Hi everybody, welcome to podcast Episode #6 of Season 2 of the Mobile Alabama Business Podcast. My name is Marcus Neto and I’m your host. This is a podcast about the people behind the business community here in the Mobile area. I’d like to thank you for spending time with us today.
In this episode we talk to Chad about how he got started as an entrepreneur. He tells us how he opened a concession stand at the age of 7! That was 21ish years ago and since then Chad has started a whole lot of enterprises. The thing I love about listening to Chad is he makes is sound so easy. As if it was just so obvious to start some of these businesses. Listening to his story is also very encouraging to me as he describes how his family was not well off at all. And yet, he managed to build and sell businesses that mean he does not really have to work any more. But we all know how that goes. Driven people like Chad do not just go into early retirement so he is working as a Real Estate Agent on the Eastern Shore. I know you are really going to like this episode. You may even have to listen to it multiple times..
So let’s dive right in with Chad Hurley!
Marcus: Welcome to the podcast, Chad.
Chad: Hey, thank you. Glad to be here. Appreciate it.
Marcus: We met originally at the Y. I think we were just stumbling around, both of us working out, and made introductions. I know a little bit about your background, just from talking about a few things. Why don't we start there? Why don't you tell us where you're from, give us some of your back story, and then we'll dive in.
Chad: We're from Illinois, my wife and I. I tell people St. Louis, because it seems like what they can identify with, because most people say, "Oh, you're from Chicago," but we're from near St. Louis, about an hour north, in a cornfield, which is literally truth. We were about 20 minutes from gasoline, grew up in small rural towns. Basically, between St. Louis and where I lived, there were four major oil refineries, a glass works, and a large steel mill, so it was a neat little area to grow up in. You either could throw a rock and hit someone who worked at those places, or you were a farmer. That was the background, so very rural Illinois, beautiful place to live, but not a lot of activity.
Marcus: Sure. I know some of your background, you didn't grow up with any means, is a nice way of putting it. Did you, in high school, college ... Did you go to college?
Chad: Yes, so I grew up in a little town called Bunker Hill. I was really fortunate. They had some advance classes, which I was fortunate enough to be involved with. Every evening, my dad had this policy, it sounds silly, but this policy where, "We don't play with balls," that's what he would always say. We didn't do sports of any kind. Soon as I could lift things, we'd be moving things. My dad always had several jobs. He wrote service for automobile dealers for a long time, worked at an auto auction, and then we had auctions, like cattle auctions, real estate auctions, and junk auctions, all through my childhood. By the time I was literally like seven, even before then, really, but seven I can cognitively put it together, and I was working at the auction.
Anyway, I went to school in Bunker Hill, I finished high school there. I went into pharmacy school, and as a result, I really couldn't afford to be there. I tell people I felt like I was just barely smart enough to be there, because I was still working 40 hours a week. I went to pharmacy school for two years, and I realized I could do this pharmaceutical sales gig, and not have to get a PharmD. As a result, I left pharmacy school and I went to a little college called SIUE, which was a big college where I'm from, but in retrospect, I recognize now it was quite small. Good university, and I was really thankful to be there, and I was in the business program, and I left with a couple degrees, mainly marketing and business management type.
When I was born and I was brought home, I was very lucky. I was the 10,000th baby born in this hospital. As a result, my parents were given months worth of diapers, and a big treasury T-bill check, which they cashed to use for funding, I think. As a result, we came home, and we lived in a truck camper. My mom would tell me how she would heat water in one of those bags in the tree, and we would take a shower, so it was really only up from there. My parents had me when they were really, really young, so I tell people, we grew up together, which was an interesting way to get started.
Marcus: We don't have to go too deep into that, but I just wanted to illustrate that, because you are vastly far from that now. I know that, as we've talked, that you still respect the history that you have, and how it drives you today. We'll probably get into that a little bit. What was your first business, or what was the moment that you clicked, and said, "Well, I want to do this thing over here, and make a go of it?"
Chad: Well, I think I was also fortunate because they would let me handle a lot of the money, and then like at seven, sincerely, on Saturday mornings, I would balance the auction books, because I had a weird ... I got up very early, even as a young kid. I had a little sister, and I was always raised to take care of her. My parents were very busy. Long story short, we would walk to school, we would walk home, that was always my gig. I'd work Saturday mornings, I'd balance the books. We'd work Friday night till midnight or one, but I'd be up by six, seven AM, and I was the natural alarm clock. Like dad would say, "Chad, make sure I'm up by six." "Yes, sir. I'll get you up. No problem," and I would. It was funny, because my dad always would sleep in. He'd go to work, don't get me wrong, it's just I had to wake him. It was interesting, the dynamics from the beginning. They were very open with me about, "Hey, Chad, these are the bills we've got to meet this week." I started to recognize these were the needs.
Probably one of the first things that I can really remember vividly was, I was able to create and operate this concession stand at the auction, which sounds really silly, but I would help set up the auction, and then during the actual auction itself, when I was too little to hold things up and call out bids, because I literally couldn't see over people, I would have the coffee and the donuts and the hot dogs and sandwiches, and I would make little package deals, like little number ones through fives, and put them on this board. I think it was because I was a little kid, and people liked it, they would come and buy a lot from me. I remember, because it was more like the second or third one we had, my dad said, "How much did you make today in the concession stand?" I had to pay someone to take me to Sam's Club to get all the stuff. I'd have to forward fund it, and then afterwards, I would count the money, and I realized, my dad's like, "Well, hell, you made more money than we did at the auction today in the concession stand."
It clicked to me that I loved this concept of money. I started to recognize immediately what it could do for me, because everyone would tell me, "Money is not important," but I'm like, "Try that. Try that out. See how that feels," because ...
Marcus: Tell that to the electric man, or to the ...
Chad: It sure as hell seems like it's important.
Marcus: Landlord, or whomever. Yeah.
Chad: It clicked, and to some extent, maybe it clicked a little too much. I had this little box under my bed, and I'd start collecting cash in it, because I don’t know, it just felt safe. I think it was the safety of it, a concept that it would provide protection and meet needs.
Marcus: When you don't grow up with any, then there is a sense of security that comes from having a little stash of cash.
Chad: Yeah, and I was the guy you could come to. Even my parents, "We need this much money." I'd go get it out of the box. I loved that feeling that I was contributing, and that I could supply this security. It would just took hold of me.
Marcus: What was your first business, then?
Chad: I'd say the concession stand, then I'd say I started working into the auction. Then I started raising animals. I know it sounds strange, but I had dogs, and I would breed them and sell them. That was a little side gig. My father would let me buy cattle. I'd buy cattle, and feed them out and sell them. My uncle, he's passed now; he was an alcoholic, but that's whole another story. Anyway, long story short, he had one of the exclusive contracts for advertising through Budweiser and he let me hire all my little friends to put flyers together in stacks. Do you remember the Bud Man campaign?
Chad: It was Bud Man. It was really cool. They had those coolie cups, those big cups from the 90s. We had the contract to wrap up the flyers for ... They owned Sea World and Busch Gardens. We would put the advertisements in a t-shirt, rolled the t-shirt, put that in the coolie cup, and then we would ship 100s of those out every day. That would go to the drivers and the delivery people. That was their vacation promo. I loved it. The concept that you could work as much as you wanted, as long as you wanted, no pretense and no set guideline for limitation on your commission, and my uncle would pay me. He did, for a while, until he got upside down, and then I learned quickly that sometimes you don't get paid. I had to pay all my friends, which I did, to keep my friendships. Everyone loved the idea that we could come ... Six, seven dollars an hour back then was a lot of money. We did it and we loved it. That was probably the other one. It was my first significant one.
Marcus: You strike me as an entrepreneur to the nth degree. I know there are some other things. Didn't you have a scrap metal business, as well?
Chad: People tell me I'm a serial entrepreneur. That's probably accurate. I was very fortunate, after the auction business started to come to an end, when Wal-Marts came on. That sounds silly to people, but that was the end of the fun days of auctioning, because how could you compete with an individual that could supply these things at a price point much more conducive to a lower end than we could even get the wholesale item? One of the main things we did was a lot of furniture buying. I would buy furniture and sell it with my dad, also, because I had a knack for picking them out and getting the pieces that sold. He started letting me go to Memphis over night. We'd drive to Memphis at two AM, bring the furniture back, set it up, have an auction that same night. My pieces kept selling. God bless him, he'd pick up Elvis gold and stuff, and it would be there for months. My stuff moved. Then, all of the sudden, it was a necessity that I went to pick up the selections.
We started walking in the refinery, because we were willing to literally, at the same time, even at the auctions ... Where I'm from, in the 90s, when they'd have a turnaround, when they'd actually exchange and remove pipe, all of the items, the flanges, the bolts, the nuts, all these items that were copper wire, would get thrown in dumpsters. Those dumpsters would get thrown in the landfill, because it wasn't cost effective to remove those items, given the hourly rate of labor. Keep in mind, this was back when steel was the value of cardboard.
We were willing to do the things that the unions weren't, so we got all the scrap contracts, all the crap contracts. We did all the stuff no one wanted to do. I got an opportunity at about 16 to set up a little recycling yard inside the refinery. We pitched it, "Listen. How about I go through and I collect all the flanges and bolts that are brand new, that literally got thrown in the dumpster at the end of the project? I will so separate them, I will catalog them, I will put them in a spreadsheet. As a result, you allow your individuals to come before they go to the store and order the new stuff," because those places literally have their own store, where they order all these things, largely through Granger, which is a crazy markup. Someone's cousin works there, and there's a great feedback.
We would let people come pick out nuts and bolts that were brand new that I put back in warehousing. Got a sandblaster, I would sandblast any rust. I would paint them a beautiful new black coat of spray paint. I'd put them on a shelf, and boy, that just took off. It was a great little process. They still have it to this day. That began the inevitable inception of the ability to segregate wire, stainless, copper, brass, things like that. Even at the point, at 16, we were already starting this little scrap yard in the background.
Marcus: Wait a second. Stop. Did you say at 16?
Chad: Remember, pre-9/11, I could work in the refinery, even like 15, 16, as an assistant or a ... What would the right word be?
Marcus: Helper of some sort?
Chad: They had a technical term for it. I can't think of it at the present ... Apprentice. I operated farm equipment when I was younger, forklifts and such. My dad would let me drive on the interstate in Memphis when he needed to sleep at night, so that was the first start of equipment, then forklifts, then backhoes, then track hoes, then excavators. Back then, again, they didn't have security gates pre-9/11. You could go in the refinery and work with these hard-knuckled cats that were teaching you the hard way by God, you'd get it right, or the consequence was significant.
They would teach you the value of being paid in gold coins when they worked on the railroads. The wonderful story, so I always tell people when I give speeches, like at the university and stuff, I was fortunate to be born and able to live in both of those timelines. I know what Facebook is. Not sure I care for it, but I know what it is. Yet, I remember the guys that would take you out and rough you up if you didn't do it right. Man, that was a wonderful transition. It was like, back when John Wayne was alive kind of thing. I love it. I like that transition for both.
Marcus: I think we're about the same age, so I definitely remember, there was definitely a different mentality as we were growing up about how you might teach somebody. To this day, I still remember how to properly mop a floor, because I was taught by an ex-Navy guy, who said, in no clear and uncertain terms, that I was doing it wrong, and he was going to show me the way, and if I didn't do it that way, then I wasn't going to be taken out and beaten or anything, but I was definitely going to be without a job. He had expectations, and I was going to meet those expectations, or he was going to find somebody that did. You started that business at 16. That just blows me away.
Chad: To be clear, my dad and I both did it. He was always very kind to me, to make it very clear that it was both of us, and put the weight, but also the contribution of value, on it. I was going to university at the same time, working there. Went to pharmacy school, switched over to SIU. Keep in mind, pharmacy school, you are required to take 28 credit hours per semester. 28 credit hours per semester. Now, kids take 10 and think it's tough. That was work, plus 28 credit hours semester, and it was in St. Louis, which was an hour away. That's why I could barely keep it up, plus it was expensive. 14 grand at the time was a lot per year and we could barely get that going.
I started recognizing, "Man, I'm going to make more money operating than I'm going to get coming out of this," and the refinery gave me all those opportunities. Generate income, they'd let me work at night, and then the transition came where I was actually able to get an opportunity to remediate ground in a BP refinery, just because a gentleman was willing to give me the chance to prove to him that I could. That was the beginning of it all. I had this crazy idea that I could remediate oil contamination with a soil product that was literally created in a warehouse. I had contaminated soil. I used compost, earthworms, as crazy as that sounds, and a fungus product. I would culture fungus in soil, bring soil in, integrate it into the dirty soil, and over a period of time, which was quite fantastically short, remediate soil. I got a patent on that in 2000, 2001.
That was really the beginning of everything that was unique for me. Of course, I was willing to do it for fractions of what it really should have been done for. I was just thrilled for the opportunity, because I really shouldn't have been given it. Anyway, I started this process. They gave me a very small little area. They assigned me an engineer. That engineer would then go out and check my progress. About 12 weeks in, he called me and said, "Chad, we're just not seeing anything, so we're going to give you a couple more weeks, then we're going to go back and test it. If we don't see results, thank you very much, but it was a good try." I appreciated that, and I told him thank you very much. My wife, I remember intimately, by then, I was getting ready to get married, my wife had a hysterectomy, and at the end of her surgery, I got the phone call. They said, "Hey, we need you to be here tomorrow to explain something to everyone." I'm like, "Yes, sir. Is it good or bad?" He's like, "Well, I don't know yet." I'm like, "Okay, fair."
I show up, and there's some people from BP. There's the guy who was very kind to me, that gave me the shot, there's the engineer, and myself. Keep in mind; I'm like 17, 18, and I look like I'm 10, sincerely. I go there, and they say, "Hey, what did you do with the box?" I'm like, "I didn't do anything with the box. You've been monitoring it. You have your own engineer. I have to sign in and out to even get into it. I haven't been here at night. You see the books, you see the cameras." They're like, "Well, it's all gone. The contaminant's completely gone. Three weeks ago, we tested it, it was all there, and now it's completely gone, and we don't know how." I'm like, "I'll explain to you how if you should desire me to." They were like, "Well, we want you to do it again. Now, instead of giving you a 16 square feet, we're going to give you an acre." I'm like, "Yes, sir. PS, is it okay if I ask, are you going to pay me for that?" They're like, "Yeah, we would. Here's what we'd pay you," and they gave me this little sheet with a number on it, that I was so unbelievably excited to see that I couldn't fathom it.
I went out that weekend and I bought junk farm equipment. Every chisel plow I could get my hands on, which helped, because I was in scrap. I got six chisel plows, a couple tractors, and a big stainless steel milk tanker, that I made into this little bioremediation on wheels. I made liquid, and I had made soil, and we went out there and we would take the tractor, and we would work the ground like we would work a farm. We integrated it through a hog tank, which is the kind of system you use to literally take liquid hog waste and inject it into the ground. Well, I used that to inject my bioremediation fluid with my soil that I worked in with the chisel plow. We worked it all summer.
We got them, the gentleman said, "We're so thankful that this worked out. We'll give you five acres." I said, "Thank you so much. Will you pay me?" He said, "Yes," and he gave me the same thing again, and I was ecstatic. My dad and I were just smiling. It was just me, myself, and the summer. I got another employee, and we did it again. That year, I paid off my house. Then I said, "Dad, we need to pay off anything you got, because God knows this isn't going to last." We did, and we just continued, and we got another summer. At that time, I was called in to a meeting and I was asked, "Okay, Chad, this is wonderful. We're really thankful, but we have like 500 more acres. What are we going to do?" I'm like, "Do you really want the truth of what should be done?" They're like, "Yes, please." To my own ignorance at the time, I said, "Well, you should put a six inch cap of asphalt over this, and sell it to Wal-Mart or Pizza Hut, something like that," because the oil refinery is long gone, "and use it as a commercial property." They were like, "Thank you very much. We won't need you anymore. We're going to go and put asphalt on that."
Anyway, so that transitioned into me getting an opportunity to go on an IEPA speaking circuit. I did, and a gentleman from IKEA was there. I got hired to work at IKEA, helping them figure out a way to get to zero waste from their furniture. I showed them how to grind furniture, make it into a compost. Take the compost, put into a package, take the package, sell it in the gardening section, and they could just suggest that they take, "Here's what we do with our old furniture." They still do it to this day on some level, at some locations. This was at Schaumburg, which is in Chicago, so I got really cool opportunity to meet some really important people at IKEA. Great marketing experience.
Then out of that conversation, I got a phone call from a gentleman from California. He said, "I've heard about you. Would you come and show me some options from remediating a former gun club?" I said, "Yes, sir." I came to this meeting. The gentleman was very kind to me. He says, "I want you to figure out an alternative way, rather than just digging this up, because I don't want it to go to a landfill." I said, "Yes, sir." Next week, I'm on a plane to Vancouver, to look at a piece of gold mining equipment because I figure in my head, "Well, hell, if it can take gold flakes out of dirt, surely bullets are easy for it." Explained the concept to the guy. He's German. He says, "Oh, yes. Bullets, my goodness, it's easy." It used specific gravity to remove bullets.
Well, we did. We ran this whole gun club through this machine. Removed all these bullets, took the remaining soil, pH-buffered it to where it would actually isolate and lock up the lead. Then we remediated that, and that became the beginning of this 500 acre development. It was blighted, which meant he got it discounted. It was TIFable, which meant "tax incremental financing." The gentleman could build the houses, get paid by the residential aggregate community, the government, build the houses, sell the houses, get paid for that, then gets 22 years worth of the tax revenue from the houses paid to him.
Beautiful situation, right? Then he says to me, "PS Chad, there's a small landfill in the back." I can talk about all this now, because it's over seven years. We got the largest reverse-engineered landfill removal basically in the history of Illinois. We got to do that project, which was enormous for me. Every one of these, the check got larger.
Marcus: I'm listening to you, and I'm struck by one of my favorite guys, author, speaker, whatever, is Mike Rowe. Dirty jobs. Mike Rowe Works is his foundation. He's basically pivoted ... Actually, I can't say that. I think he's been doing this for as long as he's been on TV, but basically, he's funded this foundation, and the whole purpose of the foundation is to get people into the jobs that "Nobody wants." It's the welders, the plumbers, the electricians, the folks that are cleaning up waste and doing all these things. You've basically made a hell of a great living doing jobs that nobody else thought that they could ever do, or cared to do. Is that ...?
Chad: Yeah. Truthfully, it's all part of perspective. I came from a perspective where it was like, "Nothing wrong with shoveling." I still shovel now. "Nothing wrong with picking up waste." I got four kids. The truth is, it's all perspective. What are you willing to do? Well, I was willing to do whatever it took, because I knew that was probably my only option. There was going to be no free lunch. It was a neat thing, and that gentleman was very kind to me. I got another opportunity to work for Peabody Energy, doing a remediation project in a former strip mine, to create sustainable turf, which also ... By then, he said, "Chad, you seem okay at this grading thing. You seem to know more about it than some of these cats that I'm hiring. How about you become a grading contractor too?" I'm like, "Yes, sir, I will. That's fine. I'll go get the equipment this weekend. Is that satisfactory?" I said, "But, PS, it won't be pretty, because I'm not going to pay for nice stuff."
The whole time, everyone kept telling me, "Buy new stuff. Make a big company. Hire lots of people." I did take that engineer from UP, by the way. When I left, he came with me. I paid him for a whole year in advance, because he looked at me, he was like, "You're 10, man. I don't know if this is going to work out." I'm like, "How about I pay you for two years? I'll give you the salary. You put it in a bank account, and you draft yourself a weekly check. If you don't believe me, when we're finished, at least you got paid for a year and a half. How's that?" We did, great relationship, moved on, and he was the face of the company because I was 10. I looked 10.
We went to that project. That gentleman came to me and he said, very kindly, "Chad, the housing market's going to crash in a couple months, I think." He was the former CEO of Dole Fruit, and he was their land acquisition guy, so he knew what he was talking about. He flew in and out on a jet, and he made me carry his own special cell phone, so I took him very seriously. He said, "You need to quit this, and figure something out by next week. I'll try to get you paid as much as I can." He still owed me a half million, even today. By then, it was more than I ever expected to get anyway. He got me more than some other people got paid.
I did, and I moved on, and that weekend we opened the scrap yard to the public. We had this opportunity that was a former steel mill that had closed down, and I heard rumblings that they might reopen it. Back to scrap, picking up pieces. That weekend, I thought, "Well, hell, if the housing market's going to crash, a bunch of people aren't going to have work, and a bunch of people don't have work, what will they do?" Where I'm from, there was scrap farm equipment everywhere. I though, I'll open the scales to the public, and we'll start taking in scrap. Lo and behold, my strategy of selecting locations whereby there was a Super Wal-Mart became quite successful, because I paid cash, they could bring trash, and then they could go to Wal-Mart afterward and collect their groceries. It worked out better than I expected, and by the time I knew it, I had five locations.
It was very interesting, because it's a very different dynamic. It's very much like it is in the movies. You have big equipment crushing stuff, and all the people that are involved are scrupulous a little bit. Some of them are awesome, and then some of them are sketchy. A lot of your customer are sketchy, a lot of pistols, a lot of drug problems. Super educational experience. These people kept threatening me, physically, emotionally, and mentally. I told them, "You know, guys, if you want this bad, why don't you just buy it because I don't even like it? I'm going to be honest. I'm doing it, but ..." I did, and I sold it to a competitor. He had me work for him for a couple years. He was actually a pretty good guy. I'd come to like him quite a bit.
I worked for him, and then I ended up moving to Fairhope. There's some other things in the middle, like I bought a bunch of farm ground.
Marcus: I know we've talked about the tattoo shops and stuff like that. It's just interesting to me, I don't know ... We've interviewed a number of people on this podcast. You have by far the most experience in starting up businesses, and running them. I just think that's phenomenal. The hustle that you ... To start a business in your teens, or even earlier than that with the concession stand at the auctions, is just incredible. If you were talking to someone that wanted to start a business, what wisdom, what would you share with them to get them started on the right foot?
Chad: It was interesting, because when I got here I worked at USA a little bit, just for a couple weeks, as this executive in residence. I got a chance to meet with younger people, which I like, because I learned a lot more from them sometimes than they do from me. Same questions, and that's the reason I had to leave there, because I told the faculty, “All these students are coming to me, and they're racking up enormous student debt, and they're saying to me, 'Now what?' I'm saying to them, 'Stop racking up student debt.'" I'm almost at a complete opposite of the university's purpose. I'm saying, "Go get a trade job. Go get a trade skill."
That's what I almost see. I tell them, "You're accidentally close to Austell. You're accidentally close to an opportunity that most people would never get in their entire lives. Guys that work there are awesome, but some of them don't even recognize what they have, because of the enormous opportunity it presents, because of that wonderful benefit, Airbus. These are things that people travel across the world to find, and they're here accidentally. I said, "Guys, go get to know those people. Show up, and shake hands with people." The gentleman who's the CEO gave a speech there, last name is Pirelli, I believe. Nice guy, and I said, "Just go to that luncheon, and shake the man's hand, and ask if you can send in a resume, because, my goodness, you're going to get an opportunity started, where this master's degree will lead you, probably, totally."
Marcus: A business degree now will probably get you somewhere in the 30s or 40s, right?
Chad: Right, [crosstalk 00:26:24] are going to start out there.
Marcus: I'm hearing welders start at six figures.
Chad: That's a cool skill to have, anyway.
Marcus: Give me a break.
Chad: I know. That's my point. How do you say to someone, "Complete your business management degree," and then when XYZ is going to have a seven year lead on you, because most of these guys are taking too long in college anyway? Let's be honest. You'll never recuperate. Just do the math on paper, and understand that you've started with a mortgage, before you got started, and that was called a student loan.
To validate your point, I tell them, "If you're serious and you have a good idea, first off, a good idea should stand on its own. If it's good enough, you don't have to throw money at it to prove it's good. If someone tells you you need to spend a 100 grand to get this to market, because 'it cost money to make money,' no. Not necessarily. Hard hustle will make you money if the idea is strong enough. If it's strong enough, someone is going to come to you and want it, so you should be able to find someone that will validate the concept, to help you take it to market. They may want more than you expect it's worth, but the reality is, you may need that help regardless of whether you want to admit it."
The second thing is, do not ever fall in love with what you're doing. Never fall in love with your inventory. Move it, sell it, cut it up and sell it to the next guy as fast as possible, because things can change so much faster than you expect. Probably the last thing is, don't ever expect you're going to get paid. Don't spend your paycheck before you get it, because how many times, I can tell you that I thought I had XYZ seven figure idea coming, which, don't get me wrong, didn't mean I got to keep it all, but then someone else needed that money out of that cut, and it didn't come.
Marcus: You're still going to end up having to pay them, regardless of whether you get that money or not.
Chad: Yes. That's the big things I'd say, and just validate what you're spending your time on. If you can go to Austal and get a welding gig, you can still go to school at night, but why not double dip? Throw everything at the wall and see which one sticks, because it's usually not the one I expected.
Marcus: There are a couple of people in our industry that basically sell ... It's a class, for lack of a better terms, and the whole emphasis of the class is to do the analysis to find a product that you can sell to people, but it has to be something that they're going to want. They walk you through this whole; I think it's probably a four month long process or something like that, from start to finish but they're basically looking for ways to find that niche product that is actually going to sell, instead of just doing ...
Then also, I'd just say, there are plenty of people that can look at the way something is currently being done, like you did with the beginnings of the warehouse where you got all the scrap metal and re-cataloged it and stuff like that. You were looking at the way things were currently done, and said, "Well, if we just change this one little thing, then there's plenty of money to be made on that. Sometimes it's pretty obvious, or not so obvious, but pretty easy. You just look at a broken process, and provide a fix. It's interesting that you bring up Austell. Do you read?
Chad: I do, extensively on economics, markets, trying to understand financial markets. I don't watch sports, I don't watch a lot of television, but I do really like to read information on econ.
Marcus: Give us two books that you've read recently, that have been interesting, or helpful, or provided some nuggets of information.
Chad: I love to buy used college textbooks. The last ones I've gotten were probably this one on Fibonacci analysis, which is the concept of repetitive patterns in all things, but especially repetitive patterns as they relate to economics and stock markets. It's a super cool one. The second one is one on DeMark indicators, which is a gentleman named Tom DeMark, which invented this market analysis strategy back in the 80s, and the ability to preemptively forecast. Really neat, and both worthwhile, I highlight them, then I go back at different times to revisit them, just to give myself baseline.
Marcus: We have a couple more questions, but I don't want to end the podcast without talking about currently, you've sold out of some of those businesses.
Marcus: You're doing some day trading, but also, tell us a little bit about what you have going on. I know you've just gotten your real estate license, and are really killing it in that aspect.
Chad: [crosstalk 00:31:00] I've always loved viewing homes. I like design, although that sounds strange, from where I come from, but I do like ... Like your space here, I enjoy it. I like the architecture and the age of things, things with character. I really like going to visit homes, and I enjoy seeing people get that opportunity to expand or improve their situation. Especially, I also really like lately, I've got a lot of individuals that maybe haven't had as good of luck, that I've been helping see the angles, how I'll say it. If nothing else, my life is one of creative finance, so helping people see the loops that I never maybe saw until I got fortunate.
For example, I got a single mother right now. She's a beautiful person, she works hard, and she has a couple kids. She deserved a home, but no one would give her the shot. Just by discussing these things with her, I saw an opening on source of income she didn't have. By exploring that, and suggesting, "Supply this information and frame it this way," we got her approved for a home, and now she's getting one, literally like next week. To go from 400 square feet in an area where it isn't that comfortable, to a 2200 square foot home for her kids, that's actually life changing. For me it's beautiful.
Marcus: It's changing not only her life, but it's changing their lives, too. You just changed the trajectory of where they're going to end up.
Chad: I'll tell you, this little baby. Okay, so I've got adopted children. I call us the Rainbow Coalition because we're all different colors and sizes.
Marcus: I love it, man. That is so awesome.
Chad: It's my little deal, and I love it. This little girl, she says to me, she says, "You're going to help me get a house, right?" That always makes me get emotional, sincerely, she says, "You're going to help me get a house, right?" I'm like, "Yeah, baby. I'm going to help you get a house. Instantly, this is like my kid. Like, I'm seeing her, and that's how my kids have come to me. I got them all at birth, but instantly, she's already mine in my mind, and I'm like, "Yeah, baby, I'm going to help you get a house." I'm thinking to myself, "God, am I going to be able to buy her a house if I can't get her one?" Now, sincerely, I feel that weight, instantly, which sounds silly to people, but it's absolutely genuine, just because I remember the feeling. I'm thinking to myself, "Okay."
In this fantastic scenario of conversations with others, it did work, and now she's going to get this house. I got to go take her to the house, and see it. Her mom was so guarded about it, that she wouldn't take her to even see it until we had the deal almost done. Even then, I could sense her hesitation in showing her this home, because what if it didn't go?
Marcus: To get her hopes up.
Chad: It was beautiful thing. Those kind of scenarios are really worth what it's about. I still enjoy going with an individual who earned their weight, to get the home they want. It's still a fun experience, but those ones are little gems, right?
Marcus: That just blows me away, man.
Chad: I loved it.
Marcus: What do you like to do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies?
Chad: I play with my babies. I love the water. One of the reasons I was driven here, we have a home on the Gulf, I call it the ocean but everyone keeps correcting me, and I really enjoy that, I like going out there when the weather's bad, because you have a decent wave to catch here. I like to pretend I'm a surfer, but the reality is, I just pretend. I'm from that Patrick Swayze era, the Roadhouse kind of rules, and the concept of him surfing, in the next six months, he's got long hair. I love that vibe, that concept. It appeals to me. I like to pretend I'm in California, but I'm here.
The beautiful part is, I'm not waiting for a set. I don't have to fight for it. It’s like they're all mine, the whole beach. I was one of the first cats out here with a paddle board. I brought one in from a long ways away, and then, man, everyone was like, "What is this?" I'm like, "it's just an oversize surfboard, guys. It floats easier, and you can catch little waves." We'd propel ourselves in and out. I'd teach the babies.
My daughter and I skateboard, although I know that sounds really weird. It's one of the only hobbies I had as a kid, because it required no pattern of time, no teamwork. No one was in my way. I idolized those cats, and I liked it, and there's a whole other storyline about me building a skate park at my other house with a bunch of guys, and my daughter being on the Internet for those things. We loved it so much. I love the freedom. I like the speed of it. I won't get on a motorcycle, because I'm scared of them. I always say, there's two kinds of motorcycle riders, those who have gone down, and those who are going down. I never went down at high speed, so I'm going to stop now. I did, but I enjoyed skateboards, because it would propel me at speed, all in a pool, in a bowl, where you get high speed, like the Tony Alva vibe. We like that kind of gig.
Truthfully, that's my weirdness. I like that, and tattoos, and on the other side of it, I'm dressed like a professional, and I want to trade markets like Michael Douglas in "Wall Street." Man, I would repeat that bad boy over and over. I had the Donald Trump game, which I’m not necessarily a Donald Trump guy now, but in the 80s, I loved that visual aesthetic, that I could acquire that money. I struggled for it, and I'm reaching all the time. I still get there. It's this weird little 80s to 90s mixture. I think we kind of maybe share that context.
Marcus: We definitely do. One of the podcasts that's going to be released before yours is a podcast with Johnny Gwynn, and Johnny posted some pictures on his Facebook page a couple of weeks ago. He went to Georgia, or I forget where he was exactly, but he was skating. He is our age and I told him the story about how I don’t know if this was on tape or whether it wasn’t but my oldest son asked for a skateboard a Christmas or so ago and I got him a Hosoi hammerhead.
Chad: I’m just getting ready to tell you my story about Hosoi, go ahead.
Marcus: I got him a Hosoi hammerhead because I always like the Paul Prater stuff and I apologize to anybody that’s listening to this that doesn’t give a rat’s ass about skating but just bear with us for a second. Anyway, so I got him a Hosoi hammerhead and it sat pristine on top of a bookcase for like a couple of months and finally we were outside one day and I told him I was like, “Go up and get your skateboard” and he was like, “What, why?” I was like, “Just go get your skateboard” and so he brought it down and I took it from him and proceeded to skate all around our driveway, did some alleys, did some slides and stuff like that. I didn’t go and like I’m a little bit heavier now than I used to be, so I didn’t do a handstand type tricks or anything along those lines because I didn’t want to blow a shoulder. I told Johnny I was like man, I was sore for days.
Chad: You forget the muscles that are required and you forget the actual …
Marcus: Well, the balance all the ancillary.
Chad: The balance, the challenge, the ability to be fearless. Man, I aspire to do all of those things. Didn’t do as much as I could have then but I do. I don’t know there is some part of some part of this. I think it’s our demographic.
Chad: This is appeal to it. You want to be Christian Hosoi, you want to be Michael Douglas in Wall Street and at the same time and then all that pressure still you better be able to vacuum the floor because my dad says, “What are you doing?” I’m like, “Dad this is not 1963 bro.” Like I pick stuff up, I go to clean the house and help because that’s really what we should do, isn’t it?
Marcus: Yeah, no it’s just cool. I have often times thought maybe I’ll get some long boards or something for getting around downtown but we’ll see. I’ve got my eyes on a boosted board which is an electric motorized …
Chad: I’ve seen them.
Marcus: Have you seen them?
Chad: Oh yeah.
Marcus: Those things are so rad. If anybody wants to lend me a boosted board, have at it. Anyway, where can people find you?
Chad: Easiest way to get me is just through my email, I had forever firstname.lastname@example.org just my name and on my cell. You’re always welcomed to call or text. If I can help anybody 251-229-5771 those are the easiest contact points. The tattoo shops they’re kind of living, breathing things of their own nature. They don’t require my energy. My guys are awesome that running my, very appreciative of them. Most of everything I have is so much a lot of pilot, I’m so thankful and this real estate gigs. Same thing, it’s like people can contact [inaudible 00:39:07] me and my partner Angie [inaudible 00:39:10] she’s great. I’m thankful for her too because in that way I can still do the things I promised my family I would do. I just love this area, I enjoy all of it. If I can help anybody in capacity generally it’s part of my interest in being here.
Marcus: That’s so cool man. Any final thoughts or comments you’d like to share?
Chad: I just appreciate being here.
Marcus: Well I appreciate your willingness to come and spend some time with me today and share your incredible journey. Like I said I don’t think I’ve met anybody that started and run as many businesses as what you have so I appreciate.
Chad: It’s all luck and timing man, luck and timing.
Marcus: Awesome man. It was great talking with you.
Chad: You too.