Had the pleasure to speak with Chuck Wright, founder of Lone Star Wealth Strategies. Chuck is also the Executive Director of the Texas Veteran Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Texas Veterans Commission and USO. We speak about a variety of topics related to military veterans in the state of Texas, financial advice, and business advice. A few books we discussed: Good Profit: How Creating Value for Others Built One of the World’s Most Successful Companies (https://amzn.to/3unjPUv) The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (https://amzn.to/3wvBU4A) Stop Whining, Start Winning (https://amzn.to/2R371nP)
#106: Supporting Texas veterans and financial advising with Chuck Wright
April 5, 2021 • 56:02
Aaron Spatz, Host, America’s Entrepreneur
Chuck Wright, Founder, Lone Star Wealth Strategies
You’re listening to America’s Entrepreneur, the podcast designed to educate, entertain, and inspire you in your personal and professional journey. I’m your host, Aaron Spatz. And on the podcast, I interview entrepreneurs, industry experts and other high-achievers that detailed their personal and professional journeys in business. My goal is to glean their experiences into actionable insights that you can apply to your own journey. If you’re new to the show, we’ve spoken with successful entrepreneurs, Grammy Award-winning artists, bestselling authors, chief executives, and other fascinating minds with unique experiences. We’ve covered topics such as how to achieve breakthrough in business, growing startups, effective leadership techniques, and much more. If you strive for continual self-improvement and enjoy fascinating and insightful conversation, hit the subscribe button. You’ll love it here at America’s Entrepreneur.
And we’re just going to dive right into today’s show. I’m just incredibly grateful, incredibly excited to welcome Chuck Wright to the show. Chuck comes to us from a military background, and we’re going to talk a little bit about that, but he’s also advancing the causes of veterans in the state of Texas. So really excited to speak with him and see what all he’s got going on. So, Chuck, I just want to welcome you, sir. Thank you so much for being a part of the show.
Hey, good morning. Thank you for having me.
Absolutely. So my favorite lead off question I love to ask folks is, are you a DFW native? And if not, where the heck are you from?
Actually, no. While I am a sixth and seventh generation Texan, I’m also an Air Force brat. So we were kind of nomadic. My dad got orders to Randolph and said, “Okay, that’s it. This is the last tour. We’re going to buy a home that they’d never – my parents never had their own house. And we settled in Randolph and I did high school and college there. Mom’s still in the same house. So went in the Marine Corps after college, wound up coming back to DFW because there were some opportunities here, founded Lone Star Wealth Strategies, which is a retirement income planning firm. And as they say, the rest is history.
Wow. Wow. So, yeah. So go ahead and take us through that. So you served a number of years as a Marine CH-46 pilot, which is pretty awesome. We share a common background as being a Marine officers, which is awesome. But then you did your time in service and then you punched out. And so tell me about this business that you started.
So as I was in the Marine Corps, I met a guy who was a financial planner and realized when I was doing a better job of explaining – or when he realized and he suggests that I was doing a better job of explaining what he did to guys in the squadron, he said, “You might want to think about this.” And a bit of background. I graduated from UTSA (University of Texas in San Antonio) and majored in economics. So I was always fascinated with money. Probably because growing up like you, my dad was a senior enlisted. My mom was a school teacher. We had a nice life. We weren’t rich; we weren’t poor but money was always tight. So I was always fascinated with it.
Anyway, it kind of spun into a practical application of my degree and kind of the educational process of teaching people. They’re really starting with questions. I mean, that kind of favorite leading questions. What’s important about money to you? And that built my firm. I’m a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table, which is my industry, the financial services’ key group, if you will. It’s something you can’t just sign up. You actually have to earn your way into it. I’m actually proud of that. That’s kind of another backstory we can talk about later.
But started the firm, met my wife 19 years ago, almost 19 years ago now, and kind of realized I wanted to go in a different direction. And that kind of what motivated you reaching out to me was I don’t really have any hobbies. I’m the only financial planner in a world that doesn’t play golf. Although I do run a golf tournament, which is interesting, kind of an interesting evolution. Oh, you don’t play golf. Oh, here you run the tournament. So that was typical of a bunch of Marines.
Perfect. Perfect. Well, no, it’s a crazy realization when you are able to explain to other people in your unit better than the financial planner, the financial advisor, can do. And it’s a bit of an indicator of just how passionate or how much interest and how much you’ve studied, just whether it was in your own time, but then kind of that opening the door for you and just kind of peaking your interest and then you go off and you dive right into that and you’re making a tremendous impact. Is that practice, is that still operating?
As I refer to it, it is my day job. And then I was saying, I don’t play golf. I like to read. I have a small growing collection of autographed books on a subject near and dear to both of our hearts about the Marine Corps. But I don’t really have any hobbies. So I turned serving veterans into my hobby. In fact, I listened to – was it the Vet Fest? The Veterans Film Festival. And one of the guys, again, another Marine had created a film and he was really cool because he’s interviewing W. Bush in the Oval Office. And if you haven’t been to W. Bush library, I strongly recommend going. It’s fascinating. But he has an Oval Office that you can actually go in and sit behind the resolute desk. But they’re sitting on the couches in the Oval Office doing this interview. And my wife was with me at the time and W says, “I wanted to spend the rest of my life serving veterans.” And I turned to her and I said, “That SOB stole my line.” But it is. It’s the concept of Charlie Mike, continue the mission. And I realized there was a tremendous amount that needed to be done to support and to help. And I’m just kind of one guy trying to be one of those small cogs in the larger machine.
Sure. Well, I mean, there’s a lot going on here in DFW, but also just in the state of Texas in general. And Texas, I mean, is a tremendously positive in terms of support for troops. I think I shared this story on an episode of the Veterans Business Podcast and I can link that up. But my first experience with the state of Texas was flying through DFW airport when I was on RNR on a one-year deployment to Afghanistan and was absolutely blown away by just the sheer volume of people and the amount of support that people had for just, I mean, there’s hundreds of us getting off these airplanes, getting ready to head to different flights. And it was just almost – I was just blown away. Absolutely blown away. I was like, I never seen anything like that. And that’s just part of what I’ve noticed is just the Texas culture of supporting our military veterans.
And so share with me a little bit about then some of the work that you’re doing. Because you’re doing – and we can come back to the financial advisor because I think that would be incredibly fascinating. And I would love to ask you a few questions about that. But while we’re on the topic, talk with me about the Texas Veterans Commission and the Texas Veterans Chamber of Commerce.
And you mentioned one thing and I’ll toss this in. This year, I was appointed to the DFW USO board. So I sit on two boards. I sit on two committees. So to your question about the Texas Veterans Commission here in Texas, you’re absolutely right. We do a great job of supporting veterans compared to other states. Texas is either first or second, depending on which week the study comes out in terms of number of veterans in the state. And I serve on the Fund for Veterans’ Assistance and what we do, it’s a grant recommendation committee. We make the recommendations for this year will be $30 million that will go to both veterans service organizations and organizations that serve veterans. Not quite the same thing. And it’s an important distinction because we have organizations like the City of Fort Worth, Catholic charities, Easterseals, Salvation Army that are all eligible to take money from what is the veteran pool of money created by scratch-off tickets and allocated for their veteran specific, Texas specific projects.
So not all of the groups that get money from us are veteran service organizations defined as – and I’ll pick one of my favorites, which is Hope For The Warriors. And we’ve already made our recommendation so I can – well, we won’t talk about specific recommendations this year because the commissioners haven’t voted for this year. But Hope For The Warriors qualified last year. The Texas VFW qualified last year. A local to DFW organization, which is the Veterans Center of North Texas, I think it’s called. It’s Paul Hendrick’s group, which is primarily based in Collin County. All of these groups have qualified for money to either provide financial aid, education, mental and physical health services all kinds of different things. I don’t know if you familiar with Heroes on the Water. Another one of my favorites. Actually takes veterans and their families out kayaking
And we do kayak fishing. I’m not part of it. I just go hang out and have lunch and kayak, and my son and I love it. It’s a lot of fun. But these are the types of groups that we support through the Texas Veterans Commission. And one of the reasons I like it is it’s very intense work, but it’s for a very short period of time and then we’re pretty much done. Several of the organizations I’m part of, the intensity of how much work that I have to do ebbs and flows during the course of the year. Well, right now, I’m a little bit nuts. But we get past Memorial Day and my life gets a little bit easier and I get to focus on as I call my day job.
No, that’s awesome. Well, I mean, like you pointed out, I mean, there’s a lot of really worthy causes and there’s a lot of activity here in terms of different veterans programs, different veterans focus – just all these different organizations that contribute to the welfare of Texas veterans. So I think it’s pretty awesome. And I appreciate your work and all that you’re doing there. But just so I have understand, what’s the principal difference between the types of work that you’re doing on Texas Veterans Commission versus the Texas Veteran Chamber of Commerce?
And one of the reasons, one of the ways we connected was through the veteran podcast but the DFW Business Podcast and that kind of is the difference. So the state of Texas is home – according to the Small Business Administration – to 160,000 plus veteran and military spouse businesses. I realized about two and a half years ago, I started pursuing the idea. I wanted to do something – I hate to say this – a little bit selfishly. I wanted something that was more mine, but I didn’t want to – you mentioned doing when we were off air, there’s a huge number of nonprofits trying to serve veterans. I encourage people if you want to start something, make sure you’re not overlapping. But one thing that I realized is I have 35 years of experience basically consulting to small businesses.
When I came back to Texas, I didn’t know anybody in DFW. My Marine buddies were scattered all over the world. So I found that business owners were more willing to listen to someone still had a Marine haircut walking in the door for the first several months, somebody to listen to. So I went down that niche to help build my business, but I realized I’d been working with small business my whole life. There are the huge market of veteran businesses but no one organization. And our goal is to grow those businesses. Most people cringe when they hear Chamber of Commerce which are mostly civic organizations. We realized that’s not what we wanted to be. I almost thought about at one point changing the name, but it is what it is, and we’ll get people educated about it.
Our goal is to grow those businesses. We want to grow the veteran business, military spouse business footprint in the state, and we’re going to use a lot of tools. We are developing some incredible partnerships to grow that. And if I can go down this path, there’s four ways of business can do business. B to C, B to B, B to F and B to G. And basically that refers to the four different markets. Business to consumer, business to business. Business to fortune, typically you say 500, but it’s really 5 to 10,000. And then B to G is business to government. And most of our businesses will fall into at least one of those categories. Some do a couple.
So one of the things we do as a chamber is we help develop and bring tools and resources to the table to help veteran businesses open those doors. So specifically, B to F, which is B to Fortune 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, whatever the number is. They have a very specific way for the most part. Very much true with doing business with the government. They want business done.
We actually partner with an organization that will help certify a company to be eligible, but that company goes, that organization goes one step further. They will actually push down line. They’re reaching out constantly to the same businesses to say hey, we’ve got this opportunity. This company is looking for this this good or that service. And one of the beautiful things about being a veteran is if you are a preferred vendor for most of these companies. These companies want to do business with veteran entrepreneurs and veteran-run entrepreneurs for several reasons.
Veterans tend to make better business owners. And the proof of that is veterans businesses go out of business – I mean, you do the DFW Business Podcast, you know how many businesses go out of business every year. Veteran businesses go out of business at about three times – am I saying that right? They are three times less likely to go out of business.
Oh, that’s awesome.
And if you think about it, you think about the character of a veteran – we’re joking offline about being Marines. If you want to be a bear, you may as well be grizzly and we all laugh and think that’s funny because we all know that the Marines are easily the best branch of the service. And we have the best diet because we’re filling up at least once a day on the high fiber of crayons. For those that don’t understand, the Army made a joke a couple of years ago about Marines being crayon eaters. And instead of getting upset and triggered and offended by it, the Marines embraced it in a method that went viral and it has become – and that’s just typical of the Marine Corps, but it’s typical of our veterans.
Somebody throws an obstacle in your path. If you’re a veteran, you have come up in a system. And this is true, whether you’re an entrepreneur or an employee, and I’m sorry, I’m on my soapbox a little bit, but I am truly passionate about our veterans. If you want to hire somebody, hire a veteran. They may not have the perfect skillset, but what they are problem solvers first and foremost. Veterans have grown up in a system that gives people responsibility. We have 19-year olds driving $25 million and $50 million tanks. They’re in command of it.
I’ve got a buddy of mine’s son who is now a staff sergeant. I think he’s 21, 22. I should know that a little bit better. And I’ve grown up with this young man. I actually introduced his parents. So it’s a little bit of that personal story, but I am so proud of what he said. And now he commands a platoon of five Bradley Fighting Vehicles at 22 years old. You saw this when you were in the Marine Corps. The young Marines that were under your command, they took on so much – or you took on so much responsibility as a young officer or as a young sergeant. And this translates into problem solving and you got kudos for solving the problem. If you didn’t bother your NCO, or if you didn’t bother your OIC and you got something fixed, that’s a sure path to promotion.
So you have these people who have this ethos of looking at a problem, but also trying to find a solution. You don’t have to micromanage a veteran most of the time. Granted, we’re not all perfect. And again, I’ll go back to the proof of that. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but veterans make a higher income than non-veterans. One of the reasons the Governor Abbott likes them so much. And every governor going back as long as I’ve been in Texas has recognized the value of veterans. Texas is a great state to come to. And people come here, they’re down at the military facilities at Randolph or they’re at Fort Hood, which is one of the largest, maybe the largest military facility in the world. And they stay because it’s a good state for veterans. Oh, I kind of – sorry – went off on a couple of directions there.
I appreciate you sharing that. In fact, when you’re talking about the crayon joke, I actually saw this article the other day and I just grabbed it really quick while you’re talking to make sure I was right. So there’s a guy who last year took the challenge basically and he went and made edible crayons.
Love it. That’s entrepreneurship for you.
That’s right. That’s right. So taking it, embracing it and leveraging that situation. But no, I appreciate what you’re doing with both the Texas Veterans Commission and the Texas Veterans Chamber of Commerce. Because there’s a lot there. You’re very, very busy contributing to that and helping spearhead a lot of those things. And so I just appreciate you bringing awareness and bringing to light really, I mean, for this great state of Texas, but also just all that’s going on for military veterans.
And what I want to do, I love to shift back and understand and kind of hear a little bit more your story of building and growing your own firm. And so what that looked like for you as you’re just getting things started and what you felt like kind of turn the tide for you. And I’m thinking of like, you know, obviously I know plenty of people that have gotten into this same space. And so some people make it, some people don’t. And so what have you found work best for you and what advice would you share?
That’s actually a really great question. And one of the things that comes back to first and foremost is perseverance. You have to – it was a very, very challenging, still is a very challenging career. It can be an easy career path. It can be a fun career path. It is very self-driven, and that is both positive and a negative. It’s very easy to – I have buddies who spend a ton of time on the golf course because it was an easy, it’s not a nine-to-five job. You’ve got to work it. Now, the sharpest guy that I know had a deal going with one of the golf pros and he would go out actually three different – wind up doing three different golf course pros one day a week or three days out of the week, but at a different golf course. He would go and allow himself to be added to a foursome. And by the time you wound up at the 19th hole, having to buy the lunch, people would ask him about what he did. So I just laughed and thought that’s good, I wish I played golf.
That’d be a great way to market have fun at the same time. You’ve got to be willing to stick to it. And mine is a unique industry in that nobody cares about what it is, the service we actually provide. Nobody shows up. Monday morning, there’s not a line in any of our offices of people saying, “Hey, I gotta sign up.” It just doesn’t work that way. People want to know how much you care about them. People want to know how you can help them.
We live in an age where on a cell phone, all the information in the known world is at your fingertips. When somebody says, “Well, I need more information.” I’m like, I can bury you information. And what you actually need is guidance. You need guidance through this incredible just avalanche of information. What fits you? And that’s kind of the hard part is that I use the analogy of building a foundation with bricks. You have to build it one brick at a time. It is very much a one person at a time business. There is huge opportunity for personal success. Although I have proudly stated, it’s true across the board. I’ve never made more money than any of my clients. And I am proud to say that I put them first. But obviously, another thing in any business, regardless if you put your clients first, good things will happen.
One of many books that I recommend, it’s a book called Good Profit, was written by one of the Koch brothers and I always forget which one wrote it. Because of politics, they have been blistered in by some sections of the media. These are people who should be admired across the board because in one of the things that struck me early on in the book is he talked about that everybody has to win. So my vendor has to win, my customer has to win and ultimately I have to win. And I thought about that. And I was like, we all know the guy you’re trying to get a contract on and he wants to nickel and dime everything. And there’s no joy in that. There’s no pleasure. But he doesn’t care if you make money or not.
The Koch brothers were at a point. They realized they didn’t have to do that anymore. We’re coming off of Easter. I don’t want to go too religious, but it’s just not a strong Christian value. It’s not a good American value. And they also had this attitude for their employees. They pay their employees very well. But they also encourage – this is another thing for any business owner out there. One piece of advice if I can start your week with, listen to your employees. They actually create programs for employees, come up with ideas that cut costs. Those employees get rewarded. Or make things better. Listen to your employees because you’d be surprised how much they care about your business too.
And so I was struck by this. We talk about being good corporate citizens. Like I say, they take a lot of flak because they support particular candidates from a particular political leaning. Look past that. People have the right to think politically the way they want to think, but these guys are actually practicing that. And then I’ll balance the scales by talking about – and I can never remember his name, but the man who created Costco. Now, this is a retail business. The Koch brothers are into multiple things, including oil and gas.
Yeah. In fact, I actually found the book. Here it is. Good Profit: How Creating Value for Others Built One of the World’s Most Successful Companies by Charles Koch.
Yeah. So I’ll have that linked up in the show notes. So if anyone’s interested in wanting to pick that up, you can grab a copy of it. But Chuck, what I’d love to understand is as you’re kind of going through your career, what do you feel made the difference for you as you got going? There’s a lot of people who – and I think this is true of just about any business, by the way. I did not just strictly to your specific industry.
But just getting off the starting line and getting from hobby level businesses to really sustaining their own livelihoods then to growing and hiring one or two employees or whatever that may look like until they’re achieving scale or something that’s a little bit more sustainable in terms of macro. What do you feel made the difference for you in terms of going from ‘man, I’m barely figuring this thing out’ to ‘okay, I think I can pay my bills with this’?
And I appreciate that question. And believe it or not, Aaron, didn’t set that up. But it was funny story. So I’ll walk into a meeting, I’d been doing this for ten years or so. And very much just paying the bills. I wasn’t getting over that Malcolm Gladwell – we’ll talk about The Tipping Point. I had not crossed the tipping point. And the managing partner in the office gets a bunch of us into this meeting. And I’m looking around the room and there’s friends and buddies, guys I know and people I didn’t know.
And he starts the meeting and he said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result.” And what he issued was a challenge to us. And in my industry, we have a qualifying organization. So you have to do X amount of business to get into the Million Dollar Round Table I’d mentioned before. I’m a life member now of the Million Dollar Round Table. And basically, he does the whole meeting. How are you going to get to the Million Dollar Round Table? And I literally was sitting there. I actually was getting sweaty and clammy. There’s no way I can make this, no way I can make this. I think about those that were in that room. More than half of us made that commitment.
And so I’m going to tout a friend of mine, Tim Klund. TK has recently written a book. It’s called Stop Whining, Start Winning. The number one thing he talks about doing is find somebody who’s where you want to be, who is achieving a level of be it business success, personal success, whatever it is, obviously we’re focused on business. Who is that guy who has built that business and find out – literally do an interview with him, sit down and ask him for some time or her for some time. There’s some incredibly successful women out there as well. What did you do? How did you get there? And then you go do that. And hold yourself accountable. Set it up so that you know you’re going to do these five things every day that it’s going to get you into more markets. Going back to, you know, figure it out. What is the product and service that you want to provide? Who is most likely to buy that product or service. And then how do you get inside that market?
And now as we’re opening up a little bit, is it you want to sell – I always pick on the HVAC guys because we have so many veterans that’ll get out, they’ll go to trade school, which absolutely I’m a huge supporter of because college isn’t the answer for everybody. To be Marine officers, we had to have a college degree. If I didn’t, if that wasn’t my passion, once I met that recruiter on campus and this spark in the back of my mind said, hey, man, I can do a fly helicopters. Somebody’s going to pay me to do this? They’ve got to be insane. Because it was. I had great fun. It was a great time.
So anyway, back to the point is you find that person, you find out what they did, you copy that, you adopt that, but every day, what are you going to do every day to start to build a little more success? And it seldom happens overnight. It does for some. I actually have one of the ladies I’ve met through the Texas Veterans Chamber through a thing we call the all-call meetings, which we post on LinkedIn and Facebook every month. We welcome anybody to jump in. Sorry, did a little plug there. But she has created a company with her husband called Dina Lock. It’s Dina Lock. And so it’s basically a locking system where delivery services – Walmart is one of going to be one of their customers, Amazon. We keep hearing stories about people stealing packages off of doorsteps. They’re going to create a system where that will go into a lock box of that package. And it’s like a great big ice cooler. So you can put a lot of stuff in there. If it’s perishables, at least keeps it cool for a little while. They’re going on Shark Tank. They’re about to get incredible exposure.
And this is another one of our veteran-owned businesses. But again, the same thing that they had this nugget of an idea. They figured out who had created a business. They started picking their brain and found out what they did. And then every day they’d been working on this. And I know – I’m going to do it an analogy from flight school. So I’m going down to flight school and back then it was called the gouge. What’s the gouge, man? How do I get through flight school? Because flight school is very difficult. The very first meeting you’re in. So they told us, “Look to the left, look to the right. One of the three of you will not leave here with a pair of wings.” And I’m like, whoa, that’s a little bit scary. But everybody kept looking for the gouge and the gouge was simple. Know your procedure. No, no, yeah. Everybody says that but what’s the gouge? We we’re always looking for that shortcut.
Yeah. That secret, right? I mean, everybody’s looking for that secret, that one thing that nobody else knows.
It doesn’t exist. It’s not out there. Now you may come up with an idea for a product. That might be the secret, but that’s not magic or everybody would sell it or what have it and grow it and all that stuff. Really, the key to success is showing up every day, having a plan, creating your own plan. And if you don’t know what to, do get up from your desk – and again, it’s tougher to do in COVID – and go talk to business people. Jump on LinkedIn and post a question.
Again, I’m bad about analogies, but what if you’re a writer and you had writer’s block. Instead of sitting there at your desk, trying to pound through it, go ask ten or 20 other writers, or put it on your Facebook page or your LinkedIn page and say, “Hey, I’m stuck here. Who’s got an idea?” And you’re going to get a hundred people who want to share – some of them total strangers, who will share some really, really good idea. You don’t have to take everyone, but one of them will stand out to you and go, oh, there we go.
But it keep coming back to perseverance. I wished I had a better magic answer, but it really is. It’s showing up every day. Your DFW Business Podcast wasn’t successful week one, but now here you are today. And I don’t know how many thousands of people will eventually view this because you stuck to it. And I know you stuck to it because you’re a Marine. So there we go. I’ll always bring it back to being a veteran.
No. Well, I mean, it’s just obvious how passionate you are, but the answer – I appreciate the raw honesty in that answer. Because one, it’s an answer that I don’t think enough people hear, but two, because it’s not this “sexy” answer, right? It’s not this little magic bullet of, hey, if you just do this, if you just do that, then it’s all going to break open for you and you’re going to be a wild success. And the prevailing wisdom, and from talking with other very successful people and you’re sharing some of your own insight in here, is like you just got to do the basic stuff right all the time, but then also kind of have your eye on other people that you think you may either want to be like or to they’re doing work that really speaks to your passions and your interests. And so go reverse engineer it, try to understand how did they take it from nothing to something. And so I appreciate you sharing that.
And I’m going to throw a little plug for Aaron in the show here. One of the things that I talked – I have a whole talk that I do to the new people in our business. And if you haven’t figured it out already, I tend to be very much an out-of-the-box thinker. But one of the things that I talk about is feed your brain. Constantly be pumping good information into it. So if you’re kind of a first time, or you’ve listened to it a couple of times, a podcast show like this can be so powerful just to constantly be looking at it from a slightly different angle. I hate the fact that you’ve created this podcast because now I can’t do it because I was like, this is a really good idea. But have shows like this. Regularly listen to this show, regularly find two or three or four other guys or girls that are saying things business-wise that are in your industry and feed yourself constantly, every day, and make it a habit.
Developing great habits is kind of where I’m leading to. And as I’m sitting here, as we’re talking about this, I was like, I just picked up TK’s book. I’m kind of a little bit surprised. I was like, “Dude,” I’m called him in and said, “you never told me you wrote a book,” and it popped up somehow. It’s very, very short read. It’s Stop Whining, Start Winning by Tim Klund, who is an Air Force veteran. If you think I am passionate, oh my Lord, TK – if we could channel TK, he could power a small city. He’s a fun incredibly successful veteran entrepreneur. But I tell you what, if you’re looking for one piece of advice, grab that book. It’s like eight bucks. It’s cheap. Best investment you ever made it. It will walk through what he calls his cheat system, which is really, really simple. There’s nothing in it you wouldn’t have thought of on your own, but it’s all in one place and it’s all do these things.
As a teaser, so one, he’s a solid guy. I know TK personally, but also, he’ll be a guest. He’s going to be a guest on the show here in just a couple of weeks.
So stay tuned for that. But one of the points that you made a minute ago, and again, I never promote my show while I’m doing the show, but you mentioned something. So I’m going to take advantage of it for just a quick second.
So one of the most fun and fascinating bits of this journey, so having two shows. So the Veterans Business Podcast, I started in January of 2020 that continues to this day and then the DFW Business Podcast, which we’re on right now, that started earlier this year. And they both accomplish very similar things, two slightly different audiences, but what I’ve enjoyed so much about it is exactly what you said a minute ago, Chuck, is getting into talk to people that have gone through a variety of obstacles and challenges in business. And what’s amazing is I might be talking to a chemist on one show, but you might be a manufacturing executive or a financial services executive. And I mean, that couldn’t be any of a greater difference, but yet there’s elements of that story that you can overlay to your own business and your own professional career. And so that’s been one of the most intriguing things about talking to folks like yourself is understanding your background, what’s worked for you, what hasn’t worked for you, and then ultimately, in hopes that you, as the listener, or if you’re watching this, you’re able to take something from this and apply it to your own life.
And so, I mean, some really solid words of wisdom here, Chuck, and I really, really appreciate your sharing all that. What was it for you though? So let’s go back. Let’s focus on the Million Dollar Round Table and you’re in that conversation. You’re getting a little sweaty, getting a little stressed out. What changed for you? What took you from thinking ‘holy cow, how am I ever going to get there’ to ‘you know what, I think I can actually pull this off?
That’s really a good question. I think that number one was a change in mindset. A belief that I could do this, but then the application of, okay, I need to talk to X number of people. And it’s just not random people on the street, but I’ve got to figure out who I needed to be talking to. So one of the things that I started out doing is I went back to an idea that I had been given ten, 12 years before that I had never done anything with. It was a great idea. Or one of those great ideas that worked so well, you stopped doing it. But basically, I started attending an industry convention. I had one of my clients as a member of an industry and he had mentioned that he was going to a convention and I said, “Hey, do you mind if I tag along?”
And I went around and talked to a bunch of business owners – and let me take one step back. Business owners, small business owners, I truly believe, are the backbone of America. They have always been a little bit of my heroes. There are people that have gone out and created something out of nothing. And that kind of appealed to me because maybe it was an inferiority complex, something I’ve noticed with a lot of Marines .One way to resolve that is become part of an organization that is greater than you are. But it also starts create a mentality of service to others.
But when I started doing it, I walked around this convention. I was asking these guys what their concerns were and just shut up and listen to it. I know that your listeners are probably going, oh, this guy ever shuts up. Occasionally, I do. You got to pay attention. It doesn’t happen very often, but no, I walked around and they listened to what their needs were and grab their business card. Now I was doing something really goofy at the time. I’d get two business cards. And so I would send them back. One of them laminated as a bag tag, just bought a little inexpensive laminating machine. I would mail it back with a note, “Hey, I really enjoyed meeting you. I told you I needed your second card for a reason. I would love to get together with you and talk more in the future. Chuck Wright, founder of Lone Star Wealth Strategies.” And lo and behold, they were like, “Wow, thank you. That was really kind of nice.” I just slapped that on my briefcase, on my travel bag, whatever. But I wound up making a lot of appointments because of that. Because I’m working with people, I found just a niche of people and just started talking to them. I picked up the phone and called.
So first, I had to change mentally the way I looked at it because I realized I was the biggest roadblock to my own success. And the other thing I realized is I didn’t realize I was actually pretty good at what I did. And I hadn’t had the success I should have had, but I understood what I was doing. I understood the other thing well. And specifically about my business, I didn’t realize how poorly most people understood money. People don’t understand money. It kind of it goes, it flows through their checking account and they pay bills with it, but they don’t really understand creating wealth. And that’s kind of part of what I talked about.
The other nice thing about business owners, they got lots of needs. If you think about it people attacking your castle, there’s a lot of things that a business owner has got to be concerned with. I mean, in this day and age, one bad Yelp review can damage your business. You’ve got to constantly be on top of stuff. An employee leaves and he sues you. It doesn’t matter he doesn’t really have anything to sue you about, but now you’re jumping through hoops. The challenges of a business owner are large. And if you can be a guy who can help with some of those challenges, you have the ability to potentially have some success.
But again, this all goes back to perseverance first and foremost. Having an understanding of what it is that you want to do, what good or services you want to provide to the world and then figuring out who’s going to potentially buy it. Most important, creating an executable plan to go find those people. How are you going to get in front of them? And once you have that question answered, it’s just getting up in the morning and going and talking to those people. I don’t recommend cold calling. I couldn’t do that. It’s very uncomfortable to me, but it’s not uncomfortable for me to introduce myself to somebody and say, “Tell me about your business. How’d you get here?”
One of my favorite questions is where do you see this business in five years, in ten years? And it is stunning to me how people will actually sit back and go, “Wow, that’s a really good question.” Because we’re crazy, crazy busy taking care of what’s in front of us immediately and you have to do that. You can’t let those things fall between the cracks, but we become so focused on that. We don’t think about strategically, are we getting to the right place? Are we getting to where we want to be? Or are we making – a buddy of mine, JP Hogan does a great talk on leadership. He’s a retired Army Calvary officer. Done some fascinating things in his career, but he talks about the north star principle.
So if you’re a boat leaving or a ship leaving New York Harbor on your way to Portsmouth in England, you can make a lot of correct decisions on the way based on weather and sea conditions, other ships and those kinds of things. And you’ve made all the right tactical decisions as you’re trying to cross the ocean, but you look up and you’re off the coast of France, and you’re like, how did this happen? It’s because you lost sight of where it was you wanted to be ultimately because you’ve made all the right tactical decisions.
We talk about in the military tactical and strategic. Strategic being the overarching long-term goal. So one question, why did we go into Iraq? A lot of people don’t know. I’m not sure the W administration knew. But tactically, it’s how are we going to take this city? How are we going to do this? How are we going to do that? We answered all those questions. We did the same thing in Afghanistan. We did it because our military is brilliant. But they’re not in charge of strategic decision. Those are our national leaders. And so we wound up somewhere that wasn’t kind of where we thought it was going to be. So you’ve always got to have that one eye and that’s the CEO’s job. Where do we eventually want to be? I got to make sure we’re getting there.
That’s great. No, that’s a really good picture there. And you reminded me of another book. I’m trying to remember what the book was. If I remember it, again, I’ll link this one up in the show notes too. And tons of people talking about this. It wasn’t like it was exclusive as one person, but you reminded me of the thought of always having a vision for where you want to end up and just each and every day you’re taking strides to get there. Oh, you know what, I think it was The E Myth by Michael Gerber. I think he made a mention of that. You’ve got a vision of the future and you’re taking incremental steps each day and just reminding yourself where it is that you want to end up. But Chuck, I’m telling you time flies when you’re having fun. And here we are already at the top of the hour. And so what is the best way for people to get in touch with you? How can they learn more about you and what you do?
Okay. Probably the easiest is LinkedIn. So Chuck Wright on LinkedIn. Lone Star Wealth Strategies. I actually have a second page. It’s Chuck Wright, CLU. On LinkedIn is Lone Star Wealth Strategies page then the third page we have is the Texas Veterans Chamber. For the listeners who have any interest at all on that, jump on that page, follow that page, send me a connection request. Would love to find out more about what individual businesses are doing. But would love to share the word. We try to post something at least daily – messages about what’s going on in the veteran community and the veteran business space, messages about positive business reminders, things that everybody knows, you look at and go, “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.” But it’s this constant reminder of always keeping your eye on the prize. Probably the easiest way to reach me, we have Facebook page. Lone Star Wealth Strategies has a Facebook page. Chuck Wright on Facebook. And then our Texas Veteran Chamber website is txvetcc.com. I like trying to keep things really simple. You can google Texas Veteran Chamber and we’ll pop up. I probably should have that answer down a little bit cleaner.
It’s all good. And I just barely realized that you had two LinkedIn profiles. That’s why I was only able to find – I was only connected to you on the one. So now I see the other one, the Lone Star Wealth Strategies, LLC. So that’s awesome.
That is our registered investment advisor group. I am an IAR for an RIA. Don’t you just love government bureaucracies?
I freaking love that. That’s awesome. Well, Chuck, it’s been a sincere pleasure. It really has. I just want to thank you again for making some time to be with me this morning. Thank you so much.
Semper fi, brother. I appreciate you allowing me to be on, share some of my stories. I hope it was somewhat entertaining.
Absolutely. Absolutely. It was, man. Thank you once again. Appreciate it.
Thanks for listening to America’s Entrepreneur. If you enjoyed the show, please leave a review or comment on your preferred social media platform. Share it out with friends, family, coworkers, others in your network. And of course you can write me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s email@example.com. Until next time.