Melanie is a product of the American school system. She was taught to go to school, get good grades, get a job. She was raised to have an employee mindset–work a job with pension, put away money into a 401k or IRA, and live within your means. The “purple book” changed her life completely. Robert Kiyosaki’s book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad changed the way she thought about money. It took her about three years of non-stop learning through books, podcasts, webinars, and even a guru training program to give her the confidence that she could walk away from a steady federal job to follow the path of passive income through real estate. She eased into full-time real estate as a real estate agent and quickly found a niche in helping investors. As she continued to learn, she started to quickly see that scaling to apartments washer preferred route. She became a coaching student of Michael Blank and attended a number of conferences in order to learn as quickly as possible and to meet people in the field of syndication. It became clear that her interest is in investor relations and raising capital for other operator’s deals. This is where she is now–transitioning from real estate agent to a full-time syndicator with her focus being capital raising.
Welcome to another episode of The Lessons of Real Estate Show. I’m your host, Anthony Pinto, and we’re absolutely thrilled to have you here today.
So our guest today is one of my very good friends, mentors and master Connecter McDaniel. I just want to kind of read her bio word for word, because it is it really stood out for a lot of other buyers. I see where I just kind of bullet point to facts. So hopefully I cut all the BS and I’s and replace them with reality. So here we go. So Melanie is a product of the American school system. She’s taught to go to school, get good grades, get a job. She’s ready to have an employee mindset, work a job with a pension, put away money into a four one K or IRA and live within our means. The Purple Book Change Your Life Completely. Robert Case Alkies Richard for that changed the way she thought about money, took her about three years of non-stop learning through books, podcasts, webinars, and even gewgaw training programs to give her the confidence that she could walk away from a state federal job to follow the path of passive income through real estate. She’s into full time real estate as a real estate agent, quickly found a niche and helping investors was how I met her as she continued to learn. She started to quickly see that scaling apartments was their preferred route. She became a coaching student at Michael Block and attended conferences in order to learn as quickly as possible and to meet people in the field. Syndication became clear, were interested in investor relations and raising capital for other operators. Deals was where her focus was, and that’s where she is now, transitioning from real estate agent to a full time syndicator with her focus on capital raising. While Melanie, welcome to the show. Thank you. Yeah.
Is it just when I first read this, I was like, wow, this is just I feel like I’m going through your life and your journey just kind of following your bio here. And one paragraph really got a sense for what how you kind of transitioned yourself into that federal mindset, because I know you used to be in the Navy and then you got into working in the Park Service and now you’re at your real estate. So it just it really kind of it helps me kind of follow your train of thought and kind of get the flow for this this interview. So I really appreciate you sending your bio like that. Sure. All right. So if you didn’t already catch it, you can kind of get a background on Melanie. But to kind of give us a rundown on how you got to where you are now, because it is a very unique your kind of path. I mean, you lived all across the country, did a whole bunch of different jobs. So how did you land where you are now?
So I like I said in my bio, I mean, I was raised a certain way, a certain way of thinking. I had a dad who worked for the prison system, retired from that. My mom, she was kind of an entrepreneur, but she stayed in the same job with the same firm. She’s a court reporter. So I have never in my whole growing up years known an entrepreneur except for someone who was close to me who ended up stealing all the money from the company and died at a young age. So that was my only exposure to being an entrepreneur. So it wasn’t something I’ve known about. So it just it just took a long time of being moldable and open minded to a new way of thinking it, because I was very set in my ways, very live in your means, save money. I was very strict with my money. And then it just takes one little seed that gets planted even from someone you don’t want to hear from, which was an ex husband of mine, he said, with a trust fund baby. So he thought about money a lot different than I did. And we butt heads on. That’s why we’re not together anymore. But a little seed was planted somehow. A little got in my hands that rich dad poor dad and after that all bets were off because I started reading things that made way too much sense about our money making money for us instead of us making our money. So I think just what I realized over time was I am an entrepreneur at heart. Like that is who I am is I build and grow.
And that’s why, like you said, I’ve lived all over the country. I’ve actually lived in other countries through the journey, whether it was with the Navy in Italy have gone back for a language study. I lived on both coasts multiple times. So I’m just a mover. I think I’m a I like to grow things. And even now I’m going through a transition where I was a real estate agent for two and a half years. It was a huge transition from being a federal law enforcement officer. It’s like my two year thing. I last for two years and then I get this itch to go build something new. So I’m in the middle of that right now. But it’s not without education meeting people, networking. Another thing I learned about myself in this journey when I was a federal officer for the Park Service, I wanted to do everything but my job. I had two hundred and something volunteer the mountain bike unit. I made my rounds. I lived in California at the time to all the fire stations in the area. If I showed up on scene and there was a an engine there, I knew if it was A, B or C, D and which captain was on the engine, I was like the face of our park unit and that’s just who I was. I was a networker. I didn’t even know it. Someone else. Tell me, Melanie, you’re a really good connector. I didn’t know that until I was in my 30s and I just started feeding on my strengths instead of what I thought I needed to feed on.
I can survive and excel in any environment, but when it’s truly natural for me or something I enjoy or believe in, like real estate, it’s much easier to just go with what your natural abilities are than to fight it and try to be something you’re not.
Oh, yeah, I definitely I definitely agree with that, and it’s interesting that you kind of start off with opening your mind to different prospects and overcoming your limiting beliefs. I feel like a lot of people would be really uncomfortable with how you kind of jumped around and got that age to move on to the next thing and be an entrepreneur. And some people are just homebodies and they just have these women and beliefs about what they can do, what their potential is, whether that’s starting a business, getting to real estate, moving across the country, traveling to other countries, all the things that you’ve done. It’s just it’s really a testament to your entrepreneurial spirit. And I really appreciate that about you. And know whenever I ever I talk to people about, it’s like, yeah, Melanie, she’s the master connector. She always connection with this person, that person. And I feel like had the people I know in this area now are through talking with you and you connecting with that. So I think that’s great that you’re kind of you’re taking advantage of those strengths that you have and moving it into real estate. So you so you came up on the two and a half year mark now and you’re moving on to the next thing. So are you sticking with real estate or are you moving into apartment buildings? It sounds like you’re kind of getting into that syndication phase now.
Yeah, I’m very much in a point because I thought when I decided a couple of months ago I was going to move, I’m like, OK, let me get my license. I’m going to do exactly what I did here because it worked and I’m going to do it faster and better. So that was my intention up until maybe a week ago. And then, of course, my little brain starts thinking about I ultimately want to work from a computer all over the world. I want to be what we’ve coined the new term of digital nomad. It’s not so new. If anybody’s read the four hour work week, you might have might know what this is, but I want to work from my computer. So I am location independent. I don’t have to be anywhere at any time. And as a real estate agent, that’s impossible.
And I’m kind of like, I’m over it. I’m kind of over it.
Like move on to the bigger and better thing. I’m excited about apartments and larger deals because like I want to transition from single family to apartments was if you have a single family house and I’ve had this before, I had a turnkey rental in Missouri, in St. Louis.
And when it’s vacant, it’s one hundred percent vacant where if you have one hundred unit apartment and you have one unit that’s vacant as one percent vacant. So very quickly, I started to realize the benefits of scaling and getting more doors under one roof and then you just have more protections. But you have all the same positives of a single family. You get the tax benefit, you get the appreciation, you get the cash. We get everything but on a larger scale and you don’t have to go it alone. Typically with a syndication, you’ve got a team of people. So lots of different minds. Thinking together I think is is better.
People catch things that you missed. So, yeah, I’m moving into syndication and what I’ve realized, starting the coaching program with Michael Block back in February, I first thought, oh, I’m a deal finder. I can I like to negotiate. I I’ve always known I didn’t like numbers that much. So that’s good. But I thought I wanted to find deals, negotiate deals, do due diligence and potentially capital raising. But in my journey of the coaching, I went to deal maker alive and in the summer. And one of the biggest takeaways was my own clarity. I think it’s super important on some of your questions that you prepped me with is finding the clarity, whether it’s clarity of who you are and what your strengths are or the clarity of where your you’re going, because if you don’t have a destination, you’re not going to you’re going to get wherever you get. But if you don’t have a destination, you don’t get to your destination, whatever that is. But of course, on the same token, you can’t plan too far out because things change exponentially. But you have to have a plan of some sort.
So my plan is to be the money raiser. I’ve learned even since Maker lives that when I want to do is connect people. Educate them and find a solution. It’s about them, not me, it’s about helping people have passive income so they can free their time up to do the things they love. So I realized I don’t actually like finding deals because why?
I knew I was supposed to call brokers every five minutes and I don’t and then I don’t follow up. And why am I not doing these things? Because I don’t love it. So once I realized I don’t love that. I can let it go, find someone who does love to do that and do what I love to do, the deals that I have found, I’ve just fallen in my lap.
I didn’t really do anything to find a twenty four unit I’ve got under contract here in Ocean View or the one that we had in our contract out in Greensboro. They just literally fell into my lap. So I’m not a deal finder. They just it’s accidental.
So I think just figuring out the clarity, knowing who you are and what your strengths are is the biggest takeaway for what I can share with people today from my journey.
Wow. Yeah, well said. Yeah, I think you’re spot on with the clarity thing and is the journey is part of it. But if you don’t know really where you’re going, you could end up on the totally wrong path right now. I kind of started in the smaller single families and small and multifamily is like I thought I was just going to go build by building and rack up a whole bunch of units. And then apartments came along and I’m like, what am I doing wasting my time doing these small ideas right now?
So I think it is a journey and it takes a while to find the clarity. So if people are in the middle of that murky mirch, it’s fine because I was there, too.
And you don’t know what you don’t know. But when you know, it’s like the light bulb goes off, you know, when you know you know this, right.
So we’ve had a lot of conversations about that kind of the mindset thing. And your self-proclaimed a no person, which makes it kind of makes sense knowing you as a person and you find people that can fill that that void, fill that gap that you’re missing and bolster your weaknesses there. And I think that’s amazing. I think you’re a great team builder. And so on that note, like you came in two and a half years ago and you’ve just been crushing it here as a as a real estate agent. So how did you go from moving to this area? Not really doing real estate and not really having a background in that to building a super effective team and now kind of leaving that team to continue on without you? How did you go through that process? Is that something you just kind of naturally been able to do, do trial and error it? How did that go for you?
I say with a lot of trial and error for sure. I did not have guidance. I didn’t have a mentor. I didn’t have anybody. When I got here, the first brokerage I went to for six months, I actually I just did what I thought worked bigger pockets was huge. Probably 80 percent of my business has come from there. I wanted to give back to people. That’s how I felt. I would get it back, like the whole karma thing, you know, give, give, give, give, receive. And it worked. So I started to meet up the day I got to town. I think three or four days later I had my first meet up and I’ve been doing it every month ever since. And it is the foundation for my business.
I I’m a millennial, even though I’m a very old millennial. We would call ourselves probably animals were a special generation that we were raised without the digital, but we were also in our formative years introduced to it. So I’m kind of the best of both worlds. I think my generation goes. But people, even though we’re a digital community, people crave connection. So not only with the made up provide that. When I would meet a client on bigger pockets, I would get them on a zoom call real quick so they could see me. Even though they’re from a different state or not near me. I would get them as close to in the flesh as possible, which was like a Zoom call. So I think that was a big piece of my business, but it was a slow build. And then I just did it on my own for a long time. And then I have so many people to serve, I couldn’t even serve them all very well. They just started falling through my fingertips.
That’s when I brought on a partner and a team member. And then shortly thereafter I needed another one. And it just grew very I didn’t I never intended to start a team. However, I was just going to be a one person show. But people wanted what I had wanted and I couldn’t help all of them. So I needed the team. And then I’m just very selective with who I choose. It has they have to be the right person. I can’t train someone to be a servant, a servant of others. They have to have it in them. And that’s what we do. We serve, we give, give, give, and then we receive.
Yeah, well said, and I think that’s really key for just being an investor in general or being a business owners, adding value to people, whether that in monetary assets, whether that’s just in knowledge or whatever, whatever fashion that that takes form. And I think adding value is absolutely, absolutely key because like I said, it ends up coming back around. You know, it may take a while, it may take a while. It may take two and a half years. But it just it once it gets going, it just kind of snowballs and snowballs. And the next thing you know, you’re talking to people you never would have imagined you’d be talking to and dealing with situations that you never thought you would be possible. And here you are with building a team. That’s what it’s what for people now what we’re for.
So there’s three of them and I’ll leave and support them. But eventually I’m giving them the team because I don’t want to be divided.
I don’t want to do a crap deal. So job on three different jobs. I want to be all in on whatever I do. So it’s just a transition period for my runway.
When I move like that, please give me six months and I’ll support you.
And then then as their team after that and because they have an ownership of it, they know it’s going to be their team. It’s the buy in. And that was very intentional on my part. I wanted them to feel it was theirs.
Yeah. Yeah, that’s all. It makes sense. And it really resonates me because I feel like that’s very much a military maybe, maybe more so navy type thing.
It’s taking ownership of your team, especially with submarines. It’s your team that’s going to get you back to shore or not or a surface to ship right to and the other guys and with you, it’s you and three other people working together to solve the problems. Your investors continuously find new properties for them, add that value in every way you can. And I think it’s really a testament to military investors in general is taking that that mindset of team building and taking ownership of the property or a deal or whatever and following through with it to the end until completion. And I think it’s really a testament to that. So I appreciate you bringing that up. So I kind of want to change gears here a little bit. And I want to dig more into the mentoring side of you being a coaching student.
So I feel like there’s a kind of a couple of camps on the idea of a mentorship. Some people are totally for it. They’re always like, why don’t you have a mentor? Like you’re done for not having one and then the other. And people can kind of say, like, I don’t think it’s actually worth it. Like, is it worth it? Fifty thousand dollars to spend on a mentor. What do I really get out of that? So as someone who is going through a mentoring program, what obviously it’s working for you. So. So what are your thoughts on getting into a mentoring program and has it been beneficial to you and you continue to get benefit from it?
Well, I do believe in investing in your education. It’s the most you’ll get the most money when you return. If you invest in yourself first, you should always be included.
When your first 10 percent, if you’re a tither or a giver 10 percent for making yourself better. There’s certain things you should invest in in yourself is you are your biggest asset bigger than any piece of real estate.
So I think there’s a lot of guru training programs out there that are probably overpriced. They’re probably not providing the value.
But at the end of the day, it’s up to the individual to take what they learn and do something with it. I spent twenty seven thousand dollars on my rich dad training. Well, do you think it was worth it? Whatever I’m like, well, I am where I am now. Everything turned out fine. Had I not done anything with it, it would have been a bad investment. But that’s on me. That’s on me. So that’s what I’m doing with Michael Blank, to me, it’s worth it. The price has changed a little bit since I’ve gone in. Prices keep going up every time there’s rent. But when there is just supply and demand, there’s only so many coaches. So they can only serve so many people. So they increase the price, which increase decreases the number of people that go in. So I get it. It’s just a business decision. I had to call with another guy.
I’m not going to tell you who he is, but his program is forty two thousand dollars. You’ve done like two deals.
But I mean, anyway, the person raises a lot of money, but they’ve only actually been an operator and a couple of deals and they are charging forty two thousand dollars to teach you how to build a platform. So I don’t know if it’s one on one training and it’s going to change your life, then you can’t put a dollar value on that. So I don’t have the right answer. I do believe in investing in yourself and personal development and then learning about your trade. Those two things. You have to invest, you have to spend it somewhere. I just, I guess, pick your path wisely for a mentor. I think it’s very important to have a mentor. I actually have a coach, not a mentor. Coaches are typically paid. Mentors aren’t always paid. I think at a minimum you need to find a mentor, but a mentor is not going to just give you their time for free. It’s got to be a trade of your time and energy or your money. One of the two, because mentor is people who really are in the business making stuff happen. They don’t have time unless you bring them some sort of value.
Yeah, and I think that’s a really important note there, is that I talk with people all the time and they’re just they kind of just like in your face of that, like, hey, like I need mentorship.
Would you be willing to kind of help me with this, this, this? And then it just it turns into a one sided relationship.
And at the end of the day, like, I only have twenty four hours. Are your mentors only had twenty four hours for the coaches to provide you with whatever knowledge and experience it can and help you whatever means they can. Right. So be appreciative of that time. I understand that like the time they’re spending with you, they can’t be doing other things right. So understand that, you know, you have to be you have a two way road there. You just can’t constantly take, take, take, and you need to provide some sort of value out there. And I think that’s really important for for people especially getting started is how you approach these mentors. Right. And not from a can you help me do this or can you provide some experience or money or whatever? Then you’re going by like, how can you as a new investor provide value to that individual so that it’s not just a one sided street? That’s a mutually beneficial relationship for sure.
But I think even as even you and I and in our next step or even our mentors next step, my coach has a coach.
My coaches coach had a coach or has a coach like the most affluent people, the biggest entrepreneurs out there, whether it’s Tony Robbins or Michael Blount or whoever it is, they still have a coach like they always have had. You have to. And at some point you’re not going to have one coach. You’re gonna have a business coach. You’re going to have a personal development coach. You’re going to have you know, as you make more money, you will invest in more coaches. But yes, for the individual just getting started, it could be a real estate agent who knows what they’re doing. It could be another investor, like just tag along, pick up nails, make phone calls where I’m cold call. I don’t I don’t know. Whatever you can provide, you have to bring some value to them.
If you don’t have money, bring the deal, bring in a connection, something. Definitely.
So I want to go back to something you say with a mentor. So it sounds like you did a lot of research into getting what?
Into getting into the coaching programs, specifically with Michael Bloch. So in your process, how did you what type of factors or what went through your mind when you were evaluating, OK, is this a good mentor or coaching program? Is this not a good one? Like what type of things really stood out to you or your good way or a bad way about these different mentoring programs that kind of made you settle on one in particular?
I think with Michael specifically, I just liked him as a person. And in his events, he didn’t he wasn’t so big that he was behind the curtain when he wasn’t speaking. He was in the room talking to people. He was human to me and he had a good story. He had failed and succeeded and failed and succeeded. So I I just like him as a person. I guess. Honestly, I don’t analyze too hard. I go with my intuition.
I trust my gut a lot.
And whether or not I made a good choice with the rich said poor dad or with Michael, I don’t know. But I am where I am now. So it’s fine. I’m happy with what I’ve got going on with Michael. But honestly, I didn’t sit down and analyze. I didn’t look at any other program. I went to his event. I met him. I liked him. And other people were there that were in the mentoring program and they were pretty happy with it, so I’m like, OK, here’s my check. I mean, I don’t. I don’t know, you can’t say that that’s fine.
I’m not offended by that at all because I, I definitely said that every day and my wife says that to me, too. So I mean that to your point, I think intuition is really important. I mean, this this business is very much about people. Right. And sometimes it’s effects can be deceiving. Right. Whether that’s about a deal or about a person and really like face to face and getting to know that person and going with their gut can really make a difference between if there’s is going to be a bad deal with this person or awesome deal. Right. And you just you really kind of get that that that feeling when you really get to know someone and a first time, especially if you’re going to be working as passive investors or an active investor or wherever that relationship manifests itself. So I think intuition shouldn’t be discounted at all. I think it’s a super important trait to have. And the fact that your gut led you to where you are now obviously has proven successful for you. So now I think that’s a really good point to talk about. Sure. So. All right. Well, we’re going to get to Snapchat round if you are ready for it. Ready? Awesome. All right. Here we go. What is the number one thing you need as a new investor to get started?
Well, I had written down mentor, I think it’s super important, but before I mentor, you need to have some knowledge.
You need to do your part and do some learning. I spent three years of listening to podcasts, reading books and whatever before I jumped in saying people have to do that because I’m a thinker and a thinker. But I would say knowledge and a mentor. The first two things.
Ok. All right. Next question. What is one nugget of investing knowledge you want to give us that you haven’t already?
Or if you want to go back to something you talked about, I would say as well, if you’re just doing investing for yourself, then that’s fine. But if you’re doing something like raising capital or you’re putting together a deal, it becomes not about you at all.
If you’re an operator or sponsor or you or whatever. It’s not about you. It’s about your investors. Getting them the returns they need and it’s not always about the returns, it’s about the story behind what it is you’re doing. So the nugget of investing knowledge, figure out your why and make it not about you.
All right, and then you kind of stole my last question here, but what is your dream? What is your wife?
My dream is to work from a computer all around the world, I mean, really, my dream would be to have enough passive income to make making it financially free. And the goal was 40. So for me, that’s just about two years from now, which is totally doable. So that’s my target. That’s my dream. But once I have the passive income.
I just want to live in the world and experience cultures and. I don’t know at this point, that’s my wife and I have too much beyond that, but I’m taking my people, my nieces and my nephew and showing them.
The world. I don’t know at the moment, that’s my wife.
Yeah, that’s awesome. I mean, I totally understand. I want to go travel the world and get around and see everything while I’m still young and don’t have kids and still able to physically able to go visit everything. So that’s awesome. I definitely, definitely agree with you there. So.
All right, Melanie. Well, I appreciate you coming on today. If anyone wants to reach out to you, how can people learn more about your contact? You.
Well, I’m going through this transition. So a lot of the real estate agent stuff is going to switch to the like the public stuff will switch to some sort of capital raising thing.
My new company is called Free Style Capital Group, but I haven’t launched anything yet. But they can find me an Instagram account or Melanie loves real estate. That’s my handle. Or Facebook. Melanie Daniel. Real estate for now. It’s nothing too exciting going on those because I have to create the next platform.
But for now, that’s the way they can find me.
I like that. Like that name free style Capital Group. OK, awesome.
Ok, well let’s hope the little handle on that is financial freedom, lifestyle design. So that’s what the free style is.
No, I like I like that you have a story behind it. It’s catchy. It really kind of draws people into it. I like it.
Yeah. My target audience is going to be the free the people seeking financial freedom, but specifically to like travel people who want to travel and have that financial freedom. Because I am going to Thailand in January, February. So lots of my platform will be built from there. And then in the fall, I have a six month remote year where I go to six countries in six months. So there will be it’ll be highly directed at people who have the same interest for sure.
Wow, that’s awesome. I’m really excited to see how your journey goes in the next few months and you definitely had to come visit us in Japan. Yes. We may have to stick you in a closet somewhere, but we’ll definitely have the house.
You can come visit us for the Olympics or something of that. Then I’m going to be all right. Well, I appreciate coming on today. I’ve definitely learned a lot, and it’s always a pleasure talking with you. And I’m sad that we’re going to be parting ways. You’re going to be moving out of the area, but I think you’re moving first. True. That’s true. Only by a couple of weeks. So but that being said, I really appreciate everything you’ve done for me and my investors and my group of people in my family. So I know it’s true. I look forward to continuing to do business with you and learn about your life. And we’ll eat some sushi together. As soon as that. I’ll have the sushi. But yes, big sushi fan.