Entrepreneurs

‘West Texas’ investor and self-made millionaire explains why he stopped doing handshake deals

Self-made millionaire Wayne "Butch" Gilliam used to do deals based on trust and a handshake.

But he's found that more and more people are breaking their word. For the star of CNBC's reality pitch show "West Texas Investor's Club," the handshake deal is dead.

"[You] can't trust anybody anymore," said Gilliam, co-chairman of the West Texas Investors, the investment group he started with his friend and business partner Rooster McConaughey.

"It used to be that you'd do deals on a handshake and a person's word was their promise," he said. "It meant something, it had iron, it had fiber to it. Today, people don't think anything of it."

Even Gilliam, who made millions from a successful career in the piping industry, has been slighted from a business deal gone awry.

"I started a business one time with two young men," he said. "I put them in business, bought all the machines they wanted. They ran the business into the ground, and they just walked away from the debt."

"A promise is still a promise," he said.

CNBC's "West Texas Investors Club" airs Tuesday at 10 p.m. EDT.