Lauren: Welcome to Investing Across Borders, I’m Lauren Cohen, International Legal and Real Estate expert and I am your host. So pleased to help people navigate their path to invest, live, work and play across borders, and I am here with my very dear friend, and major influencer, a wonderful entrepreneur who is truly the epitome of what I share on this podcast. I can’t do you a minute of justice you’re just such a wonderful go giver, kind-hearted, amazing entrepreneur that helps so many people build courses, and influence and create collaborative opportunities and you have joint venture inside your circle, I mean there’s so many different things that you have going on across 40 countries or more. Tell us just a little bit about yourself.
Iman: Well, first of all, thank you very much for such an amazing introduction, and I always say the quite simple introduction for me is just Iman, the guy is a nice guy and that’s all that I require. And, well, I’m a serial entrepreneur, as you mentioned, and I live in Vancouver BC in Canada. I invested in different companies, have bought into different companies and have several companies protected and different kinds of setups in different places, to be involved to make sure that we are doing the work that we are doing, and making an impact in the world. And pretty much that’s as simple as I can put this.
Lauren: You are all of that, when we just talked just before we started recording, we were saying that in any other year, we would currently be on the Marketers Cruise which is where we officially met in person, even though we had known each other for a while before that, because we would be, I don’t know, somewhere in Belize or someplace like that. so instead of not being able to leave Canada for example. But you know I would love for you, because I didn’t know your story until the Marketers Cruise, so I would love for you to just give us a brief background since you’re from Iran, and you came to Canada as an immigrant with basically nothing in your pocket, and you have brought millions of people to success in multiple streams of income. I mean I just I can’t even say enough about you but just tell us just a little bit about that, that journey.
Iman: Yeah. So, I mean, as I was growing up, I was always looking at people who are making a massive positive influence on other people like Oprah, Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy. I actually don’t even know how many books of Brian Tracy I had when I was growing up and you know I was going through college, and I was thinking, that you know I want to be one of these people, I want to be one of the people that stands on the stage makes positive impacts and also at the same time have a successful business. But as you know, I was born and raised in Iran, and with an Iranian passport is really hard to travel. And also, you really want to know English, at least from my point of view or maybe Spanish, maybe French but like a language that more people speak then than Farsi. So, back in 2008, 2009 my wife and I decided to move to North America, as it was easier for us to move to Canada, and so we moved to Canada, and we decided to come to Vancouver BC. When we landed here a few days after we landed, we realized that our money is not going to follow us, and it’s going to be stuck in Iran. And we said okay so if that’s the case then we have got to go find a job, but I couldn’t speak English. We didn’t have any money sent back to Canada. Well, here is my levels of English, the immigration officer asked me, “How’s it going?” And I felt, “I just came why is he asking me, what the hell, I’m planning to leave?”. And I mean like nine months after I was here, somebody asked me, “What are you up to?” And I thought what she’s asking me? What are you, what am I, what am I standing up on? So, I actually looked down and I said floor. I mean like isn’t everybody up to the floor. I mean that was, that was my level of English which actually even to this day, when I say that, many English-speaking people can’t even understand, “what do you mean, what does this floor have to do with anything”.
Anyway, then we start looking for jobs and long story short, when we got to this place, we were 17 days away from becoming homeless, and we didn’t have any money left for buying food or paying for the rent, and I knew by the end of the month, like we’re done, we’re finished, and we didn’t even have enough money to go back. Like, I knew that, like, we are going to be destroyed. We’re going to be living on the street, where the streets are in Vancouver, called the East Hastings, and more homeless people are living there, like most of the homeless people live in Hastings, so when you take your bus, you actually cross that part of the town. And I remember actually visualizing myself living there in the next like 15 days next door, I was like, I was planning how to live with my wife on that part.
Lauren: I can just imagine your wife. Oh, my goodness! I’m getting goosebumps just even thinking about it.
Iman: And so, then at that point I remember I woke up one day and I said, “Well, here’s the thing. Nobody gives you a job, and if you don’t give it to me, build it yourself”. And then that day, I started something called Vancouver Business Network, and I decided to start a web design company. I had no idea how to design a website. But then one thing I knew was. Sorry. Give me one second, I have a siren in my background.
Lauren: I have many of those here in South Florida.
Iman: Yeah, and anyways, so as I started us website, one thing I knew I had work ethics. I knew that if I offer something, I figure it out, I go and build it from scratch and I got lucky. Three days after I started my company, I found my first client who paid me $1800.
Lauren: That was like a gold mine at the time that was like that your rent should probably have been paid at least.
Iman: Right. That that pay the rent of the month, I bought us food and we’re living. We’re living in a ridiculously cheap home. We’re living in a home that they were planning to demolish it, that’s all we could afford, and they were giving it month to month rent because they were planning to demolish it, so we actually didn’t know if that home was going to get demolished like two months later, or three months later, but that’s why it was cheap. It was like 100-year-old building that. I mean, I mean it was silverfish and everything. Anyways, I’m not going go to the thing, but the rent was cheap, which for Vancouver is very impressive because Vancouver doesn’t have cheap. Vancouver, like people always said, they always say BC stands for bring cash.
Lauren: It’s not BC.
Iman: So, anyways, that money paid for the rent of the month I bought us food, and I started my web design company.
Lauren: Did you actually design websites, did you learn how to do that?
Iman: Yeah, I was, I was going out, I was I was doing networking from 9am to 9pm. So, doing that too.
Lauren: That’s so perfect for you to build the network that way.
Iman: So, 9am to 5pm. I would say that 550 Berardi Street, which is a coffee shop called Blends, from 9am to 5pm meet people one on one for eight hours, then at 5pm, I would walk to a networking meeting from 6pm to 9pm. I would go to a networking meeting to book appointments for the next few days. Oh my god I have my days booked, and then 9pm. I would get on the bus get home, 10pm, get home I would have dinner, because I didn’t have money to eat dinner outside. So, 10pm, after dinner. I would start learning web design from YouTube, and other places, and searching things and I would design the website till 2am or 3am, sometimes 5am. Then I would sleep and wake up again at 8am and would get on the bus go back and sort of have a meeting from 9am to 9pm, essentially, and I get tired just thinking about it.
And that’s how I built my web design company to make six figures, and I kind of started hiring employees, and now they could do the work, because now I could afford having people to do the work for me. Sometimes people say well why weren’t you able, we were getting money, to hire the person to do the work. I’m like, Ah, that’s really good for COVID. Sometimes business coaches say things that you read a thing, I mean, they really think you’ve never been in hard situation have you. I was in a position one time I was actually at a train station and I hadn’t eaten anything for 24 hours, and there was this $4 burger, that this place was selling. I was looking at the $4 burger, I was thinking staying hungry for two more hours is cheaper than eating after spending at least $4. After staying hungry for 24 hours so I decided to say to go for another two hours and then get home and eat something, that’s cheaper than four bucks, after 24 hours. And when people tell me well why you couldn’t hire a person, they have no idea how hard life can get through. So, anyways but that’s that is the short and long, short version of the story. I built my web design company and, I ended up on my deathbed, in a way, I woke up one day I was bleeding internally. I was rushed to the hospital, doctors couldn’t find the source, but they said that I’ve lost 60% of my blood. And they had enough blood that they could do is surgery to stop the bleeding. And they had to connect me to blood transfusion and hope that the blood transfusion is faster than the blood that I’m losing. So technically, they started giving me blood and they said well, if you’re still alive tomorrow, they will do a surgery on you tomorrow. And they gave me five, five bags of blood transfusion that night. But as I was lying on my deathbed because here’s the thing, when a person loses blood, there is a chance that they get a heart attack any second. So, it’s not like a loss of blood. When you lose 60% of your blood there is chance to die any second from heart attack. And so anyway I am lying down there and while I was lying there and thinking well, am I going die now, or not, right now. And I was holding my wife’s hand, I was looking back at my life and thinking. There’s one thing I’m going to regret if I die right now. And it’s this one thing if tomorrow people come to my funeral, they’re going say Iman was a nice guy, he was a web designer, and I so freaking didn’t want to die as web designer. I want it to be I as a person, who has made a massive impact in the world. I don’t want to die a nice guy. I didn’t want to know whether or not I wanted to die a person with a massive impact in the world. And that day I said if I ever survived this deathbed I’m going go and follow my dream I’m going to live true to my heart. We’re going do the things that I was meant to do in my life, and I got lucky. I believe in the stuff. I was, I was released out of the hospital, but they actually couldn’t do anything on me, because the bleeding stopped on its own, and just needed five bags of blood transfusion, years of therapy, and then I mean two years later I was diagnosed with cancer, that blood transfer the kind of whole bleeding thing was caused by cancer. But over the next two years, I mean I changed my life and I started teaching people how to share their knowledge, how to share their message, how to build businesses and companies, and I beat my cancer. Two years later, like when I was diagnosed actually it was not that complicated because, I mean, thank God it was a quite easy cancer to deal with just before the surgery, and they could remove it with the first surgery. But that put me on the path of lots of self-discovery. I always tell people like my cancer saved my life. Yes, I have a scar. The size of 10 inch on my belly. But I always call that my lifeline. It’s something that every morning. When I look at the mirror. And that’s the biggest reminder that anybody can get it every day. That why invest forward. What are you making up your life today?
Lauren: Man, I wish I could give you a hug, such a special man you are. You have accomplished so much of that goal. And I think so many people you impacted, so many people with what you’re doing on so many levels like it’s not just entrepreneurs, it’s just people. I mean, I remember on the Marketer Cruise, the first day, one of your students lost her husband, on the cruise. And I didn’t know that this had happened, I just met you and I thought, this is all he’s about, like he didn’t seem that friendly I like him, he seemed like the guy I’ve talked to and then I found out it was because you’re, they said happened, somebody had had died, and it’s the most wonderful woman who lost her husband and Iman’s heart was just broken, literally, because he, he was there looking after her through the whole trip, making sure that she was properly cared for, making sure that all the arrangements were made, I mean, that comes from your heart, that’s an authentic human being, and this is where, this is where your greatness comes from, because you’re not coming from a place of, oh I want to make a lot of money. But you’re coming from a place of, I want to impact a lot of people. And that impacts a lot of people in every country around the world, literally, Iman is known in like so many countries for doing so much for your students. How many, how many countries do students come from right now would you say?
Iman: I actually don’t know, I know that I have one of the top 100 entrepreneurial books, internationally. So, I mean, 1000s of people have bought and read my books. Honestly, I know that of our fans people read from 54 countries. I actually have never sat and looked because actually, that’s not the way I the way I look at the world. I don’t do what I do to look at my numbers and, you know, I know that many people will want to do that and like do that because they want to, like, brag about it or talk about it or whatever, like whatever resonates with them, and I mean like it’s a cool thing, but I have never actually sat back and said, well, let’s look at all the, all the countries that we have students in, and other things, because every day we go back to work to make sure that we’re doing the best that we can, you know, and, and we do we do that work as best as we can, you know, that is a very simple policy I always tell people to like treat others the way that you would like to be treated. And if you do that, then, then you’re good, you’re okay. And then the other thing is I made sure that by the end of the day when you go home, you want to put your head on your pillow. You can sleep with no guilt, but no regrets. And, and that’s how to do policies, you know if you have to do things. I mean, you’re building a big impact and, you know, money is just a byproduct of impact. If you’re making a big impact, and you’re making it in the positive way and you want to make it in a sustainable way, then money becomes a byproduct of your sustainable impact. The thing is that many people say well why do you charge? They say why do you charge, and I said well because you need sustainability to be able to grow your business, it always requires money, requires income, to be able to be sustainable and the more money you have, the more impact you can make. Sometimes people think money is evil and I always tell them money is just an amplifier. You add money to something that is good, you get better, you add money to something that is bad, we get worse. We have assholes who have money and they’re bigger assholes. We have people who are good, I have more money and they’re better, they can do better in the world. And honestly, I know more good people who have money than more assholes employed.
Lauren: But that’s because that’s who you’re surrounding yourself with, and if you were not that person, then you’d be surrounding yourself with those bad people with more money and are not looking at it from, How can I impact people, but how can I make more money and buy more stuff and get the Maserati or whatever it is, and that you know it’s just all about them.
Iman: So, it’s the good thing about life, is that it’s your choice you want to hang out with people you want to hang out with. You don’t want to hang on with them just, just don’t go hang out with them.
Lauren: Sometimes it’s more challenging if they’re in your family, but you know it’s true, it’s true. You know I remember when you and I first talked about working together and we talked. I asked this question in my questions that I asked before you come on the podcast about what’s more important value, or price. And I remember when we first spoke and you said to me, Lauren, you charge as much in US dollars, as most lawyers charge up here in Canadian dollars, but I’m going to work with you because I know that you’re going to look after me. And because you bring value to the table, that’s well beyond the price point of, you know, the differential. And I, it’s, it’s true and it’s resonated with me ever since tonight. And it’s just really important because as you’re saying what you said, somebody, people ask why do you charge what you charge, if you’re all about impact? Well, you have to make money in order to go from point A to point Zee, and money does make the world go round. And I just got off a podcast interview, this afternoon or this morning I don’t know anymore. And I was with another lawyer. And we were talking about how money, gives you options. Money gives you freedom and options, and those options and that freedom is what is, I think, what drives entrepreneurs to make more money when they’re impacting people, because you want options you don’t want to be stuck. Right. And that’s a big deal you know.
Iman: Here’s the thing. I also see sometimes people think that money buys your happiness. Your money never buys you happiness. Money can buy you pleasure, but it doesn’t buy you happiness. Happiness is something that comes from within. Happiness is something that, but money buys you pleasure and buys you options. Those are the two things that money can do. That’s all it is. And it’s an amplifier, it just gives you more options to be able to make bigger impact or bigger negative impacts, I would say, like what do you want to do with it right? But at the end of the day, it’s all about the value, one of the things that I’ve dealt with a lot is when people try to do it cheaper. They end up spending so much more time and energy and effort and sometimes the person can’t afford it. Like honestly the person can’t afford it, and I mean like I have many possessions that I couldn’t afford it. But I also have realized one thing, too many times people don’t know what their life values are, what I mean by life values, is that each of each of us as a human being, have some values in our life, right, for example, some people value time that they spend with their family. Some people value their health, more than other things right. And sometimes the only value that people have been exposed to is the money. They like cash because that has amount, but they forget about all the other values in their life. And one of the things I always tell people is like what are your top four values in life? Yeah. And sometimes the person says health, his family, he is helping others, I spent the money on this. Okay that’s great question for you. And if you spend this extra 1000 bucks or 2000 buck, but you can save another like 60 hours that you can spend with your family, or if you don’t spend that $2,000, and you had to be behind your computer and do research and do it all yourself and then you make a mistake, and then you have to go to court and you have to do this and that and bla bla bla bla. That’s like hundreds of hours that you’re taking away from your family. Or you can just pay the $2,000 and just, if you have it and you can afford it right now the question is if you have it and you can afford it. That was your option okay, now that you have the option, tell me, what are the values in your life, and they’re like, I’ve never thought about it this way. And I always say, like always say, yes, I don’t go in to spend money on things that just have high value because they don’t have value to me, they have high value, but they don’t have any value to me right here. For example, I never drive a Lamborghini, I never drive a Maserati, right, I just, actually, to be fair, like, the next time I’m buying actually the Maserati, but then generally, I don’t go and spend money on things that are l from my point of view a waste of money, right, for absolutely nothing in return. Right. And I want to go from point A to point B, I don’t need to do that in a half a million-dollar car, I can put that, like $400,000 back in investments in other things you know what I mean. So, but then the thing is, what are the values that you have in your life, and can that money, buy you those others, that time with your family, that time that you can exercise, and whatever those values are in your life. So, money buys you options, and those options are the options that are other values in your life. But when you don’t know that those other things that have value in your life, then you may actually be focused on the wrong thing which you will regret. At the end of your life, that’s the problem right. I mean that was one of the top five biggest regrets of people on their deathbed is not having, is not spending enough time with their family. Yeah. So, that’s all.
Lauren: I wanted to know so web design, so, you were doing web design, what drove you, what took you on the path to create Success Road Academy, Course Creation Leader? What, where, when did you realize, like you said I don’t want to die a web designer, what happened next?
Iman: Okay, after web design, I mean I kept a website company for a few weeks after that literally just a few weeks.
Lauren: Weeks, right?
Iman: I literally dropped a half a million-dollar company in just like that. And I decided to start, like I was doing some talks and other things, but I didn’t have a program, and I said you know what I’m going to do, I’m actually going to make my business based on teaching people how to build businesses, and how to do what I just did. And I started my first course, I taught eight people how to build a successful business. Those people got great results. They became my success stories. The first class I taught, I taught it for free because nobody would pay me. But then, now that I had success stories, I started teaching it as a paid course, right, and in a couple of years, we went from being only one city Vancouver, to go to four cities, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto. And I had branches in all these four cities, and we were teaching. We had the students in the four cities where the events that were happening in all the four cities, and I realized I’m literally living on an airplane, and I got 280 pounds, was always traveling, I had cars in four cities. And I had to drive from one city to another and I kind of like fly from one city and then driving so can you imagine it was crazy like 200 days of travel. And then I decided to go online back in 2015. I also became a Canadian citizen which made it easier for me to travel to be able to go to the US to attend other events, and that was sort of opening doors to JV relationships, which were great. The good thing was that our business was online. So, I would come back home, I would do every sale and everything we’re doing from the comfort of my home, and everything online. But then the business started expanding a lot more. And then that required me to be more places. I started investing in other companies. So, we have a company in the US that I bought into. And then, and then so on and so forth. So right now, as we’re speaking, well I’m part of the Money Investment Fund that we have five companies inside that investment fund. We have another IT company. now, the JV inside their circle that everybody knows about, or, but if not, it’s like everything, this is one of the largest JV networks in the world, and then also have the success Royal Academy where we teach women how to create and sell online courses because literally, that’s what changed my life in 2015.
When I decided to stop traveling between one city to another city and wanted to sit in one place, like so how do we do this? And then there was another one online, and that was when I actually reached out to you. I’m like hey I’m traveling and being all over the world, and I need to make sure that I’m protected. Whether I’m in other countries and
Lauren: Eventually it is going to happen again. I mean, I feel like everybody, I think at the beginning of COVID, you’re probably like, I don’t know I’m speculating, you’re probably like, holy crap, what am I going to do? Even though you had a lot of online business, you’re an events guy. You’re an in person, hugger. You know what, I was talking yesterday with a big influencer Bert Aliva. I don’t know if you know him, and we were just talking about the thing that we miss the most, is how easy it gets, you know you can have your wife, can have your kids, you can have your dogs but you’re not hugging anybody else. And that’s strange for people like us that are relationship driven. Working, you know used to being in big crowds and events and running events and so on and it’s been a big change now. What started as a challenge turned into a pivoting opportunity that you have turned into a like mega collaborative business working, having joint ventures, inside of circle events once a month, right, or, and then running other events collaboratively with other people that need to build their own tribes. So, it’s just been an awesome ride to watch and share with you and be part of, you know, and just also to see so many other people impacted like who don’t understand the JV world, the joint venture world and people pretend to be experts, but unless you’re in it, you’re not an expert. And it took me a really long time to figure out how to create those affiliate relationships because at the end of the day, I’m a lawyer. Lawyers are not collaborative lawyers, are competitive. So, it’s a change of mindset, right collaboration breeds success.
Iman: Although you collaborate really well with other lawyers and other people, but I’m actually impressed, like when we started working together and I saw how you collaborate with other lawyers I was like wow I’m impressed with that.
Lauren: Thank you, well it’s taken a while, you know it’s a learning curve like anything. But, but in the past year I have come into my own in some, in many ways, and created some signature programs that are getting amazing traction. I just got asked today to run a webinar for the Canada Florida Chamber of Commerce because they heard about what I’ve been doing and so you know it’s important because I, like you, want to impact others and help, and make a difference, not just charge, you know, pay a bill. And I just created an amazing strategic partnership Iman, with an asset protection lawyer who was looking for somebody like me. I’m like oh, well, here I am. And I love that because this way we can bring value to our clients together and that and, and that’s what excites me. So, and I started with you. You probably don’t even know this, but I signed up when I was first in this space a little bit, for your course towards creation program. And I went through it and I didn’t really quite get it, I didn’t get how it would fit into my business, I was kind of like banging my head against the wall. I kept coming to your meetings and it was like, I don’t know, this guy doesn’t seem to be talking to me, but I kept coming and I was persistent, and I figured it out and now I have a membership program and you know I have Evergreen courses and all this stuff. And not that long ago a guy on a real estate portal said to me, you’re too salesy you have too much of a funnel, I’m like “what do you mean”? He says well I can work with you because I’m a multimillion-dollar investor and I’m like, Okay, I guess, different strokes for different folks right.
Imran: Right. I’m extremely impressed actually. I am impressed that you have it, if a person has told you, hey you have an elaborate sales system so I can’t work with you because I have too much money. I have so many questions.
Lauren: You talk to him.
Imran: Sorry I have too much money I make it my money without any sale system.
Lauren: Seriously, I mean, I think, I think it was the lawyer thing he thinks lawyers should not have systems. I’m like, how can we possibly grow our business and impact people and help, you know, but most lawyers, admittedly, are not entrepreneurs, it’s just like most people look at us as lawyers, it takes us a little longer to get off of the lawyer train and get on to the, I’m a lawyer but I’m also an entrepreneur, and I have a system that can help you. So, Eamon, I thank you for your time. I’m glad we were able to figure this out today we almost missed it and I was like, we had a mess up in our calendars, and I was like if I cancel this, I’m not going to see him on for six weeks at least, I just knew, and I was like, okay, I’m going to figure this out and here we are. How do people reach you, not that it’s that hard because we can find you everywhere, Success Road Academy what a guy and he’s, he’s amazing, but let us know how they can reach you please.
Iman: First before I talk about that I want to say thank you to you for treating your clients, like, like, treating or your clients at a VIP level. That means a lot to me, to many people who work with you. Thank you. Because, you know, I never ever felt that I am a number when we’re working together, and I know that I am just another client, but I am not treated just like another client. And, and that means a lot and, you know, for those that are listening to this, the length that Lauren goes to serve our clients is unbelievable. I really want to thank you for your flexibility for your professionalism, for everything, for the way that you treat people, and your clients, that means a lot. And, I mean, in the course of working together, and the whole process, I’ve never felt anything less than VIP with you.
Lauren: Thank you. And it comes from my heart I really do I care about you guys so much you know, you’re a part of my world. I’m so glad to have had the chance to meet you in person and I can’t wait to see you again in person. Soon, God willing, and thank you, you might it really is a pleasure. It’s a pleasure to be a part of your world, it just is a pleasure.
Iman: Thanks. Now how to reach out to me, how to connect with me actually. Good thing my name is unique. So, Google is very, easy friend because if you search my name on Google, pretty much, I come up everywhere on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, I mean Clubhouse…
Lauren: Clubhouse, oh goodness me that thing could control your life if you let it.
Iman: Don’t try to find me on tik tok or other. I mean like other things like Snapchat. But then pretty much you can find me on the regular ones LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook.
Lauren: Iman just spell your last name if you would please. Aghay and Iman is Iman, and then obviously you can always go to ImanAghay.com, that’s an easy place to find me or successroadacademy.com. But, yeah, I’m pretty accessible person, and is it easy we can reach out online.
Lauren: I thank you. And again, I look forward to the time when we can reconnect in person and schedule some time with me so we can chat further about all the stuff that we have to chat about. Send my regards to your lovely, amazing wife, and stay safe and healthy, and thank you again for your time. Thanks, everyone, it’s Lauren Cohen, International Legal and Real Estate expert signing off for today from Investing Across Borders, where we teach you how to invest live, work, and play across borders. Thank you so much for joining us today. Stay safe and have a wonderful day. Bye for now.