Welcome to Passive to Prosperous, the podcast that will help you stop living in scarcity, find value in yourself and start focusing on what your vision is, what your goals are and what you want your legacy to be. Today, you will hear of your host’s personal journey to a life by design. Dan Zitofsky was once an unhappy multimillionaire who constantly fed his ego and almost lost everything he thought he wanted. A fateful conversation with his wife brought him to a realization that made him figure out his “why,” his vision in life. From then on, he made a tremendous change and has never looked back ever since. Listen in and learn how you, too, can make that decision to change your life for the better.
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The Story Behind Passive To Prosperous
The Dan Zitofsky Story
I’m loving it because finally, after all this time, I was getting it done writing my book, Passive to Prosperous, and finally getting our show launch for you, guys. It’s important because I want to bring a tremendous amount of value to the group and to everybody who’s reading the blog on Passive to Prosperous. I wanted to start off and tell you a little bit about myself, my story, my journey, why I’m doing this, what my vision and passion are, and why it is. This is the greatest way to start this show. It’s by giving you that information. Once again, we did launch our bestselling book, Passive to Prosperous, and the title speaks for itself. We’re going to talk a little bit about life, why we came up with this, why we decided to do this show, why we decided to do our book and where our lives had brought us.
A lot of this is hard to be vulnerable. I’ll tell you a story about where I came from in my life. I’m not going to say I grew up in a way where I have a big story. I’m not going to try to emulate that I was rags to riches or anything like that. I want to be honest and true with you. I want to relay to you what I came through. Growing up, it was a tough life in the fact of not money so much. Money was a big part of it but part of my life was a lot of lost love from parents.
I never felt accepted as a kid in my house. I grew up where anything I did wasn’t good enough. As a teenager, my mother took off on us. I was more of a mama’s boy than a daddy’s boy. I was close to my mother. When she took off, she told me that she wasn’t happy with my father. Typically, kids have a lot of questions that as fourteen years old, “Why should we do that?” Even before that, we were starting to not be so close. She was becoming a miserable person.
I was left with my father and my brother. My father provided a roof over our head and we had food on the table so I’m not going to say we were rags and poor, but we didn’t have the extra money that some of my friends had. It was embarrassing. If I wanted to get the sneakers that my friends had, I had to work myself to get on. To take a bus to go to the mall or the movies, I have to pay for it myself. Those things are hard. The other tough thing is the embarrassment. I have friends growing up where their parents would say, “We’ll take you to movies then your parents will pick you up.” I would make excuses and not go because I was embarrassed that my father wasn’t around. He was busy doing whatever he was doing and didn’t include himself in our lives. I wanted to have a parent.
I had no mother around. I have a father that provided for us but he wasn’t around. I was miserable. I was going to sports practice, I would walk home myself in the cold, and I was embarrassed that people would ask if I need a ride. I would hide to make believe that my parents would pick me up and they weren’t. It was just an embarrassing time as a teenager to go through. I went through everything. When you start dating and you have to get your own car. It was one bad thing after the next. It should have been a statistic not to woe or feel bad for me, but I’m saying this because I want to impress upon you that you might’ve gone through the same thing. You might become a statistic but you shouldn’t. You should find your way out of this. I had the opportunity to go to college. My father was going to pay for part of it but my mother wasn’t paying so my father didn’t pay.
He brought a girl into the house and want us to get kicked out of the house by this girlfriend at eighteen years old. I decided, “I’m going to go to the Navy,” because my father never wanted me to go to the Navy. He said, “I’ll never become anything.” When I signed up, he says, “You’re going to become a loser. You’ll never graduate college by going to the Navy.” From that point on, I swore that I’ll prove him wrong. I also swore as a teenager that when I grew up, I’m going to make a ton of money, I’m going to be successful, and I’m never going to make my kids and my family live this life.What are you successful for? Are you successful in life or are you successful in things? Click To Tweet
This is a very important part of the story because I want you to realize where it came from. I get goosebumps, choking up a little bit, and tearing up just by telling the story. I do it every single time on stage or speak at events. If my wife is sitting there, I would look at my wife and stop tearing up. The room is usually crying because it leads to what came from here. I’m sure a lot of you guys might’ve experienced some of the same, some worse, some not so worse, some of you might’ve come from great families. I wanted to go into the Navy because I had nothing else I could do.
I didn’t have the ability to go and get student loans. I didn’t have a place to live. I had no other way to support myself. I had nobody to turn to, at that point. When I went to the Navy, I had parents that didn’t back me up with that. They told me I was going to be a failure by going to the Navy and I’ll never finish school, while my goal was to finish school and to prove them wrong. It wasn’t for myself at this point. I finished my college degree from start to finish. In two years, I went double full-time. I went to a university for my prerequisites and on weekends, the Navy brought instructors, professors out from other schools. I would go every other weekend, all Saturday or Sunday, and work 60-plus hours a week in the Navy.
When I got out of the Navy, I worked for a couple of years and then I became a New York City Police officer. While I was doing that, as a police officer, I was making $28,000 a year in New York City. I couldn’t afford a wife and two kids at that time. While being a police officer, I was investing in real estate, running, and doing a mortgage company. I was working as a lender and became a mortgage broker. I was investing since I went into the Navy. I bought my first condo as a rental but what’s so important here is that when I started as a police officer, I still was on this journey to make a ton of money to be successful.
I told my wife at that time and said, “I’m going to be a police officer until I don’t need to become a police officer anymore.” It wasn’t my life’s journey to be a police officer. I just needed something secure so I can afford to support my family, my wife, my kids, where they didn’t have to struggle. I didn’t want my wife to have to work because I wanted her to take care of our kids. I wanted us to raise the kids. I’m not saying anything bad if somebody has to use daycare or anything else, but I always swore that if I grew up in a house that when I come home from school and nobody was there. I talked about from 5 or 6 years old, I came home and nobody was there.
It was not the same now where parents are at the bus stop dropping you off. Parents are there to pick you up. I was walking across a major roadway to get home and no parents there. It’s not the lifestyle I ever wanted for my kids. My wife wasn’t working outside the house. She did an amazing job with the kids. That’s the toughest job in the world. I truly mean that. I give credit to every parent out there that stays on with our kids. It’s a blessing to be able to do that. I’m blessed that we had that opportunity.
I went on to start doing real estate. I was one of these fix and flip guys. I was flipping and fixing anywhere from no less than 40 properties a year. Sometimes, upwards of almost 100 properties in a year. I was netting $50,000 to $80,000 on average per property. You can imagine, I was doing some big numbers. I was making multi-seven figures. On this show, I might get a little irate sometimes. I might love you sometimes but I’m going to be honest and tell the truth about how I feel about people. There are a lot of idiots, a lot of low life gurus out there that are going to try to tell you what they did. They try and impress you but they didn’t do crap.
As I was doing multiple seven figures a year, I was the biggest idiot that you probably ever meet because of what I was doing. What I was doing is I was making this money and I was going out there. When I was making this money, I started buying the most beautiful cars. The cars that people dream of. I have a watch collection now that can choke a horse. My son got it in his hands. He’s like, “I know this is coming to me one day.” I hope not. We have a great relationship. I bought a beautiful boat and vacationing like crazy. I’ll never take away the vacation part because I love that.
I am living the life that everyone thought. I’m not saying this to impress you, it is to impress upon you. I have a beautiful, nice size house in a golf course community in a nice piece of land, and everything that everyone wanted, I had. I had a perfect life. I was working a ton of hours, 80 to 120 hours every single week, no less. I was grinding. That’s what everybody does. To be successful, you grind up. You go out there and work from 4:00 in the morning to 11:00 at night. You’re not going to be successful if you are not a grinder.
What an idiot I was. I was out on Sunday nights with my wife with friends. I would be outside the restaurant until 9:00 at night on the phone for an hour and a half speaking to realtors, contractors, inspectors, arguing with people like, “Contract is not showing. Call new ones.” The appraisals, banks, it didn’t matter. It was a nightmare. I was working my ass off because I swore when I was younger, I was going to be successful. I was going to show them that I was going to make money. I was going to do everything it took to be successful. That’s what success meant to me. That’s why I’m telling you this story. It’s important because this sets you up for everything. I’m going to talk about the mindset.
I remember to this day where my wife and I had an argument. In an argument, she came to me and I was irritated. I am a tough guy. I’m a man. I’ve provided for my family. I did everything that my parents didn’t do. I gave her the life that she could only dream of. She didn’t have this life growing up. She came from a hard life too. Her parents didn’t own a house. She didn’t have cars. I gave her the nicest cars you can imagine, brand spanking new pulling up on the driveway. Jewelry, watches, boats, vacations, anything she wanted and she had the guts to tell me that I was a bad husband and a bad father. Who does she think she is telling me this when I gave her everything she owns but she was 100% right. The one thing she wanted was a husband and a father for her kids. The one thing was I was not a good husband and father to my kids.
I never hit them, never did anything wrong to them, or didn’t yell at them but I wasn’t there. I wasn’t present in their life. Everything I worked for to be successful was totally different than what my vision said it should be. When my mentors sat with me and they said, “What is your vision?” I said, “I was going to be successful.” “Why?” “I don’t want to answer to anybody. I want to live the lifestyle and my life by design.” “What does that mean?” When you break it down to what that means is the ultimate is I want to wake up, do what I want every single day with whom I want every single day, any time I want every single day, and I wasn’t doing that because I was chasing money from my own ego.
I’m humble enough now to know that I was a screw-up. I’m vulnerable enough to be able to admit that it was all for my ego. This is why this is important. It’s funny because this happened in about 2009. From that moment on when my wife told me, “You’re a horrible parent. You complained about your parents but you’re worse than they are. You said you never would be like them. You haven’t proven it.” When you talk about putting a knife in your heart, I don’t know the pain that you can feel in your life when your wife or somebody you love, admire, you’re passionate about who is your best friend since I’m sixteen years old. She went through all this with me and I let her down. It’s hard to even think about this.Stop chasing money. Focus on creating a lifestyle by design. Click To Tweet
To this day, I’m still irritated and upset with myself but as upset as I am with myself, I’m blessed that she brought this to my attention, has been there for me, allows me to make it up to my family, and not just leave me. I would have had a ton of money but I wouldn’t have a family to enjoy it with. I would have been alone like I was when I was a teenager and that would have destroyed me because that’s not what I wanted but I thought that’s what I wanted. I thought the money is what I wanted so I wouldn’t have to ever be unsuccessful again. What are you successful for? Are you successful in life or are you successful in things?
Back in 2009, I said to myself, “What am I going to do?” I didn’t know what to do at that time because what I knew how to do was make a lot of money, fixing and flipping properties. I had a rental portfolio, nothing major, but to me, $300 a month for a house every single month was not that exciting. It’s a lot more exciting to make $70,000 to $80,000, sometimes over $100,000 on a flip. That’s a lot more exciting to me to make a $300,000 house.
When you make that $300,000 or $400,000 a house and do it multiple times over and over again, you learn how to become the bank and seller finance, you make more money every single month that you haven’t made flipping houses. You start getting your time back. You start realizing what’s important. You stop chasing money. You start focusing on what your vision is, what your life missions are, what your goals are, and what living life by design is. You start living that life and things change for the better. It gets better and nothing in my life has anything to do with chasing other than lifestyle by design. That is truly how I came up with my book Passive To Prosperous. Passive income to live a prosperous life.
During the course of this show, I’m going to talk about a lot of life issues, mindset issues, goal issues, how you lie to yourself, how you’re not finding value in yourself, how you have lived with a limited mindset, and how you’re living in scarcity. I’m also going to bring on a lot of information about how to build a business of passive income. This is going to be a tremendous show and here’s what I’m asking you guys. I’m not here selling ads. I don’t know if I ever will so I’m not going to commit to never doing that. I have some big plans for that. My plans have nothing to do with me chasing money. My plans have to do with generating enough revenue to be able to live my life legacy. My life legacy is the things that I can do for others. You might’ve heard this before if you heard me speak. I’m looking to build a tremendous cause to provide financial literacy for youth around the world.
That’s a tremendous undertaking. I’m not going to be the engineer on this yet and figure out how it can happen. It’s one of my visions that I want to do. I love giving back to certain organizations. Operation Underground is one of them, dealing with child sex slavery, and recovering kids from that horrible situation. I was an executive producer on the movie Wish Man which is about the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Frank Shankwitz. That’s why kids are very close to my heart. I’m a veteran so homeless veterans are close to my heart. I’m not going to come out here and say I’ll never do sponsored ads on my page but at this point, my plan is not to. My plan is to become an organic-type of show where you share it with your friends.
I’m asking you this, like Andy Frisella said, “My price right now is to please review our show and share it with at least five friends that you love and you can make a difference.” I promise you this, I will pour everything I could pour into those shows until the day I don’t see a value in this anymore going forward. I’m already working on things that I’m not going to talk about in this episode but in the future. What I want to do is I want to produce enough episodes out here now before I bring on the next set of ideas. I will produce this show with every piece of law I have. My one request for you is to share this with at least five people minimum. If you’ve got something in the show, give us a review. With that, I love you all. I look forward to seeing you in the next episode. Take care.