Mark had plenty of time to think about his story on the 5000-mile flight from London to Los Angeles. He had no job, no college education, no place to live, and only a few hundred bucks to his name. He was 22 years old.
As luck would have it, Mark’s friend met with him and told him a wealthy Beverly Hills family was looking for a nanny. He had zero experience but he delivered a pitch they couldn’t resist. He told them that having a former British paratrooper in the house was guaranteed security, “like hiring a nanny and a bodyguard at the same time.”
His very first job was unloading a dishwasher, a device he had never even seen before.
Over 2 years, he studied the habits of the wealthy and learned a valuable lesson about success. He came to realize that the story of his life was a blank slate and that he was the author, the one ultimately in charge of crafting the narrative.
He then started buying $2 t-shirts and selling them for $18 along a fence in Venice Beach.
Although he never worked as a salesperson, never attended a sales seminar, nor read a book on sales, he excelled in sales because he knew the storyteller’s secret. “Customers buy from people they are comfortable with, people they consider their friends. And friends don’t sell. They tell stories.”
After two years of pitching T-shirts to thousands, he was so good at selling he essentially paid of the $1500 monthly rent in one day of sales each month. The rest he invested in real estate.
Within eight years of landing in America, he made his first $million.
In 1998, he bought the North America rights to a British team competition called Survivor.
Discovery Channel turned him down.
USA Network turned him down.
CBS initially turned him down.
He recalls, “I began my pitch by handing a mock copy of Newsweek magazine with Survivor on the cover.”
Survivor dominated the ratings and is still regarded as one of the top 10 reality television program of all time.
Producer Mark Burnett then went on to create the Voice, and many other hit shows.
- Be bold and exude confidence
- Be an optimist with an unshakable belief in yourself
- Screw goals, have moonshots
- Trust your gut, your intuition, your heart…and your calling
- Start walking, even if you don’t know where the path will end up
A $98 pair of pants gave Sara the kick in the butt she needed to start her own business. For eight months the white pants hung in Sara’s closet. Every time she tried them on she didn’t like what she saw in the mirror. In desperation Sara took a pair of scissors and cut off the feet from a pair of panty hose. It solved her problem.
Zero business experience. 100% passion.
Sara’s father had taught her about the power of failure. At the dinner table Sara’s father would ask, “What did you fail at today?” He would be disappointed if she didn’t have anything to say. Failure meant she was trying new things.
She had ten minutes to pitch to a retailer and it wasn’t going well until she instructed the buyer to follow her into the bathroom where she proceeded to demo them, explaining it through her personal story. Twelve years later and she appeared on the cover of Forbes as the youngest self-made female billionaire.
- Be bold. Sara showed up with a red backpack with her product and took a gamble on showing the buyer.
- Differentiate yourself. Her Spanx boxes were red – a color that stood out against everything else on the shelves.
- Your personal story will resonate best.