Dave Seymour, A&E's Flipping Boston & Freedom Venture Investments

Video Should Be a Key Strategy for Your Real Estate Business



...No matter how many investors you have or how many deals you've done before.

Dave Seymour

In a first for the Real Estate Crowdfunding Show, today I welcome a veritable reality show star, Dave Seymour, the former lead on A&E's Flipping Boston. Dave is now the Fund Manager at Freedom Venture Investments and what you are going to hear from Dave, is the comparison between television and online communications.

As powerful as it is, television has the distinct limitation that you can't grab anybody's email address. You can look at Nielsen ratings and other metrics if you’re willing to gamble on their accuracy to get a sense of how many people are watching, but you don't know who they are individually. So, how the heck do you follow up with them? To me, that process seems entirely counter to the strategies we practice in digital marketing. In this podcast, you'll learn from Dave about these and other challenges as well as how he is leveraging his stardom to build a real estate investment company.

What You're Going to Learn

  • How the Internet Killed TV and Other Technological Changes
  • How to be Impactful on Video
  • How You Can Produce Video without the Hollywood Style Equipment
  • Why You Should Tell a Story and Be Authentic When Creating Video
  • A Few Video Production Tips and Tricks from a Reality Show Pro
  • How to Create a Void So People Want Your Help to Fix the Problem
  • Why Looking Your Best on Video is Easier than You Think
  • How a Reality Show Star Transitions to Real Estate Investor
  • How to Leverage Stardom to Build a Real Estate Investment Company
  • The Benefits of Mentorship in Your Business
  • And much more!

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Show Highlights



Learn the exact system best of class sponsors use to raise money online.

Technology Changes and How Internet Killed TV

ADAM GOWER: Dave Seymour, thank you so much for joining me. It's a real pleasure.


DAVE SEYMOUR: No, my pleasure buddy. Thank you.


ADAM GOWER: First of all, star, as you are, of A&E's Flipping Boston, a TV star. Not had one of them on the show before. So, my first question is as follows, and we'll talk about Freedom Venture a little bit later. But, video killed the radio. That's what they say.




ADAM GOWER: Has internet killed TV? That's my question to you.


DAVE SEYMOUR: Yeah, that's a great question. And you know what? If you asked my 25-year old son, he'd say, yes. You ask an old, you know, an old guy like me in his early 50's, I'd say no, right? It's interesting. That's a great question, Adam. My son, 25, computer major out of Wentworth in Boston. Now he's a programmer. He's that ultimate millennial, you know what I mean. I make fun of him because he's like, the big bushy beard, you know, he's a Bernie Sanders covert, right? And I make a lot of fun of him. But, the kid has never had, never had cable. He's not lived in that world. And if we look at what's going on now with streaming services, etc. etc. Like I like to watch the Premier League as I'm sure you do, right, where Englishmen are hurt so I want to see what's going on in the football leagues. So now, I get my football in a streaming online video with Peacock, right? I don't even care about what's on the TV anymore.




DAVE SEYMOUR: So it's interesting to see, you know, how these things transition, right? You're either, it's kind of like, watch this one. A guy said to me one time, he said, you know, you either get on board with technology or you get run over with technology, right? You either understand the curve or you don't. And he tells the story of Blockbuster Video when they were approached by Netflix. You know that story right?


ADAM GOWER: No, go ahead. I remember Blockbuster though.


DAVE SEYMOUR: Blockbuster Video. Yeah. They were the big dog in the fight. They were on every strip mall.


ADAM GOWER: Every corner. That's right.


DAVE SEYMOUR: Every corner. Just like some other services out there. But, you know, Netflix approached them and they said, you know, we're in the same kind of genre. You know, we should partner up. What do you think? And Blockbuster Video went, oh no, we're Blockbuster Video, you little chihuahua whippersnapper. Be Gone, Go away. You don't know who I am, but we know where they are now, don't we?


How to be Impactful on Video

ADAM GOWER: Let's talk about video, because the one thing that really does transition from television, from, you know, video killing the radio show. From television to the internet, is clearly video. And, one of the things that we talk about with our private clients and with, you know, people that buy the courses that we offer, is to the extent possible, get on video. And, I'll tell you something, actually, Dave that, I had a podcast. Obviously, we're recording a podcast but when I started it, it was only audio.




ADAM GOWER: And I was really uncomfortable when I started. I didn't like it. In fact, I started interviewing professors to start with because I knew I could ask them one question and they'd talk for an hour and then I could say thank you and I didn't actually have to interact with them at all. And I have actually discovered my own voice and my own person, my own authenticity being on video because I can see you. I enjoy talking to you, I enjoy the interaction.




ADAM GOWER: Whereas on a phone call, a recorded phone call, I get all nervous. I'm not comfortable with it. But, I am unusual. Most people aren't comfortable on video. So, tell me something about the journey and from, never being on video and becoming impactful, let's say, on video.


DAVE SEYMOUR: Wow, that's a great question. Look, here's here's my take on it. You know, to be authentic and to be present takes a lot of personal development. I'm going to be very direct, okay? To be able to stand, you know, it's almost that imagery of being naked in front of people. Am I goofy? Am I fat? Am I thin? Am I too old? Am I too young? Am I too black? Am I too white? Am I too smart? Am I too dumb? Am I too rich? Am I too poor? We listen to an internal dialog that's been generationally programed, all the way back to the first girlfriend. I'll never forget her. She said I had a pizza face. Why would she want to go out on a date with me? Right? 14-year old kid with pimples and zits. She called me pizza face. Broke my heart, right? So, those impactful moments are programed into us. So, at some point, I feel, to be impactful on video, to be resonant with the people that you're talking to, takes a level of authenticity that very few people actually meet in their lives. So, let's go around in a little bit of a circle, if I may.




DAVE SEYMOUR: Why is reality TV so impactful? Why do people watch these shows? Because now they can live somebody else's life rather than their own. And for me, that's a sad state of affairs. So, I think to be impactful in any video content is authenticity. And know that, we said in England, I love you, warts and all, right? I love you for your good, your bad and your ugly. And just realizing that, here's the key to that as well. I think you can get more presence and more feedback that's genuine from people, if you just work on the fundamentals of communication for a start, like listening. The ability to listen to somebody else and then react to what they said is a very powerful tool that not many people have.


You Can Produce Video without the Hollywood Style Equipment

ADAM GOWER: So when you're recording a TV show.




ADAM GOWER: I'm guessing that you had a crew of professional videographers, probably a sound person, a couple of angles with cameras. People who live their lives, day in, day out, recording and editing video.




ADAM GOWER: So did that, was that intimidating for you? Again, the reason I'm looking around my desk is because I'm recording with a camera on a weird arm on my computer. Or, I could use my phone to record video.




ADAM GOWER: So, what's the difference between.. is it, I suppose, the word that I have here is, do you need Hollywood-quality video, in order to be able to record video, or can you just be as authentic without it. In fact, without it, does that make you more authentic, do you think?


DAVE SEYMOUR: That's a great question as well. So, I went down to Florida. I hired a full-on crew and we shot an infomercial with Kevin Harrington who is one of the original sharks on Shark Tank.


ADAM GOWER: That's right. And one of your partners, right?


DAVE SEYMOUR: Yeah, he's an advisory. He's on our advisory board for our fund.




DAVE SEYMOUR: So we go down there and, you know, there's 4 guys sitting underneath a shade, a light shade, and there's all the cameras and the pool in the background and they're fine tuning all of the lights and then they blend them and the audio's fan-bloody-tastic, and it's, you know, it's like, WHOA. And I looked at it and I have an advantage that I have spent so much time on camera. But then when I looked at the film of the guys who had not, my two other partners, not including Kevin Harrington, you would have thought they were going through some kind of physical torture, right, around all of these distractions. My partner, my investment officer, my CIO, Chief Investment Officer, Walter Novicki. He flushed up, like red. Like, they had to do some crazy colors because it is just not his comfort place.


DAVE SEYMOUR: But, if I do a zoom call with Walter, one-on-one, just over the internet, we record it for either educational purposes or it's an investor call that we do together, he's in his element and he's prime, he's beautiful. I know to keep quiet and let him deliver the message. Look, I don't think you need that, in fact, I know you don't need that full-on, you know, Hollywood stuff. We didn't have it on the TV show. Yeah, they made it look good but we have, what they called shooter producers. Run-and-gun, they called it. So they'd be shooting on the move all the time. The magic in that world, is the editing.




DAVE SEYMOUR: You can take really, really bad video but if you've got exceptional editing and you can put in the effects and everything else. I mean, look at these YouTubers that are out there today. All they're doing is what we're doing, Adam. We just, you know, I've got a little Logitech camera and a sexy microphone. It makes me look important and that's it.


Tell a Story and Be Authentic When Creating Video

DAVE SEYMOUR: These YouTubers can put the effects in there, they can create a story. I think what's important about video is this: tell a story. Think about storytelling. Okay? Storytelling is biblical. All the way back. People, you know, Canterbury Tales. We grew up on that in England, right? We all know the Canterbury Tales and all of the stories around them. So, storytelling, allowing somebody to take a journey with you through vocabulary is critical. And now you do it with authenticity on video and people go, I'm coming with you. You sound like you're going in the right place. Let's go. I think that's the power.


ADAM GOWER: So is that what you did on the show as well? Was, I mean...




ADAM GOWER: Just to be clear, when we talk about telling stories, we're not talking about telling fiction. We're talking about creating a narrative from something that we're living, essentially.




ADAM GOWER: Something that we believe. What does that mean when you're recording video, flipping a house, for example?


DAVE SEYMOUR: We're in the back and I'm like, I'm going to cut this tree down, Donnie. And he goes, ahhh do whatever you want. He goes, as long as she's happy, and he does one of these, and it's all on camera. I'm like, what's the matter? He goes, you know, happy wife, happy life. She's always busting my chops about my drinking. It's what he says, right? I've never kept it a secret. I'm sober 30 years. Right? I've haven't picked up a drink, a  drug, a mood or mind altering substance in 30 years. I had a few challenges in my younger days, you know what I mean? So, I look at Donnie and I forgot there's a camera there. I said, you know what bud? I said, there's a place we could go together where I can show you how guys like you got over problems like that, if you're interested, I can help you out a little bit.


DAVE SEYMOUR: And the camera lady, I'll never forget her. Her name was, sorry now I forgot her name, Christina Hilbig, our camera lady. She was our first one. She was a sweetheart. As we have this interaction on camera, she goes, I saw her camera go....


DAVE SEYMOUR: Like, she had a moment because she caught that reality in real time. But, that doesn't sustain. And then, you know, three seasons later, it's like, OK, Dave, on this episode, you're going to put down the wrong floor tile and then you're going to get grumpy and you're going too have to bust it all up again, okay? And that's where it got....


ADAM GOWER: Staged.  No longer authentic.


Video Production Tips and Tricks from a Reality Show Pro

ADAM GOWER: What advice would you have, for somebody who is interested in creating video to promote their projects, to raise money online? What advice would you give them, any tricks that you would give them for getting comfortable on video?


DAVE SEYMOUR: Yeah, great. Look, practice makes perfect, if you're uncomfortable, OK? And when I say, practice makes perfect, I personally, and I think you're the same way, I can't read words verbatim. Okay? I can't. I'm not a scripted guy. As soon as I go into scripted, then I'm acting and I'm not authentic. Okay? People will relate to people who are authentic. So, practice makes perfect. But, this is critical, I think. You've got to have an exit. You got to be purposeful in what you're doing on that video. Go from the back to the front, whereas everybody always says front to back. OK, in this section, I gotta talk about this, in this I gotta talk about that. I've been very blessed to be in platform speaking and platform sales throughout my career, right? I've been an educator all over the world. And, I learned very, very quickly that, just because I know the value of what I have, if I said to you, this is worth a million dollars, people go, oh, yeah? No. I've got to identify the pain, deliver the deliverables, take them on a journey through story and then, show them a solution to a potential problem. And then, when I'm done with all of that on video, I always love to just take it away afterwards. This obviously isn't for you. You know, these high double-digit rates of returns are not going to be in your portfolio going forward. And that's OK. It's not for everybody. I understand that. As soon as you tell somebody they can't have it, they want it. I've done a lot of work on this stuff, Adam. Influence by Robert Cialdini, I think his name is.


ADAM GOWER: Oh, yes. That's funny. I think his book is somewhere under the mess of stuff. I can't see the surface of my desk. I know it's here somewhere. Yeah, yeah, yeah.


ADAM GOWER: Influence, right?


DAVE SEYMOUR: Influence. The power of influence. A fantastic read.


ADAM GOWER: It's a bit dated but the lessons are very, very relevant today. Dated only in terms of the examples that he uses.


Create a Void So People Want Your Help to Fix the Problem

DAVE SEYMOUR: You can't sell somebody a hamburger if they're full, period. We create, what are called, voids. If you create a void for somebody, either a financial void, business void, personal void, legitimately, show them there's a void there, then they want it, right? Human beings want to be comfortable. So, if they're complacent and comfortable, they don't move. So, we have a response and we can do it on video, right? We have a responsibility to share some discomfort. And then once we've shared that discomfort. So, example, right? The COVID crisis has created a mass exodus of people out of the inner cities, they're moving to the secondary and tertiary markets. We have the highest unemployment in the country that we've seen in decades. You add to that, the forbearance and foreclosure crisis that is impending in our country. Every expert will tell you there is a global financial crisis. My question to you is always this: are you in a position to carry yourself through that financial crisis and retire in comfortable scenario surroundings at your ten, twenty, thirty thousand dollars a month? If you look at that, honestly, I think you can agree with me that the answer is no. The rate of inflation is higher than the rates of most returns that investors are getting in the current marketplace.


DAVE SEYMOUR: What would it be like, if 20 years from now, you weren't in the position you wanted to be and you were actually part of what we call the "sandwich generation", where you are now looking after your parents and you're looking after your children because the whole thing's gone wrong. I know you don't want that scenario. Holy moly. This guy says I'm screwed and it's real. It's not made up. Right? You create the void, then fill the void with resolutions. Let them enjoy the pain, okay, because we only move away from pain, right? We don't move towards it. If we're too hot, we want to be cool. If we're too cool, we want to be hot. If we're full, we don't want to eat. If we're hungry, we're looking for a snack. Right? It's the human disposition. So, if we can do the same thing in video, knowing  purposefully what we're looking for from our clients, then we can generate some successes.


Looking Your Best on Video is Easier than You Think

ADAM GOWER: Let me ask you another question about TV and then let's move on to Freedom Ventures, before we wrap up. Any tricks, that you can, or suggestions, that you can recommend for looking better on video? What would you, like you talked about this fellow in Florida and like, and what should you do?


DAVE SEYMOUR: Look, if we're recording, let's look at the iPhone now, right? You can do incredible things with the iPhone. If technology is not your skill set, go to frickin YouTube and figure it out. Somebody knows how to do it, right? So what am I getting at? I'm getting at settings and lighting and process and all of that stuff. I mean, when we first started doing videos on a phone, I would consistently hold my phone vertical. So you get those crappy videos with the two lines on either side, right? Learn the camera phone. Learn how it works and learn how it works well. The selfie stick is still a great tool. You know, you can give yourself a little bit of distance and some depth. But, if you're working in a home environment, if you're doing some online video, again, get a good microphone. I've got these light umbrella things, you know, that are around my office. My whiteboard is over there. It's a little in-house studio. It's not a lot of money and just keep cranking out that content. I like to be filmed personally, from like, you know, the navel up. Maybe my waist belt up. I'm not necessarily the full six foot two shot when I'm going. You know, this picture that we see of each other right now, it's kind of a nice visual picture. You know, I have a company in the background. You're using a green screen. I look like a professional. So I think, all of those things are important. It's not hair and makeup and all of that stuff, you know. I'm in a white, you know, Tommy Bahama t-shirt. If I've got high-end clients, I might be in a suit and jacket, but I got my own little wardrobe over there, you know what I mean? Pull out a jacket. Pull out a shirt. I don't even need to wear pants anymore. How sweet is that?


ADAM GOWER: And I've got a stack of shirts sitting next to here.


DAVE SEYMOUR: Just pay attention to your lighting, practice with it. Have some fun with it. Make it fun. If it's not fun, you're not going to do it, you know. So, that's a tip.


ADAM GOWER: Very good advice. In fact, right behind me on this whiteboard in big letters is the word F-U-N. I was talking to a prospect, a few days ago and said, the single most important thing, if we work together, it's gotta be fun.


Reality Show Star Transitions to Real Estate Investor

ADAM GOWER: Let's talk about Freedom Venture and the transition to that, from fixing and flipping, to multi-family. Tell me about that transition and I'm interested to know, what you bring from the, your prior world, into this that helps in that venture.


DAVE SEYMOUR: Yeah, yeah. That's a great question. So, a TV show, as we've just described, is a show. So what people didn't know about me personally was the fact that, as my career got some some traction, you know, it's just the right business to be in the commercial real estate investing world as well. Whether it's a, you know, a 4-unit or a, you know, in Chicago, they're 4 flats, 6, 10, 12 flats. Up here in New England, they're 3 deckers or 6 units, right? To be in commercial real estate. Commercial real estate is the gift that keeps on giving. As long as you buy it right, you manage it right, good tenants, good relationships. It'll work. And we know that over time, when you look back 20 years, real estate will always increase in value. It will go through its dips. But when we do the T20 look back, we always know that commercial real estate is going to outperform all other investments out there. So I was always doing commercial investing. I had a presentation recently and you'll appreciate this, I'm sure, with your experience, and the amount of presenting you do to clients. It's a personal injury attorney up here in Boston and I was sitting with him. He's a local guy. I'm sitting with him poolside. We're just shooting the breeze a little bit. And I'm kind of walking him through my presentation. This was when the fund was in its incipient phase and I'm walking him through the presentation and I'm explaining to him, it's a core plus asset. And I'm explaining that what we do is, is we, you know, we deal with tenants issues, management issues and deferred maintenance.


DAVE SEYMOUR: Now, I say deferred maintenance. He doesn't know what the heck deferred maintenance means. So he gets this aha moment. And he says, Dave, what you're really telling me is, is that this 140-unit apartment complex, you're going to do exactly to that, what you did to the single family houses, it's flipping Boston on steroids, right Dave? And I went, oh my Lord, I'm using all of this, you know, this industry jargon: cash-on-cash, cap rates, debt service coverage ratios, you know, MSAs, buy box, B class properties, you know, the stuff that just, we live in every day, as commercial investors.


And I realized that day that, you know, I have a value position. For a lot of intelligent people who just never had the time nor the drive to be able to know what we know as commercial investors. And that was the day that I realized that commercial real estate investing on a large scale, can be a gift, to many people who deserve it. And I'm talking about my physicians, you know, my doctors, some attorneys, some business owners. You know, they may run the most fantastic Italian restaurant in the north end of Boston, but they're still putting money in a 401k, you know what I mean? So, that's what the past did to build a foundation for the present. And I started with a few doors. I had as many as 100 doors up in Sanford, which is in Maine, about an hour from here. C class properties, D class tenants.  I don't care. I never dealt with any of it. My partner did. And it was an equity split on that. So I've been incredibly familiar with the commercial multi-family and I've only ever played in multi-family. I've had no interest, nor do I have any interest in retail, industrial, office space. I mean, those poor asset classes are taking such a beating right now. It's it's unbelievable.


Leveraging Stardom

ADAM GOWER: Now, to what extent are you able to use the star power that you guys have? I'm quite serious, over at Freedom Venture, to both find opportunities to invest in, but also to attract investors?


DAVE SEYMOUR: Yeah, we're still dialing it in, Adam. I'm not going to not be an authenticity now, right, because it's slightly more uncomfortable. You know, I wasn't under the impression or the belief that just because Dave from Flipping Boston waves his hand, people are going to jump up and start stroking checks for a quarter of a million dollars. Right? I'm not that naive. But here's what I have found, is that, the doors that I can open, like the RIAs, the BDs, you know, all of these different brokers. The doors that I can open, when my assistant calls and says, Dave Seymour, the star of Flipping Boston would like to set an appointment with you to discuss what Freedom Venture Investments is doing. I find that to be a lot easier. I have the advantage of getting past the gatekeepers. What's really interesting now is, you know, everything in this is trust and relationship driven, right? I have a perceived trust and expertise from the show, and trust me, I leverage the you-know-what out of that, every single day. What it does do for me is, even in this COVID climate, it allows me to get those one-on-one, like a, steak dinner presentations, like in Massachusetts now, we can have 10 people at a table. So I can put 30-40 qualified investors at a free luncheon. And, you know, that is an absolute score right there because they really get to see the people. They get to get that presentation live. Testimonials from a couple of other investors. So, you know, that drives a lot of good traffic. The online game, as you know better than I, is a longer run. You know, it's a marathon, it's not a sprint. So, it's interesting. But I definitely, look I have the advantage. I really do, you know. We've got, what have we got,  maybe 15-16 million under management about to pop in the next 30-60 days. You know, you compare me with the guys that are out there with a billion under management and one of my mentors is in the process of doing a double down. He's got a billion under management right now. He's got one deal that he's trying to take down that puts him 2 billion under management in one play. So, you know, but here's the thing. Watch out. I'm coming for you. That's who I am, like, I love that race. I love that challenge of being the best in the business.


The Benefits of Mentorship in Your Business

ADAM GOWER: You mentioned a mentor. That's something that, actually popped up on my radar recently. In fact, it was Dennis Yu, who's coming up on an episode in the next couple of weeks.




ADAM GOWER: Talked about the importance of mentors. Tell me about, what is...you don't need to tell me who but tell me about the role of mentors in your life.


DAVE SEYMOUR: Yeah, critical, critical. You know, we're not taught in our English school system, in our backgrounds, which are very similar. We're not taught that mentorship is part of growth.




DAVE SEYMOUR: We didn't know the word mentor, did we? I know it wasn't in Manchester. It certainly wasn't in London.


ADAM GOWER: No, I think there was some kind of peppermint sweet that was called Ment.


DAVE SEYMOUR: Mentos, Mentos.


DAVE SEYMOUR: Not bad for an old memory, right? Look, mentorship, I'll sum it up in one word. If you're the smartest person in a room, you're in the wrong room. Right? Do not surround yourself with what I call DIG JAMs, Damn I'm Good, Just Ask Me. You know those kind of people, right? They ask you a question and then all they're interested in doing is answering their own questions to tell you how smart they are. You know, mentorship is a critical piece for both personal, business growth. Finding people who are doing what you want to do, at a higher level than you are, but, nothing for nothing gets nothing. Find some reciprocity in there, okay? Find reciprocity. So the guy that helped me, you know, we've done a quarter of a billion dollars worth of multifamily, in our careers, together on our team. So buying assets, working assets, making money, that's not the challenge. The challenge is now fund structure and now bringing capital in when it's not just on one deal, it's on a multiple amount of deals. So you don't get that immediate vision. So, you know, this guy walked me through his, not so much his customer acquisition, because that's his secret sauce. But, once a customer was in, you know, what is the timeline of expectation of getting capital into the fund? How many touches does a client need to feel comfortable to make that move? And, he just opened up the doors and in return, I get to speak at his live events. We do some co-branding. And I said to him, why would you want to co-brand with me? I said, if somebody identifies with me, you know, I'm a pretty big personality rather than you. And he's funny. He said, look, man, there is enough money out there for everybody to be successful.


DAVE SEYMOUR: The investor, us as operators, the tenants, the property managers, the marketing team, everybody can win. This is just the best business there is. And he said, I'll put my billion dollar assets under management against your personality any day, you know what I mean? So, I respect, you know, I respect that kind of directness out of a mentor. I've used mentors for everything. I paid for education when I started, you know, Broke as a Joke, back in the day. And Jack Canfield, Chicken Soup for the Soul, spent $20,000 just to go hang out with Jack for one day at his house, because that influence, that mentorship for personal development was critical for me as well. So, I'm always looking for people... look, man, I'm going to go direct, ready? I'm talking to you because you have skill sets that I want to develop, right? Let's just be honest about it. You're talking to me because you've got the guy from the TV show. Could be a pretty good podcast that people are interested in. Let's just go direct, right? It's reciprocity. And, if it's done in an open, again, authentic forum, right? People are going to listen to this. They're going to listen to two guys telling the truth. And, we both want an upside for our time. And it's not always money now. It's relationships later. I don't hunt and kill, I farm, right. I farm relationships. So, you know, you are now a mentor to me. We talked about it before we even started the podcast. I got some challenges. I don't want something for nothing. I want to hire some services.  Now we've got business. We've got reciprocity and I believe that you will bring me value.


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