Hearing an entrepreneurial success story is always interesting. But hearing how that same entrepreneur almost failed in the process is both humbling and inspiring.
The journey of success for any entrepreneur is always filled with ups and downs, and that's part of what makes the rewards at the end so sweet. But any seasoned entrepreneur will tell you that those moments of doubt, failure, and almost giving up were not easy to swallow at the time. And now, more than ever, successful entrepreneurs are beginning to see the value in really opening up about their journey--for the benefit of the next generation of young and aspiring entrepreneurs.
What social media has done for aspiring entrepreneurs all over the world is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, never before has there been such global camaraderie around building businesses, pursuing ideas, chasing dreams, and networking with other hustlers and goal-setters. But at the same time, social media has also made entrepreneurship seem more like an easily obtainable "dream lifestyle," rather than truly revealing the difficulties of the journey.
Scroll through Instagram and you'll see an endless amount of motivational quotes highlighting the legendary status that comes with becoming a successful entrepreneur, or loosely referencing the "hard work" that it takes to build a business (with an exotic car in the background). But what you won't see are the inner thoughts and emotions of entrepreneurs as they work toward building their ideas and businesses. You won't see quote graphics explaining the fears that come with failure, or the uncertainty that follows missteps and mistakes.
Entrepreneurship, in general, is made to seem as easy as proclaiming yourself an entrepreneur, building a quick website, and then calling yourself the CEO of something you named five minutes ago.
Since this is a glaring issue in the world of entrepreneurship, this lack of honest discussion, entrepreneur and speaker Chris Farrell has decided to launch a new podcast for the community, called 'Setbacks and Success.'
Each episode of the podcast will feature a successful entrepreneur (someone you truly want to learn from), and what sorts of obstacles they had to overcome in order to ultimately build something of value.
The first episode of the show features Greg Bonann, the creator of the hit television series, Baywatch. And with total openness, Bonann tells the story of how the billion-dollar brand almost failed.
"The best piece of advice I ever received was from my parents," said Bonann. "My dad was a runner, and he would tell me, 'Son, you never stumble over anything good if you're moving. So, keep moving.' And then my mom too, she would say, 'When you're on the track and you're running, you can't really see what's around the bend. You might be so close to success, but you'll never know if you stop. So don't stop running.'"
Funny enough, this advice was quite literally the path Baywatch, the television show, had to take in order to become a global success.
What many people don't know about the hit show, and what Bonann shares in this first podcast episode of 'Setbacks and Success,' is that the show was originally a failure in America. It struggled with ratings, had very little audience, and was cancelled after the first season.
"It was a crushing defeat for me," said Bonann. "I'd spent years getting this show on air, only to be told one Friday that it was over. A few days later, I was back at the beach working as a lifeguard, feeling sorry for myself."
The person responsible for keeping Bonann going was, of course, his father.
"On Father's Day, my dad asked me what I was going to do with the show. I said nothing, since the network owned the rights. I felt like there was nothing I could do. But my dad told me to ask for it back. I tried to explain to him that's not how it works, and they can't just give it back to me. But my dad made me promise that I would at least ask. So, on Monday morning, just to honor my promise, I called and asked if I could meet with the network executives," said Bonann.
As he tells it, he was told that he would not receive the rights to his TV show back unless he was prepared to pay for it. He braced himself for a massive price tag, and then was told that they'd give him back the rights for $1--since they weren't going to do anything with it.
"After I got the rights back, I went to Europe with the show and hustled every network to take the show, leveraging one country's interest against another, until I began to get traction," said Bonann.
The tactic that ultimately made Baywatch the most-watched show in the world was the fact that he gave the show to China, for free. Then, two years later, once it had built an audience for itself and become a proven success, he demanded that China begin paying for the show. China ended up paying more money for Baywatch than they had ever paid before for a single TV show.
"Finally, American began to take notice, but this time it was on my terms," said Bonann.
To listen to the full story of how the Baywatch brand came to be, click here to listen to the first episode of 'Setbacks and Success.'