Neil helps his clients find the right path to attain their business and personal goals using his 30+ years of business and real estate knowledge and experience. Sometimes this means helping clients develop effective business strategies, secure capital and carefully analyze risks before assessing their business needs. Of note, Neil is a co-owner of Accelerent Baltimore.
At the end of the day, Neil's passion and desire to help others build wealth through careful and strategic planning and vision that drive him!
- True wealth comes from residue income
- Being fully present is an element of great leadership
- Challenge your people that's an excellent way to help them grow
[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]
Umar Hameed 0:06
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone, this is Umar Hameed, your host and welcome to the no limit selling Podcast, where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how to make you better, stronger, faster. Get ready for another episode.
Umar Hameed 0:33
Hello, everyone. Today I'm privileged to have Neil cats with me today. And when I first moved to Baltimore in 2003, we met about a year or so later, so one of my first friends in Baltimore, Neil, welcome to the program.
Neil Katz 0:47
Thank you so much Umar, you know, it's funny I'll never forget. And I guess it was 2004 2005. We took a walk through Oregon Ridge together. And there were some challenges that I was going through. And I really needed somebody to help bring out what was going on in my head, and I couldn't quite explain it. And we spent, you know, probably an hour just walking through the woods up and there was a picnic ground. Station. Yeah. And we, you know, was like I said this, there's something special about this man. So thank you for that. And, and thank you for your friendship over the years.
Umar Hameed 1:21
So tell me 90 seconds. Who are you and you do a ton of things what you do?
Neil Katz 1:29
Well, you know, though, the one thing about me is, I'm incredibly ADHD. So it's a blessing and it's a curse, you know, it's a blessing, because I can do a lot of things and keep track of it all. It's a curse, because sometimes it really does get overwhelming. And I just need an I just throw up my hands and, you know, need a crash. So, you know, I owned a commercial real estate brokerage firm for 20 years, I was in the commercial real estate brokerage business for 25, I'm actually almost 30, I still do do some work within the commercial real estate field. But I've also had ventured out and involved in a lot of other things, you know, entrepreneurial ventures, investing in businesses, some consulting work, I run some CEO groups, a lot of different things.
Umar Hameed 2:20
So when we met, I was at leadership, Merrill, and I was doing a presentation on applied neuroscience. And after that, you filled out the card saying, Hey, we should talk. And when we did, I took you through an exercise to uncover your purpose, because you were at a crossroads, you know, which I can do all these amazing things. And what's the thing I really should be doing? And do you remember what your purpose was? Well, you know, it's funny, you mentioned that all these things are coming back in my head now. But I remember because we actually sat down in my home office, I remember we did an exercise on
Neil Katz 2:52
index cards. And there were three cards that you had me save at the end.
Umar Hameed 2:59
And it was, I am, and it might have been joyful helper, that that's your coach a guide for people.
Neil Katz 3:05
It has something to do with helping others because I really enjoy. You know, the feeling you get when you help another person. It makes me feel good. I've had a lot of blessings in my life. And I want to share them, and I want to help others. And again, it just makes me feel good. So
Umar Hameed 3:25
So let's start off with there's an organization in town called accelerant. Yes, sir. You are a part owner.
Neil Katz 3:31
Umar Hameed 3:32
What made you do such a crazy thing?
Neil Katz 3:37
Well, it's, it's funny, I, I owned a commercial real estate brokerage firm, as you know, from 1989 to 2009. And I think it was around 2005 or six, I joined as a as a as a member as a member of accelerants. So accelerant has different categories based upon industry. So there's, but the secret sauce is only one company can be per category per category. Right? So we have one law firm, one accounting firm, one real estate development firm, mortician said arrays are more tissue, and we're still looking for a market. We were the commercial real estate brokerage partner. That's who we were. And so we were that partner from 2000. Again, five or six when they started in Baltimore till about 2009 when I sold my company, so then we were no longer part of it. The founder of accelerator, a guy by the name of Troy peple came to me and said, you know, Neil, I don't have any partners. I'm opening accelerant in a number of different cities. But I'd really like to have somebody you know that that knows the market to keep an eye on the market for me and that is well connected. If you're interested, I'd like to offer you an opportunity to To invest in the company, I said, sounds great to me. I know a lot of people, I love people. And I love Baltimore. And accelerants
Umar Hameed 5:07
all about helping their members and the community, get new ideas, build a business, so it kind of align with your purpose.
Neil Katz 5:15
Exactly. It's all about relationships and connecting, and, and building those trust relationships we've talked about. And that's, that's my world. One of the questions I like asking people is because you know, Marvel, and superheroes are, you know, part of our culture now, who's your favorite superhero? And what's the attribute that speaks to you? You know, if I had to pick one, I'd probably pick Superman, he's probably the most known. But the thing about Superman is that there's a goodness of kindness, taking care of others. That's who he is about. And he's incorruptible. And especially given what's going on in the political world these days. You know, for him, it was about doing good for the people of the world. Not there was no self gain
Umar Hameed 6:07
selfishness, yeah, no selfishness.
Neil Katz 6:09
And he did things
Neil Katz 6:13
that he did the right things for the right reasons.
Umar Hameed 6:16
You see that question? I asked people, they think, oh, that's kind of a fun question. But it isn't designed to be a fun question. What is it designed to be is to give insights to the person because we only admire people and the ability they have, if we have that within us to get some insights into the person? The answer, lets me know who Neal is.
Neil Katz 6:34
And know that and that's but to be frank with you, I love reading biographies about people, and, and learning about, you know, their characteristics, how they made decisions, how they ran a company, or a business or an organization. You know, you learn from those things, and you also learn about yourself at the same time.
Umar Hameed 6:53
Absolutely. And when you look at some of the biographies, you realize that they were human to Yes, like they have this image of flawlessness. But when you read the biographies, you know, they're flawed individuals. And that gives everyone hope that, hey, maybe I've got the shot to do the right things as well.
Neil Katz 7:10
Yeah, it's, it's, it's funny, actually, my wife and I are now watching the crown, about Churchill and the queen. And it's just fascinating to see all the behind the things behind the scenes things that they did. You know, you think that everything is just perfect.
Umar Hameed 7:29
What was interesting is I like Steve Jobs as a luminary, but I've been reading different books, like his biography, the advertising agency that had the account, their version of what happened, and you get three or four different books on the same subject, and all of a sudden, you get a 360 view of the person you're looking at. So
Neil Katz 7:47
yeah, there must be five or six books on Steve Jobs person, you know, so
Umar Hameed 7:53
who's a mentor for you? You know, that's,
Neil Katz 7:55
that's an easy one. My father was absolutely my mentor in so many ways. You know, as a father, as a businessman as a helper of society. My dad, unfortunately passed away a few years ago. And, you know, I think about him, you know, every day of my life. He was one of those people that grew up in a small town, Wilmington, Delaware. His father was a masoorie. They owned a little bath house, he lived on the second floor, the bath house, they didn't have money for college or law school or whatever. My father graduated from college, put himself through college, married my mom, went to Washington, worked for the IRS full time during the day, went to Georgetown Law School at night, had two kids that sit at the same time, then got a job with Venable, the largest law firm, at the time, probably still is the largest law firm in Baltimore. He went to work there. He eventually led the tax department, he represented some of the largest corporations in Baltimore. And he was the most low key individual you've ever met. He never bragged about his clients, his business. Well, he also didn't talk about anything. When he was with me or my brothers and my sister or my mom. It was only about us and had nothing to do with his business. He wasn't thinking about business. He wasn't taking calls. He it was just about us. He had that ability to focus on us. I mean, as a kid growing up, I remember, he used to come home, have dinner with us, um, most nights. Then he would hang out with us play ball, Outback, whatever, and then we'd head upstairs, take showers and dad would head back downtown to work. And you know what, I have no idea what time he came home. But he was always there for breakfast the next morning, so he ran out of the bowl. The tax department at the largest law firm in Baltimore. He had three kids, he really was had lots of student loans. And he had time for everybody. He also helped many members of our family. He helped his partners at the firm, he helped associates at the firm. His greatest characteristic was his humbleness. He was the most humble person, he had accomplished so many great things. But he never wanted to talk to you about his accomplishments. What did he want to talk to you about? He wanted to talk about his kids and his, especially his grandkids, and effect to this day, I'm so proud. at his funeral, all four grandchildren got up and talked about the relationship nice. And I learned with him, and I learned things about him, and the relationship he had with our kids. And my niece and nephew as well, that I didn't even know about. He was just one of those amazing people in life. And the other thing I will tell you is, and I didn't even learn this, probably until I was in my 40s. I always thought it was a little tough for me, it was always challenged me and asked me why I didn't read this and why I didn't you know, and I was like dad, you know, I'm a pretty successful guy. You know, I've worked hard and I have a company. And you know, we do pretty well. And I didn't realize it till later on in life. But he was always challenging me, because he wanted me to be strong. And he wanted me to be able to provide for myself and my family when the day that he wasn't around anymore. And so he was that fine line between toughening me up, and also loving me. And it just I again, I, whenever I talk about him, I get tears in my eyes. Oh, so he was an amazing mentor. Brilliant,
Umar Hameed 11:54
what's the best advice you've ever gotten?
Neil Katz 11:55
best advice I've ever gotten? Probably the best advice I've ever gotten was work hard. But if you can be smart about it, and find a way to, to create some residual income for yourself when you're young, whether it's buying houses or investing in something a business or investing in real estate or whatever it is. Later on in life, when you start hitting your 50s and 60s, if you have some income, it takes the edge off. Make sense? Yeah. So So for me, it was I was actually fortunate because I was in the commercial real estate business for so long, I would find good deals. And I would go to my wealthier clients and ask them if I could stay in the deal. Throw in my commission, maybe invest a little bit of my money. I started doing that 25 years ago, it's hard to see in the beginning when you're making a couple thousand dollars a year on an investment. But over 2025 years, it's put me in a much better position now where I can kind of do the things that I want to do. And I don't have to worry as much about running to work every day and killing myself.
Umar Hameed 13:10
Make sense? Before we started this interview, we were just kind of chit chatting, getting ready. And one of the things you mentioned was you know if money was not an object, yeah, you would make the world a better place.
Neil Katz 13:21
Yep. That's the truth. I
Neil Katz 13:25
i gotta tell ya, I have people are my oxygen. They always have been, I love helping people. I actually had the blessing at a very, very young age. pretty young age. I was 23 years old. But I became a big brother in the Jewish Big brother and big sister league. And I say, okay, and Joe and I spent 10 years together. And in fact, to this day, he's 41. Now, I think and he's still one of my best friends. He's an amazing guy. But we always hug each other. And when we hug each other, we say to each other, you changed my life.
Umar Hameed 14:05
Isn't that miraculous? Like we're helping somebody else? And the insights and the help we get ourselves as a byproduct is it blows my mind?
Neil Katz 14:13
Yeah, it's it's really a may in fact, we're talking about trying to create some other Charitable Foundation now to help others. He, it's just the things that he the perspective he gave me on life. The feeling that I got, really was the impetus for me to get involved in other organizations to other charitable organizations. And what I was telling you before is, yeah, if I didn't need to make money to make a living, to pay my bills, and to, you know, raise a family, I would love spending every day of my life just bringing smiles to people's face and helping them figure out challenges and problems in life. I am a good problem solver. I like being creative. Have, I'm very resourceful. So if I could use those skills to just help others every day, I mean, I cry at movies I cry. And it has to do with the emotions of helping others.
Umar Hameed 15:15
You're a successful person. Numerous businesses, yeah. So what's the fear that you have, that maybe gets in the way of you really achieving the level of impact you want in the world? Well,
Neil Katz 15:30
I don't know if it's a pure fear. But what I spend a lot of time thinking about these days, his legacy, and I don't want to be that guy that, you know, when my day comes, people say, oh, Neil Katz, he had a real successful real estate business, he owned a lot of businesses, he owns some real estate. And he did, he was pretty successful guy. That's not what I want to hear. I want to know that I've touched others people's lives that have made a difference. And as corny as it sounds, that my time on earth made a difference. And I had an impact. And I think about I mean, I'll be 57 in a couple weeks. But I've been thinking about this stuff for
Umar Hameed 16:20
years. We've known each other Yeah,
Neil Katz 16:22
a long, long, long time. And I know I have the abilities to help people in lots of ways. And now I have more time to help people. My kids are one graduated college last year, and my my son graduated last year, my daughter is graduating this year, my wife and I are empty nesters. We just downsized our home. So you know I'm at a point in my life where I can spend even more time than I'm used to spending, helping others. And I'm really trying, I'm still trying to find that right platform where I can have as big an impact as possible using the skills and the knowledge and the resources that I've accumulated over the years. So is it a fear? I don't know if it's a fear, but it it's a concern. It's something that keeps me awake.
Umar Hameed 17:16
And for some people, it's like, I don't want to build a life that was financially successful. Like that's great to have and the comfort, but a life of significance where I made an impact. But some people it's like a Time's running out. You only have 40 years left.
Neil Katz 17:32
Exactly. Exactly. A life with meaning a life with significance is what I mean all the money in the world. What are you going to do? Just buy more stuff? I don't need more stuff. I really don't. I've been blessed to have amazing relationships, an amazing wife of 25. You know, we just celebrated a 25 year anniversary last couple weeks ago. revelations. Thank you, thank you. I can't believe she's put up with me for that long. But it's been a it's been a fun ride. So yeah, I have great friends. I have some good investments. I've met some amazing mentors and some amazing people. I've had incredible experiences traveling and doing all kinds of other things. But I really, really want to know that I've left this world, helping others in some way and made an impact. And it's it's, again, I even joke about it. I just say the reason I still work is so if I can make more money, I can give away more. Yeah, you know, at the end of the day.
Umar Hameed 18:35
So Neil, tell me about a particular time where somebody helped you might have been a big way, a small way. But one of those moments that impacted you that made a difference.
Neil Katz 18:45
Gosh, I've I've been helped so many times in my life, and I've had really just incredible mentors over the years.
Umar Hameed 18:56
I'll give you a good example. Somebody once said, if you gave me a gift, which I highly recommend, by the way, I was no no, I can't take a nail That's too much. And I didn't do bullshit like that. Right. And this one person took me aside once said, Umar, never do that. Someone took time to do something nice for you. Just say thank you and acknowledge their generosity rather than that, and it was like, wow, simple advice, but it was life changing for me.
Neil Katz 19:22
Well, you know, it's interesting that you asked the question, I'm trying to think of examples that come to mind along those lines. I guess one example that I think about is I've tried to teach my kids and I, I just gotta assume my parents taught me this. Okay, that, that sometimes people do things for you. It's not for you. It's for them. Yeah. And for example, like grandparents might might say, Hey, can you come over and well, I'm trying to think of a good example, when I When you do something that you don't necessarily want to do, but you do it because it'll make the other person happy, oh, well feel good about themselves. And sometimes, you know, you're in school and you got a lot of work, but your, your grandmother wants you to come over and have lunch with her, you know, on Saturday or Sunday. And that's the only time that you really get to go with your friends. And you try to teach a lesson that it's not about you, it's about somebody else. And sometimes that little, that little effort, taking an hour to just have lunch with somebody, again, it's not about you all the time, you got to remember, it's not all about you. And too many people in this world are selfish thinkers, and, and it has to benefit them somehow, or they don't. Even the business world, I can't tell you how many people that that won't just have a meeting with somebody unless it's going to benefit. In fact, I learned in the sales world that you're not supposed to give your time away. Don't give free advice. Yeah. I learned that was one of the first rules I learned in sales. And I never believed it. I just said, If I can give away advice and help people, I believe that that will develop a stronger bond and relationship between us. And someday, it'll all come around, and I will benefit from it. But I don't have to benefit. And if I don't benefit from it, it's okay to but if I have the ability to help another person, I'm gonna do it. And if they can't afford to pay for my services, I'm gonna do it. I've always been a proponent of the more you give, the more you get. And I've seen so many examples of and I've been blessed to have a lot of examples of it in my life.
Umar Hameed 22:03
One of the interesting pieces of advice I got, this probably won't go on the podcast. Okay, I was 18, I went to Manhattan from Toronto, went up with some friends. We went to a bar, and there was these cocktail girls there. And you're 18 and this cute looking woman comes up sits next to you. Would you like to buy her a drink? It's like, sure. And it was like, I think it was iced tea. But they claimed it was a cocktail. And it was like $20 a thing and we're just like, oh my god,
Unknown Speaker 22:30
you're gonna find $20.
Umar Hameed 22:32
And so the lady afterwards said, next time always ask the price before you say yeah, very generous of her. And it was good advice to be had.
Neil Katz 22:42
Yeah, that's a good example.
Umar Hameed 22:47
Neil, you've led a lot of people in your career. Yes. On occasion, you come across someone that has such immense potential that you can clearly see that Janet or or Richard is going to be a rock star. Yep. But they never quite make the jump. They want to improve. We want them to improve, but they never make the jump to the next level. What do you think is going on what stops people from reaching their potential
Neil Katz 23:12
Neil Katz 23:15
Either fear that they don't have the ability to do it, or fear what happens if they do hit a certain muscle? Then what happens? It's, I call it mind trash mind. It's all mindset. Right? Yeah, it's all mindset and people like that. You really got to sit. I mean, for people that I think have incredible potential. I will personally sit down and spend a lot of one on one time, putting things in perspective, teaching lessons learned, teaching life lessons, not just about business, putting big picture person giving them a big picture perspective of where they're heading. And, again, it's mostly when you have somebody that has great potential but doesn't achieve it. It's usually because in their mind, there's something going on, that they can't get over. I actually really love in another life, I would be a psychologist, or psychiatrist. You know, peeling back the onion, and really finding out the core problem, right, there is a key if you think that if I think they have potential, and they're not getting there, there's something going on down deep. And I'm not trained to do this. But I'm pretty good at digging deep and asking the right questions and figuring out how I can help and what the real issue is, in fact that I mean, I like to think that's a leadership trait which is is one of my stronger attributes. And one of the things that I have Up, do fairly well, as a leader, believe me, I got a lot of challenges
Umar Hameed 25:05
as a leader, when you mentor people that are coming into leadership because of a lot of times that first position, we go from worker B to now you're leading three or five people. Yep, that used to be your peers half an hour ago. Yeah. So what piece of advice would you give leaders at that level? Two, three, that would help them navigate that new
Neil Katz 25:28
landscape. Now, you mean people that were peers, and now I'm leading?
Umar Hameed 25:34
Yeah, like, let's say somebody's You know, they're their frontline worker bees, and then a boss notices as I can, now you're going to be the manager, but that person to be a good leader? What are the three things they need to know that would help them be good leaders?
Neil Katz 25:49
I, one of the most important thing is trust you, you have to gain people's trust. And in order to gain people's trust, you have to be out there, like, you know, I'll use a word terminology on the front lines, yes with them. So I never asked anybody to do anything that I didn't do myself first. So back in the early 80s, when I got into the commercial real estate business, before many people had computers, before smartphones, for flip phones, the best way there was a guy that came out with building addresses and tenants and I used to, I used to use that book, but you didn't have all the information. So I used to go to business parks, and go door to door and try to develop business. And I actually enjoyed it, it was a little bit of a challenge for me. And I actually enjoyed that challenge. But But really, for leaders, you got to be that guy going out on the streets, not telling a lucky talk, walking the walk talking the talk, you got it, you got to be there doing it. And, and I've never I, I had a reputation for being a little bit of a tough leader, somebody that really pushed people to their potential. In fact, the funny thing is, I used to tell people, I used to tell young agents in the business. Don't ever worry if I'm giving you a hard time because that means that I believe you have potential and you're not achieving it. And I'm and the reason I'm pushing you is because I know you can do better. I said the time to be concerned is when I walk by your desk and I don't say anything. That's when I pretty much have given up and it's just not worth my time anymore. So def Never be afraid of me giving it to you. Because that means I still am valuing, you know, my time is valuable. But I'm going to spend it with you if I think you got I think you're willing to work it and I think you got what it takes. So yeah, that's huge,
Umar Hameed 28:04
because a lot of times setting expectations, and humans are meaning making machines had you not said this is what this means. The meaning they make is he doesn't think I'm good enough. Why should I be here? So it's good, good on you for just setting the stage.
Neil Katz 28:18
Yeah, in fact, the funny funny story is that many years ago, one of my partners said to me, Neil, Neil, you're just, you're being too tough on the young guys. He got to back off, there's they're released. A couple of them have come to me and you're being pretty rough. And I said, No, they can take it. And he said, No, no, you got to just back off a little bit. I said, Fine, I'll back off. And a few days later, one of the young guys came to me and said, What's up? Why aren't you Why aren't you pushing me? And it was funny because he was a he was a young agent, who eventually ended up starting his own company and being very, very successful. And the other guys that I was given a harder time to death they got out of the business pretty quickly. So it's, it's,
Umar Hameed 29:06
it's a crucible, yeah, sometimes
Neil Katz 29:07
it really is. It really is. So I like being a leader. I like being a mentor. Don't always like being, you know, the sales coach all the time. I'm not a real detail person. So sometimes, and I'm not a super discipline person, I do a lot of things. I'm more strategy oriented and big picture oriented. I'm not necessarily I'm usually not the implementation guy.
Umar Hameed 29:35
That's a quote from Dirty Harry. That's got to know his limitations, either. Which also means Hey, this is what I'm really good at. I'm gonna offload this to other people and focus where I had the most value to my family and my business my community.
Neil Katz 29:46
Well, that's I will tell you that's a really good piece of information. And and a lesson learned for me is I used to try to do it all. But I realized that my Strength is developing relationships. I love people, I love helping people. And that's what I'm really good at. What I'm not really good at is, is the details involved. And the implementation strategy. So digging deep eyed, there's other people that can go into their office and sit behind their doors for 10 hours on the computer and crunch numbers and dig deep and find out all the do all the due diligence information. That's not me. It's, I can do it. But I don't enjoy it. And it's not the best use of my time. So my greatest successes in business came when I surrounded myself with very detail oriented people, that those were my greatest successes when I didn't have somebody at my side, working either as a partner, or as an affiliate didn't really matter. I just need that detailed person to help me get the deal. All the way through, I am graded, I'm great at building the relationship. I'm great at getting the business. I'm great at putting the strategy together. Not good at the implementation, but I can help with the clothes. So again, I know what parts of the deal I can come in and make a positive impact. And then I know the ones that I'm really not very good at. And And fortunately, I've been able to surround myself with some amazing detail oriented people.
Umar Hameed 31:33
I think what people really need to figure out in this lifetime is what's my purpose? What are my values? What was the criteria used for those values? What am I really great at what am i gifted at? And once you know that, design a job? design a business that lets you do that? Yes. And find other people that can fill in the blanks. That makes the whole thing work.
Neil Katz 31:59
Absolutely. Well said. Those. Those are some some great attributes that if you can figure out where your strengths are and your weaknesses and put a plan together. Yeah, and add value to people then it's a
Umar Hameed 32:15
it's a win win win. That it is Neil, thanks so much for sitting down with me.
Neil Katz 32:19
Hey, my pleasure more.
Umar Hameed 32:26
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at no limit selling calm. I've got a free mind training course there that's going to teach you some insights from the world of neuro linguistic programming and that is the fastest way to get better results.