This week on The Millionaire Choice Podcast, Tony talks with artistic entrepreneur, Dan York. Tony and Daniel talk about the Purpose of Wealth, structured habits, and why you make your money.
Born in 1978 in Libertyville, Illinois, to parents Daniel Lee York and June Dianne York. Dan was raised in the far north-west suburb of Chicago, Round Lake Beach where his only formal art education took place under his art teacher, Betsy Edwards from Grade School up into his attendance at Round Lake Senior High School. He was never formally trained beyond this.
About Dan York
Influenced by hundreds of years of art by his personal favorite artists from Italian greats such as Titian to more contemporary painters, he paints his current works that he calls Delusionism which he explains, “I just want to snap you out of your day for a minute, maybe I’ll give you a laugh, and maybe you’ll write me a check.” On his subject matter he states, “I spent many years trying to force my style, what I am as an artist, but no matter what I painted it came out that way. At some point I just stopped fighting it and accepted what I do. Now, I just try to make myself laugh.”
Learn more about Dan York, https://danielmatthewyork.com/
Welcome back to the Millionaire Choice show. Today we're gonna have a little bit different guest on the show. We're gonna have an artist. We've got Daniel Matthew York. He is a contemporary artist, an entrepreneur, and; something dear to my heart; a digital marketer. So, as you all know, I spent 15 years with the Ramsey organization. For about 10 years of that time, I was able to do a lot of internet marketing, digital marketing, and I still love it today. I love how you can change things in real time online; get results. And, if you mess up, you can fix it really fast, and then watch the numbers go. So, internet marketing is a lot of fun. Daniel, I still remember that commercial. Was it the eCommerce commercial or the FedEx commercial where the guys sat around the computer turned on the online store and they were really excited for about five seconds before the numbers started growing so fast?
Dan York (00:50):
I wish my numbers grew that fast. I've not seen that be the result.
Dan York (00:54):
Mine never did either. I was always like, "you liars! It's not that easy." Mine never grew that fast either.
Field of dreams. With, Kevin Costner, "if you build it; they will come." It doesn't quite work quite that way.
Dan York (01:12):
No, it's a nice idea. It's a cute idea. Makes good for a movie and some popcorn, but it never worked that way for me either. If you build it, you go, "now what?" You gotta fill in the "now what," but, anyway, Tony, appreciate you having me on the show, man.
Certainly, I enjoyed the pre-show and talking to you about things. So, as always, we love telling the story for our guests. From what I understand from you, you didn't really grow up in a well-to-do financial family with, Lamborghini and Porsches in the driveway. Did you?
Dan York (01:41):
Well, the funny thing is; they did have Porsches in the driveway, but that was because my dad was a mechanic. He worked for Volkswagen of Porsche of America, and was a mechanic. He was actually like a Porsche master tech. So, we did have Porsches at home, but we never bought 'em cuz we couldn't afford them. My mom was a librarian and my dad was a mechanic. So, we grew up with pretty meager means in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. I mean, I won't go so far as to say we were poor, but we didn't have money and we didn't have college funds and we didn't have any of that. We all bought our first cars. I mean, we grew up like that dude.
When I think about Porsches in the driveway, you conjure up, Ferris Bueller's day off where Ferris took his dad's Ferrari. Was it Ferrari?
Dan York (02:23):
That was a Ferrari.
Took his Ferrari for a ride and then realized he couldn't roll back the odometer when he got it back home to hide from his dad. So, did you take any of the Porsches for joy rides when dad wasn't watching?
Dan York (02:37):
No, we didn't. We would- I have a twin brother. I have an identical twin brother who also coincidentally is an artist; we're twin artists. But, my dad working for Porsche and Volkswagen, he found us little, 1983 Volkswagen GTIs. And, my brother and I would have little jobs since we were like 12 years old delivering papers; being bag boys; getting work permits to go work at the grocery stores before we were 16. So, we had these little junky Volkswagen GTIs, and we'd race those, and get in all sorts of trouble with those. It was just as fun as Porsches to us.
That's hilarious. So, your dad's a mechanic, my dad was a carpenter. I thought I was gonna be a mechanic for a while. I loved working on cars. I bought my first hotrod at age 13. It was either 13 or 14, and I paid, $120 for it.
Dan York (03:25):
Wow. What was it?
It was a 1970- if I remember correctly, 1972. Basically a GTO clone and had the GTO hood, GTO front grill, front bumper. I loved that car. I bought it from a guy who apparently was intoxicated one night and hydroplaned it into a barbwire fence.
Dan York (03:45):
So, it had four big post holes where he spun out and hit the barbwire fence. Every fender and every quarter panel had a post size dent in each one. The interior was immaculate. It was a wide interior. Super nice. It had just been sitting the whole time. The vinyl roof had split and was coming off and hard top underneath. So, I went and offered that guy- I was 13 or 14, whatever age. I asked him, "how much you wanted for it?" He said, "$200." I said, "I'll give you $120 for it." And, he looked at me and says, "no, I won't take that." And I said, "well, here's my number. Call me if you change your mind." And, I walked away. So, I did the walkaway sale at like 13 or 14.
Dan York (04:39):
I was gonna say you were 13 and already playing the game.
I didn't know that. I just like, "oh, I'll just, stay away." Nobody taught me that. So, I walked away and within- I think it was about two weeks after that I got a phone call and he sold it to me. I went and picked it up. I think it cost me like maybe $50 to get iy towed home. So, I got my first personal car that I bought with my own money for, $50 for the tow truck and $120, and then learned how to work on engines. But, because I taught myself how to work on cars, rebuilt the engine and fix that car up. I thought I was gonna become a mechanic just like your dad. So, I ended up going into engineering. I figured I'd learn math, learn science; I like math and science. I like cars. It sounds like engineering. So, that's what I went to college for.
Dan York (05:29):
It probably helped out quite a bit with your digital marketing stuff too. Cause you have to be able to think with an engineering mind a lot of times and be able to figure things out. It's funny cuz then- I don't know how old of a guy you are, but I mean, I grew up in the 90s; especially with my high school years and driving years and I didn't really know anybody whose parents got 'em cars. We all worked. We, I was delivering what we called the advertiser at like 11 where you're delivering these papers for, 5 cents each or whatever. We all saved up for our cars. But today everybody seems to buy their kids cars. I'm like, is that really, is it really, they're different that nobody's working for their own cars as teenagers anymore. I'm sure that's not the case everywhere, but just seems way more prevalent than it did just 25 years ago.
Well, I think that goes hand in hand, and I'm thinking about my kids, like how do I teach my kids about money? My mom actually gave me my mom and dad gave me my first car. It was a 1974 Maverick four door. She was, she was going out to buy a new car. And so she, I was getting the hand me down. So this would've been- let's see, she was giving it to me- it would've been, 1985. So, it was about 11 years old when she was giving it to me. I thought it was really cool at first until my neighborhood buddies started making fun of it. I'm like, "oh, I don't want that car." And, my mom didn't have much growing up. So, she spoiled us, and I just begged and begged and she couldn't say no.
So, finally they did something radical. They should have never done this, but, future millionaires, this is not how you parent your kids. I'm just telling you it's a bad idea. She went, my family, my dad, my mom and me. I was probably about 15 at that age. And, we went to the Jim Reed Chevrolet here in Nashville, Tennessee. I think they're still downtown. I would have to see, as they might not be in the same area. We test drove a bunch of cars, and they bought me a brand new car and bought her a brand new car. We were strapped; we didn't have a lot of money. They looked at their budget- because I begged, she did this. And, in less than a year, I wrecked it the first time.
And then, it got fixed and then almost exactly a year later, I wrecked again and that time I totaled it. So, that was when I had already purchased the $120 hot rod. That's when my mom and dad said, "Hey, you need to get that car running." Like, "that's your car now." That's when I had to go out, and- this thing had been sitting in the yard for like a year, without much work on it. I had to get out there and fix it. My dad and I got in a few fights trying to fix the engine up and stuff like that. But, they spoiled me. I didn't learn any responsibility from that. All it did is jack up my insurance rates.
I think that's the big thing that's missing with kids today is; the sense of personal responsibility and ownership. I give my kids "hand-me-down" computers. If I get a new one, they get my old one. It's been interesting to see which kids actually take care of what I give them versus those that treat it like a token. Some appreciate it and some don't. I think that's what's a little bit wrong with society is; parents haven't- we've lost the ability as a whole to teach our kids responsibility.
Dan York (08:39):
Well, on the car thing; it's funny, my dad used to say- and again, he was a car guy. Like for example, the first car I had, it was $300, and I had saved up all my money, and so he said that he wouldn't buy his cars because he wanted us to respect them. "Respect the car," that's what he said. I didn't really get that until I was much older, but it really comes down to the fact that when you pay for something, you take better care of it when it's yours.
Dan York (09:14):
Like people in hotel rooms; you ever see people how they treat hotel rooms? They just trash 'em. I'm like, I don't personally feel like it's unnecessary, but if it's their home, well, they definitely don't do that. It's that same kind of concept. So, when we bought our first cars- I mean, we learned more to respect it, and we would take the time and wash it and take care of it, and put fuel injector cleaner in it, like really, really baby the thing much more than if I borrowed my mom's station wagon, we didn't really take care of that.
It's interesting, parenting; you try to do- at least what I try to do is like, I look at what my parents taught me and I try to improve on it with my kids. That's a journey for sure. But, your dad's a mechanic; he probably got you out there. Did he get you out there to change the brake fluid sometimes on the cars?
Dan York (10:07):
A little bit, a little bit. I mean, not too in depth of it, but we did all your basic stuff, and changed some fuel injectors and brake pads and your basic maintenance stuff. We were pretty good with all that, but he never really got us in too deep. That was more his thing than us; me and my siblings. There were four of us; one was the computer nerd. Then there was the artist and musician, we all kind of did our thing, but that was one thing we'd had, like when we were growing up. We didn't have a lot of money. We never had a lot of money, but we did have parents that allowed us to develop what we wanted to do.
Dan York (10:47):
And, that was pretty cool. A lot of parents try to dictate what their kids are gonna do. Our parents did not do that at all. They would, of course, positively guide us as best they could. But, if one wanted to go to the computer out there, like, "great go to the computer route." Funny thing is he'd go work himself and pay for his own stuff. My parents didn't buy him that stuff. The same one for the rest of us. I think those are pretty good lessons. It was, teaching you to be on your own without being on your own.
I think the more responsibility; you think about that today; I tell my kids this I'm like- my youngest, I've got six children ages 10 all the way up to 22.
Dan York (11:21):
Wow. Well, you got a big house full.
We stay busy. We didn't plan on that at first, but after- my wife always wanted four, and I talked her into five and six. I think the fifth one and six one are probably her favorites. She'll never admit that. My oldest son is working with me now, on the Millionaire Choice and he's doing a fantastic job. He's only been with me about three weeks, and it's taken a big load off my plate. We're blessed that all the kids are intelligent and can act independently. But, I think learning through my kids, first one is the one you're probably the worst on. They say, "you experiment on your first kid; you make a lot of mistakes." I would say that's probably true.
I didn't really- I started working when I was 13 years old as a kid to make my own money and to spend my own money. I spent on a lot of frivolous things. I didn't really push my oldest to start working until he was like 17. He was like getting ready for college. And then, I'm like, "I just did it." My parents got me working at like, age 10 for them. And then when I could get a real job at like 14, I did. And, they just always had me working since I was young. So, it was just very natural. I did not do that with my kids. One is because I didn't have a job to give them, to put them to work. With my parents, I did. But, with the rest of them, it's been a little bit different story. We didn't spoil 'em. We didn't buy things for 'em, but teaching them that responsibility to provide for themselves. I think it's huge. It's a really big deal. So, it's pretty cool that your parents got you in there at an early age. Do you think that was one of the big life lessons; even though your parents didn't necessarily, they weren't wealthy or teach you how to build wealth, they taught you a couple of core things; principles that you learned?
Dan York (13:02):
I think they were trying to teach. I mean, I think it was a combination of the fact that we just didn't have any money. So, we all had to get our jobs young, and if we wanted it, we had to go buy it. And they, of course tried, they were very good people, my parents. They would wanna teach you the right things. Mom always tried to keep you off sugar and no drugs and no alcohol. Anything me and my brothers and sisters did to mess ourselves up; I'm sure we did it to ourselves when we were teenagers. It wasn't because of my parents' bad direction.
So, if you can you think of any mistakes; like, for me, young, a lot of problems happened financially; but was there anything grossly mismanage that you had to learn or deal from that you look back and like, "wow."
Dan York (13:45):
That was as a youth or as an adult?
Well, both, but let's start with the youth because that's where the foundation starts.
Dan York (13:52):
I would say probably the primary thing, which is both. I mean, as an adult and a youth is; you kind of know as a kid, at least I did; I knew what I wanted to do since I was a little kid, I was an artist. I mean, I knew that, I mean, it was it's all I ever wanted to do. I had this weird thing that used to happen to me too, where every night I would have nightmares about becoming an artist and getting assassinated. And, I'm like this little kid; I'd be like 9 years old. So, I'd go into my mom's room and I'd be like, "mom!"
Dan York (14:23):
And, my dad would be like, "god damn it! What are you waking us up for?" And, she'd be like, "what?" I'm like, "I don't wanna get killed mom!" And she's like, "what are you talking about?" So, I'd sleep next to her bed every night. But, that happened almost every night. Now as an adult, I go, "god, what- She must have thought I was this nutball little kid thinking about getting assassinated at 9 years old, who thinks of this stuff?" But, it's just what I wanted to do as a kid. Now here's where the trouble would come is; you go on your pathway and then you meet somebody else and they move you off to another pathway. That problem plagued me up until I was about 32.
Dan York (15:03):
So, it was something that happened as a kid. It would happen several times in my twenties. You'd meet somebody and they're excited about this, or- I'm an ambitious guy; I like success as just as much as anybody, and I wanna come from nothing. So, I wanted to really become something in my own mind; whatever that meant to me. But, you come into contact with some very cool and interesting people. So, it's not even bad intention. It's just- there's their goals, and their goals would sort of supersede my goals, and then I would join their goals and then I'm pretty much off path. Those almost always- I shouldn't even say almost always- that always ended up bad for me. I would always lose in some capacity; almost go bankrupt, lose everything, and then have to go and get right back on my path. Then things would go right again. That started when I was a teenager, and it was just staying true to what you intrinsically know, without sounding trite or anything, but you kinda intrinsically know your path. If you stay on that, you're in pretty good shape. And then you just have to battle the world and all of the things that go on in the world along the way, but I really would fall off major times on that.
I wanna go back to that. So, I think you're really onto something that may help the listeners; the future millionaires listening to the show. There's a wonderful guy named Dan Miller, and I was able to hear him. He's a Dan Miller, 48 Days to the Work You Love. He's got a lot of different products, but that's kind of his main thing. I was fortunate enough to hear him right around when I turned about 30 years old. I was kind of like in this spiritual place of, "it's time for me to make a change." Like, "what am I doing? Where am I going next?" And, he dropped right in the middle of that. His material and his teaching actually guided me. But, that's one of the things he talks about.
Like, if you wanna find your calling in your life, he said, "in your lifetime, you'll have several jobs that make up your careers. Then you'll have several careers that'll make up. And, if you're fortunate, then you'll find your vocation, and that's your life's calling." Like, what you are called to do. And, I listen to that and I think that teaching is so spot on. But, one of the things he says; how do you find your vocation? He says, "often, you just really need to go back to your childhood."
Dan York (17:06):
And, "look at things and you'll see clues along that." So for me, when I did that and I processed that, I went back to, obviously; engineering, but even in deeper in that was leadership. I saw much leadership manifest itself in me at a very young age, but also even through my teen years and into college; organizing different things was a big one.
Just organizing different things. But, I love how you said when you got off track from that your vocation; or your calling; you tended to get into trouble, but then when you got back on, it's just a natural fit for you. It's like a pre-programmed thing. So, do you think the people that got you off track- were they; I don't wanna say bad people, but were they, people that maybe shouldn't have been in your life? Or, was there something common that you saw there? Cause you said this happened-
Dan York (18:02):
Yes and no. I mean, of course there's people that I've been connected to- like, where I'm on my track and then they move me off. I would say the ones that I shouldn't have been connected to wanted to; I would say maybe; take advantage of my ambition or take advantage of my gifts, cuz I tend to make things work. I just do. And, I work hard to do that. Like, I could just figure things out and make 'em work. So, some people would notice that and wanna position themselves on top of me and bring me into their game so that they could benefit from that while they don't have to experience that themselves. But, for the most part, I would say it wasn't always that because most of the people that I know that I've gotten under; gotten off path with; they were just good people.
Dan York (18:45):
It was just their game, and I would get excited about their game. I joined their game and it was their game. That was really the simplicity of it. I don't think they had really mal intention towards me or anything like that. But, there's been a couple times where, there's people who- it's almost like you're happy, and you're a happy guy, and you just enjoy things. And again, I didn't grow up with money, but I grew up with great siblings and a great mom and dad and I kind of grew up in this lower class town outside of Chicago, but I loved it. I loved growing up there. I loved the experience they gave me for life. And so, some people can see you happy no matter where you're from. It's almost like they can't stand it. It's almost like they look at you and they're like, "why is he happy? He doesn't deserve to be happy. I'm gonna make him miserable." There are those people and boy, do you run into them.
When you should run away from them too.
Dan York (19:38):
You should. But, they're not easy to spot sometimes. That's the trick; is that, if they were that easy to spot, none of us would fall for that. And, we do fall for that. It's not that we're stupid. It's just that they're cloaked. They're veiled, put on their big smiles and they're like, "Hey buddy, I'm your pal, I'm a buddy of yours." And, you're like, "oh," and those are the guys that get you.
You just gotta watch it. Well, I think, one of those rules; I'm sure you probably agree with this is; it's like you become an average of the five people you spend the most time with. So, if those are good people, you're gonna go good places. If they're bad people, or headed in the wrong direction; you mentioned that in your case; then they're not going where you need to be going, or you're predisposed to, and that is so true. It's just like your income. I was; I think, my first year outta college; I got $39,000, and that shocked me cuz it was more money than my parents were making. I'm like, "wow, I'm just new to this game, and I'm already making more than my mom and dad are."
"That's pretty cool," but I never realized what the real potential was for income like that. Never. I still remember my wife praying for me to make $70 grand when I changed jobs. I thought that was such a stretch like, "oh honey, I'm not qualified to make $70,000 a year." I was making about $45,000 at that time. And, it blew up from there. It was just like, "wow, the sky really is the limit on income." Like, it's really just our thinking that limits us. There's probably more to it. You've gotta equip yourself.
Dan York (21:06):
Well, you're kind of right though. I mean, everything follows your thought; the environment follows your thought, and I've done that same thing that you just said, you start off going like, "oh wow, I'm making $50 grand. It's pretty good". And then, you're like, "I could never make $75k, and you're making $75k, and then you're making a $100k, and then you go to a quarter mil, and you go to a half a mil. And it just, every single time you're like, "oh, I could never do that." And then, pretty soon it's sort of, "I guess I don't even think like that anymore." That whole thing just blew in. I was like, "oh I get it." As you said, "the sky's the limit. I could just go in any direction now," once you get that it's all in your head, and that you can really make it manifest in the world; and not through just wishing; cuz I know people just wish and sit there and wish and wish and nothing ever happens.
You don't go very far doing that.
Dan York (21:55):
You don't go very far doing that, but you do have to play the head game first. If the head game is won; the rest of the game is easy, and some people I've been; I won't say criticized, but people will say, "oh, you've always known. See? It's easy for you cuz what you're supposed to do." And I'm like, "but I had kids really young; younger than most people; and I was broke, and I had to support them, and we didn't have insurance, and I had to pay hospital bills, and I was married at the time, and I had to, really grow from all that." Art wasn't supporting it. I was in rock bands. That wasn't supporting it, and that cost money.
Dan York (22:33):
And so, I've done all the crappy jobs and all the crappy career moves that you've had to make. But, each one was like a stepping stone to the next thing. And, when you look at your path, and you look in the rearview; it's like, "everything added up to what I have now." It's cool because you really do get that viewpoint. There's not really such a thing as a regret, unless you regret it. Even huge mistakes I've made; I go, "god, I wish I didn't do that." I look back and I go, "but I'm so much smarter now as a result of that bad mistake. It hurt people and it was bad. It was crappy, but if I didn't do that crappy move, I wouldn't have hit that next personal elevation," and it's not justifying bad things. It's just what happened as a result. Some people; I suppose; don't change from those things, and that's their problem, but I feel that most good people do elevate and change from their bad moves.
Well they say, that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
Dan York (23:31):
Who was it? There's somebody out there. Maybe it was- I don't think it was Jordan- some of these business guys. I forget which one maybe I'll remember. He talks about, "my success was built on the mountain of mistakes."
Dan York (23:41):
It really is. Isn't it?
Dan York (23:44):
It it's so funny; some of these guys, they say these; I hate saying trite phrases, but like they've become so true when you get older. You're like, "god, it's really, it's really true." The mountain of mistakes, and that's all it is. There's a whole bunch of mistakes. Even in the art world. Everybody's like, "well, what's the big secret to art?" There isn't any, it's just like business; get up work, schedule your day. Schedule it like a beast; market, sell, follow up close, make more. I mean, it's just like building anything. There's no secrets to any of this stuff. You just get out there and do it and get structured. One of the things that I was just talking about with another person recently was; structure was a big thing. I just read a book recently called Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss. Have you read that?
No, I've not read any of Tim Ferriss's stuff, but I know he is got a lot of good stuff out there.
Dan York (24:38):
He is a pretty interesting dude. I like that guy. I first read his Four Hour Work Week 10 years ago, or whenever it came out; it was a long time ago. Good concepts. Some of them, I don't know how they work now, but the concept was pretty legit that he was putting out there, which was reversing the concept of, "okay. Work so hard for your life so you can have free time at retirement to do what you love." But, a lot of the people that do that, they end up at that stage, they're sick, and they can't do it anymore. So then, they've worked their whole life and not done anything. He sort of reverses that takes all that and moves it into present time while being successful now. I like that a lot.
Dan York (25:16):
But, in this Tribe of Mentor's book; it's interesting cuz it's not really a book like where he is just writing; it's interviews. He interviews like; I think; 150-160 really, really successful people in all different fields. I mean, you name it; musicians, actors, business, people, investors, whatever. I mean just, men, women, all from the entire planet, but there's certain things that come out from it. One of those things is structure. Almost every single person in there has a structure, and a routine. It's something that I've always beaten a drum for with structure and routine. Especially in the arts, it sounds as unsexy as it gets, cuz artists are supposed to be flamboyant and they're supposed to be eccentric and they're supposed to be sleeping late and going to bed late and on drugs and alcoholic. And that's just the image of all these artists, and now they're slapping people on stage at the Oscars and it's just all this image. But, the funny thing is; if you look at any of those guys, any of the most successful people you get behind the scenes, they're so structured in what they do. They they've got it. They're like, one interview with Anthony Hopkins, for example, remember, everybody knows Anthony Hopkins he's oh I, how old that guy is now, but you
You can't do that without acknowledging- was it Hannibal?