

[00:13:43] WS: Nice. So I felt like most people that are writing a book or even a blog like all of it is brand new as soon as it comes out. It’s pretty cool though that you already knew the cover was hot, you already knew the topic was amazing before the book ever launched.

[00:13:55] SA: Well, that’s how you have to do it. I’ve got three books coming out this quarter before Christmas. It’s Hard Times 2, Hard Times 3, Hard Times 4, and some of it is art. I made it as art. In art, you don’t know what the outcome’s going to be. Propaganda, you know what the outcome’s going to be. So I made these art books, and I package them up in a way. I already have a base of readers who read my book Hard Times Crate Strong Men. They want more.

So this is going to come out as sequels to that. It’ll sell. Then the key is knowing what they like, what they want, and fulfilling those needs. It’s like JK Rowling writes Harry Potter. Well, people want more Hogwarts, dude. They want wizards. They want Quidditch. They want magic they want to feel like they’re on a journey, and that’s I think a big part of building a brand is the experience. When you go to Disneyland, you’re like, “Oh, my God! It’s like $500 a person to go to Disneyland,” or whatever it costs. I don’t know how much it is, I haven’t been for a while. But it’s expensive to go to Disneyland, but you don’t care, because the experience is awesome.

So when you’re selling investments, it’s the same thing. You want to have a story. You want to have an experience and excitement. Those little videos of you flipping the house or the video of you doing whatever makes everybody excited. People go, “Oh, my God! I have to give him money, because it’s so awesome.”

[00:15:08] WS: It sounds like you’ve got to know who your followers are. You’ve got to know who your people are, right? I mean, otherwise, you’re not going to know whether you should be saying jokes or whether you should be just in the suit and tie all the time.

[00:15:19] SA: Well, it’s both. I mean, you want to test. You just got to start doing stuff, and then you’re going to find what people like and what they don’t like. It’s interesting. When I put my real estate content out on my Instagram, I get haters. Then people are like, “That’s not for real, blah, blah, blah.” They’ll attack me and they’ll say, “You’re a fake, and this isn’t –” It’s their own ego negotiating with themselves where they hate themselves when they see a successful guy. Then I’ll put out Hard Times or I’ll put something else, I get no hate. It’s interesting.

So you’ll manage your hate. You’ll manage your love. You’ll manage people going crazy. You’ll manage people losing their minds. You just have to navigate those messages and figure out where is the hot point. Where is the not so hot point? Then there’s another part is what’s going to make you money. People might like to see you snowboarding and think that’s super cool, but snowboard videos probably aren’t going to help you raise money or make money. But it will help people humanize you and go, “Oh! He’s super cool. I want to work with him.”

[00:16:10] WS: So you’re saying it’s important to have that content where you’re snowboarding or you’re doing that other thing outside of real estate, but it’s not the most important thing?

[00:16:17] SA: Well, if you look at guys like Vladimir Putin who runs Russia, the Russians love him, and he’s like fishing and riding horse backs with no saddle bareback and no shirt. He’s like shooting guns and playing the piano and singing and doing all these things. Well, he does that for a reason, bro. He doesn’t do it just because he thinks he’s cool. He does that so the people endear themselves to him, and they go, “Wow! Vladimir, you’re amazing.” He’s got great approval ratings over there in Russia, because he puts on the Vladimir Putin show. So that’s 1 piece of the pie. Now, he also sends in people to kill people, and he does all sorts of crazy stuff and kills reporters and puts people in jail. But he’s got all that other stuff to make him more of a rounded out character for the public.

[00:17:01] WS: How do you balance that? How do you balance that like your content of yourself between personal stuff and real estate? What does that look like?

[00:17:08] SA: I don’t do much personal stuff. I put out what I want to put out. So for me, I write books. I’ve got 8 books now, and I put out content from my books. It’s interesting, because like I have funnels to acquire customers, which have a very controlled message. Then I have my social media accounts, which are more of a testing ground. So I’ve got like testing, and then I’ve got like hard-core business.

The hard-core business channels do hard-core business, and I got my testing ground where I’m testing stuff, and I’m finding the next thing. I think that with your marketing, you want to do 80% is your proven stuff, 20% is experimenting. So you’re always experimenting on 20%. You don’t know what it’s going to do. Then 80% is like, “Play the hits, man. Play Sweet Home Alabama and play Who Let the Dogs Out and I Get Knocked Down But I Get Up Again.” Those are the hits. 20% is experiments.

[00:17:57] WS: I’d love to know more about how you track that or how your team tracks that. Obvious, we’re putting out tons of content daily. It’s a daily shadow. So how do you track that? What tells you the results?

[00:18:08] SA: Well, a big one is engagement. So there’s views like how many people are viewing this thing. Then there’s engagement, comments and likes. Then there’s DMs where people are direct messaging you off the content. So like if you’re getting direct leads, like people are like, “Hi. I want to buy your product,” you know that something you did in that content was a hot piece. If you’re getting likes, that’s cool. The likes are likes. But comments are more powerful. If you get comments, that’s better. If you get shares, that’s better.

Part of it is creating content that has engagement, and part of it is creating shareable content where people are like, “Oh, my God! I have to share this with other people.” For example, my book, Hard Times, my new one, people buy that. I’ve had a lady buy 18 copies for every man in her life. So she heard about it. She bought 18 copies. I have guys buy 1 copy. They’ll buy a second copy for themselves and then copies for their friends.

Well, that’s the ultimate in marketing where you get a viral kind of one customer begets another customer. That’s really the goal of marketing is to have a product like that that in the investment world, “Wow! I invested with Johnny.” Well, Johnny’s going to bring all his friends now. Or, “We’re going to bring all our friends to Johnny, because it was such a damn good restaurant. The soup was so good. I have to tell everybody about it.” That’s the best marketing strategy there is.

[00:19:18] WS: Tell us – we’re going to run low on time pretty soon. I might have some other questions for you, but give us a clip of your book, Hard Times. What are we going to learn by reading that book? What is it going to teach us?

[00:19:28] SA: Well, Hard Times Create Strong Men is about the cycles of history. So if you’re an investor and you’re watching this, you need to know the 80-year cycle history. There’s a cycle of war, and it goes like this, “Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. Weak men create hard times.” Each one of those lines is a 20-year generation. So every 80 years, we end up right back where we were in history, because human nature is we forget every 80 years.

Right now, we got the World War II generation dying out. So there’s people, believe it or not, out there who don’t know who Adolf Hitler was. As soon as those people don’t know who Adolf Hitler was, guess what we’re going to see again? Another Adolf Hitler because that’s the human condition.

So Hard Times Create Strong Men is about what does it mean to be a man in the modern world, and money, sex, religion, and politics. It goes through the cycles of history and what a man traditionally has been. It’s interesting because you look at Hard Times Create Strong Men, and that’s just the truth. We just know that’s true. It’s not hard times create strong women or hard times create strong people, because the culture lives and dies on the men. The men start the culture. When the men get weak, the culture dies. The women come to the culture after it’s made.

So it’s a lot of humanity. It’s a lot of history. It’s been a great hit. The first runs are already sold out. Second run, it’s going really good. We’re on the top, I think a thousand books on Amazon right now out of 10 million books. So that’s a pretty good rate, and people typically change their lives. Is it about real estate? Not particular but we do talk about the money system. We talk about history. We talk about goal. We talk about empires, civilization.

People say it’s like 48 Laws of Power or maybe Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. A lot of people compare it to the Bible. That’s not me, but that’s what some other people say. A guy today said, “This is the second best book after the Bible.” So you can be the judge of that.

[00:21:12] WS: Interesting! Now, I’ll have to look up your other books too. It sounds like they would be directly related to our topic, and the listeners I know would be interested in those as well. But a few more questions for you before we have to go. What’s a way that you’ve recently improved, say, your real estate business or maybe something overall in some way that we can apply to our business?

[00:21:31] SA: I think one thing in the last year and a half that I’ve done has been podcasting, and I think podcasting is it’s a bit expensive to do. To do it right, it costs money. But at the same time, I think podcasting is the new blogging. Blogging 10 years ago was a thing people did. Nowadays, I think doubling down on media, YouTube, or podcasting, or Instagram is the new way to play the game. I still do email marketing. We still do all these different types of marketing. But at the end of the day, I think that long-form content like this – Well, this isn’t even long-form. This is a 25-minute interview. 1 hour, 2 hours, 3-hour content, we start going into the really big long-form content, that’s what people want nowadays.

The other thing is people are looking for meaning, and that’s where I evolved my message from just, “Hey, guys! Let’s flip a house,” which is, guess what? Really boring, and it’s really one-dimensional. But when you get into deeper meaning of things, and that’s where books like Hard Times comes and we start talking about meaning and what’s the meaning of life, believe it or not, people want real relationships with the people they spend time with and content.

It’s very hard to get out of your content sphere when you’re just pure investing or pure real estate. It’s actually boring. It’s boring content, and people don’t want to watch it. So the question is how do you bring your personality in there? How do you bring meaning in there? People don’t even want real estate. They want the benefits of real estate, because they want to be able to live the meaning of their life, whatever that is to them. So if you can bridge the gap between what you provide and meaning, now you’ve got a winner.

[00:23:03] WS: That’s awesome. I have to go back and listen to that again. That’s some great content. So long-form content though. Is that more of what you’re creating now though at your podcasts, like 2, 3-hour shows?

[00:23:13] SA: My podcast is only like an hour an episode, and I’m considering – We’re talking right now about maybe doing like a daily, like an hour a day. My book Hard Times is an 18-hour audiobook. So that’s like mega long-form content, and that’s super deep and super long. But that’s what people want. They want long form audio. They want long-form video. People are looking for meaning, more than ever. That stuff that used to work, I think people see it if they’ve seen every trick in the book now.

So this is where it really becomes about meaning and why. Why are you in the business? Why did you get started? Why should they care? Why is this relevant to them? What’s the meaning of this? If you look at Simon Sinek, his book Start With Why. That really comes down to meaning, dude. When you study meaning, you almost end up at religion, and you end up at God, and you end up at a greater purpose and immortality and legacy. That’s what people want.

So if you can speak to them in those terms of legacy, and you can speak in terms of immortality, everybody wants to get laid, get paid, live forever. That’s what all the human wishes are. So how do you fulfill those in a meaningful way for people? That’s how you’re going to have customers for life.

[00:24:20] WS: Wow! Well, unfortunately, we’re out of time, Stefan. But before we go, tell the listeners how you like to give back.

[00:24:25] SA: Well, that’s a very, very interesting question. Giving back, I’ve built a house in Haiti. That was kind of cool. I give away more free education than anybody else. That’s a marketing strategy, but it also is a calling. Then the other thing I do is I fund chicken farms for people in Third World countries. Chickens can give a 40 times yield. So for a couple hundred bucks, you can start a chicken farm for somebody and get them out of poverty.

When I built a house in Haiti, I didn’t like it, because the people had the house and then they live in the house and they had nothing. I thought, “You know what would be better? Is getting these guys some chickens or getting people some chickens.” Because it is one thing to give a man a fish. It’s another thing to teach him to fish.

So I believe in microloans, I believe in getting people these chickens. I think that’s a lot cooler than just handing them chicken or handing them fish or giving them shoes. They really need a way to make it on their own. So I don’t really like the idea of charity. I prefer the microloans and the hand up, rather than the handout.

[00:25:24] WS: I agree. I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for sharing that as well. But before we go, tell the listeners how they get in touch with you and learn more about you and also where to get your books.

[00:25:32] SA: Yes. So I’m Stefan Aarnio, S-T-E-F-A-N A-A-R-N-I-O. So my handle is @Stefanaarnio. Then my new book That’s Then my original book for raising money was


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