Former Bonney Lake resident, Houston Gunn, set a goal when he was a freshman at Sumner High School to graduate a millionaire.
Now at 16 years old, Gunn has written his first book titled “Schooled for Success: How I Plan to Graduate from High School a Millionaire.”
He set the goal the first day of his freshman year after a “Welcome to high school” assembly where the leadership teacher told the students that with education and hard work, everyone should be worth a million dollars in their lifetime.
Gunn said he thought about it and that would mean if you work for 50 years, you would only have to make $20,000 a year.
Prior to setting his goal, Gunn made his first real estate deal at 13. He approached his parents and asked to partner with them on a fix and flip property near Pacific Lutheran University, he said.
When he was younger he was a print model and appeared in a car commercial in sixth grade, he saved the money he earned and used that for his first deal.
Gunn has been around real estate his whole life because his parents and grandmother are in the business. But he credits a Trump University real estate seminar as his first taste of “the world of real estate.”
“[The seminar] got me excited and made me want to be a part of it,” Gunn said.
The three years to follow his first real estate deal, he has continued to do private money loans, he said.
Gunn said the idea to write his book came from a challenge that was given to him by Lee Arnold, CEO of Private Money Exchange and COGO Capital, when he interviewed for his job shadow his freshman year. Arnold challenged him to write about his experiences, Gunn said.
He accepted the challenge and set the goal to finish the book by the time he was 16. After writing for a total of 14 months, Gunn completed the book and it launched last Halloween.
Once he was challenged to write his book, Gunn said he sent out a number of emails to more than 100 successful athletes and business people he looked up to and asked if he could interview them for his book.
He received one response and that was from Donald Trump.
“I am very grateful for his response,” Gunn said. “It really changed the level of my book.”
Trump endorsed his book and said, “Houston has written a book that should be read by all high school students and parents who are looking for a productive and successful future. ‘Schooled for Success’ is a terrific handbook for learning the basics in an easy-to-read format. A job well done!”
Gunn said he hopes to deliver a signed copy to Trump.
For the last two months, Gunn has been promoting his book at book signings. On Dec. 23, Gunn returned to the Pacific Northwest and spent the day at the Seattle Barnes and Noble at a book signing. Then on Jan. 3, he returned to his home town of Bonney Lake and spent the day at CJ’s Deli for a book signing.
Connie Swarthout, owner of CJ’s Deli, has been a family friend of the Gunns since he was born in 1997 and she invited him to have a book signing at her deli.
“I love when kids do well,” she said. “We need to encourage them.”
And she hopes that his book will help to inspire kids across the country to do something, she said.
At the signing, Gunn was able to visit with a number of old family friends and teachers and $1 from every book he sold that day, he donated to the Bonney Lake Food Bank.
Gunn was in the Sumner band when he was a freshman and Sumner band director Joe Carl stopped by to see him at his book signing.
“I will show this off to students,” Carl said. “This is what job shadowing can do for them.”
Lisa Schultz of First American Title also stopped by the book signing. She purchased 10 books to give away as door prizes at trainings she holds for real estate investors.
Schultz hopes that Gunn will come back to speak about his success to those interested in joining the world of real estate.
Cheryl Warwick, Gunn’s kindergarten teacher from Bonney Lake Elementary, stopped by CJ’s Deli and said, “People shouldn’t give up, even if it isn’t easy.”
Real estate investor Ruby Aczon saw Gunn speak at an event last August and made the drive from Maple Valley to come grab a signed copy of his book.
“He’s inspiring,” Aczon said.
Beside his book tour, Gunn travels the United States speaking at real estate conventions and talking about entrepreneurship.
He hopes that in the next five years, he can become a spokesperson for entrepreneurship in youth.
Gunn hopes that others both young and old can learn from him how to be successful in life and to take action rather than sitting around and not doing anything, he said.
“You have to get out there and ask for what you want,” Gunn said.
The three things that he hopes people will take away from reading his book is that you need to take action, always ask for what you want and to set goals and dates.
Gunn sets goals with expiration dates and his top three right now are to graduate high school with a millionaire dollars, buy a blue Corvette by May 20 and thirdly to work his way into the music industry.
Gunn and his family moved to Nashville, Tenn. after his freshman year and he said since the move he has been working on networking. He has played the guitar since he was six and also plays the bass, mandolin and fiddle. So far Gunn has co-written four songs and hopes to make a demo by August.
He had originally set the goal for his demo to be Dec. 31 but because of his book tour, he had to push back the deadline. Gunn added that it is OK for people to change their goal dates if they analyze what they did and figure out how to do it better and then reset a new date.
This won’t be the only book Gunn writes. He has also written a chapter for the second edition of “Zero to Hero in 90 days or less” by David Fagan. He said, he plans to write more books and continue the story from his first and he wants to keep teaching people different things.
When asked how he plans to make a million dollars, he said by continuing to invest in real estate, promoting his book, working in the music industry and taking on any opportunities that come his way.
He said, he gets closer to his million dollar goal every day.
He said he is undecided about continuing his education after high school.
“I’m not opposed to going (to college) but I’ll have to see,” Gunn said.
Swarthout will continue to sell his book at CJ’s Deli. And it can also be found on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.