With pilot season upon us, CNBC got ahead of the stampede in July with its latest reality show, Blue Collar Millionaires. I have to admit I stumbled upon it doing my usual TV Show Junky channel surfing and hunting for something new. Having a personal passion for the unscripted world, I immediately found the premise of Blue Collar Millionaires inspiring.
The show essentially is about your ordinary blue collar working folk who have turned a hobby or an idea into a million dollar business. I didn’t actually start watching the show until just recently after watching Episode 1 on OnDemand. The individuals who are profiled for their seemingly “rags-to-riches” stories usually do come from humble beginnings. Take Boyce Muse of Redding, California, who came from a dysfunctional family and grew pouring concrete for a living. But he found working for someone else to be unsatisfying. Wanting to be his own boss, Boyce took $10,000 from his wife’s retirement and created Muse Concrete Contractors, a multi-million dollar concrete business. He’s now known as “The King of Concrete.”
The interesting thing about these people featured on the show is just how easy they make it look. Boyce even took out a second mortgaged on his home to buy a piece of equipment that actually cost more than the house. His wife had to work full time by day and do the accounting for their startup company by night. This was a man who once had to sleep in a shed with his brother and then actually left home when he was 14 years old.
Then there is Brittany Pozzi who raises and trains high-end performance horses. She didn’t grow up on a farm but always but had a love for horses. Her father bought her one by 12 years old she started riding them regularly. Later, she entered her first barrel race at a rodeo and won, which ignited a professional career that resulted in winning 80 races and taking home $2.5 million in career earnings. She took some of that money and began to breed horses and has since inflated her millionaire status.
A couple of best friends, Nick Friedman and Omar Soliman, turned a start-up business specializing in hauling away neighborhood junk into millions. Their catchy brand, College Hunks Hauling Junk, made the real big bucks when they started franchising their company, which now number about 50 nationwide.
After watching an episode or two of Blue Collar Millionaires, the people featured on the show makes it look like anyone can do it. The show doesn’t cover all the thousands of business who have gone bankrupt or lost money from failed business ventures. If it were really that simple to turn a good idea into a million dollar company, we would all be driving Maseratis and living in luxury. I have to give it to the show’s producers for finding people that do dangerous jobs such the “Duke of Hazard” Erick McCallum, CEO of CG Environmental who is featured in Episode 2.
We also meet “Prince of Pest Control” Corey Arnold, who turned his insect fumigation business into millions of dollars in revenue. Peachtree Pest Control was originally his father’s company. He took the business to the next level by implementing popular environmentally friendly pest control options.
But, here’s what I’ve really noticed about this show and most of these “blue collar” millionaires. Nearly all of them have had some sort of help. In the case of College Hunks Hauling Junk, Nick and Omar brag that they both went to one of the top 50 high schools in the country. That alone tells us that they came from money. In other words, they weren’t living in the ghetto and they weren’t on food stamps.
In the case of Brittany Pozzi, her father bought her a horse when she was 9 years old and horses aren’t cheap. Obviously, since she’s made millions selling hers. She also relied on her previous professional barrel race winnings as the seed money for her breeding business.
Corey Arnold of Peachtree Pest Control inherited the business from Dad when it was already worth $5 million. Granted, he worked his butt off to improve it, but, it’s not like he came from a humble, blue-collar beginning.
Still, others like Boyce Muse, are true rags-to-riches, blue-collar millionaires. Another true blue collar millionaire is Jay Gill, who is featured in Episode 3. He and his parents were migrant farm workers. While other kids his age were looking forward to summer vacation, he was already anticipating the start of the new school year because he had to work all summer in the fields. His work ethic paid off as he went to college and started buying cars from classmate and reselling them to farmers he knew back home. After graduating, he opened a used car lot. He was literally a one-man-band selling, doing all the maintenance, marketing, and managing. Now, he has six car dealerships and lives in a 10,000 square-foot home paid for by his $150 million auto group. He also has an almond farm that he bought for his father that yields 750,000 pounds of almonds a year. Not bad.
While some of the backstories have holes in them, as some featured blue-collar millionaires came from decent families with resources available, what is irrefutable is that regardless of lack of resources or getting some help along the way these people have all worked extremely hard to get to leverage what they had into millions. Blue Collar Millionaires leaves you feeling inspired that the American dream is not dead and instead is within reach if you work for it.