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241: Run Towards Your Fear, How Harma Hartouni Built a Billion Dollar Business Against All Odds

Dave Lukas, The Misfit Entrepreneur_Breakthrough Entrepreneurship

03/17/21 • 51 min

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This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Harma Hartouni. After listening to Harma and his story today, you will have no excuse for not being able to keep going and reaching your goals. Harma grew up in Iran during the Iraq-Iran war taking shelter from bombs every night. He later had a traumatic accident that crushed his lower body and took him a year to come back from. And I will let him tell you about everything else that has happened to him in his life. But this guy never quit.

And today, Harma is a self-made millionaire entrepreneur and developer, owns a real estate company employing hundreds of residential and commercial real estate agents in Southern California, and runs the #1 ranked real estate business in his region. His real estate practice exceeds $1B in sales volume and he is also the founder and CEO of multiple companies servicing the local real estate industry, His businesses include financial services, technology and coaching. If that is not enough, he is the author of Getting Back Up: A Story of Resilience, Self-Acceptance & Success. Fittingly, those are the topics we are going to discuss in this episode.

Harma was born in LA and within 30 days moved to Iran. Shortly after, the revolution happened and his mother lost all her rights and they were stuck in the country. At 18, Harma got into a car accident and did not get hurt, but when he got out of his car, another car hit breaking both his legs and mangling his lower body. He was not supposed to walk again. He did everything he could to get back to walking and was able to move to the US.

He ended up in Glendale, CA. He had a lot of struggles and it took him a year and half to become confident enough to come out to his family and reveal he was gay. He quit dental school against his families wishes to be a real estate agent.

He’s been in real estate for 18 years and his business now does over $1.2 billion in sales a year. His passion has grown to really building the business and he has the top agents in the nation working for him. He’s married and had 3 kids. ​

I’ve heard you say that “everyone is a survivor.” Explain what that means.

  • Every single person has a story.
  • Some are deeper, other not so much.
  • Everyone has been through challenges.
  • Understanding this helps you to appreciate not only them, but what you have gone through as well.
  • Resilience comes from learning from the past and choosing to move forward.
  • Everyone has gone through and overcome something in their lives.

You talk about not letting yourself become a victim. Talk to us about the difference between being victimized and being a victim.

  • Run towards your fear. Accept it and own it.
  • If you start doing that, you cannot be a victim.
  • Harma has been so broke that he has been in place where he had no hope in anything else. He had not choice, but to find a way to survive.
  • People that manage to become victims at some point were given a false hope. They were not pushed to move through their challenge or trauma.
  • You cannot move forward by being stuck in the past.
  • If you keep reading your last chapter, how will you write a new one?

There are of people in the same situation you have been in that don’t break out and reach their full potential and accomplish successes like you. A lot of people would just give into their state and accept it and stay there. Why didn’t that happen to you? How did you break out?

  • This is one of the reasons he wrote the book with his lessons.
  • Harma had a very challenging upbringing with his father. He had to think ahead. He had to protect his mom.
  • But, his father was very successful, yet didn’t have followers. He would use people and burn through them.
  • Seeing this gave him a why and purpose – not to be like that in his life. He was fueled by a mission to become more successful and bigger than his father.
  • He was also fueled to be able to get his mom and family out of Iran and to help fund them in the US.
  • Harma was fueled by gaining a better live for himself and all those around him.
  • You must get in the habit of loving the journey. You must find the joy and meaning in it as you go through it.

At the 22-minute mark, we talk about the peaks and valleys of entrepreneurship What are a couple of your favorite lessons from your book?

  • Unsolicited advice should not be welcomed. Don’t let yourself get derailed by someone else’s opinion.
  • Seek advice from those that are successful and doing it and learn from them.
  • The 5 Minute Funeral. We all have setbacks. Deal with them for 5 minutes and move on. Be fast to move on to a solution.
  • Don’t get hung up on things. It does no good.

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