How to Win at Real Estate Investing with Ralph DiBugnara

February 8, 2022
James Whittaker

Check out this episode on the Win the Day Podcast

Adversity causes some people to break; others to break records.”

William Arthur Ward

Ralph DiBugnara is one of the most recognized property experts in the world. After struggling financially in his younger days, Ralph committed to ending generational poverty not just for his family but for millions of others around the world.

Since then, he has closed more than $40 billion in loans, amassed a personal portfolio of more than $15 million, and been featured in Forbes, MSNBC, and Yahoo Finance.

He’s the President of Home Qualified, a digital resource for buyers and sellers, and Vice President at Cardinal Financial, a nationally recognized mortgage loan company.

In addition, the Brooklyn native is host of The Disruptors Network where he discusses entrepreneurship and real estate. The show is available everywhere, including Roku, Amazon, and Direct TV. 

Recently, Ralph launched a mentoring program for inner-city young adults called The Generation Disruptor Scholarship Program, developed to educate students on how to get into the real estate industry, break generational curses, and cultivate leaders in their communities.

Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Ralph DiBugnara does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on his bucket list, and a whole lot more?

In this episode, we talk about:

  • How to succeed in real estate investing
  • The biggest financial mistakes people make
  • How to leverage social media to build your business, and
  • What you can do to cultivate a mindset for massive success.

Before we begin, the right bit of inspiration can completely change the trajectory of someone’s life, so if there’s a friend or loved one who needs to hear this episode or could use some help to Win the Day, share it with them right now.

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Ralph DiBugnara!

James Whittaker:
Ralph, great to see you! Thanks for coming on the Win the Day show.

Ralph DiBugnara:
Thanks for having me, James! I'm jealous of your California weather, but happy to be here anyway. 

To kick things off, is there a particular memory or story from when you were younger that stands out and is still so vivid for you today?

I grew up in Brooklyn, New York. My life was really, really New York. My grandparents came from Italy. My parents were second-generation here. And New York City is very neighborhood-centric, right. My neighborhood was all Italians. 

If I have memories from childhood that really shaped me, it was just ... I lived at the schoolyard which was four blocks from my house. I think I probably have 100 moments from there that I remember, but it was just a very authentic New York life. 

My son is eight years old. He was coming home from his basketball game, and I try to go to every basketball game and every basketball practice. And I said to him, after a particularly lazy day where he didn’t put in much effort, I said, "Buddy, do you know who used to come to all my games and my practices when I was a kid?" And he's like "Who?" I was like, "Nobody." I was like "They were working. I had to take myself to practice.”

As long as he tries, I’m good. 

Your life now is so much about contribution. You've been able to help so many people around the world. What was that moment when you became a participant in life and a changemaker, rather than being a spectator?

I think around 2016. I was finding success again in mortgages, and mortgages has been a little bit of a rollercoaster for me. And that's mostly what my life is.

I run a mortgage company and that's mostly what my job has been. I'm all around real estate, but that was always the main gig, right.

In 2008, I went through the crash, and I came back. And in 2015, 2016, I was back to really a pretty large group of people underneath me. A very, very healthy business and stability. 

And 2008 - 2010, when the market crashed, I said to myself "I just want to be comfortable again." I lost everything so I was like I just want to get back to being comfortable again. If I get back to being comfortable again then everything will be great.

Then I got back to being comfortable and I was so unhappy.

Then I got back to being comfortable and I was so unhappy. I was just looking around and I was like this isn't it. This isn't what I want. So I think that was a real tipping point where I feel like I had to push myself to grow at that point and push myself to be comfortable again.

Now I realize at this point that being comfortable is probably the worst place I could be ever, right! I have to be uncomfortable. So I had to push myself out of being comfortable and I that's when I really started to get out there on social media, try to really get out in the community, and start doing stuff to build my community to bring more people to me.

Around that time, just realizing that I was so unhappy in being comfortable and stagnant, that I really pushed myself to move.

We got a ton of things to unpack there. I'm really excited to talk about the business and how you've used social media to be able to do that. 

The period 2007 – 2010 was a crazy time for the world, with the subprime mortgage crisis. In Australia, we called it the global financial crisis. I was in the financial planning industry at the time, and the volatility and uncertainty of that was absolutely crazy.

You were working on Wall Street then. Can you take us into perhaps the most memorable day during that time?

So my office was on Maiden Lane which is a block over from Wall Street which is Federal Reserve Plaza. What's funny about that is everything went on in the Federal Reserve at that point. That's where all the meetings were happening, this is where everything was happening. I was in Federal Reserve Plaza and my apartment was a half a block away. 

It was great. It was a great setup at the time, right. I lived in this beautiful apartment overlooking the East River. And I came out of my apartment and I was walking up the block to go to my office. I worked at Deutsche Bank at the time, which was a European bank but they had just acquired my company probably two years earlier.

As I was walking, I got an email on my phone that said we were eliminating all of these mortgage products. I looked at it and I was like well, this is about 95% of the business I'm doing right now, that doesn't make any sense. This has got to be a mistake. Let me get up to the office.

Sure enough, I got up to the office and it wasn't a mistake. They were essentially pulling out of mortgages completely. And I never forget the guy who I was working under at the time who was one of the senior vice presidents at the company, I walked into the office and his door was closed. And I was like, “This is a bad sign.”

That was really the beginning of the end for me. And I walked back down to my apartment and I went upstairs and I looked and everything was in freefall. Either that day or the next day, the Lehman Brothers and Bear Sterns stuff started happening.

And then for the next I would say year and a half it was just a complete mayhem. But that was a very memorable moment for me to this day. 

A lot of the work that you are doing now is in real estate.

What is the problem that you wanted to solve with the work that you do today, and why did it fall on your shoulders to do it?

When we went through the pandemic, and then all the stuff with George Floyd started a little while later… And I live in New York. I live right outside of New York City. And the city was getting hit particularly hard between rioting, and looting, protesting and all that stuff. And I felt helpless.

I was sitting around and I was like there's got to be something I can do. I don't watch the news but I was getting up every single day to watch the news to see what happened overnight in the city and it was just a nightmare. 

So a couple days later I actually got in my car and I drove into one of the borrows. I drove to the Bronx one day and I drove to Manhattan another day, and with a broom, a garbage bag, and I started helping people clean up thinking that would make me feel better, and then I would leave and feel the same way. What did I really do? What did I really accomplish?

And I didn't think that me protesting or marching was going to be the best use of my time. I just didn't. I was like there's got to be a better use of me. I don't know how it came about, but I decided to start a scholarship program because I thought that the best thing that I could do was give people access to the things that I had access to that they didn't have access to. 

I decided to start a scholarship program because I thought that the best thing that I could do was give people access to the things that I had access to that they didn't have access to. 

So if I could give them access to my world, something they have nothing to do with, if they have the want or need then I think that I could help some people. We started going to the community colleges, to the youth centers, and I really wanted to get a group of people, younger people 25 or under, 23 or under who maybe have been in a trying situation but they had the want and the need to learn the financial business and get licensed in either real estate or mortgage or some like that.

That's what we did. And I just started it on a whim. Our first class had four people in it and I gave them a salary for three months. The idea at the end of the 90 days was that they were either going to be licensed and or they were going to matriculate into another position. 

It was not what I expected and it was crazy. But all four of them ended up with jobs within my company so that was great. And three of them are still with me and it's two years later. That was the beginning of it.

When I look at myself, in general, all the stuff I do, there's nothing necessarily special about me. I just work really, really hard and I care. I'm very passionate and I work really hard. 

So I'm trying to show people that you don't have to be the smartest guy in the room. I'm trying to impact change through the stuff that I have access to.

And what I love about your work is that you’re not giving people a fish, you’re teaching them how to fish so they can be responsible for their own future.

Absolutely. And that's what's most important. It's hard for me to comment on this sometimes but, because as a white male, there's almost a stigma attached at this point. It's hard for me to comment anything because I don't know if I'm really seeing the true picture that everybody else is seeing. 

But at the same time, I truly believe in this country that you can get over every obstacle and you can get to heights that you never thought you could just by hard work. Sure, some people's obstacles are higher than others, but I also feel like if you give somebody access and you teach them how to do it, that they can be as or more successful than me, as long as they're willing to be.

That generational poverty is a big part of your mission. For those who don't know about generational poverty, what is it specifically and what can those who are in that cycle do to be able to get out of it to change that story and that cycle for them and their family once and for all?

Your surroundings sometimes put limitations on you — whether it's family members, your neighborhood, or maybe even where you work. If you set those limitations, then you just continue to stay where you are always. You continue to get pulled back in. It's like that crab in the barrel syndrome. You keep getting pulled back. 

And I feel it sometimes. People talk about imposter syndrome and stuff like that, but I feel like that sometimes. I feel what is almost guilt. You feel guilt for leaving that stuff behind, but I want to better myself and I think other people should want to also.

Your surroundings sometimes put limitations on you — whether it's family members, your neighborhood, or maybe even where you work.

What people think of us isn't necessarily who we are. And as long as we realize that, then there is no limitation.

But that's how we break the cycle of generational poverty. We just show people that there is more than people and their surroundings are telling them.

I’ve always struggled with those who tell others that they have no hope, that because they were born into a certain situation that there is nothing they can do to improve their life.

You and I have interviewed hundreds and hundreds of people who have risen from the most harrowing moments. The idea that a better life awaits when you start to be accountable, think about what you want from your one extraordinary life, and find mentors (even in books) to help you move forward.

There must be something you can do, a tiny step forward to build a bit of momentum.

You're 100% right. Somebody told me a story recently that they had written a book and they had called their sister to read through it. And her sister had said to her, "Are you crazy? This is a copy of somebody else's book." And if she accepted that, she would never have put the book out, she would've never done anything. And, by the way, the book turned out to be amazing!

But I've had similar incidents in my life where people close to me were like, "What are you doing? This doesn't make sense." And if I would've just accepted that as fact ...

It happened to me as recently as this weekend, when somebody said, "Why are you doing this, this, and this?" 

The biggest thing I could say about me and what I want everybody else to be is just be comfortable with yourself. I'm very, very comfortable with who I am. Whoever that is, whatever my flaws are, I'm just very comfortable with who I am. And if you can get comfortable with yourself then you can counteract all that stuff.

Win the Day family, the most important opinion is how you feel about yourself! You've heard it on this show many, many times. Ralph has echoed it here. It's so true.

What books contributed most to the mindset you have today? Or were there other resources that were instrumental in your development?

I've become a huge reader. So now I read daily, it's part of my daily routine. I exercise in the mornings and I listen to audiobooks while I exercise and I task stack.

And to be totally honest with you, a book that you are heavily involved in was a big part of my life, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Like it was for a lot of other people, that was a big influence on my life to change my mindset. I also like a lot of Malcolm Gladwell books.

But that's how we break the cycle of generational poverty. We just show people that there is more than people and their surroundings are telling them.

And I come from a very hard-working family, but they weren't entrepreneurial. I really thought that coming into life was, you've got a job with a company, you work there for 30 years, you got your pension, you retire, and that's how you made it. 

That could be a daunting task and it set me up the wrong way because it wasn't my mentality, I was adapting to somebody else's mentality. But books like that really, really impacted me a lot.

Letting people know that there's an alternative path out there, that you don't need to get top grades in high school, then top grades in university, and then stay at the same job for 20 or 30 years. I feel like today having a job for three years is probably considered long-term in many professions!

We've gone to the other side of the extreme now. There was an article in the Wall Street Journal recently where they were talking about how this generation they've changed the narrative; they want to work less hours, and they want to work less time, and what you said, right, they're not staying at the same job. 

I look at that and I think that there's two sides to that story as well because I think the newer generations haven't been through any recession yet either. We've been in an up economy for a long time. So I'm curious to see how the narrative changes a little bit as we go, and if it’s a combination of old and new, or if it just changes completely.

It will be interesting to watch that's for sure. 

You mentioned some of the people that you've worked with. Out of all of those, is there one particular transformation that stands out to you or that you're most proud of?

That's a good question. I think there's a bunch and that's where I feel blessed. I have 20 employees now, and I have about 215 employees between me and my partner. But I have about 20 employees that have been with me for 15 years plus. 

They all have good stories, but I think if I can say anything, that having those people with me still is such a source of pride for me. Somebody asked me yesterday about one of my managers. She's like, "I was on the phone with him, he's a really great sales guy." I'm like, "He's worked with me since I was six months in the business."

That's why we're still together because he's a good person, he's grown a lot, and he echoes a lot of the things that I preach. So if I could say anything, it's having that small group of people that are still with me after all this time.

Let’s switch gears now and talk about real estate investing. My investment background is in financial planning so I’m much more comfortable with shares and the share market. I don't really have a great deal of experience in real estate investing, but I've seen how popular real estate investing has become.

At time of recording, house prices have gone absolutely berserk, interest rates are at record lows, the stock market at record highs. Give me your take on what you're seeing right now? And perhaps share some of the opportunities that you're seeing for those who might have cash on the sidelines if there are any opportunities with everything so high?

I think that money is still very, very cheap. So a $500,000 property now at 3% will still be cheaper for you monthly than a $700,000 at 4% maybe three years from now. You have to examine the possibilities now even though prices are high because money is so cheap. It's always better to buy when money is cheap rather than when prices are low – and I've been through it all.

But the thing I could say about real estate, in general, this is where I'm seizing opportunities right now and what I've been hot on. I'm doing a lot of short-term rental stuff, so Airbnb, VRBO, etc.  The strategies have changed over the last 10 years have been different trends, but people were flipping homes for a long-term. They were buying, and fixing them, and selling for a profit.

In my opinion, unless you're in an area that I don't know about, the margins are way too thin to do that at this point. If you want to grind out of a living and you make a few thousand here and a few thousand here, then you can 100% still do it, but I think that the margins are too small on flipping so it's not something I'm looking at.

It's always better to buy when money is cheap rather than when prices are low.

I like real estate long-term always. I could tell you about short-term rentals, so stuff through Airbnb, and VRBO, and stuff like that and I'll get a little bit further into that. I'm making probably three times as much monthly income on that as I would make on something that I would consider a long-term rental. So a home that I'm renting, or a multi-family home I'm renting.

I think the reasoning for that is a couple things. I think that the culture has shifted. The pandemic shifted the culture. And Airbnb was popular before that but it's more popular now because people just want to getaway. They can work from home, they can work from anywhere, they want to have experiences, and they want to use people's homes and have space to do it so culture has shifted.

Along with the culture-shifting, everybody jumped on the bandwagon. So it's not just Airbnb and VRBO, it's Expedia, it's, it's other sites like Peerspace where you can rent your house for photoshoots. There's sites where you can rent your swimming pool in your backyard for parties for $100 an hour. I mean, everything you can think of you can rent your house for.

I like a model that is not one way. So long-term rentals are, I have to get you to sign a lease. You sign a year lease, you stay in the house or the apartment, whatever it is. For short-term rentals, I have five or six different funnels that I can pull through to pull income in on a property. So it's more work. It's 100% more work and people need to understand that it's like managing a hotel, but at the same time, it's a lot more income.

And that's why I really gravitated to it over the last three years. All of my buying over that I would say the last 18 months has been really stuff that mostly meant for short-term rentals.

Are you concerned about the legislative risk of things like Airbnb? I know there's been some regions where all of a sudden the government has come in and said, "Look, a minimum of 30 days," and I think even longer in some places.

That's a great question. I want to buy in places that have regulations in place already. A lot of cities don't have regulation in place, but I don't view that as being positive because I'm afraid of the unknown. I want to go someplace where there has been a lot of talk about regulation.

But even in that place, you're not always safe because ... I'll use Nashville for an example. Nashville's probably one of the biggest short-term rental markets in the country, if not the biggest. They're changing the laws there now because it's gotten overwhelming. So even in those areas, you have to really be careful.

The best advice I can give somebody is that you have to have a great exit strategy — whether it's booming or not. The mistake I made in 07, 08, 09 where I had a lot of properties but the strategy went completely bust, was because I had no exit strategy.

When my strategy went bust, I had no way to keep adding properties. So now I'm trying to buy properties where the short-term rental income is good, but if it goes away completely it's still a good investment. I can still get long-term rental that's going to keep me as a positive cash flow and / or the properties I can sell for a profit. You just have to be smart about where you're buying and have an exit always.

It's a really great point. So the idea of that, for those who don't know, is to use the historically low-interest rates to be able to borrow enough money to get a property that's already generating very consistent income in an area that should do pretty well. And what you're accruing from people who stay there goes to pay off your mortgage so you get the income above what's being paid for your mortgage as well as growth and the property. Is that correct?

That's 100% correct.

For people who want to learn more about real estate investing or just want to succeed in real estate investing and they haven't got that background, what are the steps that they should go through to be able to do that?

[Note: Rules vary around the world and this information is general in nature. Seek professional advice for your unique circumstances.]

I think first, find out what you do to qualify as a homeowner, so this could be any mortgage bank. Everybody loves real estate, but the first thing everybody does is they go look on Zillow, and they call a realtor, and they go look for a house. They don't even know how much they're approved for! So the first part is to try to go through the preapproval process, which is a short process. It takes a couple of hours to get someone to look at your documents and get you preapproved, and tell you exactly how much you qualify for.

With that, you should start researching. If I was to tell somebody who had no homes and they wanted to start today, and they wanted to buy three homes over the next two years, it would be a very simple process. I would tell somebody to start with an FHA loan most of the time and depending on the situation because it allows you to get into a home with as little as 3.5% down at a very, very competitive industry. The loans are really meant for first-time home buyers. Those properties, you are required to live in them for at least 12 months before you're able to rent them.

The best advice I can give somebody is that you have to have a great exit strategy — whether it's booming or not.

I would take that money, and I would rent the property after 12 months. In best-case scenario, I would buy a multi-family home if I could because you could still buy a multifamily home. So, for your audience, that's anything between two and four units. If your city has that, I would go that way first and I would take my profits from my rent.

At the end of the 12 months, then you could use 5% down to buy another home. I would take my profits, use that for my 5%, I would buy another home, I would live in that 12 months and repeat the cycle. And you can really build a portfolio up to about six homes that way. That same exact process up to about six homes. And that's how I would start.

My first property ever was a multi-family home and I was able to collect enough rent where I lived for free. And I was very young at the time. That's 100% where I would start because it's not going to be a strain on your finances then and you can use it to build the foundation to go to the next step.

What about those who are concerned about debt if the loan-to-value ratio is too high?

This is very, very important. When buying a house, there are two things you should never do: first, don't leave yourself cash-poor and, second, look at your actual finances to see what you can afford monthly. I think that's the most important thing.

Do an audit of your finances, because here's the thing I will tell you about mortgages. When you're approved for a mortgage, the mortgage company does not look at your cell phone bill, at your car insurance bill, they don't look at your health insurance, your monthly spending at restaurants. None of that comes into play.

They're only looking at your monthly debt that's on your credit report, which is really only your revolving debt on your credit cards or your cars or your student loans, so it's really not a full picture of your finances.

Would I consider them good investments? No, but they weren't good buys.

And on top for that, they're letting you qualify usually up to 45 - 50% of your gross income. Your gross income isn't your actual income. Your net income is what you're taking home. So it's not an accurate portrayal of what your finances are.

So you really need to be honest with yourself in saying, "Hey, I'm making $10,000 a month. I believe I can afford $3,000 a month in a mortgage based off of my own budgeting," because your monthly payment is what you're stuck with every single month, not your interest rate, not your down payment, not the equity in your home. It's that bill that comes every single month.

So it's very, very important that you look at, and are comfortable with, your payment more than anything. And as long as you are comfortable with your payment long-term, I think you will always make money on real estate if you're able to withstand some of the waves.

Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Ralph DiBugnara does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on his bucket list, and a whole lot more?

What do you like more about real estate over something like shares?

I can outrun a lot of my mistakes, right. So if I make a mistake on a stock or crypto or an NFT or whatever it is at this point, I may feel the burden of that really, really quickly. To the point where it eats up all my liquidity and it doesn't make a lot of sense to me financially.

In 2007, I had a couple of properties in Florida still, which was one of the hardest-hit states by the financial crisis. They were literally worth about 30 cents on the dollar when the end of the crisis just hit. And I couldn't sell them and I didn't want to. I held up licensing so I couldn't just walk away from them because I had a financial responsibility to keep my licensing, so I had to figure out a way to get around it.

But the truth of the matter is that I still own two of them. And they're worth more than I bought them for now. So 13 years later they're worth more than I bought them for. Would I consider them good investments? No, but they weren't good buys. But I've been able to outrun my mistake with longevity.

So I think that in real estate it's a safe enough bet where if you make some mistakes, and I don't want you to make any mistakes, but if you make some mistakes it's not going to be damning for the rest of your life. As long as you can understand the payment, you can outrun a lot of your mistakes in real estate, and that's what I like about it.

Taking the time to buy well, rather than the very first property you see.

My wife and I bought a family home just over two years ago now. On our first day looking, I fell in love with literally the very first house we saw. I was like, "Oh my God, we have to get to this house!" And I could see how people would be in that exact same situation.

But you need to take your time, do research on the market, speak with experts, and get a feel for what a good value buy is. As you said, if you buy well to begin with, you can get much better growth over time.

It's super important to do the research upfront. A lot of people fall in love with homes that aren't theirs, and then they overbid. That's a level one mistake with buying a house. You're like, "This is it!" You're in love with something that's not yours.

And if I could tell anybody why I've been successful over the last 10 years, it's that I'm always willing to walk away. I go in with a price that I'm willing to pay. You have to have a definitive plan, you have to have a definitive budget, and you have to stick to it no matter what — and you can't give yourself any leeway there.

Removing the emotion out of that seems like a big piece. You've got your numbers, you've got your plan. Stick to the plan rather than falling in love with something that's not yours and getting in big trouble.

It's so true. It's 100% true.

Social media has been a big amplifier for you with the way you've been able to build your business, and your profile, and everything else, which has been so great to watch.

What specifically did you do with social media that helped you move the needle so much in your business and in your life?

At 17, I started putting myself out there a little bit more. I was leading a group of people at a company but I didn't really have any leverage. And I don't like to use the word leverage but I didn't have anything that was really making me unique, right. I didn't have a value proposition for them, except that I was reliable, I knew what I was doing, but besides that, they were really out there in the world doing their thing as salespeople and I didn't have anything. So I started to look at it. I was like, I have to put myself out front.

One, to give myself security. I realized that I'm bringing something different value-wise to the general public and to the people around me. And secondly, if I up my profile on my brand I can help the people around me more and then I bring more value to them. So through social media, I really started making people familiar with my voice.

This is why I appreciate you, and your page, and your podcasts, and everything else, is that a lot of the people you see out there just aren't authentic to what they're saying. They're portraying one type of image but there isn't a lot of substance behind that.

A big problem I have with social media is the people who have real substance aren't speaking.

A big problem I have with social media is the people who have real substance aren't speaking. So I wanted to be that person that was both and I wanted to be authentic. And I felt like if I was authentic it was going to take longer, but eventually, it would pull people into me as long as I worked hard at it.

My branding has brought me so many opportunities. And the company that my group is placed with now on the mortgage side, we're going to do about two billion dollars this year. When it came time to negotiate my deal with them, the parent company, I had a lot more leverage going in because I had a bigger social media presence than they had as a company.

If I can give you any testimonial that was my testimonial. I was a voice in my business more than they as a company were a voice in the business. So when I went to negotiate my deal, it gave me a lot of leeway to get things I wanted that I probably wouldn't have gotten otherwise.

If you can do that and then stay consistent with your messaging, then you can move mountains over time.

It's so true. It's a really, really good point. This weekend, I was out in San Diego for the Breeders' Cup and I sat next to someone, and she was a commodities trader in the '90s and the early 2000s. She was one of the only women that were doing it at a high level. And she worked for Warren Buffett for 11 years trading silver for him. As soon as she said it to me I was like, I have two million questions for you! I was like I have so many questions for you.

But what I said to her is, "You're the type of person who needs to talk. Why aren't you talking? Why haven't you written a book? Why aren't you on social media? You do nothing." And I explained to her that I don't want to put it like it's a responsibility but it almost is a responsibility. You have something to really share with people that's going to help them.

Not doing it is not really helping anybody. And you're the type of person that everybody wants to hear from. I just figure if you're out there in the world and you have a lot of substance, you almost have a responsibility to do more of this.

So true. The Disruptors Network, you're doing big things at a great level now. Talk to us about the Disruptors Network and what people can do to go and find more information about that?

So, Disruptors Network originally started as a weekly webinar I was doing to help people through the pandemic. It was originally Real Estate Disrupter, which was all these huge events I used to throw, and then COVID came and we couldn't throw events anymore. And Real Estate Disruptors turned into Disruptors Network.

I was having these weekly webinars to tell people what I knew about the past that was relevant to today's market. What was going on in the present? What I thought was going to happen in the future. And I would bring in high-level people to talk to. It wasn't just me. I would bring in high-level people to talk. So I was helping educate people. That's what the Disruptors Network really was built around. How do we educate people around this in our community? And in turn, we'll all build business together. And that's what I really wanted from Disruptors Network.

Last February we launched the first season of our TV show, and it was eight episodes highlighting entrepreneurs who were not only having success but they were showing other people how they had success and bringing other people with them. And that was on all the streaming networks. It was on Amazon Prime, and Roku, and YouTube.

This year, it's season two we're filming now, which is going to be six episodes. It's going to be on the same platform but it's also going to be on Direct TV on Thursday nights starting hopefully by February. We're just wrapping up filming now.

And that's me getting people's voices out there that I feel like need to be heard and that have a good message that's going to help other people. So it's turned into a TV show and the podcast, but now we're putting out an educational series next year that's going to be a masterclass. And the first class we're actually doing is based around short-term rentals. So I'm just trying to speak my truth and I'm doing it through Disruptors Network.

If you were dropped into a new country, you could speak the language, and all you had was a laptop and $100. What would you do to build your business again?

So I love this question because I think about this a lot lately! And it's almost a challenge I give to myself. It's like if I had nothing again and I had to start completely over almost like undercover millionaire, right, what could I do?

If it was a different country, no matter what business it was, what I've realized now is that being somebody that can generate business by providing value to somebody else. So networking, right. Going out in the world and networking to people to provide some value to them that you guys can build business together.

Because when 2008 happened, the number one mistake that I made is that I worked at my company for seven years before that happened, I didn't know anybody outside of my company.

I 100% think that I know I could do it again no matter where I was just by focusing on one thing. Coming to the conclusion like okay, this is the business I'm going to be in, I'm going to focus on this. How do I become a master of my craft in this business? And in turn, how do I go out in the world and meet people that can help me and in turn I can help them?

Because when 2008 happened, the number one mistake that I made is that I worked at my company for seven years before that happened, I didn't know anybody outside of my company. So when it crashed in the closed I was ... I started over. It was a complete start over. And I was a senior vice president at a publicly traded company at the time and it didn't matter I completely started over because I didn't know anybody.

All your eggs were in the one basket.

That was it. So now I realize that my network is my power. So if you would drop me anywhere, I would build my network within something that I chose that I felt like I could be good at. And I think through that I could be successful again.

Becoming a person of value and using the power of relationships is huge.

Also, big shout out to our mutual friend, Brandon T. Adams! You and I were both speaking at his event, Rise and Record in Florida, which is coming up again soon so go and check out Rise and Record.

On your best day, what's an affirmation that you would write on a flashcard to show yourself on your worst day?

Keep moving forward. No matter how bad the day is, no matter what's going on, just don't freeze. Put one step in front of the other, just keep moving forward. And I show up at work every single day no matter what's going on in my life and there's been some crazy things going on but I always show up. I show up at work, I show up for my family, I show up whatever I have to do.

No matter how bad I feel I always show up and I always feel better afterwards. Regress is never going to feel good and progress is always going to feel great so I think just keep moving forward.

Final question. What's one thing you do to Win the Day?

Every day I try to wake up with a positive attitude. And even if I don't have a positive attitude because I'm not a positive person every single day, just like everybody else is, then I force myself into a place of making sure the negativity doesn’t takeover my mind. Continue to be positive and something positive will happen. So pushing myself to really be positive every single day is definitely something I practice daily.

Powerful stuff. Ralph, great to see you. Thanks for sharing so much gold today and coming on the Win the Day show.

Thanks, James. I really appreciate you having me. This was great.

Use the links below to connect with Ralph.

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That’s all for this episode! Get out there and win the day.

Until next time…

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

Resources / links mentioned:

⚡ Ralph DiBugnara website.

🌎 The Disruptors Network.

📝 Ralph DiBugnara Facebook.

📷 Ralph DiBugnara Instagram.

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