Cole Hatter On Tragedy, Finding Strength Against All Odds and Partnering With Tai Lopez To Help Millions

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Today, we’re chatting with Cole Hatter. Cole is an entrepreneur, investor, speaker, philanthropist, and creator of Thrive: Make Money Matter Conference.

Cole started his life with a dream to become a firefighter, which he did. However, by the age of 21 he was in a tragic accident. He had to learn how to walk again, learn again, and live again. Today, Cole is an entrepreneur with a passion for helping the victims of social injustice, and mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs.

In this episode, I’ll be talking to Cole about losing his two best friends within 64 days of each other in separate tragic accidents and how he honors them. We discuss how to start a business with no idea, no money and no idea on how to get started. Cole shares how partnering with Tai Lopez generated 7 figures in less than a month. And finally, we discuss how to approach setbacks and failures so they motivate you rather than define you.


Key Points From This Episode:


  • Hear how the entrepreneurship bug was sparked inside of Cole as a child, selling mistletoe.
  • Learn more about Cole’s story of how he lost his two best friends within 64 days of each other.
  • Find out how a decision and a mindset shift helped Cole get back to living his life.
  • Cole shares how he got into real estate simply because that’s what his neighbors did.
  • Discover the biggest struggles Cole faced when he just started out in the real estate industry.
  • Find out why Cole quit his job and moved to Mexico to work with orphans.
  • Learn more about Cole’s conference, Thrive: Make Money Matter.
  • Understand why any publicity can be good publicity and why the key is to be polarizing.
  • Discover how one relationship alone was able to generate millions.
  • Find out more about Cole’s big picture and ultimate goal with his life and with Thrive.
  • And much more!








Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:


Cole Hatter —

Thrive: Make Money Matter —

Cole on Twitter —

Tai Lopez —

Coto de Caza Golf & Racquet Club —

Tony Robbins —

TOMS Shoes —

Blake Mycoskie —

Re Perez —

Branding for the People —

Inc. Magazine —

Huffington Post —

Entrepreneur Magazine —

Than Merrill —

FortuneBuilders —

Sam Ovens —

Mixergy —

The E-Myth by Michael Gerber — —

Stella Artois —

Jayson Gaignard —

MastermindTalks —

Tony Hsieh —

Zappos —

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh —


Read Full Transcript


“CH: People can sniff out people doing this as a gimmick. If you’re just wanting to get on the bandwagon it won’t work well for you. But if you believe in the mission and use your business as the vehicle, people can sense that.”


[0:00:15.1] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to The Fail on Podcast where we explore the hardships and obstacles today’s industry leaders face on their journey to the top of their fields, through careful insight and thoughtful conversation. By embracing failure, we’ll show you how to build momentum without being consumed by the result.

Now please welcome your host, Rob Nunnery.


[0:00:41.1] RN: Hello and welcome to the podcast that believes, if you desire to create the life of your dreams then embracing failure by taking urgent and bold action is the only way. Today, you and I get to learn from none other than Cole Hatter, an entrepreneur, investor, speaker, philanthropist, and creator of Thrive: Make Money Matter.

Today I’ll be talking to Cole about losing his two best friends within 64 days of each other in separate tragic accidents and how he honors them, how to start a business with no idea, no money and no idea on how to get started, how partnering with Tie Lopez generated $1.8 million dollars in just 30 days, and how to approach setbacks and failures so they motivate you rather than define you and much, much more.

But first, if you’d like to stay up to date on all Fail On Podcast interviews and key takeaways from each guest, simply go to and sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of the page.

Without further ado Mr. Cole Hatter.


[0:01:53.5] RN: All right, we are here at Coto de Caza Golf & Racquet Club, kind of sitting in Cole Hatter’s backyard. Actually we’re more along the lines of the — what hole is this?

[0:02:06.9] CH: This is the third hole on the south course, it is a par five.

[0:02:12.3] RN: We actually have a couple of golfers right in front of us, one guy is hitting out of the woods right now.

[0:02:17.5] CH: Which is a good metaphor to take into the conversation, we’re going to have a failing on, right? He’s not calling a mulligan, he is deep in the woods right now.

[0:02:27.4] RN: So, as you can probably gather, I’m sitting here with Cole Hatter and I would just like to welcome you Cole to the Fail On Podcast.

[0:02:35.7] CH: Thanks for having me man.

[0:02:37.4] RN: You got it. Obviously this is a pretty casual episode and I try to keep most of my episodes pretty casual, but we are either going to — just to get a little context, we’re in Orange County, California. What is this? South Orange County?

[0:02:48.3] CH: Yeah, this is Southern Orange County, yeah.

[0:02:49.6] RN: Okay. And Coto de Caza is a community country club, racket club-type place and yeah, we’re literally sitting on the third hole, right beside a sand trap, seeing a couple of guys hitting away. It’s a beautiful back drop, we’ll actually take a picture so you have some context and can see what we’re seeing.

Anyways, let’s get right into it man, and again, thanks for coming on and hosting me, I appreciate it.

[0:03:13.6] CH: Yeah, this is by far the best podcast scene I’ve ever had.

[0:03:19.2] RN: Well you don’t have to say scene, you can say the best podcast too.

[0:03:21.7] CH: Yeah, for sure, we’re one minute in and you’re already the best. No, we’re like 40 feet from my house but still, this is rad, I’m normally looking at this through my office window, podcasting, you know, using my equipment and my house but you’re on the go gear is pretty fantastic.

[0:03:37.9] RN: Yup, only thing we’re missing is a beer.

[0:03:40.6] CH: I know, I can’t believe I was out, I’m going to text my wife right now and it will show up during this episode.

[0:03:45.9] RN: That would be amazing, service from the golf course.

[0:03:48.8] CH: Just watch, it will happen in the next 20 minutes.

[0:03:52.4] RN: All right, I’ll let you text that real quick.

[0:03:55.1] CH: I can multitask.

[0:03:55.6] RN: Oh, you’re a multi-tasker okay. I do want to just, to get the listener a little context and background about you and your story, how did you get into entrepreneurship? Were you always an entrepreneur and take us along that journey to get started.

[0:04:10.4] CH: Yeah, there’s that always an entrepreneur, which I always, I don’t want to say struggle with but I think that they’re — because I don’t want to say, for somebody who may be is their 30’s or 40’s and has never done anything entrepreneurial to count themselves out and say, “Oh, I guess I’m not.”

But I was one of those stories where you feel like you’ve just been called to it if that makes sense. For the listeners, whether you’ve done anything entrepreneurial or not, we all can be if we choose to be and follow the correct course. But I was one of those kids that was seven or eight years old, Christmas was coming and I wanted to buy gifts for my family and like most seven or eight year olds, mom or dad, front the bill and I said that I wanted to do it on my own.

I distinctly remember we were in a shopping mall here in Orange County and they were selling mistletoe and I was like dude, this stuff grows for free right next to my parent’s house because I was eight years old, I climb trees all day long. I went back and I started pulling mistletoe out of the trees that lived near us and got some red bows and went door to door and sold one for three dollars, two for five and literally hundreds of dollars’ worth of mistletoe at like eight years old.

[0:05:17.0] RN: Did you actually have the idea or thought that this stuff grows for free or did like somebody say that to you?

[0:05:21.1] CH: No.

[0:05:23.0] RN: You had enough awareness to realize that?

[0:05:24.7] CH: I literally will never forget the moment where it like clicked where I said, “They’re selling this for money and I know I can get it for free.” Maybe that was the moment that entrepreneurial spark happened and then at the end of going door to door, this little eight year old boy is like, “Hey, you want a mistletoe?” And it was weeks before Christmas so my close ratio was pretty insane. I came back after making a few laps in the cul de sac with enough money to buy everybody in my family presents.

[0:05:49.5] RN: This is the easiest thing in the world!

[0:05:50.4] CH: Exactly, it was like printing money. That puts a little seed in my mind that, fast forward into my adult life, I think that’s where the entrepreneurial endeavors began. The question was, have I always felt of been an entrepreneur? And I guess to a degree, yes.

[0:06:07.0] RN: Did you go to traditional college?

[0:06:08.9] CH: Sort of. I decided in about Junior high school that I want to be a fire fighter, god’s put on my heart to want to help people and so I looked at a career where I could help people and be compensated for it. So being a doctor, being a police officer and playing with fire and saving lives and getting paid for it was a good fit for me.

In high school, I would go to high school during the day, college at nights and weekends to take care of all my prerequisites. So I took care of my EMT certificate and a lot of my fire fighter certificates while still in high school.

[0:06:37.5] RN: Good grades or bad grades?

[0:06:39.3] CH: Actually, I got better grades in the college than in high school because it was subjects had interested me. I’m one of those guys where I’m not a dummy, I can learn but it’s really hard for me to learn if it’s French poetry from the 16th century. But when it’s on the weekends and at night firefighting, I actually did very well. I aced everything because I found that actually fascinating.

When I graduated high school, I went right into the fire department. So I did do some college, enough that I got my firefighter certificates, my EMT, and then all of my prerequisites to go to paramedic school taken care off. But I didn’t do any general Ed-type stuff so I don’t have a degree. Did do some college, not a college dropout, I did what I needed to do and I moved on but no degree either.

[0:07:22.9] RN: Got it, went straight into firefighting and then just for context, how old were you at this point, where were you?

[0:07:28.0] CH: 19, Seattle, Washington. Here in Southern California, it was very competitive to become a firefighter, so moved up to Seattle, Washington and…

[0:07:35.4] RN: Did you know anybody up there?

[0:07:36.6] CH: Yeah, my sister and her husband lived in Seattle, Washington. So that was my only connection literally two people in the whole state. Went up there and again, started life, made friends, all that good stuff.

[0:07:47.8] RN: Got it, where did it go from there?

[0:07:50.0] CH: That’s where I thought I was going to do my whole life, I’d put on my 30 years, I’d retire full pension, benefits, you know, that’s one of the perks of firefighting is that they have fantastic retirement options. Two years into that, career at 21 years old, got in a really bad car accident where I was ejected out of the car, they estimated going around 80 miles an hour and so hit the pavement at a tremendous amount of speed, I got very hurt to the point where they actually had to fly me in a helicopter to the hospital, they didn’t think I would survive in an ambulance.

[0:08:17.5] RN: Not work related at all, right?

[0:08:18.8] CH: No, this was just with friends. Yeah, this was not a work related injury and so, got in that really bad car accident and long story short, almost didn’t make it. Did survive, obviously, here I am but was in a wheelchair for a while, had to learn how to walk again, had a traumatic brain injury so my brain was real foggy for a while. I had to learn how to learn again and so it was a pretty crippling accident and although it looked like I had a strong recovery, how long and how much of recovery, 80%, 100%, was uncertain and so for sure, firefighting was out for the time. You can’t be a firefighter if you can’t walk.

So, you know, as I was getting out of my wheelchair and on to a walker and then crutches and then eventually a cane, it looked like firefighting could someday be an option again. I would have had to come through all the physical exams and all of that. But bottom line is in that down time is when I started my first business and, you know, I guess that wouldn’t necessarily to the theme of the show that fail out of firefighting but it was a door that closed and I allowed another door to open. Instead of being a victim and feeling sorry for myself, I said, “Okay, this is what I’ve spent my life working towards,” which was only a few years at that time, 21. “This is what I plan on doing the rest of my life, it’s now out. When am I going to let that mean to me, what am I going to do with the options I have?” I mean, I had to move back with my parents. Like, I’m briefly talking about this accident but it was really bad.

[0:09:37.3] RN: How long were you not walking?

[0:09:39.4] CH: Two months in a wheelchair and about a full year of cane, crutches, rehabbing to where I was walking like you wouldn’t know anything was wrong.

[0:09:46.2] RN: This wasn’t like a broken leg, you’re back up and running in six weeks?

[0:09:48.6] CH: No, this was for you to not notice something’s wrong, like I had a limp or I’m using a cane, it was about a year until I looked like I do now. You know, again, not letting that metaphorically cripple me, although my body was broken, you know.

[0:10:03.6] RN: One more question on this point, because I’m really curious actually. Obviously you said one door closed, another one opened but did you have like that perspective right out of the gate from when this injury happened and you’re in a wheelchair? Or did it take a little while for this all to digest and settle?

[0:10:21.1] CH: Yes, that’s a bit of a can of worms. There were three of us in the car accident, my best friend in the world, like a brother to me, if he was sitting here right now, I’d introduce him as my brother because we grew up together, we took him in and made him our own family and so Steve, he was driving, Matt, our other best friend, the passenger was in the passenger seat.

The result of that accident was Steve didn’t survive. That was, not only did I lose my career, temporarily at least, firefighting and had my physical injuries, I lost the most important person to me in my life and so immediately following that accident was a very ugly season of grief of losing Steve, and guilt that for some reason I made it and he didn’t because he also was ejected, he was in the helicopter with me, I was unconscious, I don’t know any of this but he got air lifted in the helicopter with me, we went in the emergency room together and I came out and he didn’t.

I had this weird place of guilt of how come he was as hurt as I was, he had brain injury, I had brain injury, he didn’t ever wake up, he passed and here I am? The other survivor of the accident Matt, he and I got extremely close in a way that is hard to explain because he also survived that accident, so he understood what it felt to survive, almost die, and to lose Steve and then the guilt of how come he and I were here and Steve wasn’t.

So 64 days later, we went dirt biking, I had just gotten out of a wheelchair right at the two month mark and to celebrate and to try to help me get out of my depression, Matt was like, “Hey dude, let’s go ride dirt bikes,” and I’m like, “Bro, I can’t even walk.” He said, “That’s the point, you sit down on dirt bikes.”

He just was trying desperately to help me because he knew that, of course he was devastated, but I wasn’t doing well. He wanted to try his best to get his best friend back into the swing of life. So he packed up the dirt bikes, we went out to the desert and again, another long story cut short while Matt and I and our buddy Scott came with us, we were riding dirt bikes, Matt and I fell into a mineshaft. The same Matt that was just in a car accident with me.

So we fell into the mineshaft and I made it out and he didn’t survive. So in a 64 day period, as a 21 year old, I was in a car accident that put me in a wheelchair that took my brother, best friend brother and the only other survivor from that, he and I fell into a mineshaft 64 days later, I survived, he didn’t. So that’s a long answer to your question, did I have a good mindset coming right out of this? No. I was crushed in every possible way. I mean, after losing Matt, I’m still living at home with my parents, it’s only 64 days since my car accident and I was still on really heavy pain medicine that was prescribed to me that I was supposed to take but I started taking handfuls of it.

I wasn’t suicidal, I wasn’t trying to kill myself, but I didn’t want to be alive so I was like flirting with it, like being reckless, not like “writing a letter, this is it”. But like, “I’m going to take a handful, see what happens.”

[0:13:09.9] RN: I don’t care, right?

[0:13:11.2] CH: “Okay, now I’ll take a little bit more and see what happens.” So I start taking this pills and then I realized if I drank straight hard alcohol with the pills, I would pass out at like 4 o’clock in the afternoon and I wouldn’t wake up until like 11 AM the next day. I just was alive less, that’s how I coped for about a month.

Exactly a month, it was December 18th. I lost Steve on September 10th, I lost Matt on November 14th, 64 days later and then I made it until December 18th of this taking copious amounts of narcotic level. I’m not talking Advil, like morphine pills.

[0:13:43.2] RN: You're doing this at home with your parents there?

[0:13:45.1] CH: Yeah, they didn’t know I was doing this, of course. Sneaking the alcohol and all that stuff, you know, I’m 21 but they didn’t know what I was doing. I made it to then and then December 18th was when I had my come to Jesus moment literally where I was sitting there and just fell apart and then just looked up and told Steve and Matt that the struggle I was having is that I didn’t lose them in a war fighting for freedom or anything, it was two accidents.

So I couldn’t justify their loss and so I just looked up to them and I said, “I’m going to tell your story the rest of my life. You only had 21 years here, but you’re going to live through me forever and I committed to them I will do well with my life, push further, go further.” I was going to be a little firefighter in my little city that I got to help, I’m going to go change the world now and I made that commitment to them on December 18th, stopped taking the pills, stopped drinking alcohol for two straight years and now again, you know, 13 years later, I drink in moderation but never like I was in that month. That’s when that mind shift happens.

Long answer to your question but September 10th and then on November 14th losing Steve and Matt, it took until December 18th to make a decision and then it took a very long time to do something about it, right? Because, Tony Robbins talks about this change happens in an instant, you make a decision, it’s done and then it took me again, I was still on crutches, it took me a long time to do something about it. But the instant when the mind shift happened, and that’s a really powerful point you know? For your listeners to think about, how hard is it to quit smoking? Well, it’s in an instantly you quit, what comes next is the hard part. It’s stopping a habit and creating new habits.

In that instant, I was done feeling sorry for myself, I was done drinking and taking pills and yelling at God for my problems and for Steve and Matt. In that instant I decided and then it was a very long, emotional and physical recovery that followed, that’s part of or probably the genesis of where the motivation came from to what I’m creating and working on today.

[0:15:40.8] RN: In that moment when you said, “I’m going to change the world, I’m not going to let this affect me, I’m going to amplify their voice from here on out,” did you know what you were going to start or get into? Did you have a business at that time and I guess, how did you get into that first business?

[0:15:55.8] CH: Yeah, no. I had no business at that time, again, I’m two months out of firefighting, or it was December, so I’m three months out of firefighting and so I didn’t really know what I was going to do, I decided to start a nonprofit that next January in honor of Steve and Matt and Matt had a huge tattoo on his back that said “Living the Dream”, that Steve and I said that we were all going to go get so that we’d all have matching.

Matt got it first, Steve and I were going to get it. That never happened, so I named my nonprofit Living The Dream Global and that was my first step in honor of them and then I realized pretty quickly that nonprofits are non-profitable, and it takes money. I saw that you know, probably the number one function of most nonprofits is fund raising and I said, “Well, all the effort is going to take to raise funds, I might as well just make money.”

How hard you have to work as a nonprofit to create galas and all these things to attract the money, you might as well just build a business. So I built businesses to fund my nonprofit, which is where I came up with the “for purpose business concept” that caught fire and would eventually turn into Thrive.

That probably will be something that we talk about in a bit but the first move was I’m going to do a nonprofit in honor of them, name it after what was important to us and then realized I needed to make money or raise money and I said, “Instead of raising money, I’ll just learn how to make money.”

[0:17:11.1] RN: Did you get that nonprofit actually going? Is it still going today?

[0:17:14.2] CH: Yeah, it’s still going to this day and its function is, I fight for essentially what I believe are human rights, not civil rights like voting and same sex marriages, not civil rights but human rights like.

[0:17:25.1] RN: Water?

[0:17:25.4] CH: Water, exactly.

[0:17:26.1] RN: Shelter?

[0:17:26.7] CH: Exactly, food, water, shelter, and freedom because people think that good old Abraham Lincoln ended slavery but, and I’m not taking away from his work, but there are actually more human slaves today than there have ever been in the history of the world. So I should say that more carefully, obviously what Abe Lincoln did back in the day was profound and changed the culture here in America.

I worked with women and children who are victims of human trafficking, of setting them free and then yeah, we have clean water projects all over the continent of Africa. I have an orphanage in Mexico, we were just in my garage 30 minutes ago and I was showing you all the stuff that we’re taking down there. So I have an orphanage down there. We build houses for homeless people. My wife and I have built 37 houses for homeless families and then I partner with Pencils of Promise to build schools, I believe that education is a right as well. So, food, water, shelter, freedom, education.

It’s somebody, whoever you are listening to this right now, you’re at the gym working out or you’re driving to work and you have the ability of hearing something we recorded on a golf course, there are people in parts of the modern world today that have zero access to any type of information or education of any sort at all. No electricity, no podcast, none of that, not even a local school. I’m a fan of that as well. Anyway, that’s it and then my businesses are the machine that give those things the money they need to exist.

[0:18:45.6] RN: What was the first for profit business you started?

[0:18:47.7] CH: My real estate business that buys, fixes, and flips houses. I approached my father, this was at 22 years old so the accident was in September, the next march I became a realtor. I decided, “Hey, I need to figure out a way to pay my bills while I’m rehabbing,” and then once I immersed myself in the world of real estate, realized, hey, being a realtor is great but being a real estate investor, I have more control and I can make more money.

Decided to do that, turned 22 in April and then started our business in June of that year. June 2005 was my first business where I actually had like articles of incorporation where actually like had an EIN number to pay taxes, you know? I had some other side hustles in high school.

[0:19:30.4] RN: You didn’t have to do that then, yeah.

[0:19:31.8] CH: A company in high school.

[0:19:32.7] RN: Selling mistletoe.

[0:19:33.5] CH: Yeah, exactly. I didn’t claim. Hopefully I didn’t — They can only go back seven years. The IRS can be listening to this, sorry, sucks for you, that was like 1993, so you missed it. So yeah, I started that real estate business and you know, it’s 12 years, I still own the same company and have started others. That’s a first business where my father and I decided to start allocating outside of —I grew up in the church, I have a religious belief and I tithe that individually but publicly our businesses are for purpose and so sometimes people are conflicted with that like who come up with a similar belief system and background that I had that, “Hey Cole, aren’t you supposed to give privately?” And the answer is absolutely yes with my personal salary that I pay myself and my own income, yes, my wife and I do things privately.

My business is publicly give back, kind of like a TOMS Shoes where Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS, who is worth over $300 million, I’m sure very privately makes his own donations in his own way, but TOMS as a business, publically it gives shoes away. For anyone who is hearing this for purpose concept and wondering what it looks like, we can dive into that but if you were raised in the same values as I was where you’re not supposed to just do stuff to try to look good, that’s what you can continue to do privately if you choose to. What you’re publicly doing with your business is changing the world. That was it.

[0:20:49.2] RN: Nice, what made you want to start in real estate and obviously you probably looked at a lot of different things you could start and that was just one of the routes.

[0:20:57.1] CH: Actually not. It was what my parent’s next door neighbors were doing. To learn how to walk again, I had to walk every day.

[0:21:01.2] RN: Sometimes it’s the simplest.

[0:21:02.1] CH: Yeah, to learn how to walk again, I had to walk every day and so I would make circles in my parent’s cul de sac to get my legs working again. The next door neighbors were out one day and you know, they drove BMW’s and Lexus’s and lived in a big, beautiful house.

My parents have done well for themselves too, so the home was worth about a million bucks so I was like, “What do you do?” He said, “Real estate.” He said, “I’m a real estate broker, my wife’s a real estate agent,” so I said, “Cool, I’ll go be a real estate agent.”

[0:21:28.3] RN: I’ll go do that.

[0:21:28.8] CH: I see the proof that it works, you can’t fake it, you’re my parent’s next door neighbors. So I went out there and got my real estate license so it was literally that simple and then realized along the way that I enjoyed the industry. I think that’s part of, you know, how people who may be wondering, “What am I supposed to do? I know I’m called to being an entrepreneur, what should I do?”

It just starts with taking action. The analogy I use is driving a car, if you are at a red light, you can turn your car all the way to the left, the steering wheel all the way to the left, all the way to the right, leave it straight and it doesn’t change the direction you’re going. It takes rolling for the steering wheel to make any difference.

What I always tell people is to be an entrepreneur, you just need to pick something to start going and you’ll fall into something you like or you’ll do something you don’t like. I got lucky that real estate was my first business, I still own that company to this day and have enjoyed it, but at the exact same time, there are businesses I’ve started along the way that were miserable, that I hated, that failed — talk about failing on — and that I shut down.

I wouldn’t have known that if I wasn’t moving forward and it didn’t necessarily have to happen in that order that I have to get the business correct. I could have hated real estate and then what defines you as an entrepreneur is, do you try something new or do you go back to getting a job? That was it for me, literally the next door neighbors were real estate people, I said, “Cool, I’ll do that.” I enjoy the industry, it makes great money. Done a lot of stuff I hate but that’s it.

[0:22:44.3] RN: What was the biggest struggle in getting the real estate business started out? You had your dad, right? Did he have any experience or?

[0:22:51.1] CH: No, so my dad was in the real estate industry but he worked in a corporate office for a company that did construction. So he was not a real estate investor. He did have money but he would not give me any. That’s my business model. I took my dad out to lunch, I said, “Dad, I’m going to be a real estate investor.” He said, “Right on.” I said, “I’ve got the business model you’ve ever heard in your life.” He said, “Let’s hear it.”

I said, “I have all the time, you have all the money, let’s do this. That’s the best business plan you’ve ever heard,” and the first lesson of being an entrepreneur he taught me is that there’s no such thing as handouts. I’m glad he did and he said, “Listen man, I’ll go all in with you, I’ll do this business around my current job and if it does well enough, quit my job and commit to being your partner,” but I’m not just going to hand you a check.

So we had to go out there and raise the money and we actually met a guy at church who was a real estate attorney who was doing very well and understood real estate. He was a complete stranger, other than I knew him from church, took him out to lunch and raised money. He said, “Hey dude, we’ll do all the work, you put all the money and we’ll split the profits.” He said, “I’m in.” That’s where the business began.

I would say, the biggest struggles for me as a 21 year old was belief because I was buying and selling houses from 15 and six year old’s at 21. What I learned pretty quickly for anybody who is listening to this who is younger is that age is totally irrelevant, knowledge is what matters. So sure, when I’d walk into a room, some eyebrows would go up, maybe like a judgmental look but then as soon as I knew more than their realtors did or whatever, because I really dove deep in learning, nobody cared how old I was anymore.

Like, “I want to buy your house,” it’s like, “Pff, this guy.” But then when I showed them I had the proof of funds, the money’s available and after two minutes of conversation, that I knew what I was doing, nobody cared how old I was anymore. So I would say that that was probably the hardest part.

[0:24:31.1] RN: Do you have any just deals like early on that just you lost a lot of money on there, that just went terribly?

[0:24:37.1] CH: Not early on but yeah. So I learned the hard way to not have all your marbles in one basket and in 2008, when the recession came here in America and real estate collapsed and 100% of my money and income was in real estate, I took a beating. We ended up losing a $170,000 cash on one deal, which was all the money we had. We did well in 2005, six and most of 2007 because real estate was booming, everyone was making money. 2007, things like went off a cliff and it didn’t taper down, the economy was just down. My dad and I were making money hand over fist and it was over, it was done.

We were slowly hemorrhaging, we were trying our hardest to stay profitable but we were burning, we were making 70 to 90% of our expenses. So we were working seven days a week to not be able to pay all our bills, only about 70 to 90% of them. Every single 30 days, I had less money than I started with and I had worked solid those 30 days. I was like, “This frigging sucks,” and so we swung for the fences and put a ton of money in this commercial deal that this investor who was a stranger approached us and said, “Hey, got this opportunity for you guys to get rich quick.”

That should have been all we needed to hear to run but we’re like, “Get rich quick sounds better than never, what do you have in mind?” We gave this guy $170,000 cash, long story short, he went to prison and all our money was gone. So that was a soul crushing loss because that was, at the end of 2008, beginning of 2009, the recession was in full force, we had no money left, it was all gone and our business wasn’t profitable.

[0:26:10.0] RN: I’ve got a terrifyingly similar story in terms of, it wasn’t $170k but it was $60k we gave to a guy and he’s now in jail, because he did the same to a bunch of other people but…

[0:26:21.6] CH: Was it real estate?

[0:26:22.4] RN: It wasn’t real estate. It was actually like, he proposed that he needed capital for this daily deal site, showed us bank account, showed us so much forge stuff, we actually flew to Dallas, Texas to meet this guy, no show. He’s texting us, he’s like, “I actually got pulled out by TSA for holding a gun but I’m licensed to carry so it’s their mistake,” never heard from the guy again.

[0:26:45.2] CH: Wow.

[0:26:45.7] RN: Brutal, lesson learned.

[0:26:46.7] CH: Yeah, no kidding. Jeez, well, there’s a fail on, right?

[0:26:50.3] RN: Exactly. Got plenty. Okay, real estate was going well, went well, went bad in 2008. Did you stay the course and keep doing real estate from 2008 on or did you…

[0:27:01.8] CH: No, we did, we grinded it out and you know, started some other things but just crazy circumstances where we’re able to get on to the radio. We had our own radio show, six days a week for an hour, we moved our business, we still lived here but we moved our business to Columbus, Ohio where we were buying and selling houses out there for as much as a down payment is in California.

I’d get on my radio show here in southern California and people would hear that they could buy $140,000 house that’s been completely renovated and has a tenant in there paying rent and they’re used to putting $200,000 down and then having $600,000 mortgage here. We were able to literally scrape a pie for about the next year and a half and then in February of 2010, I quit my business.

Even though firefighting was in my rearview mirror at that point, I’m a reservist on a nonprofit that sends emergency responders to any catastrophe, natural or manmade like in 9/11 will be manmade. I got sent to Haiti, the earthquake. The earthquake happened in January 2010 for those who remember that, it was global news and so I flew right out there to do search and rescue with my fire fighter background and you know, we setup a hospital and I was doing surgery next to — there was so much need and so many critically wounded that things that are very illegal for a firefighter to do in America like ever touch a scalpel, I was literally doing surgeries, nothing major but like topical type surgeries of people that had debris embedded in their skin. Like I’ll keep…

[0:28:27.4] RN: Yeah, don’t’ need to get too deep into this.

[0:28:28.9] CH: Yeah, I’ll keep it simple but working elbow to elbow with an actual ER surgeon. So somebody who in America’s board certified doing surgery saying you know, “Cole, do this, do this.” I had to learn how to give stitches and so after spending some time over in Haiti, I came back and then February of 2010, just reprioritized and said, “You know what dad? I’m over this, this is my whole life, we have to work seven days a week to just pay our bills.”

The radio show was $60 grand a month just to be on the air, I’m not Ryan Seacrest, I don’t get paid to be on the air. How hard I had to work just to pay bills and then having that reality check of watching the worst thing I’ve ever seen and I’m on search and rescue and as you’re moving debris and finding people, most intense, you can imagine what I was seeing all day long.

I came home and I broke and I was like, “I’m done,” and then the girlfriend I was dating broke up with me, sucks. On Cinco De Mayo which is so un-American to dump me on a Mexican holiday and then so June 1st, I moved to Mexico, I said, “Screw it. I quit my business in February, my girlfriend broke up with me three weeks ago, I’m out.”

I moved down to Mexico and I worked full time with a nonprofit down there and I said I’ll never do business again, I’m just going to work for a nonprofit to continue to do the mission I promised to Steve and Matt I would and instead of it being my nonprofit, have to make all this money, I’m just going to work for a nonprofit and change the world and then that’s when my life changed forever.

Came back to America in January, seven months later, that girlfriend that dumped me, I asked her to marry me, she said yes and now she’s my wife. Give me some knuckles on that. Yes, I didn’t know if she had a boyfriend or not, I hadn’t talked to her since May but I was like, “Hey, my bad, will you marry me?” And she said yes. Then restarted my businesses again in the first quarter of 2011 and have had insane success ever since.

[0:30:12.3] RN: A few ways I want to go with this. Let’s just talk about your wife, how’d you flip the tables there?

[0:30:17.6] CH: I made a survivor decision, which was unhealthy. After losing Steve and Matt, I said I would never let someone matter to me again. I got my mom and my dad and my sisters and my aunts and uncles, but there would never be anyone else I would let in that space because there’s some other, I lost some other people too that wasn’t just Steven and Matt, there are some other stories that are similar. I met this beautiful, amazing woman who I loved being around and I was very transparent from day one, “I will never marry you.”

She’s like, “Yeah, well this is our first date, that’s a little awkward.” I was like, “Just letting you know, this is going nowhere, but I’ll love to have some good dinners with you,” and fast forward two years, she dropped the L bomb for the first time ever, she’s like, “I’ve falling in love with you, I know that you never said you’d marry me, has your mind changed on that at all?” I was like, “No, actually…”

[0:30:58.6] RN: Did she drop the L bomb first?

[0:30:59.8] CH: Yeah she did. I’m trying to give you the cliff notes, but it was one of the most profound moments of my life where I’m sitting in her car and she says, “Hey, I don’t need a proposal, you do not need to want to marry me but I just need to know if you’ll marry anybody. Because here I am spending the last two years of my life, I’m 24 now so I’m not old but certainly my clock is ticking, what are your thoughts on the future,” and I said, I won’t marry you or anyone else, it’s not about you, I just won’t let someone matter to me that much and then she said, “Well, what sucks about that is I’ve fallen in love with you and so if you can’t love me the way that I deserve to be loved, you can’t have me, get out.”

[0:31:34.9] RN: Good for her though.

[0:31:35.9] CH: Yeah, exactly. That sucked, hopefully no one listening to this is laughing right now. That was the worst moment of my life. But, going and sitting in Mexico, completely cut myself from America, I turned my cellphone off, I called AT&T and said, “Suspend my account,” and went into a black hole. Out into the wilderness for seven months right? It created perspective, one of the reasons I married my wife is I said, “You know what? Here’s a woman,” because she did not want to break up with me, she was crying when she did it.

[0:32:00.7] RN: She loves you, yeah.

[0:32:01.7] CH: She’s like, “I’m in love with you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you and if you won’t do that for me then I have to end this now before I fall deeper in love with you,” broke her own heart and I was like, “You know what? She was so in alignment with her integrity and her belief system and wouldn’t bend, that’s the type of woman and that’s the type of strength of character I want to have for the rest of my life.”

Anybody who is listening to this who is in one of those awkward relationships, maybe try getting dumped because it worked for me. That was one of the things that made me fall in love with her. While I was down in Mexico, finally healing from Steve and Matt. I got to the point of being able to live life but never really dealt with it, and then some of the other things that happened and just my businesses and stuff, getting away for seven months and just doing philanthropy and making it not about me is how I found healing. It’s the weirdest thing ever.

Because my mom is a therapist, so guess what happened after Steve and Matt passed? She made me go to therapy and not to knock her profession, I was able to cope, I went from absolute depression, popping pills to doing well in life, to starting those businesses and having in my early 20’s, insane success, you know?

I wasn’t making seven figures a year but on occasion, six figure months, I was high six figures at 22, 23, that’s almost unheard of. The therapy worked but there was just this chip on my shoulder where I said, “I’ll never love anyone again,” and going down to Mexico and having no one work on me but me building houses for all those families and then that’s when I founded my orphanage was that seven months I lived into this down to this day.

Taking care of 23 orphans and feeding and caring for the homeless, all of a sudden, my problems weren’t as big as I thought they were and there wasn’t a moment, there wasn’t a conversation, there wasn’t a movie, it was just layers of an onion until finally by January, seven months later I was like, “I’m ready, I’m ready to come back to America, start my life again, start my businesses again and if she’ll take me, start that relationship again,” and we didn’t need to date, we’d already dated two years and I explained that on my proposal. I was like, “Hey listen, I’m in love with you too and I knew it but I wouldn’t admit it but now I know it and so assuming you don’t have a boyfriend, hey, will you marry me?”

She said yes, that was in March, what’s actually is funny it was two days ago. As of recording this podcast, the six year anniversary of me proposing to her was two days ago and we got married that next September. My six year wedding anniversary is this September.

[0:34:10.0] RN: That’s awesome man. Yeah.

[0:34:11.8] CH: So that’s the story of that and you know, there’s a lot of, not so much entrepreneurial lessons in there but as far as what really matters you know? Because you can be an entrepreneur and make a lot of money but miserable in your relationship.

[0:34:21.6] RN: That’s a perfect segue actually to kind of jumping into Thrive, right?

[0:34:25.3] CH: Yeah.

[0:34:26.1] RN: Tell us a little bit about Thrive and what made you want to start it, when it started, and what it’s up to?

[0:34:31.0] CH: So, back to 20 minutes ago in this conversation, talking about that for purpose business model where I said, “Man, I want to have a nonprofit but instead of fund raising and knocking on people’s doors to just donate, I’m going to do something where people will just pay me money and then obviously use that to fund this initiative.”

As I started getting on podcasts like this and you know, I never really tried to build a brand and still need to focus more on that, probably even now.

[0:34:53.1] RN: Re would not be happy with that comment.

[0:34:54.9] CH: Yeah, that’s why I hired Re, right. At this point in my career, we’re talking…

[0:34:58.4] RN: By the way, we’re talking about our mutual friend Re Perez, who owns Branding for the People.

[0:35:02.8] CH: Yeah, he’s fantastic. My wife wants to adopt him even though he is…

[0:35:08.1] RN: 45 or something?

[0:35:08.1] CH: Yeah, he’s 45 and doesn’t need parents, he has two of his own. My wife literally wants to adopt Re. This is 2011, I didn’t have a brand, I didn’t care right? When I would get in and around people like Re, they’d be like, dude, what you’re doing is really cool, you should get on so and so’s podcast. I’m like, well what’s that?

Just as I built my entrepreneurial network, the world of podcasting was introduced to me because people wanted me as guest on their show you know? At this point I was making millions of dollars and giving a ton away and people found that fascinating so I talked about it and then that evolved into people writing some articles in like Inc. and Huff Post and and stuff and then there was clearly an audience who was thirsty for having purpose in their business of not finding purpose, which is what everybody says they help you do.

But behind the effort of their work and their companies having a purpose and I was getting bombarded through people through social media and et cetera saying, “How do you start a business like that? How do I do that? I then hired Re, “I said hey man, I need to turn this into something,” and out of an 11 hour all day VIP branding session with Re, we created this four quadrants where what I was doing of combining business and purpose, we created a quadrant called the thriving quadrant. There is the earning quadrant, the surviving quadrant, the giving quadrant and then the thriving quadrant.

That was the result of 11 ours together and I said, I’m going to create an event that shows people how to get in that quadrant where they’re set financially so they can focus on making a difference. Since we called it the thriving quadrant, we named the event Thrive.

What thrive is, it’s a three day conference of the biggest names in entrepreneur. I mean, we’re talking Gary Vaynerchuk, Robert Herjavec, last year we had Grant Cardone, Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, John [inaudible] the biggest gangsters out there that come together for three days to teach your audience how to just kick butt in their business and then some of the other speakers, myself and Adam Brown and a few others, we teach them how to then create what’s called a for purpose business.

Not just touchy feely, about 70% is strategy content. “When you leave this event, go home and do this and this.” It’s not just, “Hey, now your really motivated and go figure it out.” It’s literally the step by step process. The other 30% is, “Cool, now that you know how to make millions of dollars, no one’s going to care how big your house is or how many cars you’ve owned.

Go out into the world and make it a better place and here’s how to do that with the for purpose aspects. About 70/30. We’ve’ done it twice, we’re about to have our third one this fall and what’s really cool, if I can brag about what that event has done is attendees who are contributors to different publications like entrepreneur and Huffington and stuff. They come and they write their honest reviews and people are saying it’s the best conference they’ve ever been to in their entire lives. It got rated in Inc. Magazine the top seven must-attend conferences of 2017. Something’s write.

[0:37:54.5] RN: Awesome, two years in, right?

[0:37:55.6] CH: Yeah, totally. By our second event, to be coined by the attendee’s the best they’ve ever been to, number one and then number two, having third parties say it’s the must attend event and you know, I’m the person that’s the glue that’s holding it all together but I got to give credit to my wife who is just the only reason Thrive happens.

I wouldn’t be able to do without her as far as her organizational. I suck at organization, she’s a ninja at that and then obviously the amazing speakers and then really the people. When we’re very clear in our messaging that if you're just about getting rich to buy Ferrari’s, don’t come. Our event might be three times larger if we weren’t very clear about, “Hey listen, if you’re just here to get rich and just freaking buy crap, you are not going to fit into this culture, don’t come.

What we end up with this is just amazing audience of people like, “Listen, I’m not here to give all my money away, but I’m here to when I look over my shoulder, I see record breaking quarters and profits and record breaking quarters and social impact.” When you fill a room of people who have been “filtered” so to speak through our marketing that they’re all there to do well financial, nut just be a bunch of martyrs that work and give it all away but to do well financial and to learn how to do the best they possibly can and their niche industry with their skill sets.

Then simultaneously figure out a way to weave within their business model, making the world a better place, the speakers are amazing and the attendees are amazing. The number one most positive feedback I get from Thrive is the attendees were awesome and they’re the best of any conference I’ve ever been to. I get a lot of credit for how amazing Thrive is but I’m back stage the whole time, really having nothing to do with it. It’s the amazing content coming from stage and the amazing attendees that show up, I just got them to come.

[0:39:24.8] RN: It’s cool because yeah, like you said, I was at this last one actually, you got me a ticket, I’m still trying to pay you for it.

[0:39:29.8] CH: No, don’t worry about that.

[0:39:32.0] RN: But it was cool, because your whole family is there. You had your wife there, your kids were there, even your parents, it was just cool seeing it to be a family effort.

[0:39:39.3] CH: It’s very normal. People who get close to me see that we are really a family dynamic in every capacity in our businesses and in life and, you know, people think it’s weird. My dad was my best man at my wedding, he was there at 64 years old, at my bachelor party in Vegas in like Pure, which is one of the biggest clubs and XS for any of you who are clubbers in Vegas. I am not but for the bachelor party, why not? And there’s my 66 year old, it was 64 at the time, he’s 66 now, so was that 62? However longer five years was, 61 years old, dad is just ragging with us. So my family is involved in everything I do because it’s not some like ploy or marketing tactic. I really do love them.

[0:40:22.3] RN: Nice and we’ll come back to Thrive, are we looking for a beer yet? No beer yet?

[0:40:27.1] CH: No, I am checking my cellphone, she hasn’t respond — Oh, yes.

[0:40:30.0] RN: We got action, hopefully it’s not her saying there is no beer.

[0:40:33.4] CH: No, yeah. She says she’s going to look and so, what were you saying though?

[0:40:36.9] RN: Yeah, so you got Thrive going on and you obviously have Tai Lopez speak at this past Thrive and you guys started the business together. Tell me a little bit about that.

[0:40:45.9] CH: So for more context around Thrive, I don’t make money off of it. I give all the money away and that’s another reason why people think I’m crazy is because most people that put in the effort, the tears, blood and sweat that it takes to put on an event like Thrive do it for the money.

[0:40:58.5] RN: Do you mind going into actual numbers or do you want to keep it confidential?

[0:41:00.3] CH: Yes, so I put up just over $500,000 of my own money for the last two years.

[0:41:05.6] RN: You put it on?

[0:41:06.2] CH: Yeah, out of my own checking account. I don’t have investors, I don’t raise money, I just write a check and thank God that I am in the financial position to do that.

[0:41:13.4] RN: In charge what per ticket?

[0:41:15.5] CH: Tickets, depending on if it’s early bird or not but they range anywhere from $500 to $3,500 and so nothing is for sale at Thrive. No speakers are allowed to sell anything and that’s a lot of times a conflict because they’re like, “I come here to sell stuff,” and I’m like, “Cool well now you’re going to have even more pure motives because you can’t sell anything. You are coming here because you choose to,” and we are still getting these amazing speakers to come.

So what we do again at Thrive is not about money for me and so what it is, is number one it’s a branding play because now a lot of people say, “Hey I’m a professional speaker and I shared stages with Gary Vaynerchuk and I shared stages with Grant Cordon.” Well they came to my stage. So it’s a great credibility and branding play, which makes Re happy, shout out to Re. But then it’s a great relationship builder and so Tai Lopez specifically I actually don’t know who he was.

For Thrive One, we were doing ads with Robert Herjavec and Gary Vaynerchuk, saying, “Come to Thrive, come see these guys,” and in the comment section, a lot of people are saying, “Get Tai Lopez.” So it’s a picture of Gary Vaynerchuk saying, “Hey come see Gary speak at Thrive. Buy your tickets. Click here” and in the comments, “Get Tai Lopez.” So I am like, “Who is this freaking Tai Lopez guy?” So I Googled him and I was like, “Oh he’s the garage guy,” yeah because I have seen that come up every single time I watch a car video on YouTube, right?

So I was like that’s Tai Lopez, the car guy? So bottom line is we were one person removed. A mutual friend introduced us and I got to meet him and I didn’t know him outside of that garage, here in my garage video and obviously that video is kind of douche, right?

[0:42:43.6] RN: Well it does its job right?

[0:42:44.4] CH: That’s it. He talks about being polarizing so I don’t say that to offend him. He’s like, “Dude that was all on purpose,” and it worked, obviously and so I didn’t know who he was. I got to know him as a person, he was better. So he came and he spoke at Thrive One and at Thrive Two, as a matter of fact and so that’s how I met him and then he asked me since he spoke at Thrive for free which all my speakers do. He said, “Would you reciprocate and speak at my event in December?”

I said absolutely yes so I spoke at his event in December and what he didn’t know is that I’ve been on stage speaking professionally for over 3,000 hours. He had no idea so I showed up to his event, blew it up and was their number one rated speaker.

[0:43:22.2] RN: Now just for context, how are you on stage that much? Because I don’t think we talked about that.

[0:43:26.3] CH: In my entrepreneurial career, I didn’t get to the position where I’m at financially and success wise on my own. I’ve invested in coaching along the way. I invested in a guy named Than Merrill’s coaching program. He owns a company called FortuneBuilders still to this day and they were the real deal and taking what Than taught me and using it, giving credit where credit is due, it’s what’s changed my business.

When I came back in 2011 and people are like, “All right cool, you were broke, you get back in 2011 and went off to make millions of dollars, how?” Because I literally bought Than’s program and followed it. It doesn’t mean it will work for everybody, I just did what he told me to do and worked my ass off. So obviously I caught his attention. I’m his poster boy like, “Oh hey, you’re proof to this just because you’re crushing it.”

[0:44:06.0] RN: You’re the primary testimonial.

[0:44:07.6] CH: Yeah, exactly and I am not the only one man and there are people who do it way better than me but he’s like, “What do you think about teaching people what you are doing in your business?” and I said, “Yeah man, that sounds great. I love teaching,” and then that evolved to, “Hey what if you had your very own events where I fill rooms and you show up and for you to teach the whole audience by yourself in lieu of me coming at all,” and I said, “Yeah, let’s do that” and so I have been doing it for him for about four and a half years now where I stand on stage three straight days.

[0:44:34.9] RN: Yeah, we are just talking about the soft lines of grind.

[0:44:36.5] CH: Yeah, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It starts at 9 AM and ends at 6:30. We do take an hour lunch but I clocked 27 hours on stage every single weekend.

[0:44:45.0] RN: Talking pretty much non-stop.

[0:44:47.1] CH: The whole time and then I have done that enough years now that when you added it plus other people’s events like Tai’s I’ve literally been on stage for over 3,000 hours. So I haven’t done as many individual talks as like a Gary Vee but I guarantee while I’ve been on stage more hours, yeah exactly.

[0:45:01.4] RN: So that caught Tai’s attention because you are a natural. Well not a natural, you put in the reps.

[0:45:05.8] CH: Yeah, exactly and I enjoyed it. So I went out there and I did well at his event and so he’s like, “Hey dude, let’s do something together,” and just big and straight up I’ve told him this too. Tai has such a large imprint through social media that there’s a lot of negativity out there about Tai and used this actually Thrive’s stage. So I will use this as an example, he said he got something like 200 million views last year in all of his channels and so he said, “Let’s say 1% of people hate me, that’s 2 million people.”

That’s more than most people know anyone else is alive. He’s like, “So yeah, you see a lot of crap about me online but the 99% don’t make as much noise.” You know, when do people go and leave a review on Yelp? When they’re pissed. So I bought into that and I was like, “You know what Tai? I am stoked speaking on your stages but I don’t know.” So then I got to know him a little bit better and I always judge people by who they surrounded themselves with.

I learned pretty quickly that if Tai was who some of his comments on YouTube channel who are just internet trolls, if there was any legitimacy to what they were talking about, he wouldn’t have these amazing staffs surrounding them. Tai’s inner circle of his managers and executives are some of the most amazing people I have ever had a chance to spend time with them. I learned pretty quickly just internet trolls being idiots, being jealous. So I said, “Yeah Tai what do you have in mind?”

[0:46:28.2] RN: All right, we’ve got some serious action right now.

[0:46:30.9] CH: Yeah, we’ve got some golfers right here, I don’t want to mess up his swing.

[0:46:35.3] RN: Literally 10 feet away from us in the sand trap.

[0:46:37.4] CH: Let’s see what happens. Dang. He ripped it. Nice, well done.

[0:46:44.8] RN: Under pressure too.

[0:46:46.9] CH: Yeah, this kid is probably 12 years old and he just hit that ball out of sand farther than I have ever hit off the tee.

[0:46:51.9] RN: But I am not kidding, I was a little scared. I mean literally like a little bit to the right, we would have gotten nailed.

[0:46:57.4] CH: Good job man, nice hit. So that’s like where the PGA so a little bit about this 14 year old kid, that was pretty impressive. I don’t know if you are going to edit this or leave it in.

[0:47:07.5] RN: No, this is going to roll.

[0:47:08.9] CH: Cool. I am impressed with that. Sorry that was a long answer to Tai, but I am trying to make it a lesson. So for anyone who is listening to this, the internet sucks man. People just — I don’t know why, the people who are the least happy have the most to say and this is in no defense to Tai. Let’s forget Tai at all and just talk about the concept that unhappy people feel better about making unhappy comments and so always do your due diligence.

In this case, I had some concerns working with Tai that weren’t warranted. In your case, you trusted someone who you shouldn’t have and that’s why you lost money from a guy who was a no show and so the moral of the story becomes do your due diligence and so I spent about eight months going to Tai Lopez’s personal house, spending time with his team. I ended up speaking for him two more times, flew to New York with Tai and his entire team. He flew 37 people out there to host an event for 700 people.

[0:47:57.8] RN: Had he already approached you about the business at this point or you are just getting to know him?

[0:47:59.9] CH: No, that’s where he pitched me. It was on the New York event, so literally in the green room behind the stage, when I got off stage he’s like, “We’re going to do a product together, you know how to explain things in a great way, I have the audience,” and that was when I was like, “Yeah.” So that was in January of 2015 and again, I hope my tone isn’t that I was ever like skeptical of Tai. I was just doing my due diligence right?

[0:48:20.2] RN: Well I think it’s okay. I think a lot of people were skeptical with Tai so I don’t think that’s a big deal, you know? To be honest with you.

[0:48:24.0] CH: Yeah, that’s a good point and so that was in January and then I spoke for him in December. I spoke for him in January, I spoke for him again in March and by that point, they were trying to pay me like, Maya, his right hand woman was like, “Hey dude, we’ve got to come take notes.” I was like, “Nope. I’m investing in relationships, we’ll figure that out another way, another day,” and then Tai and I again through text and stuff we’re like, “Let’s do some of this, do something.”

It was September 9th 2016 when I remember because it was the day before I lost Steve. No, no because I lost Steve on September 10th so that’s why I know exactly where I was when it was Tai because the next day was Steve’s anniversary. So it was September 9th 2016 the day before I’d lost Steve or from 12 years earlier and I sat with him in his office and he pitched me this idea of let’s do real estate, let’s do a course. You obviously own this, you’re really doing it. You don’t pretend like most people are. I’ve never done any product in my life. He’s like I know how to film you, how to edit it, all these stuff so you just do what’s in your head on camera and I will get it out to the world,” and I said, “All right screw it, let’s do it Richard Branson style.” So I filmed it in late September and it launched the week of Thrive and we opened it up for only 20 days as a beta group and that’s it. To this day we only open it up for 20 days as a beta group and it’s going to open again in April.

[0:49:39.5] RN: How much did it sell?

[0:49:40.7] CH: It sold $1.8 million in 20 days.

[0:49:44.0] RN: 20 days, nuts huh?

[0:49:44.5] CH: Yeah, that’s Tai Lopez.

[0:49:46.0] RN: I was listening to a podcast interview with Sam Ovens who also is partners with Tai in another business, consulting business and I think it was on Mixergy, Andrew Warner’s podcast and Sam said that last year he did $18 million overall revenue and that four to six million of that was purely based on Tai’s list. So the guy is just a monster in social.

[0:50:09.9] CH: He is I think the only one that does what he does. There are people with larger audiences like a Kylie Jenner and then she has her makeup line that does tens of whatever but no offense to her and her success, she stepped into something.

[0:50:23.4] RN: That was a layup.

[0:50:24.2] CH: Yeah, exactly where like Tai grinded it out. So there’s a lot to it. I guess it’s back to that douche video that got views and he talks about how any publicity is good publicity for people who are listening to this and so he had people make parodies where they are just making fun of him that got millions of views. So people see these parodies of some poor guy named Tai Lopez getting made fun of so if they go look up Tai Lopez decide they like him and they buy his product.

[0:50:49.4] RN: He actually had people making those videos?

[0:50:51.6] CH: Dude, there are 30 different videos.

[0:50:53.6] RN: I’ve seen a lot of them but I didn’t know he was actually telling people to do them.

[0:50:57.0] CH: No, no, no he didn’t tell them to do it. No, they were doing that on their own and he is the example of Donald Trump, regardless of people’s political beliefs, of how because Donald was pissing people off, Hilary was paying tens of millions of dollars a month to get talked about on TV and for free, everyone was talking about Donald Trump and so regardless of who you voted for and what your political beliefs are of listening to this conversation, Tai is like, “Any publicity is good publicity.”

Donald Trump won the presidency and paid one tenth as much for ad spend as Hilary because everyone wanted to talk about him because they were so frustrated and Tai is like, “All these people that made this parodies making fun of me put me in front of millions of people.”

[0:51:37.8] RN: Yeah.

[0:51:38.4] CH: So I guess the little lesson there is being polarizing. So many people want to please people and if you’re trying to be a people pleaser and you’re not standing for anything then nobody is going to notice you. The most controversial figures in history are the ones that we talk about until today. You’ve got Martin Luther King Jr. where, as a black man fighting for civil rights in the 1950’s was so controversial some jackass assassinated him.

But the people that stood against the status quo and the norm are the ones that get talked about and are the ones that become legends. So if you are trying out how to be liked by everyone, no one is going to notice you. If you stand for something, you know I imagine that Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t wake up and say, “How can I be hated by everybody?” But he stood for something, he was relentless, and he changed the world.

And so the point is, what Tai has done, what we saw Donald Trump do and what I am explaining is find out what your core values are, your core belief systems, don’t be afraid to be controversial or polarizing to a degree because you look at the most famous people in today’s history, Justin Bieber, the Kardashians, they are some of the most hated people simultaneously but at the end of the day they don’t care. They make hundreds of millions of dollars a year and then if you are someone listening to this who would do good with that, cool.

[0:52:53.0] RN: Yeah, it’s like if you had a 100 people, you would rather have 50 people love you, 50 people hate you rather than having a 100 people say, “Meh”.

[0:53:00.2] CH: Yeah, that’s a good way to look at it.

[0:53:01.9] RN: I think Tai is definitely on the 50 love – 50 hate.

[0:53:06.8] CH: Yeah and so the whole point of that was back to the Thrive business model, I don’t do Thrive to make money but one relationship alone was worth $1.8 million and we’re going to re-launch it here in a little bit.

[0:53:17.4] RN: Are you able to disclose what that JV looks like split wise?

[0:53:21.3] CH: 50-50.

[0:53:21.5] RN: 50-50?

[0:53:22.1] CH: Yeah, now Tai pays his operational cost so I didn’t make $900 grand and that was gross. Of course people will refund and things like that. It doesn’t matter, you can be selling anything in the world, people are going to refund, but we have a 50-50 partnership on that and the gross sales before any operational costs were $1.8 million.

[0:53:40.4] RN: Just to get some more context about the actual course and what it actually provides people, who is that course for?

[0:53:45.5] CH: It’s for beginner entrepreneurs who want to be real estate investors. It’s the very beginner real estate investor course and we’re going to add on that. This was introductory, Tai and I are getting used to work with each other. Yeah, it was exactly what it was. It is a beta group and it’s literally just around the ins and outs of getting into real estate from the importance of asset protection from entity structuring.

A lot of people just want to flip a house in their name. The liability of that is just unspeakable so I’m not an attorney, I’m not an accountant, I don’t give legal advice, but I do say what people would consider doing and all the way down to how to raise money because I had to do that. People say, “Well cool, it’s easy for you, you’ve got all this money,” yeah but what about when I was 21 in a wheelchair? I didn’t have any money. I had to meet a stranger, take him out to lunch and say, “Hey, you put up the money. I do all the work and we split it.” That was literally how we created my career.

So it’s just telling people how to get started and then we teach specifically all the basic fundamentals and then the niche within real estate I focus on in the course is wholesaling, which is active income. So we lay down the framework and what it looks like to be a real estate investor and then I teach them how to make money through wholesaling. We’ll add stuff on that going forward like rehab and commercial and stuff down the line.

[0:54:54.3] RN: It’s a good foundation just to start understanding more about real estate investing.

[0:54:58.0] CH: Yep and it’s for 18 year olds and it’s for 68 year olds. It’s just for people who have decided, “You know what? I’m ready to not just dabble in real estate but actually do something about it.” That’s it.

[0:55:08.2] RN: So obviously you have a lot of good stuff going. You still have the real estate, are you still doing Fortune Builders?

[0:55:14.4] CH: Yes, so I speak for them right now very occasionally. For a while there I was going out two or three times a month because I freaking loved it and it was within my purpose, to be on stage and I don’t just teach real estate, I talk about for purpose business. I say, “Hey guys listen, go get richer in real estate but make the world a better place.” So it was a perfect extension for what it is I’m put on this earth to do but now that I have kids and stuff like that, I don’t like travelling.

So I just spoke actually last weekend. So 40 hours ago from this moment I was on stage but it’s right here on Los Angeles so I just drive out there. When it’s in the southwest region or specifically to Southern California, I do it forth and when I am available and then I will travel every now and then but we’ll see how long that continues. I am enjoying it right now and Than amazing. There’s nothing anyone in the world can say about Than. That guy’s just perfect but being on the circuit of speaking every weekend is not something that I am interested in.

[0:56:08.9] RN: Yeah, so with your current body of work and everything that you have built, if you had to look back and just say, “Man I wouldn’t be here had that not happen,” what would it be?

[0:56:18.4] CH: Well we talked a lot about the accidents. So I’d be a firefighter in Seattle, Washington right now if that didn’t happen. So that’s a big part of it. The recession, if real estate stayed easy, I wouldn’t have diversified. Thrive would never happen. So I don’t know if there is a singularity or a moment or a genesis of, I could say, “You know what? That’s the moment” but if I had to summarize it to what it was that allowed today to be possible, is that the question? What was the thing that put me to where I am today?

[0:56:47.2] RN: Yeah.

[0:56:47.7] CH: I would say because there are so many individual events, the thing that would be the blanket statement that would be applicable for anyone listening would be mindset and let me explain because that is so cliché. But it was that attitude that we talked about earlier where when I lost Steve and Matt I absolutely — I needed some time but then I decided to not let it break me. I decided to let it make me, and I had that same attitude in business failures.

The point of this podcast is fail on and so when I lost Steve and Matt that I needed my time to mourn but then I went out there to started a non-profit and now I am changing the world. When I am in business and I lose $170,000 then that put a fire under my ass to make my money back and so I did and have made in that city where I lost $170 grand, 10X’d that money back and so I don’t know if there is event that got me to where I am today but the mindset that I have carried throughout my life.

That has served me well that I was able to capitalize on these individual moments was the fact that when the failure happened or even the car accident, that’s certainly not a failure but something catastrophic happened, failure can be on that category I decided to take what time I needed to get through that. They say, if you fall down brush it off and get up. I get that but sometimes brushing it off could take a moment or two and catch your breath and then get back up.

So I would say what got me to where I am today is that I always got back up and it’s that when I would have accidents, I wouldn’t let them mean and I say accident like with Steven and Matt or failures in business I wouldn’t let it define me. I wouldn’t let it mean anything about me personally. I would just say it’s part of life, what can I learn from this. That’s Warren Buffett’s favorite saying is, “I can learn from every single person what to do or not to do but no matter who I’m talking to, I can learn something”.

I take that same mindset towards my life experiences both good and bad of okay, this sucks, what can I learn from this? Am I going to let this define me? Am I going to be better than this and let this make me?

[0:58:43.1] RN: So along that point, I don’t remember who was it but I think it was one of the Google founders, Sergey Brin or Larry Page but when he would be interviewing somebody I think early on in the days and he knew he wasn’t going to hire this person like five minutes into the interview and you schedule it for 30 minutes, he’d spend the next 25 minutes trying to learn something from them. So on that point which is pretty cool, right?

[0:59:05.0] CH: That is cool.

[0:59:05.6] RN: I mean it’s not cool for the person applying.

[0:59:08.8] CH: Yeah, no but that’s good.

[0:59:09.9] RN: But if he’s going to spend 30 minutes with that person, let’s learn from him.

[0:59:13.1] CH: Well I bet you that mindset didn’t start in his first interview. I bet you he got to where he is, the CEO of Google or whichever company or whoever individuals you are talking about because that is just a lifestyle.

So yeah, I had a lot of different events that I can point to as to what got me here today but the only common denominator around car accidents and loosing $170 grand in starting businesses that never made money at all, the things that I got my butt kicked on is that I said, “That sucked, what can I learn from it? Let’s pick it back up, let’s keep going for it”.

[0:59:40.0] RN: What does failure mean to you?

[0:59:41.5] CH: Failure is not just getting back up, not starting again. If I would have lost $170,00, exactly, there it is quitting. If I had lost $170 grand and never done a deal again, that’s failure. Loosing $170 grand and then going off and making 10X’d because it pissed me off is not failure. So failure is quitting. That’s the one word answer, thank you.

[1:00:00.4] RN: No, that would do it. What’s one directive or action item that you would give to somebody that maybe is in a corporate job but they have a burning desire to do more? They know they have more potential than what they are offering right now but they’re not sure of what businesses to start or necessarily what action to take, what’s one directive you would give them?

[1:00:18.4] CH: So Facebook has a saying that says, “It doesn’t need to be perfect it just needs to start.” Do you know it? Because I’ve seen it circulating the internet and I quote it so much that I’m completely losing it right now but there is famous quote by Facebook. Oh, “Done is better than perfect.” That’s it. Done is better than perfect and so many people wait for the perfect opportunity. So many people wait to have that angels in the sky playing harps, sun coming down, beam of light.

Like, “Right on, this is the opportunity, you know rainbows and butterflies and unicorns and lollipops,” like this is it and that’s not really how entrepreneurship is. To use the quote from Facebook “done is better than perfect” what they are saying is there is never perfect just get it done and so for someone who feels that they are called to more, they sit on their desk in an office in a job that maybe doesn’t challenge them. They don’t feel that it is in alignment with their purpose or whatever just start.

You don’t have to wait for perfect. You don’t have to wait for, “There it is, Larry Page reached out to me via LinkedIn and asked me to co-found this business with him and he’s going to give me a $6 million advance tomorrow and what he wants me to do is my favorite thing to do in life so it is not even going to feel like work and I’m going to get a driver and I am going to get executive benefits, perfect. Now I can get started.”

That moment has never come for anybody and isn’t coming for you either. However done being better than perfect to quote Facebook, just get started and so if they’re completely blank, like, “I don’t even know what industry I would be in, Cole,” then I would start reading business books that aren’t niche specific.

[1:01:47.2] RN: I thought you were going to say, “Buy my real estate course.”

[1:01:49.9] CH: Yeah, shameless plug but no for real, what they should do is get into some business concepts and some business education that is not niche specific. Don’t go to a marketing event. Don’t go to a real estate event, learn business.

[1:02:05.9] RN: Mind starts the foundation right?

[1:02:07.4] CH: Sure, so like reading books like The E-Myth by Michael Gerber, that isn’t specific to any industry. It’s how to run business, right? And then I would start dabbling, I hesitated on that word because then when does it end? And so I meet people who are professional dabblers. I literally speak on stages as we talked about where someone will be my audience and say, “I go to 20 of these a year.” “You go 20 of this a year? What does your business look like?” “Oh I haven’t started yet.” “Well, how long have you been doing this?” “Well for 12 years.” It’s like, “So what are you then? Do you get paid to come to these events?”

So when I say “dabble” be careful but it might make sense to start reading some basic business books that don’t go niche specific. They just talk about business concepts that a stock trader or real estate investor and online marketer whatever can all benefit from, what are you interests and what do you feel you are already naturally good at.

If you are good at sales and a people person, real estate is a sales people person business. If you are not super a people person and you are more introverted then maybe digital online type marketing where you are not interacting face to face with people and you are an affiliate marketer or whatever. It might make something more set. So I would say start. Just go. Don’t wait for perfect just go, stay general but specific to business but general in the sense that it is not marketing or stocks or whatever. And then start figuring out what industries work well with your existing skill sets and then dabble briefly with them and then either close that door forever or start a business. Don’t dabble for life.

[1:03:32.1] RN: So in short, fail on.

[1:03:34.6] CH: Yeah, there you go. Yeah man. I got lucky with real estate, right? But we didn’t talk about the 30 other businesses I’ve started that cost me money, cost me anxiety, cost me time that burned and failed. So I don’t want to sound like I am something special on this podcast where my first business that ever started has been profitable and lasted 12 years. That was lucky. The others that I have started since many have been pretty catastrophic and so I just said, “Oh that suck, but I learned and I know what I am not going to do again”.

[1:04:02.4] RN: Exactly. Who’s had the most profound impact on your life?

[1:04:05.4] CH: Business or personal?

[1:04:07.0] RN: Either.

[1:04:07.8] CH: For business it would Than Merrill for sure, that’s what we were talking about earlier. I came home from Mexico, I sold everything I left in my storage unit to buy my wife her wedding ring. I was the brokest I have ever been in my adult life when I into his course and said, “Screw it,” maxed everything out. I had to get in and went off to make millions of dollars. So business by far the most profound impact has been Than.

As far as life, this might sound cliché but it’s going to be my parents who have been in a relationship with each other for 49 years, married for 44. So they are high school sweethearts and you commented 30 minutes ago on this podcast that it was really cool for Thrive to see my sister there and my brother in law there, my other sister, my other brother in law, my mom, my dad, my wife, her sister, her parents and people, I hear that all the time, they’re like, “It’s inspiring Cole, but it’s so weird. I don’t know anyone else who goes everywhere and does everything with their family,” and that family dynamic that I was raised with that its blood is thicker than water has really served me well.

So for my personal life my biggest impact I am going to say is my parents not because that is the cliché answer but because they are something special. I’m one of the rare people I know who still have both parents married. And not because they choose to for the sake of the kids, they’re gross, they’re 60 years olds, my dad still grabs my mom’s butt like, “Knock it off dude the grandkids are watching and I want to throw up.” They are very honeymoon phase in love at 44 years of marriage and what they put into me and both my sisters is by far the greatest impact in my personal life.

[1:05:40.4] RN: I love it. So big picture moving forward, what’s on the horizon? What is your ultimate goal and vision of what you are doing with Thrive and is there anything else outside of Thrive that you’re really excited about?

[1:05:50.8] CH: Thrive right now we’re focusing on the event. We’re going to have a thousand people there this year. 600 last year, 400 the year before and a thousand maybe more, let’s see how that goes. But the idea with Thrive, big vision, is that right now, Thrive the event is like the pinnacle. It’s what Thrive is, I want it to be just the meeting place and then there is going to be some type of continued education included in it. It’s not going to be charged so that people can continue learning year round.

I want it to be the epicenter of completely changing business and consumer behavior. If we have more and more companies like TOMS Shoes like my businesses where you have direct to competitors when you do business with them will change the world. The other will make shareholders happy. I’m not knocking Wall Street but when it comes to consumers having more options of doing business with for purpose businesses, it’s literally going to change consumer behavior.

Right now more and more and more businesses are popping up. just partnered with Stella which is the only beer I drink now because every single time you buy a Stella beer, you’re providing clean water for someone in a third country for 30 days. So it’s like, “Cool man,” you know, I’m a Corona fan. I like Mexican beer, I like Corona, I like Modelo but for the last six months I only drink Stella now because when I’m in the isle on the grocery store, I can buy Corona enjoy it and make that manufacturer stoked.

[1:07:09.3] RN: It’s great to see big businesses doing that.

[1:07:11.2] CH: Totally, or I can buy Stella and know that I just bought a 12 packs of 12 people are — So literally I should just be a ragging alcoholic now.

[1:07:19.2] RN: It’s not for me. It’s not for me, it’s for the kids.

[1:07:21.6] CH: Yeah, exactly. Don’t mind all these empty bottles. So the point is it’s becoming more and more and more of a common trend but nobody is the epicenter.

[1:07:29.3] RN: But on that note though, it’s almost becoming a cliché like, “Oh,” you know?

[1:07:35.1] CH: That’s for people that use it for some gimmick, yeah exactly and so that’s true and we don’t even have time to get into that, but people can sniff out true intent and people can sniff out people doing this as a gimmick and so if you’re just wanting to get on the bandwagon it won’t work well for you. But if you believe in the mission and use your business as the vehicle, people can sense that and so the point is more and more of these businesses are popping up because they’re just individually are deciding it’s the right thing to do.

What I want Thrive to be is that epicenter where that type of business model is created and cultivated and to start having four, five, six thousand attendees per year times 10 years, we’re going to have 50, 60, 70,000, 100,000 businesses out in America and in the world with that for purpose model and at that point whether it’s beer, shoes like TOMS Shoes, airlines, you have options of for purpose or not for purpose and so many people because there’s all these data that is already out there.

Over 80% — there’s 16 different surveys I’ve seen out there, incredible ones where they interviewed consumers and said, “Hey, would you rather do business with someone that’s making the world a better place or not?” Over 80% said they would ditch their comfort, ditch their brand, ditch what they have been buying forever, start shopping or buying from somebody totally new knowing that there is a social aspect. So the proof is there now we just need the business to get on board.

I want Thrive to accelerate that process and to be the hub to where people can come so that fast forward it literally changes consumer behaviors where I’m on the older end of a millennial, whatever is after me are even more tree hugger-ish than millennials are. They want to drive a Tesla because they don’t want to pollute and they don’t even want driver’s licenses. They want Uber’s to drive them in Tesla’s and so once they get to the age of starting to spend money, more amounts of money and start families, I want them to literally be able to have an option of for purpose for every product and service out there.

“I need to go get a massage, my neck hurts. Oh this is a for purpose massage place like Massage Envy. This is a chain that gives 10% of their revenues to kids in Africa who don’t have food,” or whatever I’m just saying and then what would that’s going to do year 10 through 20 is for these businesses for the late adaptors, late majority to say, “Okay we’re losing market share because of all these other companies out there that are adapting this for business purpose model are stealing our clients, we either need to adapt or become the next Blockbuster Video and be pushed out by Netflix,” and so I literally want to put pressure on the current status quo of how businesses operate to create a social aspect or consumers are not going to buy from you anymore.

So right now Thrive is the big picture, but that’s because we’re only in our third year. Fast forward to 10th year, Thrive is just the hub that’s creating this world global epidemic of businesses converting to for purpose because consumers aren’t going to buy from you anymore and that’s the war path I’m on and that’s what the big picture vision is.

[1:10:17.4] RN: I love it man. That’s a huge vision and I give you all the props in the world on getting that started and still growing in year three.

[1:10:24.4] CH: Thanks man, yeah we’re going to go a thousand people, maybe more we’ll see, this year and then just take it from there. I would love to see Thrive be four, five, 6,000-person event.

[1:10:33.4] RN: I was actually doing some prep for the show, I don’t know if you have even looked at this but we’re in the same MastermindTalks group. So Jayson Gaignard always puts together, it’s like a rolodex almost of everybody’s profiles and one of the things you said in there was you wanted in four years to have 4,000 attendees at Thrive so right on point man.

[1:10:55.0] CH: Yeah, that’s cool. I don’t even remember writing that. But yeah, Jayson Gaignard was actually going to be speaking this year at Thrive. Nobody knows that yet because the website is not live so for those of you who are hearing this, shh but yeah Jayson, he was at Thrive One. He did a five question interview where we asked him five questions and he just answered. I am actually going to give him the mic this year and just let him run because he’s great.

I’m going to have him talk about culture, that MastermindTalks culture he has created and it’s important for people who are entrepreneurs to know how to decide what their culture is going to be and then how to cultivate it like he has.

[1:11:28.0] RN: Yeah, he’s done an amazing job.

[1:11:29.0] CH: You watch Tony Hsieh the founder of Zappos, if you read his book Delivering Happiness, his first business had such a toxic culture he lost $40 million or something because he didn’t maintain his retainer agreement. Sold the company. He’s like, “This company has become such a toxic place,” I don’t remember if it’s $40 million or $10 million but it was eight figures that he lost because he couldn’t stay there anymore and then he said, “Zappos is going to be different.” They created a culture and then hired people that were culture fits and so that’s a great skill set to have. I think Jayson does it well and that’s what he’ll be talking about in Thrive.

[1:11:58.7] RN: Totally. All right my man, I want to respect your time and the sun is going down a little bit, no more golfers on the course so.

[1:12:05.6] CH: Oh they’ll be here.

[1:12:06.7] RN: We’ll wrap it up. Thanks man, you’ve got a heart of gold. I appreciate the time. I’ll see you next time.

[1:12:10.5] CH: For sure man.


[1:12:14.5] RN: You could find Cole at and you could also connect to Cole on Twitter, he’s @colehatter on Twitter. If you’re interested in learning more about Cole’s live event, just go to and as always, all the links and resources Cole and I discussed including more information on his latest projects and events can be found at the page created especially for this episode. You’ll find it all at

And finally, as I am creating this project with the simple goal of getting people to take action through embracing failure, if you could do one thing to support my mission I would greatly appreciate it. If you’d just be so kind to rate and review the podcast, I’d be ever so grateful. This will actually help the podcast be visible to more people. If you feel it deserves a five star rating and you leave a review, I’ll be sure to mention you by name in an upcoming episode as a simple small way to say thank you. To rate and review the podcast, just visit or


[1:13:22.1] ANNOUNCER: That’s all for this episode of The Fail On Podcast. For more resources, show notes and action items to help you find success in your failures, sign up for our mailing list at

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