Daniel Hodge started out in the financial sector before realizing it just wasn’t for him. While on a trip to Germany, Hodge read a book — The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss– that changed his life and outlook on business. Shortly thereafter, Hodge started his own e-commerce jewelry business with just £1,000 and quickly turned it into millions of dollars in revenue. Hodge then parlayed his ecommerce success into property investment and has seen his Midas touch work in the purchasing and selling of commercial and residential properties. Hodge’s DCH Property Group specializes in fixing distressed properties in the United Kingdom.
Not yet 30, Hodge has seen a tremendous amount of success and still has big aspirations. The young CEO recently sat down with Totalprestige Magazine to talk about his career in e-commerce and property investment.
Daniel, DCH Property Group specializes in investment in distressed properties across Great Britain. What are some of the areas in the country in which the company has turned its attention toward?
So our main focus since last year has been predominantly the midlands and north of England as prices are so expensive in the south that the return on investment just isn’t as attractive there at the moment. Also, Boris Johnson has plans to build HS2 over the coming years, so we mainly focus on cities that will benefit from that once built.
What is the focus of the group in revitalizing distressed properties? Are these turned into commercial, residential, or other types of properties?
Our focus is to better the communities in which we invest. We target both residential and commercial properties that need a lot of work, so much work is needed that it tends to scare other investors off. This often means these properties have been sitting derelict for quite some time. Once we take ownership, we move swiftly and bring these properties back to life, ultimately providing affordable and comfortable housing and/or commercial spaces, and the communities appreciate this.
Daniel, you have a long list of accomplishments but you haven’t hit 30-years-old yet. What has been your secret to success at such a young age?
I come from a working-class family and witnessed the struggles first hand when I was younger. So, this is always in the back of my mind every day and is one of the biggest motivators for me. I’ve always been very driven and although I work hard, I believe that it’s all about working smarter. I’ve set up a few businesses since leaving school and one thing I have learnt to do is to delegate tasks. I try not to get sucked in to the businesses and the admin tasks but instead hire people to do that for me whilst I focus on the business, putting myself out there, doing deals and creating income generating revenue streams.
You set a goal of hitting the £10 million-mark in real estate assets by the age of 30. What inspired you to set this goal?
I believe that if you take the leap and go from working for someone to working for yourself, you have to set some solid goals, otherwise it’s not worth all the hassle, right? For me, I set a target of £10m in AUM by age 30 and although it’s very ambitious, I believe that it’s possible. COVID-19 has set me back slightly but unexpected hurdles like this are all part of the journey. If I don’t hit £10m AUM when I’m 30, I know I’ll be very close. I treat business as a game, setting various targets and I’m constantly gamifying everything I do to keep it interesting and fun. Once I hit my target, the next natural step is for me to start a property fund – people in my network have already shown interest in investing, so it’s a promising sign!
For a time, it felt like the UK struggled to find investment into building new developments. Now, more and more areas are being revitalized and modernized. What has been the catalyst to the gentrification of the country’s major cities?
Although I don’t invest into new developments, I think rising rents has played a big part. As rental prices have increased, this has made real estate investment even more attractive than previously. I’ve noticed investors are now investing heavily into the major cities by creating literally thousands of HMO’s across the country. HMO stands for House of Multiple Occupation where landlords rent out on a per room basis. This is a win-win for both tenants and landlords because tenants can now afford to live in the major cities by renting a room instead of the whole house and landlords benefit from increased monthly rental income per property. Saying this, I personally believe that HMO’s are saturating the market and there will be an oversupply in a few years’ time which is why HMO’s are not my main investment strategy.
DCH Property Group has only been around for a short time. As an entrepreneur, what led you to establishing the company?
Property has always been my long-term goal as I’m a big believer in generating passive income. What I mean by this is that I focus on building assets that consistently pay me every month, in this case via rental income, meaning that I don’t have to swap my time for money by getting a normal 9-5 job. I believe property is the most powerful way to achieve this. I didn’t have the funds to really get going and start investing when I was in my early 20’s, however, after my e-commerce brand got some traction, I enjoyed myself for a few months travelling across Europe and I then got back to the UK and have concentrated quite heavily on property investment since.
Daniel, you may not have cracked the age of 30, but you have already established yourself as quite the entrepreneur. You previously founded an e-commerce brand. Can you tell us about the e-commerce brand you built and the success it had?
I started my e-commerce brand when I was 25 with £1,000. I was actually seeing a friend in Germany at the time and read a book which I’m sure you’ve heard of called The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. That really opened my eyes up to a completely different world of making money online. I then realised that there was a gap in the fashion jewellery market as I noticed that brands were sending customers sub-par products with terrible packaging but were still relatively expensive for what they were. So, I brainstormed, created a brand with beautiful branding and presentation and flew to China to meet with potential suppliers. I was very fortunate to find a small family-run supplier that ticked all the boxes and I hit the US and UK markets selling jewellery products that were better quality and at a more affordable price than my competitors. We started selling online in August 2017 and have sold several millions dollars’ worth of products all over the world since.
What did you learn from your work in previous companies, such as your e-commerce brand, that you used to launch DCH?
As I mentioned earlier, the biggest thing I’ve learnt to do is to delegate, otherwise you can waste so much time on tasks that won’t generate any revenue. I’ve also learnt to expect the unexpected. Things out of our control happen sometimes but you’ve just got to be prepared and respond accordingly – COVID-19 being a prime example!
What are your expectations for DCH Property Group in the coming year after the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has made?
Things have really slowed down this year, it was at a complete standstill here in the UK for months. Things started moving again this week as estate agents and surveyors are now back to work but lenders aren’t being as flexible with financing as they were pre-COVID as there’s just so much uncertainty in the market. I’m still buying properties and getting deals thrown my way but not at the level I was pre-covid. Also, there are talks of property prices crashing but I don’t think they will. There may be a small dip over the next 3-9 months but interest rates are at an all time low here in the UK and the government has pumped so much capital into the economy I just can’t see a price crash happening to be honest. If anything, I can see a mini-boom post COVID as I believe the underlying fundamentals are still solid.
Daniel, what has inspired you as an entrepreneur and what are your eyes on next?
In my early 20’s, I was working in finance and thought I would be doing that for the next 30 to 40 years when I first started. However, the novelty quickly wore off and to be honest I’m not very good at taking orders from people… Haha. I was working long hours, drinking way too much caffeine and wasn’t working out at the gym. I quickly realised that in order to obtain true freedom, I needed to work for myself. I read a lot and mainly read autobiographies and biographies of people in the business world. One guy I really look up to is Elon Musk. He’s faced so many failures and criticism throughout his life, yet he still wakes up every day and gives it his all. It takes a certain character to be able do this and stay focused and motivated. I can also relate to this because I’ve also had business failures and faced criticism from people that I classed as friends. I’m a firm believer that every failure shouldn’t be looked upon as a failure and time to give up, it’s instead something to learn from and to take on to the next venture.
What is a day in your life like?
A normal day for me is waking up around 6:30 a.m., making a black coffee and checking emails. I then have a morning smoothie and workout. I then spend some time checking up on my employees for the jewellery company making sure they’re getting their tasks done and done properly. I then have some lunch and work through my to-do list for the property company. This ranges from finding new deals, shopping on RightMove, liaising with my team including my mortgage brokers, surveyors, lawyers, estate agents, contractors, etc on new deals and current refurb projects. I usually finish up around 3:00 p.m. and if it’s nice weather, I then squeeze a round of golf in. I read in the evenings and then unwind with some TV or a film.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
People that haven’t met me think I’m quite a serious person due to photos of me online and on my Instagram profile, but I don’t take myself too seriously at all. I can also eat a whole jar of Nutella in a single sitting, so no longer buy it as I can’t be trusted around it.
What makes you smile?
Family and friends. I’m very family orientated and speak to them every single day.
What scares you?
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be?
That’s a good question. I would probably bring an end to world hunger. I recently discovered that if the top 1% of the world’s wealthiest gave away just 1% of their wealth, it would be enough to end this.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Thanks for having me. If anyone would like to contact me please do so on [email protected] or on my Instagram page which is @daniel.hodge1.
For more information on Daniel Hodge and DCH Property, please visit www.dchpropertygroup.com