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Branding used to be overlooked by many in the asset management industry, but those days are largely over. Executives at financial companies of all sizes are increasingly embracing the need to have a “brand story” to differentiate themselves in a competitive landscape.
Tarek El Moussa, star of hit TV shows “Flip or Flip” and “Flipping 101” (as well as the founder of TEM Capital), joins the show to discuss how to break through the noise with a story that resonates.
Watch On YouTube
- An update on Tarek’s TV projects, including his new upcoming show on HGTV.
- How Tarek got his start in real estate.
- The key to Tarek’s breakthrough into television stardom (which is probably very different from what most people think).
- How businesses and professionals should approach branding, with content creation and storytelling (including the single big mistake that most people make).
- Details on Tarek’s private equity real restate firm TEM Capital, and the company’s upcoming events where investors can meet Tarek.
Featured On This Episode
- Flip or Flop (HGTV – IMDB)
- Flipping 101 With Tarek El Moussa (HGTV – IMDB)
- Tarek And Heather: The Big I Do (HGTV – IMDB)
- Tarek El Moussa Bio (HGTV)
- Tarek El Moussa On Entertainment Tonight (ETOnline.com)
Today’s Guest: Tarek El Moussa, TEM Capital
- TEM Capital – Official Website
- TEM Capital on LinkedIn
- Tarek El Moussa on LinkedIn
- Tarek El Moussa on Twitter
About The Alternative Investment Podcast
Hosted by WealthChannel co-founder Andy Hagans, The The Alternative Investment Podcast is the #1 alts podcast reaching RIAs, family offices, and High Net Worth investors.
Andy: Welcome to “The Alternative Investment Podcast.” I’m your host, Andy Hagans. And today we’re talking about how to tell your story, and get noticed in a crowded marketplace. It’s a very important topic whether you’re an aspiring TV star or a movie star, or whether you’re an aspiring fund manager, an emerging fund manager, who’s, you know, trying to tell your story. It’s all about branding. So, very excited that joining me today is Tarek El Moussa, who is a star on HGTV. Tarek, welcome to the show.
Tarek: Thanks for having me, Andy. How are you doing today?
Andy: I’m doing great. And before we get any further, I believe a congratulations are in order. Is that right?
Tarek: Yeah. I have about, you know, an 18-day-old baby at home right now, so, yeah, a little man, Tristan Jay El Moussa, born January 31st. We are just so excited. So, yeah, it’s going great.
Andy: So, literally 18 days old. No exaggeration, 18 days old. Okay. Is that still in the not-fully-woken-up stage?
Tarek: Oh, definitely not woken up. Definitely not woken up. So, now I got a 12-year-old, a 7-year-old, and a 18-day-old.
Andy: Yeah. It’s, what do they say? It’s a special time, but it’s kind of funny because, you know, well, you’re not a new parent, right, but it’s, like, the fourth trimester, and so it’s like, “Well, this is easy.” Like, the first week, you’re like, “Why did everybody say this is so hard? This is easy.” And then, like, a month later, you’re like, “Oh, shoot. Okay. Now I remember. This is terrible.”
Tarek: They start getting a little more energy.
Andy: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Well, my first question, you know, usually I ask guests to introduce themselves. I’m guessing most of our audience already knows who you are. You know, but there might be a few people out there who say, you know, “I don’t watch TV. I don’t have a TV.” And I gotta say, Tarek, I’m not one of those people who’s gonna pretend like I don’t watch TV. I love TV. I watch TV all the time. I have five kids. By 9:00 at night, I’m ready to just, like, zone out and watch TV for an hour before I go to bed. So, I’m guessing a lot of our audience is already familiar with “Flip or Flop.” That’s the most popular house-flipping show of all time. Is that right?
Tarek: Yeah. Yeah. So, “Flip or Flop” became the most popular house-flipping show of all time. I pitched that idea back in 2010, and it actually went to series. It first aired in 2013, and ran that show for 10 seasons. And then, a couple years ago, I started my second show, which is called “Flipping 101 with Tarek El Moussa.” And that’s where I mentor and coach rookie flippers through one of their very first flips. And season three actually comes out May of 2023. And then my newest show, which I’m working on with my beautiful wife, Heather, from “Selling Sunset,” is called “The Flipping El Moussas.” And season one airs March 2nd on HGTV and Discovery Plus. And “The Flipping El Moussas” is all about flipping houses in this crazy real estate market, but it really gives you a more in-depth dive of our personal lives, and really shares our family dynamic.
Andy: So, wow. So, three different programs about house flipping, including the most popular one of all time, and the new one, it’s debuting in March. Is that right?
Tarek: Yes, exactly. Exactly. And then my wife’s show, “Selling Sunset,” is coming out season six this year. So, yeah, that’s four TV shows between the two of us. So, we’ve been busy.
Andy: Yeah. So, let’s see. Four TV shows, a fund company. How many businesses do you have, Tarek?
Tarek: Quite a few, actually. So, the one behind the TV shows is called Tarek Buys Houses. That’s my fix-and-flip and wholesale company. I also have a company called Homeschooled by Tarek. And Homeschooled is online real estate education. I get on live every single week with my students for two hours, and answer all their questions, and give them real-life training. So, that’s Homeschooled by Tarek. We just launched a new company called Solar Vision, which, so excited about Solar Vision, because we actually broke the industry record for selling the most systems in their first 30 days in business. So, we did over 200 systems in our first 30 days. So, that was very exciting. And then also I have the agency, which is my real estate team across the country. I have about 1200 real estate agents that work with me. And, yeah. And then also I have a production company called Homemade Productions. We’re producing our own shows. So, there’s a lot of different brands in there, so we’re busy.
Andy: Well, Tarek, after this episode is over, I’ll have to pitch you on my show concept. No, I’m kidding. I won’t do that. I won’t bore you. Okay. So, zooming out, though, you know, I think this is so interesting because when I look at you, an entrepreneur, you do a lot of different things, but one thing that you are the master at is this branding aspect, this storytelling aspect, you know, breaking through…because all of these, you know, industries that we’ve talked about, especially TV, but house flipping, all of it, and now you have an asset management company and a fund, it’s all super-competitive. And bringing this back to our audience, because, you know, I don’t think our show, it’s not gonna have as many house flippers, or it’s gonna be a lot more LPs, RIAs, you know, folks investing at the passive level. But we also have a lot of fund managers, asset managers, entrepreneurs in our audience.
And I think a constant challenge for any business owner, any entrepreneur, any professional, really, is how do you break through? How do you get noticed in such a competitive landscape? And in the asset management side, I have to say this has really changed. Because I’ve been in the finance industry, you know, for over a decade now, and it used to be, you know, you had, like, these two sets of companies. Like, one set of company understood the value of branding. They kind of get it. And then on the other half, it’d be companies like, “We don’t do any of that marketing stuff. That’s for other companies. We’re too good for that,” or whatever. But now it feels like almost everybody understands you need a good brand, you need to be able to tell your story, and break through in that crowded marketplace. But I wanna go back to your beginnings of when you broke in at TV, because I feel like, to me, that’s, like, the most amazing thing, like, breaking into television, becoming a TV star. That’s gotta be hard because there have to be so many people trying to do that all the time. So, how did you get started? How did you break into TV?
Tarek: All right. So, it’s a little bit of an interesting story. So, just so you understand, like, who I was. I was someone that was really active at work, meaning I put in more hours than everybody around me, and I knew if I outworked the people around me, I would find more success. I knew if I tried new things, I would find more success. I knew if I went after the craziest ideas, I could find more success. So, throughout my life, I’m a tester. I try everything. If it doesn’t work, I move on to the next thing. If it doesn’t work, I move on to the next thing. So, this was in the year 2010. And I had done a short sale real estate transaction, had a first lien, a second lien, a third lien, an HOA lien, and an IRS lien, okay? Nightmare. Nightmare. And this was like the Wild West, when the banks had no idea what they were doing. And I worked 11 months on this thing, Andy. Eleven months. And at the end, I got a check for $7,000. Okay?
Tarek: The person I sold it to, well, they bought it. They hired a gardener to cut the grass, hired a painter to paint the house. And then they flipped it, and they made, like, $130,000. And I said, “Wait a minute. Let me get this straight here. I found it. I negotiated it. I sold it. I made $7,000. He made $130,000.” So, that was the exact moment that I knew I was on the wrong side of the equation. And in that moment, I said, “I’m gonna be a real estate investor.” So like everybody, you know, I went out to my core group around me and told everybody I wanted to flip houses and be a real estate investor. Every single person said, “No. Dumb idea. You’re too young, too speculative. You don’t know what you’re doing. It’s too risky.” Everybody told me it was a pipe dream, so every time someone would tell me that, I was more motivated to prove them wrong, because I just watched someone make $130,000 in, like, a couple weeks.
So, I finally approached somebody that actually had money. And I immediately got a yes. So, then I learned, when you’re asking about business, ask people that are in business, right? So, ask people that are entrepreneurial, who understand how money works. So, that was one big lesson. So, then I said, “Okay. Let’s flip a house.” So, we went out, literally a week later, to the Santa Ana Courthouse. We bid on this condo. We ended up getting it for exactly $115,000. Right around that same time… And let me say this really quick. And this is 2010. From 2003 to 2007, I was living the good life. I was in my early 20s, and I found big success in real estate. I was 21 years old, in this million-dollar house and fancy cars, and thought I was the smartest guy alive. Found out later I wasn’t.
Andy: A lot of us had that realization late in our 20s, Tarek. That’s all right.
Tarek: Yeah. So, in 2010, you have to understand, I had just gone through the Great Recession. I sold my houses, my cars. I didn’t lose anything. I sold everything. So, like, I took care of my credit. All that was good. But I put myself in a… I sold my house, rented an apartment. I sold my S500, drove my dad’s truck with roll-up windows. So, I minimized expenses, right? So, by 2010, you know, I didn’t have much money. So, we went out, we flipped this very first house. About that same time, there was a real estate convention in Las Vegas thrown by a gentleman named Mike Ferry. Have you ever heard of Mike Ferry?
Andy: Have not.
Tarek: Okay. So, he works with the residential real estate agents. He throws this thing called the Superstar Retreat. There’s, like, 5,000 agents. And I went to it every year as a real estate agent, and it was in Vegas. I would sit in the very back. And, you know, I didn’t get much sleep. It was Las Vegas. So, in the very front two rows of these conventions, they have the VIP seating, and the VIP seating is for VIPs, or people that pay a lot of money to sit there. The night before, Mike Ferry told us to go out and buy a dinner we couldn’t afford, buy clothing we couldn’t afford, and drink wine we couldn’t afford, and for one night, live life on that next level that we’re trying to go to. So, me and my ex-wife, we did that, and to this day, it was one of the best and most memorable nights of my life. I’ll never forget that night. So, now, we’re in this convention. My friend was the vice president of a real estate company. He texts me that his manager and the wife were leaving from the front row. The seats were open. So, he’s like, “Hey, you wanna come up?” And I said, “Yeah, of course.” I’m jumping at the opportunity. You never pass opportunity. So I said, “Yes.”
So, now I’m sitting up there, and the night before, I went out and bought a Zegna suit that I definitely couldn’t afford, so I’m looking sharp. I look like I belong in the VIPs, but really I belong in the back of the room. So, at the break, you know, people came up to us, they start talking to us, and then I started talking to this guy who had been on stage the day before, that was talking about how he made $800,000 a year selling real estate. And back then, like, $800,000, I was like, that’s like $800 million. And I was talking to him, so I was like, “So, what exactly do you do?” He’s like, “Well, you know, I have a local TV show in Palm Springs where I showcase my listings.” I was like, “TV? Okay. Well, what does that do?” He goes, “Well, I go to the grocery store and I go places and people recognize me.” I’m like, “Okay. Well, it’s cool to be recognized, but what does that do?” He says, “Well, then they recognize me and then they wanna work with me.” I said, “Oh, I get it.”
Andy: And Tarek, this was, like, before YouTube was even a thing, right? So, this is just, like, cable TV?
Tarek: 2010. Yeah. So, this was…
Andy: Okay. Maybe YouTube was around, but it was probably…
Tarek: Yeah, YouTube was around, but not like it is now. So, here’s the interesting thing. I never one time in my life ever thought about TV. So, I was thinking, “Man, that’s so smart.” And I was like, “Man, I wish I’d get on TV.” And then it was like, I didn’t even think about it again, right? Like, that’s it. Moved on, finished the seminar. So, we left the seminar, we get home, and I can’t stop thinking about this conversation. It was like 10:00 at night. And my ex-wife, Christina, was walking up the stairs. I’ll never forget. She had one leg up the stairs. We lived in San Clemente, California. She looks over, she goes, “Are you coming to bed?” And I answered, I said, “No.” I said, “No. I’m gonna get us a TV show.” And then she starts laughing at me. And she goes, “Well, what are you gonna get a TV show about?” And I didn’t know. So, then I took, like, a two-second pause and I realized, well, we just bought our first flip. I said, “Well, why don’t we flip houses on TV?” She laughed at me, told me to go to bed, walk upstairs. I went on Google and literally put “Hollywood production companies.” And I just clicked the website, looked at the website, saw a button that said “Casting,” clicked the button that said “Casting,” and then it said, “Tell us what you wanna do.” So I told them, “I wanna flip houses on TV.” I shared my story. I sent our pictures. I went to bed. I woke up the next day and one of them responded. They said, “We like your stuff. Send a home video.” I said, “Okay.” I didn’t have any [crosstalk 00:13:32]
Andy: Well, Tarek, right away, okay, first kind of pattern. Sorry to interrupt, but…
Tarek: No, you’re good. I talk a lot. Interrupt me all you want.
Andy: You mentioned, in your prior job, you’re an action-taker, that you were, you know, kind of the hardest-working person, you know, that…it’s in, like, the Grant Cardone 10X system, just, like, that preference for taking action. So, you got this idea. I think what most people, like, the typical thing to do would be, like, “Well, I’ll think about that. Maybe next month I’ll put a proposal together,” or whatever, whereas you just went home, bam, bam, bam, before you even went to bed.
Tarek: I’m telling you, in life, we only have so much energy. When that energy shows up, you have to use it. The exact moment that I found out that the guy that bought the house made $130,000 and I made $7,000, within minutes, I was calling people telling them I’m gonna flip houses and I needed money. So, no waiting, no weeks, no thinking. The opportunity’s here. I’m excited. It’s time to take action.
Andy: I love that.
Tarek: The longer we wait, the lower the odds of us actually doing it. So, we have to do things while we’re excited.
Andy: Okay. So, that’s part of the motivation, hacking the motivational side of this, is if you want something, take action. You don’t need to over-plan. I don’t wanna say, like, ready, fire, aim, but it’s like, if you start taking action, and every single day, you’re doing that, and some of the things you do fail, it almost doesn’t even matter. If you are trying more things at a much faster rate than what other people are doing, you’re still gonna hit success faster. Would you say that’s fair?
Tarek: Oh, 100%. Like, just an example of this. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to over the years that want to invest in real estate, and they’re thinking and they’re waiting. They missed 2015. They missed 2016. They missed 2018. They missed 2019. They missed all these years, because while they were sitting on the sidelines thinking, they could have been in the game, and that money could have been growing.
Andy: Yeah. Okay. So, you submitted this, and literally, the next morning, like, 12 hours later, there’s a company that responded, and they like your pitch that you wanna flip this house in a television program.
Tarek: Exactly. So, they said, “Send me a home video.” Well, I didn’t have any money for a camera, so I borrowed it from my friend Brad. And what I did is I had, the week before, I bought our first property. It was a condo in Santa Ana, and we bought it at auction for $115,000. So, I documented the process of us flipping that first condo. And I was the real estate agent, the investor, the handyman, the contractor, the painter. I did all the work. I electrocuted myself. I burned my feet with acid.
Andy: Yeah. Tarek, that’s why I’m an LP. Like, hearing that story, I’m like, “That is why I’m an LP. I don’t wanna get electrocuted.” But go on.
Tarek: Yeah. Because, like, you know what? Like, I went to Home Depot and I bought, like, you know, a vanity light. I was so excited. I’ll never forget. I was showing my ex-wife. I’m like, “Look how nice this is gonna look.” And I put it up where it goes. Well, I didn’t know about this thing called live wires, you see? The metal and the wires, they don’t get along really well.
Andy: Oh, man. So, that gave you a jolt?
Tarek: Yeah, it gave me a good jolt. Okay. So, here’s what happened. Like, I knocked this thing out of the park. I lived in this condo. I did all the work. Got it done start to finish in under 60 days, sold everything, because I moved super fast, everything speed. And we ended making…
Andy: Wait. So, are you filming this, or is there someone there? Are they there every day, or, like, how does that process work?
Tarek: No. It’s mostly me filming it, or putting the camera against the wall or around buckets, and just documenting the work and talking to the camera.
Andy: So, they’re not, like, signing you yet. They’re basically saying, “Okay. Give it a try. You come up with the film footage and then we’ll take a look.” Is that kind of…
Tarek: Yeah. So, how it works is I… So, then I made this home video. So, then I sent the home video to the production company. They loved it. So, then they wanted to do something that’s called a sizzle reel, which is, like, a three to five-minute video which gives you a taste of what an episode could be. So, then I had a professional crew come out. For two days, we filmed, and we shot this five-minute sizzle reel. From there it went out to all the networks. Nobody wanted it. We got no bites, no interest, nothing. So, I said, “Okay. That’s it.” I just kept going, into real estate, right? I think it was, like, 9 or 10 months later, I got a call from the production company. I was actually on a golf course. And they said, “Well, you’re not going to believe this, but we just got a call from HGTV and they wanna do a pilot.”
Tarek: So, I got the pilot. And this was…
Andy: And how did that happen? So, everybody passed, but then they went back to it later? Or what’s the story there?
Tarek: They went back to it later.
Andy: So, they watched it and they were like, “Nah. Not for now.” And then, like, six months later, they were like, “You know, we can’t stop thinking about this Tarek guy.”
Tarek: Yeah, apparently. So, I get the call. So, this is summer of ’11. So, this is the third flip I had ever done. So, we documented the flip, we filmed the pilot, and then it was done. The episode’s done. And then production said, “The odds of getting picked up are very slim. And if you do get picked up, there’s a good chance it’s gonna take a very long time.” So, I said, “Okay.”
Andy: Well, to pause there, though. When you were making these videos, because, like, our frame here for this episode is how to tell your story, how to get noticed, how to break through, right? So, obviously, you’re not just, like, filming yourself, you know, tightening some piece of plumbing or whatever. You’re obviously engaging with the camera. What did you do to make it interesting and engaging?
Tarek: That’s the beautiful thing that people don’t understand. I’m not gonna make it engaging or interesting. Neither are you. We’re just providing content. And that’s why you need a good editor to create an engaging video. You see, I’m not an editor. So, I did take clips of me screwing things in, and I did take clips of painting a baseboard, but then they throw it in an episode, and these are flashes, flashes, flashes. So, the editor is the one who’s really in charge of making that content come to life. Where most people…
Andy: So, already there, I think there’s a lesson just in that, which is if you wanna tell your story, get your brand out there, even as an asset manager, you know, the content features you, because you’re the person doing the thing, whether you’re flipping the house, rehabbing the house, whether you’re managing the fund, or whether you’re an entrepreneur doing whatever. But you do need to align with experts to have outside people who know how to package your story, who know how to package what you’re doing and make it attractive, because usually, you might think you know what people wanna see, but, like, you don’t. Right? You need that third set of eyes to take a look.
Tarek: Yeah. And, like, you can go find mobile editors that will charge you, like, you know, a consultant fee. Hey, go find someone that’s gonna take three hours of work to make me a YouTube video. Right? Go on Indeed. Go find a video editor. They’re out there. They’re all over. But I wanna talk about the content and brand-building too, as soon as I get through this part. So, oh, yeah. So, then the production company tells me that the odds of getting picked up are real slim and it could take a long time. I don’t remember what it was, but I think it was, like, a week or two later. I got a contract from HGTV saying they wanted to do a nationwide house-flipping show. So, that sounds very exciting, right, Andy?
Andy: Yeah. Is that a whole season, or just one episode, or what’s that mean?
Tarek: That’s a season. Thirteen episodes in 10 months. But I had two problems. You wanna know what the problems are?
Andy: Yeah, I do.
Tarek: Problem number one, I don’t have all this money to buy 13 houses. Where am I gonna get all this money?
Andy: Yeah. Do they give you the down payment or whatever?
Tarek: No. Nothing.
Andy: Okay. That’s your problem.
Tarek: Problem number two, even if I have the money, I don’t know how to flip houses. Like, where am I gonna find all these houses?
Andy: Well, Tarek, it’s more interesting to watch people fail than succeed, right? Is that part of the premise? Like, are you going into this thinking, “I might flop, and…”
Tarek: No. But the thing is, each episode had to be a different house. So, then I look at this contract, 13 houses, 10 months, I’m like, “Aah.” I called my lawyer. I was like, “Well, what’s the worst thing that could happen if I sign this thing?” And he’s like, “Well, they can sue you.” And I took a look around my apartment, then I said, “They can have it.” So, I signed that contract, and, honestly, like everything else I’ve done in my life, I told myself, “I will do whatever it takes to get this done.” And that’s exactly what I did. I figured it out my first year by spending from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. driving all of Southern California, looking for vacant properties going to the auction the next day.
Andy: And was your strategy, like, “Hey, I need to really find the least expensive?” Like, how are you managing your own personal cash flow to be able to do that if you did not really have any savings?
Tarek: So, what I did is I did such a good return on that first investment for my investor, he did the two after, and big return. So, my skill set is in finding deals. I am a deal finder. I am a salesman. I’m an action-taker. So, I’m good at finding deals. So, I was able to find and negotiate such good deals that investors were like, “Well, how did you get that price?” So, then people started just asking to give me money, because I brought these deals and these deals were so good.
So, as time went on, I got more investors, and then that first investor, he ultimately put in millions of dollars. And that’s how I accomplished that first season. But, I mean, I was working 16 to 18-hour days, because I would work real estate all day until, like, 8:30 at night, and then I had to buy houses that weren’t occupied, because I couldn’t evict. I didn’t have the time because we had to film them. So, the houses had to be vacant. So, I would literally leave my house at 10:00 at night, drive Southern California, looking at all the properties going to the auction the next morning, to see if cars were in the driveway, newspapers were in the door, or if the grass was overgrown. So, then I would do this driving overnight, find a house or two, right? Then I’d get to the auction and my max bid’s, like, $300,000. And next thing I know, I got a hedge fund paying $410,000. I said, “Well, how are they paying $410,000? My max I can pay is $300,000.” I said, “I’m never gonna get a house.” But I kept going. And here’s what happened. By my second, third week of doing this every single day, I bid on a house and nobody else bid. And I got the house, and it was a great deal. And then I realized if I just keep showing up, every now and then, I’m gonna get lucky. And that’s what I did.
Andy: Yeah, no, that makes sense. Okay. So, you know, step one, show up, do the thing, do something amazing. And I actually think that’s a big part of this, because if you have a brand, if you have a business, whatever you’re trying to do, if you’re not doing something amazing, if you’re not delivering value, if your heart’s not in it, it’s almost like, you know what, don’t build a brand. The world doesn’t need to hear how you’re being mediocre. The world doesn’t need to hear how you’re phoning it in. So, step one is, you know, you’re putting everything you have into this. But the other side is you’re not just flipping these houses and, you know, working your tail off doing it. This TV show ends up being a smash hit, right? It’s the most popular… There’s a lot of shows based around similar concepts, but this is the most popular out of all of them. So, basically, you turn the show into a smash hit. Obviously, you had help, you know, editors, producers, all that sort of thing. But now that’s what I’m interested… Is it more that, you know, you’re doing the thing, and you just put your heart into it, and so it naturally was a hit, or…
Tarek: Yeah. Be who you are. Tell the truth. Never be scared. Those cameras were in front of me. I did not change who I was. I was still spastic. I was still running around like crazy. I was still naive. I was young. I was nervous, because I didn’t care about the cameras. I was trying to figure out how to flip these houses. So, like, the TV, it didn’t bother me, because I was overwhelmed becoming a house flipper. It was a big, challenging thing. And I just pulled it off, but it was interesting, because halfway through filming season one, there was an executive at the network that thought the show would be a bad look for HGTV, because they were very conservative back then. Like, they wouldn’t even let us film if the toilet seat was up. So, they actually paused our filming. Luckily, this person was let go of the network, and then we resumed production. And then we aired, I think, it was April 16th, 2013, and we shot 13 30-minute episodes. There was no marketing. There was no promotion. There was nothing. They aired us from 11:00 p.m. until 12:00 a.m., thinking we would just burn off the air and go unnoticed. Right? Something incredible happened. We woke up the next day, we ended up being one of the top 100 TV shows of the entire day. And the viewership for the network from the beginning of the hour to the end of the hour ended up breaking a bunch of records, because the viewership went up going into midnight, which does not happen. Two weeks later, we went primetime.
Andy: So, this is interesting. I mean, it wasn’t what I expected, to be honest with you, Tarek. Like, basically, you’re telling me, not really any promotion, no master plan in terms of branding, marketing. Basically, be yourself and work your tail off. Take action every day. Don’t be fake, be authentic. I mean, is that…
Tarek: That’s it. Like, I tell people the craziest, craziest thing about my life story, I have worked my *** off for everything I have, from the ground up. I started as a 19-year-old kid living in my mom’s garage because I couldn’t afford to rent my own bedroom. That’s where I started. And, you know, it’s just been such an incredible experience. It’s just been such an incredible experience.
Andy: Well, if this is branding, telling your story, getting noticed, I feel like… Well, you’re an extrovert, though, right? Is that fair to say?
Tarek: Oh, yeah. I’m an extrovert. But let me explain, like, how to get that message out there, because the TV will only go so far. But what I was trying to say is getting on TV and getting this show has been the easiest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Learning how to fix and flip houses, that was tough. Building Homeschooled, that was tough, TEM Capital, like, these things are tough. And the TV show, it was, like, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. Okay. So, now I’m on TV, right? So, then it’s like, “Okay. Well, now you got your TV brand, but now you need to build your own audience that you control outside of TV, which would be social media.” So, then I got on social media. And here’s the thing. When it comes to brand-building and storytelling, most people, they just think about brand-building and they think about storytelling, and they study how to do it, and they wonder how to do it. No, no, no, no. Just do it. Meaning this. Like, take your phone, turn it on, and just start sharing.
I have all these house-flipping students, “Oh, I don’t know what to post.” I’m like, “Get in your car, drive by a fixer-upper, and post a video that you’re looking for deals, right there or something. Go walk a fixer-upper. Show the plumbing damage. Show the termite damage. Go to a networking event. Show that you’re with other real estate investors.” It’s just content. And instead of thinking about it, just turn the camera on, get it going, get it to an editor, and see what they can do. And the key is simple here. How do you build a brand? Through tenacious consistency. Do the same things over and over and over, every single day, and getting your message out there. So, I know guys that have huge followings today, that they didn’t pass 5,000 followers… It took them, like, two years. And today they have a million, because they were consistent, and they never quit on their message. And here’s another beautiful thing. The more you do it, the more practice you get. The more practice you get, the more better you get. The better you get, the more people are gonna be interested. So, it goes back to the simple fact of just you need to practice. And the best way to practice is by doing. So, I’m a big believer of doing it every single day.
Andy: Yeah, I love that. And that really hits hard, Tarek, like, thinking about even this show. And I wanna be clear. All my guests have been amazing. And even, like, my first couple guests were awesome. But when I listen to, like, the first 50 shows I recorded, I almost, like, cringe. I’m like, “What was I thinking?” because it just… But the thing is, is that I’ve kind of learned to go easier on myself. I’m like, “Well, it just takes time. I’m not just gonna wake up one day and know how to host a podcast. You have to try.” Right? And your point, is the consistency of that, if you do it daily. So, like, now I’m past episode 100. It’s like, you just gotta get reps in, because you’re gonna get a little bit better with every rep. Is that right?
Tarek: A hundred percent. And that’s what I tell, like, you know, most newer real estate investors or entrepreneurs, it’s like, you know, the one thing that I would change about my entire career, you know, to be honest, was how awful I was towards myself. I expected a lot out of myself. And if I wasn’t as good as I expected myself to be, I would beat myself up. But now, years later, I acknowledge the fact that you’re not gonna be great your first time. You’re not gonna be great your first 50 times. This takes practice. I mean, imagine, like, going from, you know, plus and minus math and doing complex algebra. It’s not gonna happen. It’s a process. You need to practice. You need to learn.
Andy: Yeah. And that’s that preference for action that, you know, we’ve already kind of talked about. As you say, you’re not gonna be excellent at the beginning, right? Like, anything really worth doing, it’s not gonna be easy. Right? But I think what you hit on, though, is the fear. And like you said, you need to be easier on yourself. And I think sometimes I need to do the same thing. I need to be kind of easier on myself. I think that is what is tripping up so many entrepreneurs is that they kind of know, like, deep down, I think most of us, especially if you have that kind of entrepreneurial gene, you’re excited to do it, but you kind of know that your first try is not gonna be very good. And then that fear can just paralyze you, right? So, what do you say to somebody who they wanna try it, but they’re kind of stuck because they know, like, “Well, shoot, my first try is not gonna be very good?”
Tarek: Yeah. I’ll say this. You should go to my Instagram. It’s therealtarekelmoussa. I want you to look at my most recent posts and videos, and then I want you to scroll all the way down, all the way down, and I want you to look at those. And you will see a dramatic difference in my performance, because I’m a reality TV person. I never look into a camera. I never talk to a camera. The camera follows me. So, even me, this talking to the camera thing, it’s nerve-wracking. Even to this day, I forget my words, I’m looking at myself. Do my eyebrows look funny? There’s a lot going on, right? So, really, just get away from the stress, get away from the anxiety, and go back to having fun. Go back to making this fun. Act like a kid again. Have fun. Learn something new. Practice. Get better and grow.
Andy: I love that, Tarek. I love that. Yeah. And it’s interesting to me, your personal brand, talking about storytelling, personal brand, breaking through, you’ve integrated all of this into your brand. Like, we’re talking about your process, and you literally just told everybody, “Hey, go look at my own material. It’s really bad.” But you’re not embarrassed of that at all. It’s just, it’s part of your brand is this authenticity.
Tarek: It is what it is. If you go look at the second house I ever flipped, the floors were brown, the walls were brown, the cabinets were brown, the counters were brown, because I knew brown. Right? We get better.
Andy: Yeah. And being willing to be yourself, be authentic, to me, then, that makes it so much easier to do any kind of content creation, because when you have to, like, put on a mask, when you have to say, “I need to go pretend to be this thing so that I can record content,” that’s mentally draining, it’s mentally exhausting. Versus if you’re just, “Oh, I’m just me. I’m gonna talk like me. I’m gonna act like me. I’m gonna talk about what I know.” That’s way more effortless. It’s way easier to show up day by day and to do that every day.
Tarek: Yeah, 100%. And if someone’s out there and they’re nervous, go make 50 videos just for yourself. Nobody has to see them. Just start doing them, and you’re gonna start seeing, “Oh, if I change this, if I do this, it’ll sound better, it’ll get better.” Trust me, if you compare your first video to your 50th video, you’re gonna see a big difference.
Andy: So, we’ve talked about this in reference to your personal brand, your television success. What I think is really interesting and relevant to a lot of our listeners and viewers is you have this personal brand. You also have a multi-sector private real estate company, private funds, TEM Capital. So, tell us a little bit about TEM Capital.
Tarek: Okay. So, like everything I do in my life, and I do a lot, the TV, the education, TEM Capital is the one company that I am most passionate about because it’s everything I love, and it’s sharing everything I love, right? So, I’m obsessed with real estate. It made me who I am. And through the years, you know, people would always come up to me on the streets or on social media, like, “Tarek, we wanna invest with you.” And the truth is I never really had a way for them to do it, because I’m not gonna go syndicate to flip, you know, a $500,000 house. Seven years ago, I learned about depreciation. Okay? I was making a lot of money and I didn’t have any write-offs.
And that’s when I realized, “Oh, I need depreciation.” And that’s why I really started focusing on commercial real estate. And it’s given me this opportunity to partner with accredited investors around the country, around the world, to go take down these apartment buildings, these self-storage facilities, or whatever it is we’re looking at. So, I’m just so excited about TEM Capital. And we have a big investor event, actually, coming up on February 23rd in Newport Beach. So, that’s gonna be a whole lot of fun. But TEM Capital, yes, it is a private equity real estate company. Yes, we are partnering, and we’re buying real estate, but beyond that, we’re building a community. We’re building a community of like-minded people, that have a passion for real estate and living life to its fullest. So, within TEM Capital, with our investors, we have special events planned this year. We’re throwing a yacht party with our investors. We’re doing a Cabo retreat in Mexico with all of our LPs this year.
Andy: And Tarek, are you at these events?
Tarek: Yeah. Yeah, I am. I’ll be there in Mexico. You wanna come?
Andy: Yeah. Well, I was just thinking. We’re talking about this personal branding stuff, and then we’re talking about TEM Capital. And for you, you’ve brought your personal brand to TEM Capital. And as you’re telling me about these events, it kind of clicked with me. I’m like, “That’s a big part of this.” The people… I’ll be real. LPs, they’re not just investing. They’re not just examining every single fund, and, “Oh, that IRR is 0.1% higher than this…” or whatever. A lot of times, it’s the story, or it’s the founder, or it’s the people who bring them in. It sounds like that’s a big part of TEM Capital, and even your branding and your marketing strategy.
Tarek: One hundred million percent. I’m trying to do two things for our investors. One, we all wanna make money, but two, I’m a big believer in having fun. Life is tough. We’ve just gone through a pandemic. Like, man, life can get tough. And I’m a big believer in having fun. So, that is the goal, to invest in real estate, throw events, go on fun vacations. So, this time we’re doing Cabo. Next year we might be doing Europe with our investors. I go. My wife, Heather, goes. And it’s really a chance for us to get to know our partners, because we truly are partners in these deals.
Andy: Absolutely. Man, that is a great message. I mean, it really is, just because, you know, as an LP, so much of this stuff can be dry, and kind of, like, okay, I have to review. And you wanna make money, so, you know, you do the due diligence. But I think that is a big part of it is you’re not just investing into a fund. You’re partnering with people. And I wanna partner with fun people. I don’t wanna partner with non-fun people.
Tarek: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. We’re a community. We get with our investors. We did wine and dinner one night on webinar. Like, a lot of fun stuff we do. So, there’s a Radford Racetrack out in Arizona. So, we might do a race weekend out in Arizona. And I love doing that stuff. That’s my favorite.
Andy: I love it. And we’re almost out of time, Tarek, but I promised my wife I’d ask this. So, you have to tell us about Tarek and Heather, “The Big I Do.” So, you and your bride, you tied the knot in a wedding special on HGTV. How does something like this even come about?
Tarek: Yeah. So, you know, HGTV and Discovery, they came to us and they said they wanted to film the wedding. Initially, we said no because we wanted to keep it private, but we went back and forth, and we came to a point where we said, “We’re willing to film the wedding as long as it doesn’t feel like we’re filming our wedding.” So, cameras back, not in our face. And we had a real wedding that was captured on camera. And you can actually stream “The Big I Do” on Discovery Plus. And it’s a really fun episode. The kids are in it, the family’s in it. And it was just such a spectacular night. Have you guys seen it yet?
Andy: We were watching it a little bit, just in preparation to record this. And I’ve also been, you know, on your YouTube. And, let’s see. Is it ET or something? You’re everywhere, Tarek. I mean, as I’m hearing this, I’m just thinking, “This guy’s fearless. He’s fearless.” I think that’s your secret, Tarek.
Tarek: I put myself in positions where I have no option but to succeed. You know, like, there’s no other option. The other option is it’s gone. It’s failure. And I refuse to fail.
Tarek: And by the way, success comes from failing multiple times until you figure out what works.
Andy: A hundred percent. A hundred percent. So, I think our audience, our viewers and listeners, they know where to find you on TV. It’s HGTV, or a couple things on Discovery Plus. But I also wanna plug TEM Capital. Where can our audience of high net worth investors go to learn more about TEM Capital?
Tarek: Yeah, sure. So, you can go to temcapital.co. And we would love to work with you. Like I said, we have investor dinners, investor events, investor yacht parties, investor vacations, and, you know, we would love to have you. So, just passionate about real estate, passionate about community, and passionate about having fun. Also, our Instagram handle for TEM Capital is just @temcapital.
Andy: I love that. All you LPs out there, you know, hear this guy loud and clear. Investing with Tarek is fun. He keeps fun front and center. I love that. Tarek, thanks so much for joining the show today.
Tarek: Thank you so much, Andy.