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Graham Stephan

Graham Stephan is a popular YouTuber, real estate agent and investor.


Graham Stephan was born on 23 April 1990 into a middle-class family.

He grew up in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California.

His father, David Stephan initially worked as an animator and storyboard artist for Walt Disney Animation Studios and currently, he is working on his own movie projects.

Also, both Graham’s parents were renters.

Financial struggles-

Graham wasn’t born with a silver-spoon as both his parents were the working poor and he grew up in a very small home.

When he was 16, his parents filed for bankruptcy and this forced him to survive on $5 Subway sandwiches.

During that time, Graham would cut a sandwich and consume half of it for lunch and the remaining half for dinner.

This difficult period taught him to be frugal which he continues to be even after becoming a millionaire.

Education & hustle-

Graham did his schooling from New Roads School, California.

At 8, he developed an interest for fishes, especially saltwater fishes and also for music.

At 13, Graham got interested in reef aquariums and secured a part-time job at a marine aquarium wholesaler.

He started working here as a photographer and a photo editor.

Graham’s job involved taking pictures of the inventory and editing them with Adobe Photoshop and then uploading them onto the wholesaler’s website.

At that time, he was paid $1 for every picture and he was easily earning around $100 per day.

Work over education-

By the time Graham reached high school, he was more interested in earning by working for the aquarium wholesaler rather than his studies.

As he neglected his studies and homework, his grades suffered.

As soon as Graham turned 16, he secured a Driver Licence and then, as he was able to drive himself to work, he started skipping most of his classes.

Becoming a musician-

Unfortunately, the aquarium wholesaler business got shut down and as Graham was always interested in music, he got into a band with the dream of becoming a popular drummer.

He along with his band performed at various locations like Sunset Strip, The Roxy Theatre, Knitting Factory Brooklyn, The Viper Room, etc.

Their music also got featured in a few TV shows and indie movies.

At this point of time, Graham completely neglected his studies and was getting poor grades like Cs and Ds and even failed in a few classes.

In the end of his first year of high school, he feared that it would be difficult for him to become rich by becoming a musician.

So, Graham left his band.

Getting rejected-

After completing his schooling, Graham wanted to get into Pepperdine University in Malibu, California to study business.

So, he applied for it in his senior year of high school but as his grades and SAT scores weren’t impressive, he got rejected.

Graham didn’t continue his education after high school and never attended college.

Working as a data entry clerk-

During that time, as Graham was interested in investing, he decided to make a career in investment banking.

In his senior year of high school, he got a gap of around five months, so in March 2008, he secured a data entry job at Goldline International, Santa Monica, California.

As Graham wasn’t interested in this corporate job, he quit in April 2008.

Stepping into real estate-

After quitting his job, Graham wanted to again work with his band but by that time, as his band was dissolved, he couldn’t pursue music.

During that time, he decided to get his real estate licence and start working as a real estate agent.

Becoming a real estate agent was just a random thought for Graham, also no one in his family was in real estate nor did they have any connections.

He studied online from Allied Schools and took some online tests and after three months, in around April 2008, he got his licence.

Finding his mentor-

Graham started going to the open houses and meeting agents but almost every agent discouraged him to not pursue a real estate career.

But as he was confident about himself, he didn’t get disheartened.

Luckily, after two months, Graham met an agent in an open house in Bel Air and as he was very supportive to him, he chose him as his mentor.

He inspired him by saying that after working for around four years, he would be making more than $100,000 per year.

He gave him a chance to work alongside him with an offer that he would share half of his revenue with him.

And after a couple of days, Graham started working with him in Coldwell Banker.

From April 2008 to February 2015, he worked as a Residential Real Estate Agent for Coldwell Banker.

Identifying a niche-

Graham observed that the majority of the real estate agents weren’t going after lease listings because it had the potential to earn only a few hundred dollars.

He was excited about this less competitive niche because for him at 18, a few hundred dollars was a significant amount of money.

Graham observed that some agents were posting crappy images on their lease listings, so he started approaching them and offered to shoot photos and edit them on their behalf.

The deal was that in exchange for the photos, the real estate agents would allow him to post the lease listings on Craigslist and he would receive the calls and close the deals.

This strategy worked well and Graham started getting many lease listings to post on Craigslist and he did this for around nine months and earned a total of $35,000.

At 18, this was the biggest earning of his life.

His first break-

Since the time Graham became a real estate agent, he started sitting in an open house every Sunday.

For around the first nine months, luck didn’t favour him as he wasn’t able to make even a single deal.

Luckily in the tenth month, a couple walked into his open house and Graham was able to close the deal.

A month later, he found a home for them in Beverly Hills, California for around $3.6 million.

Graham made a huge commission on this and thanks to this success, he became confident that he could become a successful real estate agent.

So, he decided to focus full-time on real estate and not apply for a college.

And with the commission that he earned, he purchased his dream car, a 2006 Lotus Elise.

Graham was just 19 at that time.

Becoming a millionaire-

Within a couple of months after closing his first deal, Graham was able to sell another house in Beverly Hills for $1.2 million.

Likewise, his real estate career picked up and within the third year of becoming an agent, he was making more than $100,000 per year.

Graham saved the majority of his earnings and invested it back into his real estate business.

And since 2013, he started selling even more homes than ever and thanks to all these, by 26, his net worth exceeded a million dollars.

Graham also owns many properties.

Since February 2015, he has been a realtor for The Oppenheim Group.

In 2019, Graham got featured in Forbes and in a Netflix show, Selling Sunset.

He also got featured on Million Dollar Listing, a reality television series twice.

Becoming a YouTuber-

In 2014, Graham came across a video of Rob Dahm titled, What I do for a living to afford a Lamborghini.

He was inspired by this video and watched many of his other business and motivational videos and in 2014 itself, he wanted to start his own YouTube channel.

But during that time, as Graham was highly self-conscious, he couldn’t start.

Finally, on 25 December 2016, he started his YouTube channel by his name.

On this YouTube channel, Graham mainly uploads videos related to real estate, cryptocurrencies, cars, etc.

As of August 2022, he has 3.95M subscribers on Graham Stephan YouTube channel.

Real estate and this YouTube channel are Graham’s main focus, he uses real estate properties to create the videos and he invests his YouTube income to buy properties.

Other YouTube channels-

Graham has three other YouTube channels, namely The Graham Stephan Show, The Iced Coffee Hour and The Stefamily.

In addition to these YouTube channels, he also has a merch website and The Real Estate Agent Academy.


For people interested in learning about real estate, Graham recommends the book- The Millionaire Real Estate Agent: It’s Not About the Money It’s About Being the Best You Can Be by Gary Keller.

Personal life-

Graham is in a relationship with Savannah Smiles.

He is an introvert.

So, how are you inspired by the success story of Graham Stephan?

Share with me in the comment section below.

Featured image credit- Wikimedia Commons

About Author

Hello folks, I'm Naveen Reddy.
I love writing the inspiring success stories of people so as to inspire you.
Enjoy the well-researched, thorough articles!
Every article takes many days of effort; so, why not pay it forward by sharing them and spreading positivity.

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Alexandru Ursache

Monday 13th of June 2022

Graham Stephan's channel is amazing, you can learn a lot of useful information in a fun and structured manner. Lately he is doing a lot of cool new stuff ( e.g. the boxing match)

Naveen Reddy

Monday 13th of June 2022

Thank you Alexandru for sharing your thoughts.