“Meet Danny Crisafulli | Realtor, Real Estate Investor, Proud father of 2 very strong young women
This article was originally published on ShoutOutColorado.Com and they interviewed Danny as part of series on Entrepreneurs.
We had the good fortune of connecting with Danny Crisafulli and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danny, how do you think about risk?
Broad strokes – I have two girls ages 8 and 4. One thing I hope for them in life is that they will be confident enough and feel the freedom to chase the things they are curious about. Unfortunately, I think it’s common for people to feel pressured to “find their calling” or find “THE thing you’re passionate about.” In reality, I don’t think many of us have this one thing in life. I think most of us are curious about a lot of things. Unless we feel free to chase what we’re curious about, we’ll be left wanting. What’s riskier to me is not trying. It’s common for me to hear people say, “I wish I had tried x,y, & z” or “I always wanted to…” If you don’t take on risk and you always play it safe, you’re at risk of leading a life that lacks meaning. And I believe humanity is ultimately driven by the search for meaning. But, it’s up to us to acknowledge and embrace that search, and find our own path towards a meaningful life. Usually the scarier/harder path is the more meaningful one.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I run a small real estate team (The Crisafulli Team) at Roots Real Estate. There are a few things that set us apart from others in our industry: 1.) Our team model—Although we’re a team, we operate as one agent. We get to do the things we’re good at without the pressure to tackle things we are not good at. As a result, our clients get 4 people working for them. And from a personal standpoint, we don’t struggle with burnout the same way other agents do. The 4 of us support each other and part of that support is encouraging each other to do the things we each need to do to be healthy. For example, all three of us have nearly month long vacations planned this year, giving us time to recharge while the business keeps running.
2.) Our goal is always to Guide and Teach rather than Sell. Buying and selling real estate can be an intimidating process and it can have expensive consequences if you trust the wrong advice. We partner with our buyers and sellers, learning what their goals are, and then give them a strategy to accomplish that goal. If we guide them rather than sell them, all of the pressure disappears and trust is formed. And in the end, people do business with people they know, love, and trust.
What am I most proud of and/or excited about?
I’m most proud of the way that our team is committed to providing value rather than chasing success. It’s the long game. If we are providing value, success will follow. We’ve seen that snowball over the last few years. I’m excited to see how this continues to evolve over the coming years. When you’re committed to bringing value, you don’t have to fear stagnation. You’re always innovating, adjusting, and committing to refinement. We feel it and our clients feel it.
How did you get where you are today business-wise? Was it easy? If not how did you overcome the challenges?
I started with a game plan. In 2009 I was commuting an hour and a half each way to work shift work. I didn’t feel challenged and knew something needed to change in my life. From a young age, I was curious about real estate and my wife really encouraged me to explore making a career change. I put a plan together and sought out mentors to walk with through the transition. Keep in mind, I was jumping into real estate in 2009/2010, right in the midst of the financial crisis and real estate melt down. But, I didn’t see it as a risky decision. I saw it as an opportunity. I thought there would be some great opportunities to invest and there were. I also saw a niche I could find success in, scrappy individuals who wanted to get their hands dirty by buying project houses. And that’s what I built my business on. The first handful of years, I was flipping houses and selling real estate to clients who wanted to flip houses, build some sweat equity, or house hack with multifamily housing (my favorite way for first time home buyers to buy housing). And it worked. I grew my business, with the guidance of some mentors. And from the outside, it looked like I was thriving. But, internally things felt very different. I was doing great financially and building wealth for our family, but I wasn’t happy. I was working way too many hours and missing out on things at home. In 2013 we had our oldest daughter, and my wife was largely raising her alone.
I hit a breaking point. I either needed to change careers to something I could shut off at the end of the day, or I needed to figure out a different way of doing things. I don’t think this is a unique experience for entrepreneurs. I think most of us hit a point where we struggle with work life balance. I just didn’t know how to make the shift. I was a bit addicted to work, to the grind, and to the success. Real estate success is kind of like tattoos. Once you get your first, you can’t wait to get the next one. So, I sought some council from mentors, friends, books, and a therapist, who helped me re-align my values.
The result: I chose not to shut things down. Instead I started the real estate team we have today. I borrowed Jim Collins advice from “Good To Great.” My goal was to hire the right people i.e. get the right people on the bus. We could figure out where to drive it together. Our team built systems & processes that make us better and more efficient. And when you have the right people on the bus, you trust each other and are open to each others ideas. Together, we’ve built something great. Making this shift has taught me how to trust other people and I’ve learned that we are better as a unit than any one of us individually. See, the arrogance of most entrepreneurs that are in the service/consulting industry is that you think our clients will only trust you. That’s just not the case. When you hire the right people and put the time into training and give them the freedom to explore, your clients end up thriving from the collective group.
Real estate doesn’t have to be intimidating. You just need the right support around you. With the right guidance, you’ll make savvy decisions that will set your family up for generations. We love being the guide that helps get you there.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh man, there are so many great things to do in this area. We’d certainly hit all of our favorite outdoor adventures: – Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, white water rafting down the Poudre River and then Mountain Biking some of our favorite trails around Horsetooth Reservoir. I’d wrap up the weeks outdoor adventures with a little paddle boarding.
– We’d have to spend an afternoon on a bike tour of our favorite Breweries. I’d probably start with Odell, New Belgium, and Equinox and start making our way south to Zwei, and wrap up the day at Stodgy, who has our favorite outdoor patio setup.
– Mornings we’d hit our favorite coffee shops and cafes. Harbinger, Bindle, and Little Bird.
– We’d also hit our favorite restaurants. Little on Mountain is hard to beat. Jaws is our favorite Sushi and Cafe de Bangkok if we’re looking for something a little spicy.
– Our afternoons and evenings would probably be spent playing around a local park, where we usually run into some friends from around town. This is one of my favorite things in Fort Collins, a city that’s big enough you’re always meeting new people but small enough to run into friends throughout the day.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Too many people to list in one place. We all have season’s of growth that shape who we are today, but here are my highlights: -Rick Hausman—For taking me under his wing in real estate and teaching me most of what I know today.
-John Forman—My first real estate investment partner. I was so sad to see you pass a few years back. You were the first person to take a risk on me. We had a great run together.
-My real estate team: Steve Shafer, Trinity Bender, & Sam Hummel—I really work with the best people who I know, love and trust. It’s a dream to work alongside these three everyday.
-Dee Crisafulli—My partner for life. You’ve alway encouraged me to chase after my dreams and have been there to keep the plates spinning along the way. To quote my friend Steve, “80% of the time I have my foot on the gas and 80% of the time you have your foot on the brake and 80% of the time we appreciate that about each other.” That balance works pretty dang well.
-My girls, Mills (8) & Willow (4)—For keeping me oriented towards what matters.”