Previously on my Ascent To Financial Freedom.

My Wake Up Call

Date:  September 2006
Setting: American Airlines Row 28 Seats D & E

Sitting on an airplane, headed home after a week long meeting in Detroit, MI.

I’m bopping my head to one of my favorite R & B bands, Chicago.

Flip is next to me…fast asleep.

Tray table down, flipping through sky mall magazine.

And there it was.

A golden retriever puppy curled up in a dog bed on page 19.

I turned down my music and elbowed Flip in the most fun-loving way I could to see if I could jostle him awake.

He slowly opened his eyes and grunted “Mmmm”.

I sweetly apologized and in a very soft voice, I said, “Honey, I want one of these”, as I pointed to the adorable golden retriever puppy looking up at me from those shiny magazine pages.

Flip, still half asleep, half grunted and grinned, but before he could answer, I quickly threw in my sales pitch….

Rewind to August 2004

We had become one of the most successful fine art auction teams on cruise ships and we were promoted to the land division.

We settled down in Round Rock, Texas, and traveled 2 – 3 weeks every month.

Picasso’s, Chagall’s, Miro, Dali… the art was exquisite.

The people we met at the events were nothing short of amazing!

The travel….oooph!

It was time for a change.

Enter left brain Dani…

Back to the plane – September 2006

As I picked up the magazine and gave Flip a closer look at those beautiful brown eyes, I said…

“We’ve been planning my exit strategy for months honey.  Now that I’m going to stay home and help us transition into a career in Austin, I’ll have plenty of time to take care of a puppy while you are traveling.”

I smiled and batted my eyes, continuing on to say, “Plus, I’m going to be so lonely while you’re away, whose going to protect me at night?”

Flip had no chance at that point… he just grinned and said “Okay, let’s see what we can find when we get home.”

One month later


Flip kept his word.  I got my sweet golden retriever puppy and I prepared for my first job interview in over 11 years to help us transition out of the fine art world.

I was about to interview at an insurance and securities firm that was known for its clientele and only accepting the best of the best.

Rehearsing the answers to questions I thought they may ask, I made my way to downtown Austin.

Sitting in the waiting room, I thought I was going to lose my lunch…

My heart was racing.

My palms were sweaty.

My throat dried up.

I had cotton in my mouth.

Then the receptionist called my name…  “Danielle, they’re ready for you now.”


I prayed as I walked down the long hall to the big conference room at the end.

“Oh, Dear God, don’t let me screw this up!!!!”

As I opened the door, there sat 3 men in very expensive suits who all stood to their feet to greet me.

I wiped my hand on my pants as I moved towards them and stretched out my hand to say hello…  hoping they were looking at a strong confident “wonder woman” personality instead of the weak and scared puny personality that I felt inside.

I smiled and said, “Hi, I’m Danielle Robison, It’s nice to meet you.” and then I took my seat across the table.

Phew, I didn’t toss my cookies… that’s a relief.

Two grueling hours later….they ended the interview and said, “Okay, great, can you come in for you second interview on Friday?”

WHAT!!!!?????  Another interview, are they trying to torture me??

“Of course”, I said (with hope that it came out in a nicer voice than what I was grumbling in my head).

Friday came….

And after filling out a 30 minute psychological questionnaire… I got the job.

I couldn’t wait to get started.

I was doing the math in my head.

How soon could I be making $100K/mth?

Fast forward to August 2007

clock-watcherI was a “star” in the firm, pulling in great clients and decent money.

The problem…

I didn’t love what I was doing.

I struggled to find motivation just to wake up.

I had this constant feeling like I was in the movie Groundhogs Day with Bill Murray.

I continually thought to myself, when does the hamster wheel end and how do I get out?

I searched to find joy in what I did and to find that deep inner feeling of satisfaction.

How much longer could I keep this up?  I’m miserable.

I fought with myself.

I’m doing this for my family.

I’m doing this for my husband.

I’m doing this for my future.

It just wasn’t enough…

And so I Ieft.

I spent days rethinking my strategy.

Real estate?

That’s something I thought I would love.

It intrigued me…

I had read numerous books and articles about:

…quick income

…passive income

…even MUCHO income.  🙂

Many millionaires have been made in the real estate world.

Real estate was no fad… it would never just go away.

That was it.  That’s what I wanted to do.

I was finally excited about something again.


Date:  September, 2008
Setting:  Round Rock, TX

2008… some say the worst time to get into real estate.

It’s been exactly 2 years since that airplane episode when I asked Flip if I could get my first puppy.

There was doubt….

Can I do it?

Will I succeed this time?

When I talked to my family, their faces told me everything.

A hesitant smile backed by worried eyes.

“Danielle, are you sure?  How are you and Flip doing anyway?”

She had a point.

As sad as it made me to see doubt in someone’s eyes…

My family knew we had used up a lot of our savings and that our choices of what we were going to do next were becoming harder and harder to make.

I felt it too.  I was scared.

But I refused to accept defeat.

I looked back and answered her question with confidence, “We’re doing great and I promise, we’re going to be fine.”

And then the other shoe dropped…


Fine art had become a “luxury” and sales were down.

The gallery was forced to make some changes and Flip and some of his close friends were all let go.

I was scared.  Flip was paying all the bills and financing my efforts to transition into our next field.

What were we going to do?

We brainstormed ideas and made a decision.

Real estate auctions!!!

A very good friend of ours owned a real estate auction company.

We called him up and he invited us on board.

Our first auction was HUGE!  We auctioned off over 100 condos in north Austin, what a rush.

We had invited *friends* to come help us out and they were blown away as well.

We shared our story of buying the Austin franchise in a few months once we had our deposit together.

1 month before our deadline to have the funds, the phone rang.

It was our friends business partner.

“Hello, this is Dani”, I answered.

“Hi Dani, this is Joe.  I wanted to call and let you know that Sally called me yesterday and offered to buy the Austin franchise immediately and so I’ve accepted her application and deposit.”

My heart dropped.

“What?  That was reserved for us, does Tom know?”

Joe responded, “No, this was a decision I made and unfortunately, I can’t reverse it, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize he was holding it for you.”

I was furious!!

How could that happen?

My so-called *friends* just bought the franchise out from under us and our other friends business partner sold it without consulting anyone.

What else could possibly go wrong???


We had a choice to be mad or to move on.

We had a choice to whine and complain or get up and find something bigger and better.

Every day we woke up, we had a choice to make.

We could choose to be defeated or we could choose to BELIEVE in our ability to turn this lemon into lemonade.

Thoughts are things.

If that confuses you, pick up “Think & Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill and you’ll understand what I mean.


Recommended Reading

You have to WANT IT.

You have to change your attitude.

Every negative must turn into a positive.

People who bring you down or make you doubt your abilities need to be removed from the equation.

People who remind you of your failures instead of pushing you towards success need to be removed from the equation.

You must surround yourself with success minded people.


It’s the people who push past those failures, that fear and those mistakes with relentless determination who achieve greatness.

You must have an unstoppable attitude.  

People with a victim mentality and excuse makers never go anywhere and they drag everyone down in their wake.

You have to believe.  You have to know you’re already a success in the waiting.

Today’s story is a story of struggle, doubt and fear.   We’ve been at the bottom, we know the struggle intimately.

We simply refused to accept defeat.  We wanted success bad.

If you’re ready to face the music and answer the same question we were faced with ourselves, watch this:

How Bad Do You Want It? (Success)

We embraced our destiny, believed we would move heaven and earth to get there and took unbridled action to make our dreams come true.

Mistakes & Failures?  Yep…we’ve made a lot… and you’ll hear those stories tomorrow.

Until then…

Dani Lynn

P.S.  This 4 part series of emails is about a new project I launched with Mark Torok this year which not only has had an unprecedented 100% success rate but it taught ME the BIGGEST mistake I was making in my own real estate business.

If you want it BAD (success), stay tuned to the rest of this series.

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Related Articles to REI Success Strategies

Chapter 1: The Tale of My Sudden Success In Real Estate and Why I’d Never Do It Again (1 of 4)

Chapter 2:  Our Two Year Roller Coaster – Airplanes, Artwork, Auctions OH MY! (2 of 4)

Chapter 3:  Mistakes That Cost us Mucho Moolah (3 of 4)

Chapter 4: Gaining Clarity & Vision For Your Future (4 of 4)

How To Master Any New Skill and Develop New Habits