Rango Le // Ep 87 // Memoirs of a Blessed Boater
Welcome to Episode 87 of the Asian Hustle Network Podcast! We are very excited to have Rango Le on this week's episode.
We interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals. We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.
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Rango Le built a successful real estate company from scratch in the Seattle / Bellevue WA area. With only $500 dollars in his pocket, no college education, no startup money, no partner. Rango was able to get his real estate company to a $4 million a year company.
His company, Warring Properties / Century 21, was the leading minority-owned and most diverse real estate company in WA State, with 125 agents on their roster and managing 3 office locations.
He also successfully developed, built, and sold high-end residential properties in Seattle’s Premier neighborhoods. He has a true rag to riches story, from fleeing war-torn Vietnam in the middle of the night on a small rickety fishing boat to overcoming poverty living in the Low-Income Seattle Housing Projects.
Rango’s latest passion is a podcast / YouTube show called, “Blessed Boaters”. The show talks about what it’s like to flee Vietnam as a refugee and the ups and downs of trying to obtain the American dream, turning pain into power.
This episode is sponsored by Comcast RISE. Comcast RISE (“Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment”) is a multi-year, multi-faceted initiative designed to help strengthen small businesses owned by people of color that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic. Register today: https://www.comcastrise.com/
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Intro: (00:00:00) Hey guys, welcome to Asian Hustle Network Podcast, My name is Bryan.
And my name is Maggie
And we interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals.
We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.
Maggie: (00:00:23) Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Asian Hustle Network podcast. Today, we have a very special guest with us. His name is Rango Lee. Rango built a successful real estate company from scratch in the Seattle Bellevue Washington area with only $500 in his pocket and no college education, no startup money, no partner Ringo was able to get his real estate company to a $4 million a year company. His company, warring properties century two was the leading minority owned and most. Diverse real estate company in Washington state with 125 agents on their roster and managing three office locations. He also successfully developed, built and sold high end residential properties in Seattle’s premier neighborhoods. He has a true rags to riches story from fleeing war torn Vietnam in the middle of the night on a small rickety fishing boat to overcoming poverty living in the low income Seattle housing projects. Ringo’s latest. Passion is a pie. Some YouTube shows are called blessed voters. The show talks about what it’s like to flee Vietnam as a refugee and the ups and downs of trying to obtain the American dream turning pain to power Ringo.
Welcome to the show.
Rango: (00:01:34) Hey, what’s up Maggie? What’s up, Bryan? Thanks for having me.
Bryan: (00:01:38) Definitely Ringle. You have an amazing story. We’re listening to your other podcast interviews, but we want to reach out to her. Your life experience on our podcast as well. So walk us through, walk us through everything, man. And like, where were you born? Uh, what was your upbringing like? And how’d you, how’d you, how did you find your way to Seattle?
Rango: (00:01:57) Yeah, for sure. And thanks again, man. I really appreciate this platform. You guys are giving people, you know, celebrating Asian excellence, especially during this time of a lot of change, you know, is good. Uh, you you’re bringing people together. So I really appreciate you guys.
Bryan: (00:02:13) Definitely happy to have you here.
Rango: (00:02:15) All right. Yeah. I mean, what do I start? You know, I’m originally born in Vietnam, 19 San Diego, you know, the war was over 1975. So imagine, you know, being born right after a 20 year war, what my parents were going through with me and my siblings, it’s like Syria. I, you know, Afghanistan, you know, now you’re living in it. So my parents were always ambitious even though. It wasn’t that educated. They just wanted something better for themselves and for their kids. So, you know, everyone was fleeing Vietnam. They’re starting to hop on the refugee boats. And my family was no different where they say we got to go, you know, we can’t let the kids grow up like this. And so they took a chance. Uh, we tried twice as a family and almost failed, uh, almost almost as a, you know, the boat almost sunk and we almost got captured. So then. Imagine that like trying to flee Vietnam twice and failing most people at that point would have given up. Right? Like it’s not in the cards for my family leave, you know, God not allowed it. I guess I’ll just settle. But, um, my mom being the strong person, she is, she said, nah, you know, we gotta try again. So on the third try, we, uh, finally hopped on a refugee boat. It was a smaller boat, smaller fishing boat with about 20 people. My mom was 27 at the time and I was one and my brother was three. My sister was six. And, you know, mom, my mom alone hopped on his boat. Well, you know, 20, 25 people that she barely knows to set sail into the great unknown, you know, risking, you know, everything like no starvation, uh, drowning, um, getting caught again by the Vietcong and getting thrown back in jail. She risked it all, you know, just for that. That reward of a better life in America. And, uh, you know, by the grace of God, you know, that was we, we survived the boat trip. Um, and how I know about the story was about four years ago, my mom on a long car ride from, uh, uh, Canada to Seattle. You know, I just asked her, I was like, mom, how do we get here? What happened? And, uh, you know, all of our lives, it was very painful for her to tell the story, but she finally let us know on my car ride. So I took notes and, um, and that’s why I got, I got all the details of the trip and, uh, yeah, God bless my mom. And that’s, uh, my hero for sure. And, uh, yeah, yeah,
Bryan: (00:04:45) definitely shout out to your mom, you know, um, say moon similar to my parents too. My parents are also full people. That escaped. And it’s really difficult for them to talk about their experience, you know, and the horrific instance, coming on the \ boat, dealing with pirates, dealing with people, passing away from that treacherous journey, escaping a country, saving their home country, that they known all their lives to be in a new place where you don’t speak the language is I can’t imagine like how your mom felt or how my parents felt doing something like that. You know, it’s. You just don’t know and it’s hats off to them for still making it happen and giving us a better life.
Rango: (00:05:25) Yeah. And I feel like, um, you know, my mom, she passed away about a year ago and I feel like I’m doing this show and I’m doing these, uh, you know, this interview kind of to carry on her legacy. And I feel like I got to know her more now that she passed and my dad passed. I feel like I’m getting to know them more than when they were here, because when they were here, you know, Asian parents are men, all they do is just work. Tell you to go do your homework. You know, I’ll tell you to, you know, get ready for bed and go to school, but they didn’t really communicate like how, you know, American, uh, kids and parents communicate. I think a big part of it was the, the language barrier, you know, like I spoke very little bit of me. She spoke very little English and I think that was. Uh, I’m, uh, I think that’s why I did. I started to show blessed boulders and I have to start off the story about like how resilient and brave my mom was and all moms and dads out there that took a chance for us to have the life we have today, you know?
Maggie: (00:06:35) Definitely and rest in peace to your, to your mom. Um, I mean, she must be so proud of you and your siblings. You know, it takes so much courage and bravery to leave everything behind them, to provide a better life for their family, you know, and, and that is their dream. That’s their. American dream to have their children, you know, raise their children, um, in, uh, in, in whole new country to provide a better life for them. And, you know, you’ve done so much and, you know, that’s, that’s a reason why, you know, we have you on this podcast for you to share your story, and we’re so excited for you to share your story because you have accomplished so much. Um, and it must be so, so incredibly proud of you. Yeah. So, um, you know, talk about. What else you learned about that, that journey? I think that, you know, we were listening to other podcasts as well. And you mentioned a part of your family had to stay in Vietnam. Um, and you had to leave with your, your mom, um, you know, while you knew that you had family left in Vietnam,
Rango: (00:07:38) Yeah. Yeah. So when we left Vietnam, uh, three-two three kid and my mom and we have an older sister until she was about 10 at the time. And as we were on the dock about to leave the, to go on the voyage, she was raised by my grandma. And so she all only kind of knew my grandma. So my, uh, uh, she was crying on the dock. You know, we’re tearing her away from like someone that really raised her, her whole life, because back in the days in Vietnam, Um, it was, it was normal for one of the siblings to be taken care of by the grandma and grandparents, because the parents have to go work and there was three of us. So it was just more natural for her to get raised by my grandma. So that was a hard decision to leave her behind on the dock and, uh, sets out without her. Um, so yeah, but yeah, but you know, by the grace of God, Uh, about 10 years ago, we was able to sponsor her and her three kids over from Vietnam. And, you know, they’re, they’re, they’re, they’re doing really well in America now and they’re assimilating and, uh, and, and that’s all of my mom, a gay man. I like she was taking care of us in America is trying to make ends meet. You know, and then she’s taking care of my sister’s family in Vietnam and my, her aunt and uncle and Vietnam, her, her, her brother and sister in Vietnam and just sending money back and you know, now, uh, you know, growing up, I always wonder like, mom, why were you so cheap? Like, why can’t I get some like nice middle games or clothes or shoes, like all the other kids. And she count every penny. Now I know why it’s like, so she had to take care of that family. You’ve been nominated. Made sure our lights were turned on. So, you know, it’s, uh, it’s uh, this is the truth sometimes.
Maggie: (00:09:21) Absolutely. So talk about your first hustle Ringo. We know that your parents were in the food business, um, and you were very involved in that business as well. And did you always have like this entrepreneurial spirit or did you kind of, you know, where you’re kind of nurtured into this entrepreneurs for it because you saw that from your parents as well. And one really want to hear about your first house.
Rango: (00:09:42) Yeah. You know, I definitely got that, uh, S that hustling mentality for sure. No, I think I first started new. When we first got to America, we went to Arkansas Fort Smith, Arkansas Nuno, our Portsmouth, Arkansas is a small, uh, chicken town. Really, you know, it was no for Tyson chicken and farming. And, uh, those, a small population of Vietnamese people there. And my parents, you know, growing up when were there, you know, no education. So they had to, they had to like wash dishes and clean toilets and, you know, be a janitor. And then, um, and then somehow. They somehow we’ve. After about five years, our family was able to make it in America. We were living the American dream and we was, we own the house. We were, we had two cars, you know, we had weekends off and I really love that time. And, you know, I had, for some reason it wasn’t enough for my parents. And so I don’t know who that was, but they wanted to open a Chinese restaurant. And we’re not even Chinese we’re Vietnamese, but these restaurants was a thing in the 1980s. And some of my dad, mom, they both quit their job, put in all of our savings into this Chinese restaurant. And, um, I remember that was really hard time for my family, cause I never got to see them. Uh, I was at home by myself, mainly when all my siblings were out there at the restaurant working. Cause I was at that age where I was too young to be working at the restaurant, but I could stay home and watch myself. And I just remember it was a struggle. It was a struggle, you know, they were arguing about money all the time. Uh, my parents, when we came first, came here from, uh, Vietnam, you know, they were cleaning toilets, uh, you know, washing dishes for other people, you know, starting a landscaping business. And, uh, for some reason they, they, they, my dad got a job at Whirlpool and my mom got a job. Tyson chicken, the big chicken factory. And that’s where my family made it in America. I felt like we’re, you know, we’re we’re we had two cars, we bought a house, we had the weekends off. We’re going up to the Ozarks, Ozark mountains, going swimming in swimming pools. And, uh, that’s I really liked those times because I felt like we made it. And then I don’t know whose idea was. Oh, so one of them wanted to open a Chinese restaurant and, you know, I think I understand, you know, like that was, that was our, you know, that our next level of like, they didn’t want to settle and they want to get more for their family. And those times, those hard, uh, I never saw them. We had the restaurant about three years and my mom, dad had never had formal entreprenuer experience running a restaurant or being even a cook. And they were both just diving in for the opportunity. And I just remember it was really hard times. We would, they would find a lot of where Moni and I never saw them. I would just be at home by myself taking care of myself. I like eight years old when all my siblings were at the restaurant, God bless my brother. Big John. He was like nine years old at the time they took him to the restaurant. He was like the backup cook, backup dishwasher. And of course, like. No, the food wasn’t good. And people didn’t come back for whatever reason and, uh, long hour. Oh my gosh. I remember I saw a sign of our restaurant in the front of the sign. It said open from 9:00 AM to 11:30 PM, seven days a week. And, um, But, you know, that, that I learned a lot though, you know, that seeing them hustle hard, work hard, uh, you know, having a fail. But I also learned a lot, like, you know, if you, if you want to, yet, if you have a dream, you gotta go for it, you know, and they went for it. And, uh, and, but that’s, that’s where I first saw my first house. So was what my parents did in Arkansas. Cool.
Bryan: (00:013:26) That’s awesome. And then your parents have that onto your parents. Running a restaurant is never an easy thing. Uh, extremely difficult. I, my parents also, I small business owners too. So I, I, I know what you mean where it’s like as a first generation immigrant kid, it’s like you do everything that your parents did. You do. But hindsight 2020, when you look back at it and I’m like, wow, my parents really violated all these child, child labor laws by accident, you know, but we’re just based on survival, it’s just based on the hustle. And it’s, it makes you really unique experience, uh, for us to experience and just hearing your story again, it’s like really reminiscent of a lot of first-generation people, especially Vietnamese Americans. A lot of us went to the same things, you know, Um, so out of here, out of here, out of curiosity. So from age 21 to 26, like you were a party promoter in Seattle, right. Basically you own your own nightclub. Like that’s amazing. I can’t imagine doing something like that at all. Like, can you kinda walk us through how you got into a hustle and then kind of link it to where you are today? Like, how did that transition come about for real estate? So this is, to me, it feels like 360 or 180, you know, how, how does this happen?
Maggie: (00:14:35) Talk about the transition first, like how you got from Arkansas to Seattle. Like what made you even want to move to Seattle? And. How did you land in, at the promoting business?
Rango: (00:014:46) Yeah, for sure. Maggie. So after the restaurant fell, my parents were arguing a lot and, you know, um, um, it, it didn’t work out with their relationship for whatever reason, you know, they say 70% of marriages end because of money disputes. And the other third is percents like infidelity, but I saw it firsthand when I was young and that’s what happened. And, um, you know, there are going to last, so then I didn’t work out. So my mom, she had one more start over and nurses. So she said we’re either going to go orange County, where we knew a lot of enemies, people live or in Cali, orange County, California, or Seattle, Washington. Thank God she chose Seattle Washington. So we moved to Seattle. And, um, without my dad, it was just a foreign sibling now. And, you know, we were dirt poor. And when we got it, we lost the restaurant that she’s single mother. She had no education. So we moved into the Seattle housing projects, low income. And that’s where I first started seeing like what poverty was in Arkansas, just, you know, farmed and tractors and like really like suburb. But when you get to saddle, you know, we’re in the hood and that’s where our families had to start navigating, like. No drugs and crimes and, and, and just, you know, food stamps and welfare. And, uh, that was, it was time for our family, but, you know, I. I take all those times of hard because you know, I wouldn’t be here today to tell the story that, you know, you can get out of poverty. If you have a handout dealt to you that wasn’t the best hand and you could try to do, do your best to play a well and, you know, make stuff into yourself and, you know, so you can take care of your kids. So that’s what my, my parents did. So eventually my dad followed us up here to shadow and, um, But that, you know, the hustling, you know, especially hustling, starting a business as a couple, like it’s sometimes hard when it doesn’t work out, man. It’s just, you know, and I saw firsthand. And so the words for the couples out there are businesses like you guys, you know, just, you know, it keep tight, you know, keep that goal in mind to make it work. Cause it’s going to be some challenging times. So, uh, yeah. Shout out to the couples hustling together. So, yeah, so we, we, so how I got into that was I had a buddy that grew up in the housing project with me. His name is Amir, and, uh, he started like club promoting at like 18 youth, you know, throwing parties at like warehouses. And I was like one of his street team soldiers. I was like, That was like eight of us that was helping them on the street team. I was like the lowest pecking order. I was like the eighth guy that barely made the cut to help him out. You know, we’re passing out flyers to like, you know, hitting up parking lots with flyers or hitting up clubs when people get out with flyers or like emailing people to get them on the mailing list. And we’re throwing like, um, like raves and stuff. And, uh, and, and it was it’s fun time. You know, I was 17, 18. I was partying anyways, might as well, you know, Make some money from it, with the mirror. And he did, he hearted paid us. I mean, we probably got like $20 a night doing what we’re doing, but we were just having fun doing it. Yeah, go ahead. Maggie, keep going, keep going. So then, you know, but then I was, you know, my whole life, I never felt to that point. I never accomplish at it thing. I was just getting by, you know, I had no confidence in entrepreneurship. I was just normal, regular 16, 17 year olds, just chasing girls and smoking some weed, you know, um, no confidence of doing things. So. I was there about a year and a half of promoting with the mirror and seeing how he did really well in it. And I wanted to be like him. I was like, man, I wish I got the girls. And I wish I had the money. I wish I had the cool car and the clothes, but I, you know, I’m, I’m wrangle, you know, I’m, I’m the eighth guy on the pecking order.
I can’t be like a mirror. And then, uh, there was an opportunity where. The company’s shut down. Like, so we expanded and we wasn’t promoting more because, uh, for whatever reason, and then at 20, my brother came to me, my older brother, John, he came to me, he goes, Hey, I know the owner of this nightclub called the Royal club over in Skyway, Seattle. And he’s looking for a promoter and I told him you’re a promoter. And, uh, I was like, yeah, I’ll go meet with the owner. So it was a, it was funny I’m I was 20 years old. It’s a 21 and over night club and I go in there, the owner, you know, he’s me, he’s older Vietnamese guy. He’s like, Hey, you promote before. I was like, yeah, for sure. You know, here’s all the flyers I did with Amir. And we do these raves and we made a lot of money and, you know, we can get a lot of people and he goes, alright. He goes, you ain’t made old enough. I go, yeah. Yeah, here’s my ID. So I showed him my brother’s ID. He’s like 21 I’m 20. And he goes, okay, this is a catch. If you want to promote my nightclub, you gotta start this Wednesday. And this Friday, I’ll give you two nights and then we’re talking about it. It’s like Monday I go, wow. That little time to enough to time to promote. And he goes, If you want it or not is yours. Cause they were, they were really slow there. Right. And I go, yeah, F it I’ll take the chance. You know, I could finally be better than a, and take my chance at something and make something myself. And I remember that night, that whole week I was so motivated. Right. It’s called Arab. All my friends. We’re all like 1920 store. They couldn’t even get into the club, but I was like, don’t worry. I know the security guard when we will get to you guys. And that, that first Friday, man, that was like, that was like 10 people. And I, and I was like, so devastated. I was like, wow, like we used to throw parties, but in the mirror and had like, Three 400 people. And there was only like 10 people. And that was my first like failure in life. And I was so distraught that night, where I was like, man, a cat, no wonder people. I’d never wanted to take a chance to do anything big because there’s failure involved in it hurts. And I want it now. I’m like, I want to just go back to being a normal person and without all the responsibility. And I remember it went on for about three weeks and those like five, 10 people in the club. And we’re on the third night I was going to give up. And I remember, uh, I was with my girlfriend that night and it was like a Thursday night and I was with my girlfriend. I was crying in the room. I was like, I’m going to give up, babe. I just, it just promoted stuff. It’s too hard. Try to do them all. It’s costing me too much money. It’s cost me by that time, a couple of thousand. That I borrowed from my brother and I was like, I’m going to give up, I’m going to go back to being normal. And uh, and then she goes, okay, if you want, I can give up. That’s fine. So we went and then, so, and then there was a moment where she goes, hold on, stop. She goes, you just ordered some new flyers. Why don’t you pass out these flyers? And let’s give it one more shot. Give her one more shot. And if it doesn’t. Yeah. If they’ve been not cracking by this Friday, then I’ll let you quit. But give it one more shot. I believe in you. And I go really effort. Alright, one more shot. If you believe in me, let’s go. And I remember I also really hard that week and pass up all the flowers at college and hit up all my friends and. And I got lucky. My, my other brother in law had his birthday party there that Friday. So we, we opened the doors and we had like 75 people. I was like, what? Like it, you know, for five, 10 people to send it five people that’s a win. Right. And, you know, we broke even the night, but I was like F like, this is gonna happen. And then all those people came back the next Friday. And then after, uh, you know, then we had like three, 400 people for a whole year, you know, Friday nights at the world club in Seattle as dating body about it. It’s like that. Legendary agent night nightclub that, that we had like 2001. So that’s where it launched my whole real estate career to, Oh no, my whole promoting career to, to, uh, you know, be pretty successful in the area.
Maggie: (00:22:55) Wow. That’s insane. We love a supportive girlfriend. Imagine if she had let you just quit on the spot and you hadn’t gone back that Friday
Rango: (00:22:37) Shout out to Stephanie in the, when she just.
Maggie: (00:22:44) I remember growing up when I was around like 18 and, you know, there were like 18 and up clubs in the Bay area. Um, you know, like a lot of my friends were getting into promoting as well. And it was like the hot thing to do, you know, like, would you be interested in being a promoter? Like we have these promoting spots available and clubs are always looking for promoters and like the guys who would be the promoters who were able to get the girls in, they would always be like the popular guys. Your story kind of reminds me.Yeah. And so, Oh, go ahead.
Rango: (00:23:19) Uh, it was good times, you know, and I didn’t just promote, I also did like raves and I also did concerts. Like we used to bring up, uh, like, uh, uh, one voice and Kai to perform there, like kind of some Asian groups that, um, was kind of big in the early two thousands. And then we used to bring dope parties with like all the big improv models back in the days, like, uh, uh, Francine D. Francine, double D I don’t know if you guys remember her and like Natasha ye and Sasha Singleton. Like we used to bring Sasha when she was like the hottest number one Asian model in the world. Like that’s when first came out and she was Mishaan important ice the first night. So we used to always fly her up for our grand opening of our nightclub the nights. And she was just mad. There’ll be a line down the block to see. See some of these girls, so, yeah, man, we’ve been trying to do this Asian Asian movement for a long time.
Maggie: (00:24:16) That’s awesome was going to say. Yeah, that’s so awesome. Um, so when you were getting super big and you’re promoting company, um, what made you decide to kind of move on from that? Because. We know you moved on from promoting to getting into real estate, you know, and as you were getting bigger and bigger and you’re promoting company, what was like that turning point where you were like, okay, I’m going to move on from promoting. And I need to like, you know, actually do something else with my life and actually, you know, fulfill that dream.
Rango: (00:24:50) Yeah. So I would’ve been promoting from 18 about 25 at that time. And that’s was like seven years. And I feel like in like my career, every about four or five years in a career, I get bored with it. I think most people can relate where, you know, you learned and grew everything you need to learn and grow from that, that, that career. And so I want to do something else. And at that time, and we were one of the top agent promoter companies in Seattle. We had like Wednesday nights crack and went Friday, Saturday nights, cracking. And then I remember God, I felt like I’m always been a big believer in like God and Jesus and you know, how much they blessed my family and stuff. Uh, but you know, anyone want to believe anything else? Like they’re Buddhist. Or Muslim or anything like more power to you. Like there are many different vehicles to get to heaven, right. So, but I remember God was telling me, you know, wrangle, you just start getting out, you should start thinking about something else. To do. And I was like, wow, God, I’m at the, I’m at the height of promoting right now. I’m like one of the best, if not the best agent promoting companies in Seattle, I worked the last seven, eight years to get here. Why would I want to go? And he, you know, he was just like, there might be some Elsa. Oh better for you. And then I remember the night it was, it was, um, Halloween and we were doing this big night club club called the link side right there on the Lake, in, in, um, in Seattle, downtown Seattle on the Lego. It was like an amazing venue, but like the Seattle skyline right behind you, people would be pulling up on their boats to come party. And it was just, it was really cool nightclub spot. And I invited two of my buddies. Um, there was one group was like this, these Cambodian gangsters that I grew up with in the Seattle housing projects. And then I also was really close with these Hawaiian Samoan guys that I, um, that are my oocysts, that my brothers and somehow, you know, and they were probably the big two biggest toughest crack groups in the ethic club that night. And somehow may, I don’t know, they had too much to drink or something. But they started fighting and then the bike carried out to the outside of the club and there probably like 25 people fighting. And all my security guard. They’re awesome Owens. And, um, and then we’re all breaking up the fight I’m out there. And I know like everybody fighting, I’m like, bro, like bro, stop, like stop when we’re grabbing people. And um, my supposed security guy was grabbing my homeboy. I don’t want to tell you his name, but he was grabbing him and he, and some have brother came up behind him. I thought like he was one of the guys that are trying to beat him up and his brothers just pulled out a gun and just shot him like bow right there. And everybody stopped. And, uh, there’s just smoke from the gunshot. And they happened to like right behind me. So I heard a bang and I turned around and I see the smoke and I see my, my, my security guard, big Pete. He walked out of the smoke and he’s like six, five. And he he’s like, he held his chest. He goes, Wrangell I’m shot. And like blood is coming out here and he falls on me. And I’m like, like bro, like, so I looked at them and he, you know, put them on the ground and uh, and then, uh, everything is just so emotion and, um, I know blood has come out of his mouth and um, and then at that moment, Uh, you know, I, I, we all thought he died. Everybody stopped fighting. And then, so we’re in the emergency room. It’s like two hours later, the ambulance come get them. And we’re in the emergency room, like two in the morning. And his wife’s there and has two small sons. And, uh, you know, his kids are like small, like three and five years old. And his wife was I crying. Like I told him to stop. I told him, get out of this industry. I told him that he quit security and I told her, why don’t he listen to me? You know? And. And I’m already there. And I feel so guilty because I was a person that put together these events and I walked up to there and I was just like, I’m flower, you know, I’m sorry. And, uh, that was the last month. My last nightclub. I ended it that night and I knew it wasn’t worth it, things like that it’s happening and shout out to big Pete. He survived the gunshot and he got out of it and I got to the same time and got into real estate.
Maggie: (00:29:06) Wow. Yeah, it is a crazy story. And you know, we’re so glad that BP is alive and well. Um, that must’ve been such a big turning point for you, you know, because you, you did have, you know, that message from God telling you to, you know, this, maybe this is a time for you to get out and. You know, something did happen. And just right in front of you showing you a sign, you know, it shows that you were growing as a person, you were going through these stages in your life, um, telling your, you know, yourself that you knew you need to grow as a person, you need to learn new things. And maybe like this is one end of the chapter in your life, right? Yeah. Yeah. Go ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead.
Rango: (00:29:50) Well, you know, it just it’s humbling, you know, it’s because at that point, you know, I felt like God hid it. I didn’t listen to me. So he hit me with a hammer. He goes, you know, can you hear me now? And I heard him loud and clear at that moment, you know? Cause things like that. If I would’ve listened to a year before that then big P you know, one of them got shot and I got out, but yeah. No life is interesting. Um, and you know, and it was hard going into a different career now, right? I’m most of the, you know, my pride, my ego, my identity was wrapped up in, you know, wrangle the, the successful promoter. And I was like, if I’m not promoting, what am I gonna do? You know, I’m gonna make money. How am I going to go be a, nobody? Now I was younger and I was, you know, kinda. Cocky arrogant, but I didn’t really was scared. I didn’t know what to do so that the leap of faith to go into real estate it’s um, it was really hard.
Bryan: (00:30:47) Yeah. I mean, beginning real estate. I think it’s very difficult, right? Because there is abundant information, but there’s not abundance information out there and it’s almost like people will tell you certain things, but then you have to piece it together because it’s, it’s just really that great. You know, cause I also come from a slight real estate background as well. And I’m kind of curious too, like, as you’re making this, you’re a transition over into real estate, like, do you start out as a realtor? You start off as an investor, like how you break into real estate.
Rango: (00:31:21) Yeah. It was a hard transition. It took me a year to, to finally quit promoting, to get into real estate for solid. During that time I was getting my license, um, sidewalk I’ll hop back on my family’s catering truck. That’s what I did to make money. And that was humbling because I blew through my savings for promoting in by three months. And after that I didn’t make, I didn’t make any money. And so I had to like, you know, swallow my pride and get back on my family’s catering truck to make ends meet. And, um, so I could pay the bills. And then after that I got my real estate license and, you know, real estate, if you’re just a regular real estate broker, that’s what I was doing. It’s tough your first year, you really don’t know what you’re doing. And there are not very good training in real estate at all, for whatever reason, because it’s so easy to get your license. And we’re kind of just a number to all, some of these real estate brokerages. And so, you know, I had to work on and they came true even after I got my real estate license. Um, so I had two full-time jobs. I’ll do catering from five in the morning till 2:00 PM, Monday through Friday. And then I would get off and I’ll smell like, like fried food. Cause that’s what we made it a lot on our Damien truck with burgers and fries and fried rice. And, and so they’ll spray on some clothes and put on a nice collar shirt. Now go do real estate from three to eight, Monday to Friday, we were talking about, you know, that was hard work, 80 hours a week of work of that whole year. And, um, I was able to sell six homes my first year, which is pretty good for a new broker. Um, and I was able to quit catering after my first year and then do real estate full-time and, um, yeah, that’s how I kinda got in the industry.
Maggie: (00:33:06) Wow. That’s awesome. You, you also mentioned that, you know, you are one of the, um, leading minority. He owned the most diverse real estate companies in the Washington state. How did you recruit the people that you wanted into your real estate company and, you know, how did you become sort of like, how did, did you intend to be like the most leading diverse company in the Washington area? And what does that, you know, kind of taught you
Bryan: (00:33:35) to add onto Maggie’s question as well? It’s like, what have you learned from your promoting experience that you applied into your real estate experience?
Rango: (00:33:42) Yeah, for sure. You know that it goes back to that night where I was crying in my room, like a little baby. Um, when I was going to give up on promoting that at the Royal club and my ex. Girlfriend said, you know, give me one more try, you know, and I, I think I built, you know, I wasn’t as successful as a promoter, I would have probably just been an average real estate broker, but me being successful as a promoter gave me confidence to get into real estate and say, you know, it’s hard right now, you know? And I’m, I’m, I’m barely getting by. But I made it in promoting so I can make it in real estate. It’s just to take some time, you know, it’s that self-talk that you need to pump yourself up to do to get out there and try to chase that dream that looks like it’s not working out or it’s working slower than you want. And so I think promoting had a lot to do with my success in real estate, but also I was a big networker. So I knew a lot of people from the promoting days, I let in so many people freeing in my nightclub and bought them so many drinks and gave him so many drinks and tickets. Let them skip the line all those years where I told them, you know, you, you better buy a house from me. I will kill all those years. You better buy a house from me. I get my license. So a lot of my first six clients came from the nightclub promoting industry. So I think it, it just, it carried over. Um, I was able to find a success in real estate now from my, uh, promoting days and all my, uh, the people that can my party. But I, like I said, it was, you know, the entrepreneur spirit and seeing my parents grow up. What starting so many businesses to get ahead, you know, after about two years of being just a regular real estate broker, working for someone else, I say, you know what, I’m going to start my own real estate company, and I’m going to call a warring properties and I’m going to give it, I’m going to give my brokers great training. Like I didn’t get. And there’s gotta be a place where it’s going to be diverse. You know, a lot of my friends can come join and a lot of, you know, a lot of people that can buy houses from us can, you know, be like minority. Cause there wasn’t that much. There, there wasn’t that much in the Seattle Bellevue area. And if there is a minority own real estate company, you know, they’re, they’re not doing so good. You know, they like. They’re cheap. They’re, you know, they’re like, they’ll pay him $150 a month. And when you close the deal, you can keep most of them, the commission, like they’re not making no money. Cause that’s kinda the agent way sometimes to cut corners and you know, like not really show your value. And I said, I’m going to try to do a different job. I just got to be a rough little company. We’re going to have like good training reputation. And I’m going to charge people 20% like, and you close the deal. You gotta give me 20%. You know, cause I got to pay the bills. I got to go ham, you know, go pay managers and staff and it costs a lot to run a business. So that was kinda my mindset to start the real estate company. Um, so I went for it after two years.
Maggie: (00:36:33) Wow. That’s amazing. Yeah. I actually used to work at a real estate company as well and there, it was an Asian, uh, real estate company. And though the way they do things is a little. Different, you know, the commission split is, you know, they, they often keep a big portion of it and the training is like, not that great as well. I think the training is like the most important thing that keeps the agents actually like interested in staying with them and, you know, actually wanting them to like learn more, you know, and that that’s like the most important thing. So how were you able to kind of like create your culture within your company? Um, and leading up to being like a $4 million a year company that is in. Well, and that is such a feat to, to a highlight as well. What were some of the things that you did to kind of create that culture within your company?
Rango: (00:37:21) Yeah, the first, first two years, or, you know, it took me about six years to get it up to, to the, that point. And it was hard in the beginning. I remember I had like two full-time jobs, you know, I was, I was a real estate broker while still selling real estate to my clients, going to have to pay the bills. And then I was running the brokerage. And I had like five agents on our roster and I started with like nothing. I started with like, you know, $500 in my pocket and it was hard. I had two full-time jobs now, not, you know, running the company and selling real estate. And I just, I just kind of took that mentality when I was promoting it. I’m going to, I’m going to do the, be the best. I’m going to one day be the leading real estate company in the Northwest. And I kinda kept that dream there. And after about a year or two, it was, it was, I was going to give up, I had like 15 agents on my roster. I wasn’t making that much money from it. Cause I’m still making 10 or 20% off their cut when they closed the deal. But. You know, at, uh, if you have 10 agents only like two are closing a deal a month. So I’m, and I barely made enough to pay the bills for the office. And, and I was still selling real estate. I still, I was always been a pretty good successful real estate broker, and I have to make a decision. I was like, okay, you know, it’s two years now. I have two full-time jobs, you know, and I gotta make a decision either. I quit selling real estate and I just focus on growing the brokerage or I closed down the brokerage and I just sell real estate. And. And then I made that decision to stop selling real estate and focus on the brokerage. Cause it’s hard to be a slave to two masters. I was trying to do too much. And once I made the decision and that’s where we really started scaling, you know, we went from 15 to 20, then 20 and 25 and then 20 to 40. Then we finally got two 50. And when I hit about 50 agents on the roster, that’s where we, I would make enough money from the agents closing deals. Where the money was coming in. Nice where I could pay all the bills. And I had enough to live on off of 50 that, that was called the magic number. And once I got to 50, I started putting money back into the company with hiring like a really good recruiter and manager and admin. And, uh, and then we got it up to. 125 agents, three offices, uh, 10 staff members. And, um, yeah, it was, it was, it wasn’t easy the first couple of years, but the last couple of years been pretty sweet once we got to that pass that 50, more than 50 agent points. So,
Bryan: (00:39:57) uh, amazing. It’s you make it sound so easy, but it’s really not. It’s extremely difficult. A lot of sacrifice decision-making along the way. And a lot of hustle too. Like you really have to hustle in this industry. Both industries you’re in promoting and real estate. Real estate is a huge hustle industry just to make things happen. You know? So hats off to you, man. I just want you to get an opportunity to Pat yourself on the back because that’s a huge accomplishment. And you know, as you’re going through this entire journey, like ever since you were a kid, I, what it has always been that chip on your shoulder to keep you going day in and day out. Because I feel like you’re not the only one who has this chip. I feel like your siblings do too. And I love it. You know? So what is that chip that. That keeps you moving and grinding and pushing through and believing yourself every day.
Rango: (00:40:42) Yeah. Good question, Brian. You know, I just, that underdog mentality, you know, uh, I grew up in the housing projects, so, you know, we didn’t have anything, you know, growing up, my parents didn’t give us anything. So it would just. You know, we went to school with the rich white kids from a Whitman middle school. And we were, we were the kids from the project and they have stuff. And so how for us to get stuff was we have to hustle and, and, you know, sometimes people look down on housing project kids or, or, uh, and that kind of stuff. So I remember one of the funnest hustle we had when we were growing up in the, how the project was. We want a nice clothes for 13 years old at a time. And we met these older black guys from Portland, Oregon. They were, they were hustling in our area and they said, You know, they like this for some reason. So they say, I’m going to give you guys, teach you guys this hustle. So he, they say go to value village or, or, um, uh, value village and buy these, these packs for like a dollar 50, a slap, right. Dockers lags, or like whatever else, slacks. And then. And then you rip the, the, um, you ripped the pants right at the crotch or the zipper. You rip it right there and this, so there’s a rip and then you take it to Nordstrom’s or JC penny or Macy’s and you re you say, Hey, my mom bought me these slacks for church and I, I was doing the zipper in it and it ripped. So I made, I think it needs to move flags. And then they’ll give you like, Vouchers versus stock. There was, I’ll give you slacks and then, and then we, you, you can do it for shoes and pants and stuff like that. And so ally 15, we’re all looking at my whole, the whole crew was looking nice and like slacks and dress shirts and my shoes and we hustled. But I think just, you know, that hustler mentality of being the underdog. Uh, you know, just, just say, I’m not, I don’t want to lose, man. I, I gotta, I gotta win, you know? And, and, uh, that’s why I’m here now. And, you know, cause we, we were dealt a different hand. Right? All of us, we, we, you know, we came over in 1980s. Our parents did, you know, we w we’re we’re behind. And so we’ve got to work harder than some of these people that are ahead of us to give us ours. And I remembered what Derek Jeter said, the great, uh, New York Yankees guy. He said, no, I always, I was never the, the most talented baseball player, but no one could outwork me, you know? And, and that’s why he’s one of the best now because no one can alberca man. I, I saw that in my mom growing up, no one at work, my mom, no one at work, my dad. And even now, like, you know, um, Um, you know, I, so I don’t know yet. No. So I sold the real estate company four months ago. I sold it. Yes. Um, four months ago to a, uh, century 21 office. And, um, so now I’m kinda, you know, I’m working on the blessed Boulder show and yeah. I used to also develop real estate, like built high-end properties all around Seattle. So I’m going to get back into that. And, uh, me and Richie, I don’t know. You gotta, yeah, you gotta know. Richie Lee. One of our passion projects was we opened up a sober living house for women and children, and can’t basically, you know, nine women, four kids are staying there and then there’s things sober to get themselves clean and yeah. If we’re running it at. So I want to kind of do more stuff like that. It give back to the community. Um, so yeah, that’s, that’s, you know, just keep on building and, and, and, and, and doing. Doing big things, you know,
Bryan: (00:44:03) thank you for that. And giving back to community is such a big thing. You know, a lot, I mean, me Maggie for us, it’s like, we want to get back as much as we can to the community. And I really, really appreciate you doing the same thing and shout out to your brother, Richie Lee Richie Lee was on our episode 51 on the Asian Huston hour podcast. So you guys wanna refer back to that, to listen to that episode? That’s uh, that’s rainless younger brother, right?
Maggie: (00:44:30) Three I cheat. Well, that’s amazing. I did not know you guys were, you know, we had to imagine a sober living house that is incredible. And thank you for all that. You’re doing love that you guys are, you know, giving back to the community. So Ringo, we have one last question for you, and that is if you could give one advice to an aspiring entrepreneur, what would that one advice be?
Rango: (00:44:58) Umlet’s see. So ask yourself before you want to go on this, this, this venture to start to build this. What do I want, why do I want it and how do I get it? You know, I think w. Are you ready to, to sacrifice what it takes to start a business is effing hard to start any business, like is any, anything. And so are you ready for the sacrifice that you have to put your family through your kids, through your mental standing feet through to, to get this thing that you want and like, is it worth it? And if it is and the right reasons why you want it, then go for it and don’t give up. And, um, but if it’s, if it’s, you know, selfish reasons, like just more money or, or fame, then, you know, I don’t think that’s gonna carry you as far. You know, you gotta, you gotta have your heart in a bright place. And one thing I started when I know what I did, I learned about starting my real estate company was. Know, I don’t regret the journey I took because the journey I took is what got me here. But man, am, I can do back. If I could turn back time, I would, what I would do differently would be half 50,000, a hundred thousand in my pocket. I w I would’ve grew instead of six years, I would’ve got there, like in two or three years, but, you know, making that money grow and hiring the right staff and having system and process in place. So have a budget to start a business. Don’t do it like me with $500 in your pocket. Cause that was damn hard. The first year that’s one, two is. Get some experience. Like I wish I would have went and worked for a real estate brokerage for about a year. Just kind of get their system process down, get up, you know, get the numbers down of how to recruit and how to manage people. And, and, and even if I would have worked there for free, just getting that experience, internee it it’s so much. And, um, I forgot the third reason, but yeah, just start a real estate company. It’d be, it’d be those two things out how I would do it over.
Maggie: (00:47:05) Amazing. Thank you so much for sharing that. Ranko and how can our listeners find out more about you and your blessed voters show online?
Rango: (00:47:14) Yeah. So we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re on a apple podcast. So you can find, we drive into the episodes every Thursday and we’re on a Spotify podcast. We’re dropping Richie’s episode tomorrow. We interviewed him. And also you can find this on YouTube. If you watch the show on YouTube, you get pictures and some graphics and, and you get to see me. And my co-host my land fam she’s, uh, we’re you know, you get to see us instead of just listening to it, but you, all those ways you can check it. Check me out on Instagram, wrangle, blaze. Uh, Yahoo. Oh, no. Wrinkle blaze, R a N G O B L a Z E. And we have a group Facebook page called bless the voters. You can join the page and we’re talking about refugee stories on there and, uh, Ellie. Oh, go to my email@example.com, R a N G O the letter D and then L e.com. Uh, I, I, I still do, you know, sell higher high-end real estate and a to pass the time. And also this year, I’m going to just be mainly working on the show, get in it as far as into many people’s hands as possible. Um, so they can be uplift and inspire. And then, uh, I think in the next, like couple of months, I’m going to start on developing and building more real estate properties and opening up more sober living houses and just keep on building on the success that I had before. And, you know, it’s just having fun with it, you know?
Maggie: (00:48:34) Awesome. Always hustling. We will leave all of those links in our show notes for this podcast, but it was awesome hearing your story today. Vango, thank you so much sharing with us.
Bryan: (00:48:46) Yeah, thank you so much wrangle for being the podcast, man, and huge inspiration to your story. Very relatable. It’s my own life story as well. And I really appreciate what you do. So can you possibly in day sound good thing, Brian thing, maybe of course you guys,
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