For the past six years, Daniel Hayes, along with business partner Michelle Winkle, have built a fiercely independent and highly visible (and very pink!) real estate brand, Hayeswinkle. Discover how Daniel’s larrikin personality combined with Youtube has enabled them to take a unique approach to their real estate branding success.
Today, the Hayeswinkle brand has four offices, four sales teams, four rent rolls and 30 staff.
Many know ‘of’ Daniel and the Hayeswinkle brand through Daniel’s Youtube show Million Dollar Bogan, but few know his full story. I for one was intrigued. So, I contacted Daniel for an interview to find out what drives his passion for real estate, Ferrari’s and now Youtube.
Breaking the real estate marketing mould
When it comes to personal branding, you can’t accuse Daniel of being a stereotypical agent. He holds no qualms about breaking out of the mould. In fact, he thrives on it.
His fervent nature and outgoing personality have earnt him a following of loyal fans and a fair amount of naysayers. Sharing every waking moment of his day, via Youtube, has been part of his formula for the Hayeswinkle ascent up the real estate ladder.
Off the streets and into homes
Most people would never guess that for 11 years Daniel was a Social Worker – helping the homeless, mainly street kids aged between 12 to 21.
“Many of the kids I supported suffered drug addiction and alcoholism. Some were pregnant mums on methadone.
“One day I got sick of not earning very much and paying my bills by colour, i.e. the red disconnection letters first! I realised; I’m climbing the ladder in the wrong industry. I need to do something else with my life.
“I was always a very driven person. A very competitive person. And, I didn’t know it, but I was a salesperson. I just hadn’t had a sales job before.
“I wanted to work hard and be rewarded. And that’s the beautiful thing about real estate – 13 years on, I’ve achieved more goals than I ever dreamed I could.
“My full sleeve tattoo’s were just one of many reasons stacked against me becoming a successful real estate agent. But I decided to give it a shot and put in 150% effort.
From rags to real estate riches
“My dream, at the start was merely to take my kids to the Gold Coast theme parks for a family holiday. As a Social Worker, I couldn’t see that happening. But after one year in real estate, we went to Fiji!
“I listed and sold my first home within ten days of starting my real estate career, which is rare to do. I made about $3,000, and a voice in my head said: “If I can do this 2 to 3 times a month I’m going to earn $100k to $150k a year.
“Little did I know that I would do that. And that’s when I started buying stuff. My Hyundai became an Audi, my Audi a BMW, and if you follow me on Youtube you’ll have seen the Ferrari. I’ve kept the Australian economy afloat ever since!
The Principals behind the business
“Michelle and I have a great dynamic. I’m a non-selling Principal, and she’s the selling Principal. She has a team of three around her and writes about $1 million a year. She focuses on sales, and I oversee the growth of our four offices. I’m in charge of our brand profile, staff recruitment, and business growth. I am more of an administrator now. And not taking anything away from Michelle, as she is an incredible woman, but the vision of the company is probably more mine, in terms of where we want to go.
“I don’t have a formal education. I have a Year 10 education. If you check out the number plate on my new car, it says YEAR 10! And that’s not a joke, that is serious!
“I’m not book smart, I can’t spell, I can’t really read a P&L, but I guess I have an intuition for knowing how we’re tracking. I’ve got my head around the business to some degree, but I am smart enough to employ people that are smarter than me, to do jobs that I can’t.
The secret to the Hayeswinkle success
“And here’s the gold nugget; real estate agents get labelled as having big ego’s, but someone with a big ego is someone that can not and will not let go of anything. So I might drive around in my Ferrari looking like a total wanker, but the reality is that I’ve learnt to play a smaller role in my business to grow it.
“I no longer bring anything to the table in regards to revenue. Which to me says that I am running a proper business – that excites me!
“I no longer have to work at opens and auctions on a Saturday, I can now go and watch my kids play soccer.
“If I got sick tomorrow, the business can carry on without me. It’s a great freedom.
“I don’t say that to gloat. For me, being a business owner is about being a business owner, not a salesperson. They are two different things.
“A lot of people struggle to transition because they can’t let go. They say “no one will do it better than me”. And guess what, they don’t. You have to bring your business back a little bit. You have to weight it all up. What do you want to do?
“I wish I could do everything. I wish I could call every auction and close every deal and be the negotiator, but you can’t if you want to grow. You have to rely on other people. And if people are not personally vested in the business, then they just won’t care as much as you.
Becoming a Million Dollar Bogan
Anyone that follows Daniel online will have watched an episode or two of his Million Dollar Bogan Youtube channel. Some episodes may have you grimacing (the one with the missing tooth comes to mind) and others have you laughing in stitches.
What most people don’t realise is that Daniel does all the video production himself. Yep, that’s right he’s a real estate Principal and videographer!”
“10 months ago I’d never used any video editing software, and I couldn’t fly a drone. I can now, and I also have 17,250 Youtube subscribers,” shares Daniel.
“Making videos has become a real passion of mine. It takes me 4 to 8 hours to edit every Million Dollar Bogan episode. I try to release one to two episodes a week, and in my first year I created 182 vlogs. It’s been a big commitment!
“Some videos have been great fun to make. There’s one where I use my pedometer to track 100,000 steps walked in a day. I nearly went unconscious as a result! But I was adamant to see what would happen at 100,000 clicks. Would there be fireworks or something cool that happened on my gadget….. nope, nothing. Disappointing!
“Yes, I’ve done lots of crazy stuff in my video’s, but I’m showcasing who I am, in an authentic way. Real estate, in my view, is not about looking polished and perfect, it’s about connecting with people and genuinely caring about helping them.
“Million Dollar Bogan came about after a TV network shortlisted me for an Australian reality TV show, but unfortunately that show didn’t come to fruition.
“Considering how my office and even Michelle can be a little bit crazy, like me, at times, I decided to capture some of our everyday nonsense on film, in the hope that I could grow my own Youtube channel. I wanted to showcase what happens behind the scenes in real estate. All that raw emotion that we as agent’s face daily.
The ugly side of real estate
“Selling homes requires juggling personalities. You’ve got to read the play and care about people. I think this is where my social work background came in useful.
“On Youtube, I show the ugly side of real estate. There’s no faking. It’s all real.”
“Million Dollar Bogan is about having fun, and yes it’s my creative outlet, but it’s also about winning a level of business, which I have.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s exhausting producing the videos, and you have to be completely committed. The secret to Youtube clips, I’ve found, is to keep them to between 6 to 8 minutes long.
“I’m still learning the craft and building my subscriber base. I want to know what it’s like to have 100,000 Youtube subscribers, and then 1 million subscribers? What could I do with that audience? That’s where I think I am ahead in the real estate branding game.
You can’t be a people pleaser
“I don’t care about all the other real estate people that judge my Million Dollar Bogan series. Everyone is talking about showing authenticity, but in reality they don’t.
“People say don’t swear. Well, I do, and many people do. Geelong is a working-class town where the average income is $50,000. Some vendors appreciate my frank, outspoken candidness and say I’m down to earth.
“What I have learnt in business, is if you want to try and be everything to everyone you’re just going to be average. You’ve got to draw a line in the sand and say this is who I am and this is my demographic.
“Youtube for me is a new challenge. And I love a challenge!”
“I like to think really big. I like to think why not! Unfortunately, most people listen to the ‘itty bitty shitty committee’, i.e. the six inches in your head that says you can’t.
“I’ve learnt that when someone says you can’t be a real estate agent. You can.
“That, if you are going to be a real estate salesperson, you can’t be a business owner. Well, you know what, you can!
“That a real estate business owner will never be wealthy enough to own a Ferrari. Well, you can.
“Can you be a Youtuber? I don’t know if you can, but I’m still going to try!”