Subscribe to Real Estate Investing Unscripted on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or Spotify.
Who's on the podcast this week? 🤩
Dawson Gant is a 23-year-old North Carolina real estate and e-commerce mogul with multiple enterprises who describes himself as a "serial entrepreneur." As a long-time friend of Fund That Flip, we couldn't wait to get him on the show to talk to our audience about how his real estate endeavors contributed to his further ventures in the business world. Make sure to subscribe so you don't miss part 2!
How do you like your content?
Listen! (OR subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!)
Watch! (Give us a 👍 and subscribe on YouTube)
Read! (Full Transcript Below)
Brendan: Welcome back to another episode of Real Estate Investing Unscripted. I'm your co-host, Brendan Bennett, and with me is your other co-host, David Duggan. David, what's up?
David: Brendan, we are doing well today. This is actually podcast number two today, so cat's outta the bag. Recording two in a day. We're warmed up. We're ready to go.
Brendan: Yeah, I think where we're gonna be able to take this episode a little bit more on the mind of a real estate developer and kind of how that works with Fund That Flip, but also the other avenues that this person takes from a business perspective.
So Duggan, let's get into the intro and get him in here.
David: Yeah, so today we have Dawson Gant. He is a 23-year-old real estate investor and business entrepreneur. Began his real estate career at 18 as an agent. Saw an opportunity in the market at that point and transitioned from being an agent to a real estate investment entrepreneur. And so he built a company an eight-figure real estate company in less than three years. Now he flips 8 to 10 homes monthly.
He does a handful of ground-up developments as well, he does some e-commerce operations, and he is scaling his businesses both on the building side as well as the renovation side. So hopefully, I didn't butcher that too much Dawson. But, glad to have you on man, and introduce yourself and fill in the gaps where I might have missed them.
Dawson: Yeah. Thanks so much guys for having me on. Like David said, my name's Dawson Gant 23, soon to be 24. have been extremely blessed and super grateful for the journey I've been on the last five years, and have to credit a lot of that success to having great lending partners and people that understand the business just as much as I do.
So when I got this opportunity to come talk with my main guys, my lenders Fund That Flip, took it and happy to be here and, share some knowledge and help in any way that I can.
Brendan: Hell yeah, man. I think just kinda off the rip, so you're you got started when you were 18. Your wedge kind of into this space was in wholesaling. Was that the goal from the start? Were you like, Hey, I'm gonna become a wholesaler, I'm gonna make, you know, a hundred grand a year and I'll be good with that, and it kind of blew up?
Or like, did you know that that was gonna be your wedge into this space and you just ran it down.
Dawson: so for me, I actually started as an agent and didn't really know much about wholesaling, but realized that the majority of my clients that I actually like to deal with were the investor clients, right? They knew what they wanted to buy. It wasn't an emotional buy. And we could do a lot of volume together.
And the biggest qualm that my investor clients had early on was they couldn't find good deals. So I quickly found out what wholesaling was and was like, oh, I can make way more than $50,000 a house, than 3% if I give it to 'em off market. And then started doing that paired with the agency to keep the bills.
Truthfully, I just didn't like working with people that needed to see 40 houses before pulling the trigger. And I dived into the wholesale after a client, you know, we saw 30 houses and she said that the feng shui in the last house made her think she didn't need to buy a house right now.
And you know, I was a struggling college kid with no gas money driving around trying to show this woman a house. So I kind of threw the towel in there and went full scale into the wholesale and you know, I've seen some great success from that, and then transitioned to where all the investors are making money by being owner operators and actually, you know, doing the flips and the new construction and stuff like that.
Brendan: Just really quick before we move on to the next topic, so for the listeners, can you just give a quick break on what wholesaling is?
Dawson: Yeah. So I mean, typically what you're doing is you're acting as the middleman. You're doing marketing to sellers owners of properties. They're in distress situations, right? Tax issues, inheritance, all those types of things. Uh, absentee owners. You're making 'em a low enough offer to where you can make a little bit of money by assigning those contractual rights over to a flipper like myself or anyone that you've probably had on, right? So it's pretty much being the middleman, doing some marketing and understanding the sales and marketing process in order to have a little bit of equity in that deal and make some money.
Brendan: Got it. So wholesaling kind of helped you build that foundation. You started to meet other investors in the space. I mean, the guys that you were probably selling these wholesale deals to are legitimate operators. You're like, wow, like instead of selling these guys properties, maybe I can, you know, keep some of that profit in my pocket. Is that kind of the transition that took place?
Dawson: Yeah, so what happened similar to the agency situation as I was selling to a couple of guys that you know, would pay me $20-, $30,000 a lick, which is phenomenal money with no risk or real credit needed or anything like that, right? I wasn't having to buy the property, but then I would turn around and see that same property marketed for $2-, $300,000 more than what I sold 'em for. And I'd ask them, I'd be like, well, what do, what do you have in this property? And they're like, oh, $75,000. So I'm like, wow, you know, they made $150 grand in three months. Why am I not doing this? I have the cash. And, partially, you know, just being I didn't really understand that I was capable of doing that. And then I had one guy that was, a big operator up in Raleigh and he was like, dude, you need to keep this deal right. He was like, I want to buy it from you, but keep it, flip it. And uh, he kind of walked me through that. And then we were off to the races and, you know, nowadays, we don't really keep anything to wholesale. Most of it's flipping or buy and holds or right back on the market.
David: So Dawson, I wanna jump in there because I think you kind of breeze through what a lot of people I think, struggle with, right? Which is taking that next step and kind of building the processes and the network in place. So going from wholesaling, you learn the acquisition side, you figure it out.
Acquisitions, right? You dipped your toe in the real estate space there and kind of learned what you were doing, but then growing the processes, right? Getting the contractors right, the lenders, the title companies, all those other pieces that go into rehabbing and dispositioning a property. Can you touch on that and what that process is like, and some of the steps you had to take?
Dawson: Yeah, for sure. I mean, so, so for me, you know, we are already dispositioning to investors and putting stuff on the market before actually contracting the property. So for disposition, was pretty simple for me. And you know, obviously, anyone that tells you that they got into real estate and had to struggle the last two and a half years is probably lying. You know, we were in a perfect market. You could buy a house for a hundred thousand and list it for $150 and 9 times out of 10 you'd sell it. So blessed to, you know, kind of started my journey right before that and then started flipping heavily, during that, right? can definitely make you a little spoiled. But you know, the biggest thing for me was when we were doing renovations. I had to learn a lot, lose some money with some contractors and fumble a few times. But again, I was in a great market to where I could fumble and overspend by $20,000 on a project and get that out of the project.
Uh, not necessarily the case now, but what that forced me to do is bring everything in-house. So I'm also a licensed GC, or my GC company is licensed through me, and we do everything in-house because I like to have control on everything. So running the wholesale company, I realized that I had control of almost everything during the deal.
and now we, we have that control in the rehabs. and you know, that same operator that that kind of forced me to do my first flip told me, Hey, like you need to set a standard right now. And he's a one-man show and does several million dollars a month in real estate. Uh, and his flips are the exact same, right?
It doesn't matter if the market is upside down, sideways, or, or going up. His quality of flip, even if he could be cheap on a couple deals, it's the same throughout. and he instilled that into me. So, you know, my rehabs are very high quality. I probably overspend on deals I don't have to, but it makes up because my house is selling in three, four days on the market, even in this market.
So I learned that stuff and, you know, really can accredite a lot of my early success to two things. A, being in the right room with the right people, and B, taking action when, when action was necessary, right? So I'm not a guy that is gonna sit around and ponder, oh, should I buy and flip is it raining outside today?
Should I maybe wait off till next month and buy that next deal? I'm willing to kind of bet cuz I'm so young and I, you know, I tell everybody I can go bankrupt three times and still be ahead of most people in the world. I'll take that risk and that's why I can accredit a lot of my success too, is kind of just going two feet in really, really early
Brendan: Yeah. Dawson, I'm curious there, right? So like a lot of us have read the self-help books that talk about mindset, talk about resiliency, kind of what you said, right? Like, not letting a stormy day or stormy situation make you shy away from an opportunity and you're like, Hey, I'm young, I can take the risk.
where does that come from and like, how do you, how do you keep that front of mind right? The markets have changed a lot in the last six months. It'd be easy for someone who was faint of heart to kinda get skittish and, you know, kind of start to take their chips off the table. You changed strategy to my knowledge, but you haven't by any means stepped away from the space.
I mean, you're seeing opportunity, right? There's blood in the water. Talk about that a little bit. 'Cause I think mindset kind of leads a lot of this, where does that come from for you?
Dawson: Yeah. I mean, so I don't have the typical guru story where I was homeless and then started making a bunch of money. I came from a single-parent household that, we did okay, right? We were in a 600 square-foot house, and I didn't have to worry about when I was gonna eat next I had clothes on my back, but I never had more than that.
So knowing that, you know, I'm able to do the things I'm able to do today, drive the cars and live the lifestyle I'm able to do right now. Uh, and I came from that. I know I can go back to that. And, you know, it took me five years this time, it'll take me two and a half next time. And after that, it'll take me a year to get back to where I'm at today.
so that mindset is kind of what has allowed me to take those necessary risks. And also I think that I can accredit a lot of the continued risks that I continue to take to understanding that like, this is not where I want to be. Uh, I'm in no way content or complacent on the current level we're at.
So we're, we're constantly, pivoting and looking for the next vehicle. Uh, real estate, again, realy grateful to have found real estate at the time I found real estate, but that's pushed me into new vehicles that have, you know, quadrupled. if not, you know, 10-Xed my net worth. So we're always looking for that next thing.
But I'm, I also understand that real estate is kind of my first, you know, so we stay involved in that. So as we pivot, real estate still has a large factor in, in our businesses today.
David: do you consider yourself a “real estate guy," quote unquote?
Dawson: Yeah. That's tough, right? So like two years ago, I was a full real estate guy. That was everything. Uh, right now, I'm a serial entrepreneur and we're always looking for the next opportunity. We're, you know, currently opening up two restaurants in Charlotte. I never would've, I don't have any interest in restaurants, but the money makes sense, right? So real estate was my initial vehicle. And the beautiful thing about real estate is it's cyclical. So I can identify cyclical patterns, and right now it might be a really good time to be heavy down into it cuz there is blood in the water. But it also means you have to consider where your ROI is the highest.
I'll always be a real estate guy at heart, but I've kind of transformed in a way that, there are other businesses that generate revenue a little bit faster, but real estate's a really good place to capture wealth and hold
Brendan: Yep. And I think, I think we see that with a lot of guys in the investor space in general. A lot of investors that are in our space, they have real estate as kind of their foundation, their pillar, and then they kind of have these different opportunistic offshoots. I think what, Dawson makes you kind of unique is you don't go at something, half-bore.
You're turning the volume all the way up and running that opportunity down. The one thing that you said that I thought was really interesting, you were like, Hey, It was lucky timing, but you're like, I also was in the room with the right people, so you don't need to name drop specific names, but like who are like the four to five people from a position influence, like what is their role in your life and like how does that contribute to your success, both in real estate and then, you know, getting into these new ventures that you're getting into as well?
Dawson: So there were two guys that were extremely, extremely influential to the first two years in business, one great guy, but he's a slum lord. He owns like 400 units in the town I'm from. Uh, and I learned what passive income can do for you and how not to be a slum lord, how to have better tenants and better properties, but I learned a lot of savvy business from him.
Uh, you know, he's a 70 year old guy that probably makes a couple hundred thousand dollars a month on his rentals. Uh, so learned a lot from him. And then my other guy that’s owner operator, that's a one-man show up in Raleigh. Ithink his head's too big now. I don't wanna really wanna shout him out. He can't afford to get a larger head, but you know, he showed me what was possible when you systemize stuff. And, that's a really, really beautiful thing about our current real estate operation is, you know, we're doing more today than we were a year ago, but I'm completely phased out of it, right? I have a great project manager, a great foreman, a great COO that does all my sales guys and things like that. You know, I couldn't tell you how much money I have loaned down. I couldn't tell you how many properties we're currently working on. Uh, the only way I know is if I look at my bank statements and see the checks being wrote out for rehabs and payoffs and things like that.
So, you know, those two guys were super influential. I learned what an operator that stays in the business forever looks like and an operator that systemizes and can do a lot with one person. So I've taken those things and the things I've learned from wholesaling and transition those lessons into new businesses.
So two guys that are really, really influential and then the next people are, you know, current business partners and ex-business partners, right? You can learn a lot from people you do business with and what that looks like, right? So for me, I don't really like business partners and my current business partners know that.
And if they listen to this, they know that I kind of run the show and they provide value where they can and they have equity in a company we own together. And then my ex business partner showed me that, you know, again, I like to be a solo guy and have really good guys up under me.
So you know, I use the analogy Batman and Robin. If everybody's looking to be Batman, then there's no Justice League, right? It's just a bunch of Batmans running around and probably not that good. But if you find a couple Robins, it can be up under you and still make phenomenal money. You know, they can kind of build a team and you can systemize and be out of businesses and still make money.
David: I'm attracted to what you're saying about systemizing things, right? 'Cause I've gotta imagine that's freed up a ton of your time. Correct?
Dawson: Yeah, I mean, it definitely has, I'm in no shape or form freed up because I've, as soon as I get something systemized, it's onto the next thing. It has allowed me to open and run new businesses while not having to shut the doors on a previous business.
David: So, that's kind of where I was going with this cuz I had assumed that that's kind of how you're freeing up time to identify these other business opportunities. Can you tell me about that? Like what are these business opportunities, how are you identifying them? What kind of research goes in there? What does that additional free time that you're creating, what does it look like for you as far as putting those other businesses into place?
Dawson: 90% of our new businesses that we open up and start, start with failing a couple first ones. Uh, so for this year, I think I've tried 10 new businesses, right? Thrown 15, 20 grand at each of those businesses. And I'm okay to lose 8 if as long as 2 hit and they perform like my other companies, right?
So for me, I've got a really good COO. He sits in the office with me, I don't have a private office. 2,500 square foot here in Charlotte, and 2000 square foot of that is filled with sales guys for my different companies. Uh, the other 500 square foot, I have a COO here. And we kind of have the same process to every single business we've started.
We have a little bit of educational phase. We see if it's something that makes sense and for us it has to make sense as the ceiling, can't be too low. Right? Most wholesale operations make $400,000 a month at the complete height, right? The two top wholesalers, and I wouldn't even consider myself a top wholesaler anymore that I know of, can't crash past $400,000 in revenue a month.
So for me, that's not that attractive. It doesn't really move the needle. Uh, and I know that sounds crazy, but I'm not looking to start another business that only does four or $5 million a year, because then you've got a bunch of low seven figure businesses and you can't move on to an eight or nine-figure play.
uh, we've started things we thought were gonna make sense and they don't, but we have a couple that do and then we kind of pour money into that. So my rule of thumb is I don't take money from a business for the first two years. So even if it's positive, $2 million, we're gonna dump that back in. Yeah.
We may waste some money on marketing or just being a little bit too aggressive, but I don't pay myself so my COO doesn't do the same. So we, we don't make any money for the first two years on companies we start. We pour it into employees and systems and processes and marketing, and then if it works after two years, we start making money.
Uh, so we've been able to do that. We've started a really, really cool managed service company that's in the e-commerce space. So we handle about 600 clients that do what's called Amazon FBA, and we handle all their fulfillment and product choice and things like that. We've got 50,000 square foot in Scottsdale, Arizona that we do that out of. And that was one of the ones that hit right, but it took eight or nine really, really good ideas that I thought that didn't hit or didn't perform to the standards that we have, established within our companies, right? So it may make five grand a month, but it may take way too much time or manpower to make five grand a month, so we cut it loose. Or, you know, we had a company that was making $50,000 a month, but it was really hands on and for me to get out of it, it would cost another 10 grand a month. So it doesn't move the needle. So we move on.
Brendan: Makes sense.
David: Can you give us some examples of some of the failed businesses? We'll talk about the good stuff, the successes, but I want to talk about what didn’t go well.
Dawson: Yeah. Lessons are learned from failures. Yeah. In the last year, we started a data subscription company, right, for wholesalers. And it did really, really well. But it also took a lot of time away from our employees to manage that data and things like that. I think we were doing about a hundred thousand dollars a month in revenue at like a 40% margin. So 40 grand a month before I paid my employees, my sales guy, and all that. It dwindled down to 25 grand a month between myself and my partner and that. And it was taking, you know, 5, 10 hours a week out of our time, dealing with, you know software issues. Unhappy people, you know, they, they buy 500 numbers and they think they're supposed to have 500 wholesale deals out of it.
With that being said, we, you know, we fulfilled our last couple orders and shut it down just because it was taking up way too much of our time. We started, what else? This is another one that, oh, people always ask me to get into mentorship and stuff like that, and I almost did a discord community and decided I didn't wanna do that. Right. Uh, again, it's a time versus money. I've gotta be enslaved to people that paid me a hundred dollars a month to be a part of this Discord community where, I can put together one deal and, and make that times 12.
So you know, those two have just been kind of, didn't make much sense. Uh, as far as just income producing. I mean, we had not really had a business that didn't make any money, but it, you know, I can focus on three things, three businesses. That's, that's, that's about my bandwidth. and right now, that's just not, those are not deals that move the needle for us. And I don't think that anybody can really focus on anything more than that. unless you're like a superhuman, like Elon that has 40 businesses, but I'm not so.
Brendan: What, what are those three? Dawson, right, so it's real estate. It's the e-commerce. And then what's, what's the third thing that you're working on?
Dawson: Yeah, so we're working on a new commodities business where we're doing some oil and gas stuff, which it's a whole rabbit hole I can go down. But that, that we just hired 26 guys on, in the greater Charlotte area. So that's gonna be our main focus for the next months, six months to a year.
And then, we'll get out of that. But really, right now it's e-commerce and real estate. And those take up more than 60 hours a week.
Brendan: When it, when it comes to the business that it failed. So like you talked about a couple different metrics, but I'm curious if you have like a line that you draw on the scene where like, if it doesn't hit this, I'm out and I'm gonna fail fast and then get it out of the way. Is it like, a dollars per hour, is it a, company, you know, total value by a certain date in the future? What do you look at there to be able to like fail fast and move on to your winners?
Dawson: Uh, yeah. So I look for six months to a year of me being in it full-time. By full-time, I mean 40 hours a week. hopefully shorter than that, right? For a winner. but I'll do that work. Uh, the real estate's beautiful cause I put maybe five hours a week in it. So I have plenty of time and I work seven days a week, except whenever my girlfriend yells at me, but you know, it needs to be able to move the needle and move the needle from me. I wanna be completely out of it.
Meaning, like, I sit down with my current COO and my, if there are partners or equity holders or revenue share guys in my current businesses, we sit down once a month for a monthly meeting. That's a two hour meeting. I wanna be able to know enough and not have to be involved past that and still net a hundred thousand dollars a month. So if it can't do that in a year, cut it.
Brendan: Makes sense. the next question I'll ask is, someone doesn't get into all these different business ventures. You, you've name dropped, or not name dropped, but position dropped a few different business partners that you have. You don't do that without being able to build networks and relationships very effectively.
I think theres a ton of podcasts. There's a ton of literatures. Uh, there's a ton of information in general on how to build relationships. There's no single correct way. What I'm curious is like, what works for you? Cuz you've found yourself in all these different positions to earn money with high-value partners.
How do you do that, and what's the successes and the failures that you've learned on that?
Dawson: Yeah, so I am completely against partnerships on paper and in businesses. So for me I'm just against that. I don't think that people get into partnerships cause they need someone, they get into partnerships cause they're scared to take a leap of faith on their own. Nine times outta 10, I do some high level consulting like to four or five people a year. These people pay me north of six figures to, to do phone calls weekly. And that's the only type of mentorship I do. and out of those five or six people, two or three of them have brought on a partner when they initially started out. They did it because they were scared they wanted someone to fail with.
It's never, you don't ever want someone to succeed with because you want all the money, but you want someone to be there if you fail. Right? If you fail, you want someone to be like, oh, we, we tried our best 99%, but all three of those people regret their partnership. They downloaded some LLC formation BS online.
They have a terrible operating agreement. They can't get out of it, and one of them does all the work. The other person takes half and it's chilling, you know, so I don't have partnerships. The businesses that I own with other people are on rev share agreements, and they have to hit certain metrics for me to, for them to still be a part of it.
Uh, do they have a percentage of net profit? Yes, but it's all rev share agreements, so I don't think you need it unless you can clearly identify, what someone brings. Right. Nine times outta 10, it's a startup. You guys both have the same experience level. You're not bringing something to the table. It makes no sense.
Right. for us, like with our commodities company, there's someone that brings a heavily discount in the oil industry, right? We can get barrels of oil for pennies compared to what another company can. That's a value that I don't have. I don't have that connection. I don't have the ability. So they, they are on a web share with me, and as long as they can continue to have industry leading prices, they continue to make money off of what we're doing.
That's the only way it makes sense for me. I think that, you know, I started my wholesale company with a partner. He's a great guy, really good dude. but what I found was, you know, when I wanted to not pay myself for the month and put more money into bandit signs or marketing or cold callers, he wanted to take a check.
And we were able to dissolve that very early on. And now I look back and what I've built, I never would've been able to build what I've built without taking risk. And, you know, not having any money in my bank account some months, cuz I put it all out into marketing. So with that partner, I would not have been able to do.
so yeah, I think that partnerships are stupid unless there's a like inconceivable value with that other person that you can't go get on on your own.
Brendan: Sure. Yeah. And I think, you know, some people at different phases of their, their journey. I think you're right Dawson, like they probably wouldn't take action if they didn't have that partner next to them. Right? So, for some people it might be their only way to kind of wedge in or like their only way in that moment in their mindset of like, I need this other person to fail with.
but your perspective's super interesting cause I think a lot of the developers that we work with that are operating at a very high scale, they have a team, right? They have a team of employees. They don't have very many, like dual partnerships and, you know, multilayered LLC agreements, things like that for probably the exact reason you mentioned.
so I think that's, that's super interesting. Let's talk about like no rev share agreements, no business stakes. Like how are you building relationships with, like, Fund That Flip and like other people that are in your neighborhood? Like how, how did, how does that come about?
Dawson: Uh, I mean, again, like, so, so we look at value provided, right? So when I started I needed a lender that was gonna be able to fund quickly and give me the money that I wanted it, the rates that I wanted. and that's exactly how we'd done it. So, I, again, I believe in doing business with people. I just don't necessarily think everybody has to have a stake in each other's companies, right?
I'm sure I've done several million dollars with you guys in the last few months, and I don't ask for Fund That Flip to cut me a check out of that because I'm providing value to you and you're providing value to me. I mean, now if you guys wanna sponsor a race car, you know, we can talk about that. But,
uh, you know,, that's not how businesses are or are formed. so yeah, we, we, I don't try to do that. I don't really, I have tons of agreements with people that say, Hey, like, this is what I'm bringing to the table. You bring this to the table and this is how we'll split any profit that comes in.
But that doesn't mean that we need to set up another company. Everybody wants to go set up an LLC for fun.
Thank you for listening to this episode of Real Estate Investing Unscripted. For more resources or to fund your next project, head on over to FundThatFlip.com.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed are the speaker’s own and do not represent the views, thoughts, and opinions of the Fund That Flip. The material and information presented here is for general information purposes only. The "Fund That Flip" name and all forms and abbreviations are the property of its owner and its use does not imply endorsement of or opposition to any specific organization, product, or service.
Subscribe to Real Estate Investing Unscripted on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or Spotify.
Ready to get funded? Apply in under two minutes and get instant feedback on your application: