How I Raised Over $1 Million During a Pandemic—& How You Can, Too! (Part II)

How I Raised Over $1 Million During a Pandemic—& How You Can, Too! (Part II)

4 min read
Philip Michael

Philip Michael is the founder of NYEG, a real estate and VC company with $80MM in the development pipeline.

Experience
Philip is the bestselling author of Real Estate Wealth Hacking: How to 10x Your Net Worth in 18 Months. He’s also an expert columnist who’s been featured on Forbes, Black Enterprise, Entrepreneur, and other media outlets.

Formerly, he was a TV/radio host on SiriusXM and Fuse. Philip’s also the founder WealthLAB and DealFLW, a free real estate investment analyzer—both of which have been recognized by Forbes.

Philip and his team are currently developing a series of historic projects, including the first black-owned high rise in Jersey City, the first smart home development in Jersey City’s McGinley Square, and the first voice-controlled student housing building in Philadelphia.

A native of Denmark, Philip came to New York in 2014 with $79 in his PayPal account. In 2015, he joined Bisnow Media (the largest commercial real estate news source in North America) and helped lead them to a $50MM sale as national editor and director of content strategy.

In 2019, NYEG launched a Venture Capital arm, which invests in minority and/or women-owned, early-stage startups.

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This is Part II of a first-person account on how we raised $1 million via a Reg. CF IPO by offering shares in our real estate on WeFunder.com and Republic.co to the public. Read part I here

“Real estate crowdfunding.” You may have heard the term thrown around. Fintech company Fundrise made it popular when it used a new regulation to allow investments into top real estate by everyday investors. In their case, it was the World Trade Center.

In late January, we filed the paperwork to do the same thing, with a targeted Reg. CF launch for April. (To later convert to a Reg. A+.) Our mission is to help 100,000 people become first-time investors and eventual millionaires.

About two weeks ago, we became the fastest real estate Reg. CF IPO to hit $1 million. In this article (and Part I, which you can find here), we detail how we raised $1 million in a pandemic through two separate, consecutive Reg. CF IPOs. And how you can, too.

The “How” Follows the Energy

Man Leaping Mid-air on Mountainside

Everyone always wants the tactics, the “how.” Their innate logic is that if you know “how,” you can produce “what.” In reality, the “how” is completely random and simply follows whatever your unconscious belief system is.

Rewind to when you would acquire new skills, like learning how to speak or walk. You just took it for granted that you would, because everyone around you did. Yet, when we become adults, the process of picking up a new language becomes overly complicated.

That’s an expectation we create and embed in our minds. “Syntax, grammar, pronunciation.” So the reality will shape itself after that.

Even with the best teacher, if you believe it’s that tough and unattainable, you won’t succeed. This is no different.

Just think about it. If you don’t believe in your idea, you create a needy/pushy energy around yourself that pushes people away. Just like dating—you’re coming on too strong. If you know you have a great offering, you carry yourself with a different energy.

For me, I put the needs and desires of the end-user first, second, and third, then tie my motivation around their success. Like I mentioned in part I, I put this up for the purpose of offering an avenue for people to invest.

Related: Those With Goals Are 10x More Likely to Succeed: Here Are 15 Tips to Set Yours 

People Can Smell Intent

My goal is to create more first-time investors with healthy financial habits. This creates a more equitable distribution of wealth and all the benefits that go along with that. That’s my end game—not bankrolling an idea, which typically doesn’t get too far.

So just like Slack, my attitude was if people wanted in, cool. If not, no sweat. “As long as you start investing in something,” I’d tell them.

This helped create the right energy. I wouldn’t push it and if people asked me about other options, I’d freely explain the benefits of other platforms and investment options.

“That doesn’t help!” You may say. Yes, it does. You’ve got to start here. Because the “how” falls into place based on the belief that you can actually pull it off.

Not the other way around.

My How: Instagram

phone

I figured, wrongly, following pieces of the fallacy described above, that I would smash the $1 million mark in 18 minutes. We didn’t. I was disappointed, sad—enraged, even. Because I felt we were doing the right thing, for the right reasons, I thought we’d get featured everywhere.

“If this doesn’t sell out in 18 minutes, we’re all failures,” I’d shout to my team on calls and in obsessive Slack messages.

Things very rarely go exactly how you plan. That’s just part of the game, and it’s the part that makes every worthwhile endeavor a complete pain in the butt but so rewarding when it happens.

At the time we went live, my Instagram was just friends and family. Inside a week, my IG had 10,000 followers. You’d think it was from the offering? Hell no.

I put together a random video about how COVID-19 can make you rich. I basically said what I’d written in a BiggerPockets article a long time ago. Imagine that.

Next thing you know, one big page picks it up, it gets 300,000+ views, thousands of followers flock to my page, and boom! Overnight I’m an online influencer. I’m cracking up as I type this.

In this podcast interview with super investor Rod Khleif—he runs one of the biggest real estate investing podcasts and he just had BiggerPockets’ Brandon Turner on—I actually explain the process of how I kicked off my Instagram.

Offer Value and Be Yourself

One of the things about my content and my videos is that it’s rawIt’s authentic and sincere. I never try to sell anything, and my objective is to offer value to whoever is watching.

Most make the mistake of over-thinking and over-editing their content. This just freezes you, creates analysis-paralysis, and makes it impossible for you to stay consistent. I just do four types of content:

  1. Videos that I record in one take and never watch back
  2. Excerpts from text messages with friends that I then post
  3. Tweets
  4. “STEPS,” a new form where I take tips I share with people and put them in quick step-by-step bites

This makes my IG super pretty, simple to manage, and easy to stick with—and therefore easy to grow.

Related: 3 Impactful Ways to Use Social Media as a Real Estate Investor

Finding Followers

At first, I desperately wanted to clear 10,000 followers so I could market our TEMPLE property via swipe-up stories. One young entrepreneur, who built a million-plus following in one year, told me that to grow an Instagram, you need to ask two important questions:

  1. Why do you want people to follow you?
  2. And what are you offering in exchange for them following you?

This just reinforced how I usually am, so it came naturally to me. But it forced me to always think of the audience first and to tailor everything I put out around the simple question: “Does this help bring us closer to 100,000 new millionaires by 2030?”

If the answer is yes, then we do it.

Do It for the Right Reasons

I also didn’t build my following for the purpose of getting people to invest. I didn’t even have the link in my bio. I had a tap.bio, which had the offering listed way down. That’s how people got curious about me, found it, and joined.

I thought the “how” came from my media background, understanding journalists, and having a hell of a pitch. Not BiggerPockets, which would seem like an obvious avenue.

Wrong.

It ended up coming from the last avenue I ever expected: Instagram.

Go figure.

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Have you successfully used Instagram in your business? How so?

Tell us in the comments.