Season 1
43 Minutes

E40 | Charles Horton | What Does a Firewalking Millionaire Do for an Encore?


Charles Horton, a Texas business maverick, launched his first business at a New Mexico flea market at the age of 16 and was a self-made millionaire at 30. His financial retail group was twice featured in the INC 500 as one of the fastest-growing corporations in America.

A serial entrepreneur, angel investor, motivational speaker and firewalk instructor, Charles ended up buying F.I.R.E., the business that taught Tony Robbins how to firewalk. Charles is one of only 6 Certified Master Firewalk instructors in the world. He has taught thousands of people how to firewalk and face their fears.

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Charles Horton  00:00

When I’m coaching people on entrepreneurship, I tell them that you really need to find something that needs to be done not something that’s glamorous and joyful. So my purpose wasn’t to cash checks and give people money in flea markets. My purpose wasn’t to collect checks that were bounced from retailers. My purpose wasn’t to lend money to people that needed money in the in the payday loan business. My purpose was to coach and motivate others to hit their goals.

Achim Nowak  00:29

Hey, this is Achim Nowak, executive coach and host of the MY FOURTH ACT podcast. If life is a five act play, how will you spend your FOURHT ACT? I have conversations with exceptional humans who have created bold and unexpected FOURTH ACTS. listen, and to be inspired. And please rate us and subscribe on whatever platform you’re listening on. Let’s get started.  I am so happy to welcome Charles Horton to the MY FOURTH ACT podcast. Charles is a businessman and entrepreneur and angel investor. He is a speaker, a mentor and a master fire walk instructor. So I hope you’re just by listening to these descriptions you know and speaking to an exceptional human being Charles was a self made millionaire by the time he was 30 and has made many million since he has created a financial retail group that has featured has been featured twice in the Inc 500 as one of the fastest growing privately held corporations in America. In my mind, Charles is very much associated with Texas and Dallas where he’s lived for much of his life. And then suddenly, in 2021, he changed his life and move to Wilton Manors, which if you don’t know, this is part of Fort Lauderdale to create a next phase for his life. So we’re going to talk about all of this. Welcome, Charles.

Charles Horton  02:05

Thank you, Achim. It’s good to be here and good to be in what manners.

Achim Nowak  02:11

We’re just speaking about what you love about that. With every guest I like to start, you know, with our dreams and aspirations that we had when we were younger. Part of what’s so extraordinary about your story is that when you were 16 You started your first business at a flea market, where you created an opportunity for people to cash their checks, and you set that up. Now when I was 16 That wasn’t even in my consciousness. So would you tell our listeners like what clicked in your brain that made you decide at the age of 16 to start a business?

Charles Horton  02:52

Well, it Have you ever seen the the play Blood Brothers, I’ve seen it in London.

Achim Nowak  02:57

 I’ve heard of it, but I have never seen it.

Charles Horton  02:59

So it’s basically the story about two twin brothers. Both of them were raised by an abusive alcoholic father one turn to be outrageously wealthy and successful and the other one landed on Skid Row. And so some people when I tell my life story I say it’s because I had an abusive stepfather and I didn’t want to be home and that’s the absolute truth. So I you know, I’m very fortunate to be where I am was because I didn’t want to be home I had an abusive stepfather. But basically I looked for things that needed to be done and did them. I had a soft drink vending route. I had changed machines and my high school and then I was at a flea market one time and they didn’t accept checks. So I asked the flea market if they would build me a booth and give me free rent and they built it and they gave me free rent. Now, mind you this is a flea market and this was plywood walls and they see men to dent safe for me it was it was pretty funny looking. And we cashed hundreds and hundreds of 1000s of dollars a weekend and checks. The other funny thing I say about it is you know I’m a 16 year old kid I had no money so I just wasn’t accepting no from anybody. Not only did the flea market give me free rent and free space and all they let me buy their cash. So I was writing them checks about every hour they ran all the concession stands in the flea market. So they had an abundance of cash I would write checks almost every hour to take their cash, I cash checks they got to let go of their cash service that other armored cars that came out and got their cash. And it was a win win situation and why on earth a flea market owner decided to trust hundreds of 1000s of dollars with a 16 year old kid who knows but it all worked up.

Achim Nowak  04:50

Were you still living with your abusive stepfather while you were doing all of this?

Charles Horton  04:55

For a little bit. I started making enough money and I think I started this a little earlier. I also had a lawn mowing business with 100 employees at one point. But at one point I did lie about my age and get my own apartment. And I believe I was about 16 at the time.

Achim Nowak  05:12

And just thinking, I’m thinking about where I live in Hollywood, Florida, would they rent an apartment to a 16 year old? Even if the individual has money? I guess that was possible where you were right.

Charles Horton  05:23

I lied about my age. I said I was two years older.

Achim Nowak  05:26

Yeah. Now you decided that you wanted to be a millionaire by the time you were 30. And you became that and so much more. So what I’m curious about was making the money the motivation, was it growing things? Why don’t you meet you get up in the morning, say, This is what I, Charles Horton want to achieve, because most people don’t dream that way. So I’m so impressed by your story. But what drove you inside to do this?

Charles Horton  06:00

So first of all, I’d like to always credit Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It’s a fantastic book. I’ve read that book probably 25 times. And I give that book credit for really, who I am. And where I am Tony Robbins as part of that I followed Tony Robbins for a long time and followed his motivation and logic, but I did the process and thinking grow rich, and I set my goals, I’m going to be a millionaire by the age of 30, or more, which is important in goal setting that you don’t get to a goal that you hit and then stop. So basically, I think everything else went into my subconscious, I found things that allowed me to make money. I was making phenomenal money in the flea market for a 16 year old kid. But what happened is, I learned that if the checks bounced, I made more money. So I was charging 10% to cash a check. So if you wrote $100, check, you’re writing it for $110, I keep the $10. And if the check bounced, I got an extra $25. And the great thing about that was the attorney general’s office or the district attorney’s General’s office was my collector. So I would get a bad check, I would write one letter, I would send that letter off, give them 10 days to pay. If they don’t pay, I file a word for their arrest and they collect for me. And at the end of my check cashing career in that flea market, I think I had three or four checks that didn’t get paid. So I started to check verification guarantee company very quickly after I turned 18, I started doing it in my house. Now I had a job with it was called World cycle, they had a box of checks that they were doing nothing with. So I took them home. Then I got a salesman that worked on commission. So this wasn’t costing me anything other than the computer. But I would work my day job because I needed to eat. And I didn’t have any other money. And so I would work my day job, I would come home at night, he would have gone out and he would have collected, he would sign up a bunch of customers, I would enter them into the computer system that I designed. And then I would enter the checks the bad checks that they got, I would send out the letters and I would make phone calls on the bad checks. So you know, I worked from 8am to 5pm, my day job came home and work 6pm to 9pm or later doing that you can’t call after 9pm. But I would do some of the paperwork after 9pm. And I did that until I was making so much money, I just couldn’t afford to keep the job.

Achim Nowak  08:26

What a nice problem to have Charles.

Charles Horton  08:30

And the main reason I stayed so long as I was making a lot of money on their checks their checks were like 600, 700 bucks. And I was getting a percentage of them too. So I got 30% of the check that I collected plus the $25 return check fee. And I was afraid that would go away if I quit. And luckily it didn’t until they went out of business for other reasons.

Achim Nowak  08:52

I hope that as our listeners listen to you, as I’m listening right now isn’t really hearing how the wheels of opportunity, you know, sort of turn in your brain. And you’re really sharing with us the thinking of somebody who who knows how to grow things and spot opportunities, and is willing to do the hard work, which I also heard, which was fantastic. You made the switch from being the 16 year old solopreneur at the flea market to growing a company being a leader having employees and not everybody is good at being a CEO and having staff and motivating them and that whole part. What have you learned about what it takes to be a good CEO of a company where suddenly Yes, you make money but you’re dependent on all sorts of people to drive that engine for you. It’s not no longer just you and that single sales rep where you started.

Charles Horton  09:52

I’ve been involved in CEO clubs and doing Tony Robbins seminars. I’ve been smart enough to really look at myself And what I’ve learned through the combination of those things is you’re completely right. And entrepreneurs driven by starting things and ongoing challenges. And they become extremely bored when things get mundane and they don’t like it anymore. Yeah. So one thing that I found that I’m really good at and I am that entrepreneur, I need constant challenge, or I’m bored. So in my second company, which was a payday loan, title, loan, installment loan company, well, first of all, let me tell you, I got to my 30th birthday, and are near my 30th birthday. And I’m thinking, you know, I said, I set a goal of being a millionaire by 30. And by all accounting, I am my company certainly worth that. But we didn’t do very good in cash flow. The most I ever paid myself was 60,000 a year, we were basically a breakeven company, even though we were doing $20 million a year in revenue, and I had 150 employees. The thing that I did there, that was a mistake as I went after every type of business that there was, and I would keep them even if they were unprofitable. I did Trump’s casinos, I look back on I did. They were very high risk doing doing casino checks. I took Diamond Shamrock, which was my biggest client for a while. And I gave them back the majority of the return fee. So I wasn’t making a lot of money on the client. But I kept doing it. So I got near my 30th birthday. And I’m thinking No, I want to be a liquid millionaire. I’m tired of living poor. So I changed my goal of being a liquid millionaire by 30. And I had been talking to some of the largest players in the country. And it just happened to be good timing. I was tiny and their terms, but I was just kind of like that mosquito or that nap that was picking on them. And I happen to take the clients away and they this client they liked or wanted or something like that. And so they came to the table and they gave me a number that made me do a backflip inside while quietly trying to maintain my calm demeanor that certainly made me many times over the millionaire by 30. So I did that. And then I thought I was retiring for life. It was plenty of money to retire on, I thought, but I got really, really, really depressed. First time ever, I’m on antidepressants. So basically I turned my family of 150 people into nothing. Now my family’s gone or important, my purpose is gone. And I was day trading, making a lot of money and some days losing a lot of money, but doing pretty pretty good at it. But I was impressed. So I started my second company that I grew 18 years worth to be a payday loan title loan installment loan company grew it up to 80 locations sold that out about two years ago now. But I realized and I was good enough to do this is I’m really good at hiring people, motivating them and being their mentor. And so I became a hands off manager basically I hired people to run my business. And I was the figurehead that kept people motivated. I did the Tony Robbins job at seminars, I raw rod and told everybody how great everything was. And that was really my role within the company in the last seven, eight years. And I started other companies. Good lesson in that too. I’ll go ahead and share. And that is when you’re starting out, and you’re hungry, and you have to succeed or you starve. It’s a completely different mentality and you work your tail off. And then all of a sudden you got a lot of money, and you want to start new businesses. It’s a different mentality entirely. And it’s a different way of working. So I’m now hiring people to do the job that I should have been doing in these other companies. And that was kind of my downfall on a bunch of little other businesses that I’ve tried to start lately.

Achim Nowak  13:42

Yeah. You use the word purpose, or you said I was depressed. And so I lost my purpose, and where my mind went. And I like for you to play with this idea. And I’m like you I’m a huge fan of thinking grow rich, it’s one of my favorite books as well. It’s on my bookshelf right behind me. And so we’re recording. Once we have achieved one level of success for our goals, then the purpose can either change or deepen. But something probably needs to change. Right? So would you say I want to test this idea when when you were suddenly the the figurehead and these camp companies and you had 150 employees? Was your main purpose still making more money? Was it being the motivator of people that make give you joy and happiness? Or was it a combination of those? What was the purpose for you when you have these larger entities?

Charles Horton  14:40

When I’m coaching people on entrepreneurship, I tell them that you really need to find something that needs to be done, not something that’s glamorous and joyful. So my purpose wasn’t to cash checks and give people money in flea markets. My purpose wasn’t to collect checks that were bounced from retailers. My purpose was Want to lend money to people that needed money in the in the payday loan business, my purpose was to coach and motivate others to hit their goals. So in my first company, I didn’t do such a good job of that. I mean, I was still the motivator, everybody was happy and everything. But I was a D leader, a dominant leader, if you’ve done the disc test, I told people what to do. And if they asked why I told them because I said so. And I learned in my second company, I could create a company of owners and a friend of mine wrote a book called A company of owners, Darren Martin, and it’s a nice, simple, easy read to get the kind of understanding about this. But what I did then is I made everybody owners in the company and some of my proud moments are to say, like I took a lady that in a very small town in New Mexico, that had never made more than $10 an hour in her life. And within about two years, she was making $150,000 a year, she was driving whatever car she wanted to drive as a company car within reason. She she won and went on multiple trips a year, she’d been to South Africa, Europe, China, Thailand, with me doing these amazing reward trips that we do. And that really always became my purpose was to help other people, you know, using Ziegler’s, if you help enough other people get what they want, you’ll get what you want. And I found that I had a knack and a joy in teaching people how to do that and creating the environments for them to do that.

Achim Nowak  16:31

I appreciate you mentioning the giants of motivation, who I all admire as much as you do, and and how they have influenced you. In a way they were your mentors, whether you knew them personally or not, and you’re passing it along, which is a beautiful thing. One of the things that I am so intrigued by you started something called the wardroom, which I’m going to which I would describe as your version, or a Dallas version of Shark Tank, which you ran from your home and on the outskirts of Dallas. And it became a playground for angel investors. But it also allowed you to mentor would you describe to our listeners, how you came up with that idea and give us a snapshot of what would happen in the boardroom.

Charles Horton  17:24

So a gentleman by the name of John Brown was running the Dallas chapter of the CEO club. And I highly encourage you to get involved with a group of your peers. Because if you’re going to be an entrepreneur, or you are an entrepreneur, it’s very lonely at the top, you don’t have a lot of people you can talk to your spouse probably doesn’t understand your problems, your employees certainly don’t understand your problems and your non CEO friends aren’t going to understand your problems either. So being involved in a circle of friends for a long time, really gave me a group that I could go to with problems and get advice that was you know, they had the experience to give the advice. So I was sitting with John one day and was saying, you know, I really liked the Shark Tank, I get a lot of amusement out of it, but wouldn’t be wouldn’t it be nice if there was an educational aspect to it. So what we did is we created an organization that was I would say, first a networking group, we’d probably have 50 to 100 people at each show. And at the beginning of the group, we do things to get everybody talking, then you get a little time to introduce yourself. And then each meeting somebody is pitching a business. And we didn’t look into these businesses before we called on him it was basically if you want to present you can present. So it wasn’t like a high success rate in making investments. And that really wasn’t the purpose. The purpose was to get somebody up and present. And so we were like, if you’re presenting to an angel investor, or a group of people that are looking to invest in your company, they’re pretty unforgiving, and they’re not going to tell you what you’re doing wrong. So we’re gonna tell you what you’re doing wrong. And we’re and I coached scores of companies to get to the point where they were really ready to ask for the money. And that was more about what we were doing was making it educational. So we would use a mastermind formula. So the the person seeking the money would get about 15 minutes to pitch their product. And then there would be about a 15 minute question and answer period by the angel investors. And then now the entrepreneur has to be quiet and the next part, and we give advice and the advice you know meant to be educational, it’s meant to be helpful. What did you do right? What did you do wrong? You know, what do you what do we think about your business idea what’s good, what’s bad, what you might do differently? And then at that point, the entrepreneur has like one minute to to say whatever you thought from the advice that he got, and then anybody that’s interested, can go back and work with them and many of us took up non paid Coaching roles to help the entrepreneurs out, guide them in the direction several companies I made investments in like a year or two, after we started talking, I can’t think of too many that I invested in, you know, right after initial pitch, one investment advice that I already got Jay Rogers, what has been a long term friend of mine in Dallas, and he’s invested in, I believe, like 100 plus companies. But his advice and investing is that you have that you either have control or liquidity if you’re investing, and I’ve taken that up, and that’s very different for most tech entrepreneurs these days. But look, controller liquidity means that I own 51% of your business, or you’re a public company, and I can exit out when you start doing things that I don’t like. So that limited a lot of people to

Achim Nowak  20:52

a word from your sponsor. That’s me. I invite you to go to the website associated with this podcast www.my, fourth active.com, you will find other equally inspiring conversation with great humans. And you will also learn more about the my fourth act mastermind groups where cool people figure out how to chart their own fourth X, please check it out. And now back to the conversation. One thing you said to me that, that when we first met socially, that release stuck with me, and I want to invite you to elaborate on it. He said, You know, I don’t really like going out that much. So I created a place and a lifestyle where people could come to me. And I thought it was such a great phrase. And you lived in a town called Flower Mound, which is outside of Dallas. I’m imagining this sort of grand playground where that allowed you to do something like the boardroom in grand style throw parties and weird stuff. Can you give us a picture of just what your home and lifestyle in Flower Mound look like?

Charles Horton  22:04

I was very fortunate that this place certainly did go to my personality and my lifestyle. And yes, I’m kind of a shy guy. I’m not so good. And other people like I don’t go to other people’s parties hardly ever. If I’m going out to dinner. I mean, I’d rather have people over to my house, and it’s generally a group. But my property was six and a half acres I had about an acre in the front that’s cleared. I mean, it was like a resort. There’s a big pond in the back of a 1/3 of a mile paved track around the property. There were four buildings, the main house was 7600 square feet, there was a guest house that was about 1500 square feet. But the room that I really missed the most was my party room. It could turn into anything I did my company meetings there. It was 2000 square feet, I put in a stage I had all the high tech lights like a club, if you’ve been to a Tony Robbins seminar, it’s full of music and lights and flashing lights and disco lights and all that I had all that I have the setup for the cameras. So we streamed when we did the board room. So if you couldn’t come to a slide, you could watch it. You could watch it live, or you could you know, you could watch it after the fact but this room could be my boardroom and handle 150 people, I had parties for 600 people I did. I did two hours shows out there, you know, for a New Year’s Eve party, or a fourth of July party, I’d have a two hour show with magicians and musical acts and comedy and all that and then go outside and party enjoy the pool or get a big, huge slide out front people would be playing on it was the party house. So it’s very different. Now being in Wilton Manors, I have 3200 square feet, and people tell me I could do a party here with hundreds of people, but I don’t really think so.

Achim Nowak  23:57

Thank you for giving us well, a little snapshot of a certain lifestyle and as somebody who’s made a nice chunk of money, and you’ve also lost money at some point, but you’ve done really well. That gives you the privilege to create the life that you want. And you just gave us a wonderful snapshot of that how want to get to wilt manners. But before we go that we have to talk about one more thing. You mentioned Tony Robbins a lot in my mind Tony Robbins associated with firewalking and he’s known to do firewalk and you ironically, maybe not ironically, bought a business teaches people how to be Firewalkers it had one mode I understand it had fallen on hard times this business trash actually trained Tony Robbins to be a fire Walker, and you’re a Firewalker you are one of the best known firewalking teachers in the world. What the hell drew you to all of this Charles Schwab?

Charles Horton  24:58

So real estate Funny story, I’m in one of my CEO clubs. And I talk about how I do meetings with high energy and motivate my employees and all. And one of the guys at the table is saying, Have you ever been to a Tony Robbins seminar? And I said, No, I, I haven’t. And he said, You got to go see this guy. I mean, this is the style you like to teach in. And this guy’s absolutely fantastic. He does these seminars in front of five and 10,000 people, and you got to go to a seminar. So I go to my first Tony Robbins seminar, and I loved the seminar. And as part of the seminar, he builds you up to go do the firewalk. And at one point, he tells us, you’re going to say, at about 10 o’clock in the evening, and he tells you, you’re going out to walk, and you go out there, and there’s these big bonfires going, you know, 50 100 feet in the air. And he’s doing that just to intensify it and scare you. And, you know, if firewalking is one of those things that if you just go out and do it, it’s not near as meaningful, if you is if you put some value into it. So he’s putting this value into it. But he put his value into it so much that I didn’t walk, I was scared to death. And I had decided that, yes, I can do anything I want in life. Of course, I’m that good and that powerful. But why do I want to walk on fire? If there was a million dollars sitting on a table on the other side of the firewalk, I would be the first in line to go do that. firewalk and I went home without having done the firewalk. And I felt guilty. I felt stressed I felt, you know, I felt bad that I didn’t do this firewalk so what do I do, I sign up and go to another firewalk and eight times Zakim eight times I go to Tony Robbins seminars, and I don’t freaking walk. The last time to I mean, I’m almost embarrassed to tell the story. But this is how scared I was. The last time I Tony partners you up with somebody to try to make sure you walk every time. So this last time I’m partnered up with a guy. And he says wearing long sleeve pants and long I mean long pants and long sleeve shirt. And I asked him, you know why? What his intention to walk is and he says he’s burned burnt over 70% of his body. And I don’t see it well at all. But he’s burnt over 70% of his body and he is there to overcome his fear of fire now, I’m in tears, you know, listening to his story. He lifts up his sleeve, and he shows me all of the scars. And I walk with him in line, I get him to the front of the line he walks I turned around and leave. I could not do it. I still could not do it. So finally I had enough. And I hired a firewalk instructor to come to my house and do it for for my company. So I have my company in now they think that I’ve walked before because I do such a such a good talk about how empowering it is and how great it is. And I’ve been sending my employees to Tony Robbins seminars to firewall. So I got this guy coming to my house to firewalk. He comes up today before his name was John Maisel. And he comes up and we’re going to dinner and I’m like sweating. I’m going, Shawn, tell me the secret. What’s the magic to this? And he says, oh, it’s really hot. It’s like 1200 degrees and changes the subject to something else that I’m going like, Oh my God, what do I get myself into. So in this seminar, I typically teach for my employees, about, I’d say 60% of the seminar is on business purposes. And 40% of the seminar is on business development purposes. And I generally teach both sections. But John is working in for about 10% of the seminar to establish his relationship and talk about his view on personal development at all. So the time comes, I’m busy all day long, but the time comes, and I’m sitting out at the fire, it’s time to walk. I’m standing in front of it jumping up and down, as we teach everybody to do, and everybody’s waiting for me to do it. And I am again, frozen. I can’t walk. I can’t do this. And so John comes up behind me and says very calmly, there’s a nice little path right there. Just take it and go for it. And so without thinking any further, I took those steps. I walked across the fire and I got to the other side. And I wept and cried for probably five minutes. Wow. Because I had made this thing so big for so many years.

Achim Nowak  29:48

What a beautiful story in so many ways and so relevant for all of us whether we firewalking or this is a story about life. And it’s all about you hear what we do to ourselves now You being Charles, you ended up buying the whole damn business which not everybody does to talk about talk about what it’s like to own the the big firewalking business and train other firewalking instructors. Just give us a snapshot of that.

Charles Horton  30:17

Sure. So yes, I’m a type A guy. And if I’m going to do something, I go all the way. I had been sending my employees to Tony Robbins seminars and half the time I’m told my employees take the seminar, but they’re in a new city, and they go out and party instead of doing a seminar. So I’m thinking, you know, let’s bring the firewalk and house let’s make sure everybody does the firewalk and it’s the greatest thing ever. So I go to become a master firewalk instructor to be able to, to do the seminars myself, totally McCann, who was the founder of firewalking with his wife, Peggy Dillon, he was ready to retire and I’m like, Aha, I came for more than I thought I came not only am I going to just be able to teach my employees, I’m going to be able to be the firewalk instructor. So I would say over about a decade, I probably trained 2000 firewalk instructors. So we take you know people like you coaches and trainers that want to add firewalking and other things to their repertoire, and do that. And so yeah, I bought I was going down to South Africa twice a year, Spain twice a year, the UK twice a year, and then many other places to do firewalk instructor courses, and then I would do corporate firewalking events as well. And so it was a lot of fun, but I kind of just sold everything about two years ago, and that was one of them.

Achim Nowak  31:39

That’s a perfect transition to you know, I’ve met you here through social friends in Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors. This story you’ve told so far as I mean this in the best kind of way, it’s like almost like a classic Texas Maverick story. You know where you you lived in Flower Mound and beautiful suburb of Dallas, you submit a lot of Dallas references, you have a lot of friends in Dallas. And then my sense is you have gone through a big life change where you left Dallas and this year 2021. And I want to stress in the middle of a COVID pandemic said, let me move to Wilton Manors. I do want to say you’re a gay man and will manners is known as as a gay city. So I and I don’t know, I don’t know what if you came here because of that or not? Some people do. But you’ve gone through a pretty radical lifestyle change. This is this kind of stuff that my our my audience, my podcast all contemplates like, how do we make the big changes? So what prompted you to your whole life was your totally your success, life was identified with Dallas. And you left all of that behind? How did that come about?

Charles Horton  33:03

So I find myself having sold my main house and Flower Mound. And my dream at the moment was creating this massive, mostly gay commune slash retreat center out in Marshall, Texas. So I dreamed up this big place where you could do corporate seminars where you could do concerts where you could come out and park your trailer tent, all this. So $20 million project. All of this was during COVID. And I got going with a friend that was my CFO. And the idea was to have a bunch of people there living together and working together kind of in a commune style. And my friend Sean quit one day. And now I’m sitting out there alone. And I’m not an alone kind of guides. And I’ve read that I had COVID early on and in March and I have ongoing symptoms, I may this may be my kind of cold right now maybe and I seem to get this about every other month. And I’ve read that in COVID chart that does this to some people that they have some mental issues over it. But I also could just have been a mental breakdown. But one day, the day that Shawn quit, the banker had also said that they were turning us down because they weren’t doing anything and hospitality at the time. It’s a $20 million project. I could have done it all myself. But it basically meant you know, nearly everything I had going into that business and at first I was willing to do that. And then when he quit I’m going like oh my god, it’s the worst idea on the planet. I first of all, now I’m out here all alone. Secondly, if this fails, I’m investing everything I have into it where I could live nice the rest of my life if I just quit risking money on businesses, so I for whatever reason, I felt like I needed an instant family. I had friends had stayed with me on and off for probably six years, they’re strippers, and they would come and stay with me in Dallas, and then they would move to New Orleans. And then they would come down here to Wilton Manors, and they kind of ran a circuit of where they were going to strip and we got to be good friends. And I had just come down here to go to Key West and visit, we all got together and did that. And I ran by the House drove by the house that you saw. And I was thinking, God, this is a really nice house. And just one day, when I made that decision, I got an offer on the property the same day, I hired a auction company to auction off everything I owned, I basically moved all the furniture from my biggest state to furnish going to be called Mulu. And that furniture come down here, you know, it wouldn’t fit and it wouldn’t be the right style. And there was just too much of it anyway. So I auctioned off everything that I owned, threw away, the rest came down to Bolton manners to live with without risking my money continuously.

Achim Nowak  36:03

I appreciate all the clarity in what you’re saying, especially the desire to not risk loss. It makes so much sense to me. But since we talked about, you talked about purpose earlier, what I’m hearing and I could be wrong. So it struck me that your current iteration of Charles Horton is less identified with all of the amazing things you’ve done in the past and those accomplishments we know they never go away. But and you live in a beautiful, beautiful home and welcome man, Russ, I had the privilege of being there for when one of your dinner parties. But if you had to just paint a picture of like, like, just the next year, like what do you see yourself doing Charles? Like, what would make you happy? How would you like to spend your time like I said, I like to help

Charles Horton  36:53

other people. So my friend Michael, that I came down here and lived with him at first till I bought my house now he moved in and he’s a roommate, you know, he’s in the, you know, the strip club business. That’s how we make this money is both escorting, stripping, that type of thing. And there’s through him, I learned of this phenomenon called only fans where, you know, some people are going out instead of you know, being a porn star for for a studio, they do an only fans page, and they make good money. And then being here, I’ve met two guys now that make over $100,000 a month, doing only fans. So what I’m doing with Michael is we’re creating basically a collaboration studio, where we get people together, we use my property to film their their work, we take ownership of the film, we have our own website, that’s how we make money. They advertise it on their website, and they advertise us and each other. And so through collaboration, they grow their pages, we grow our pages, and we’re able to help people for free. And part of doing that, for me is going to be kind of a life coaching platform where the people that come in and want to make a lifetime ongoing living. I’ll go backwards a minute, one of the guys that is making $100,000 a month, I believe was in Fortune magazine or something like that. I haven’t read the article. But he’s like investing in apartment complexes and he’s putting this money to work. The other guy has no earthly idea where the money’s going, and it’s just all gone. He lives a grand lifestyle. So one of my big desires in life for both my employees and people like this is to teach people the value of money and the importance of savings and investing and, and making their money work for them. I’ve done even using hypnosis. In my employee meetings, I’d like painting the picture. My mother is 85 years old. She went through periods of her life where she was making millions of dollars and periods of her life where she made nothing and she’s at a point with her age where she has nothing other than Social Security. Luckily, I doing okay in life. And so I had a house in Albuquerque, she lives in the house in Albuquerque, and she’s She has everything covered, but she doesn’t have a nest egg. She doesn’t have that money behind her. I encourage people to save, save, save and make your money work for yourself. And that’s what I want to do. You know, I have people that are stripping friends that are stripping that are making 10 and $15,000 a month. And when I asked them where their money goes, they shrug their shoulders and say Uber Eats. And I mean you can’t you can’t eat $15,000 a month from Uber Eats I don’t think but wherever their money goes, they have nothing to show for it every month and that’s a passion for me is to help people make money however they want to make money, but to make to ultimately be making their money work for themselves where they don’t have to work. They do it because they want to

Achim Nowak  40:04

You made this wonderful statement earlier. And this might be a great way to conclude our conversation where you said, I’m not an alone kind of guy. And my sense you use that even when you have the your state and Flower Mound and now having a family or community people around you matters to you. And to me, it also relates to thinking Grow Rich, that wonderful book about the idea of mastermind communities to celebrate each other and lift each other up. Could you talk a little bit about just what for you for your spirit for your soul? Why? Why being surrounded by a family of choice is important to you. Sure,

Charles Horton  40:45

I so in Flower Mound, you know, I had 12,500 square feet, I had a partner of 17 years that left during that time, and then I’m living there alone. But I always wanted to be around people, I always wanted to have friends. And what you’re just saying so is so important, is having supportive friends, people that you can lift up and encourage and be there for so I had, you know, I had people over constantly, I had huge parties every couple of years. And being out in Marshall, Texas, there is no gay life to speak of. And I’m they’re out there totally alone. I had people from Dallas coming out every other weekend or so to to visit and play in the woods. But it just wasn’t enough. I need family. That’s what I wanted to create it Mulu was a family of 150 people living and working together. And while I don’t think my current living situation would allow 150 people to live here, I do like my my groups and my parties. You know, yesterday was an improv group of like eight people that came that came over just to hang out. And that just makes me feel good. I don’t understand, you know, people that want to be alone. And I end up wanting to do businesses with people that I’m hanging out with.

Achim Nowak  42:02

I’m inspired by your extraordinary life and the risks you’ve taken as a person in this life continues to unfold and and I hope that was some inspiration for our listeners who want to be a little more entrepreneurial, which is often a part of a fourth act. Where would people learn more about you? Where would people find more information? Is there a website on social media? Where should people look you up?

Charles Horton  42:30

You can check my Facebook page out Charles Horton, I believe my website’s still active. I haven’t looked at it a long time. But it was Charles Horton calm. And you know, reach out. I love talking to people love helping.

Achim Nowak  42:43

Thank you so much for this generous conversation. Charles, it was such a pleasure for me.

Charles Horton  42:49

Absolutely. You have a you’re doing a great thing and I appreciate being part of it.

Achim Nowak  42:54

Thank you. Take care. Like what you heard, please go to my fourth act.com And subscribe to receive my updates on upcoming episodes. Please also subscribe to us on the platform of your choice. Rate us give us a review and let us all create some magical fourth acts together. Ciao

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