Momentum Podcast: 228
William Shatner's Office Is Calling
by Alex Charfen
Does exposure lead to success? It depends on where you're at within your business. There are three questions to ask yourself before committing.
Full Audio Transcript
I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum Podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to, we challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum, so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will.
We don't accept our destiny; we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how while the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo. We are the minority, the few, who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. Instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution, and we always will be.
"William Shatner's office is calling." A few years ago, I actually had one of my team members walk into my office and say exactly that, and I said back, "Who's William Shatner?" See, I didn't watch a lot of TV growing up, and I didn't realize that William Shatner ... or at least I didn't make the connection in the moment. But once she said, "It was Captain Kirk on Star Trek," I was like, "Oh yeah. William Shatner, the guy with the booming voice who says everything really dramatically." I said, "Why is his office on the phone?" She said there's some type of an opportunity for exposure. Immediately, my spidey senses kind of went off.
I'm like, "Why would William Shatner's office be calling us? This just doesn't make sense." My team member said something about a TV show about businesses that were changing the United States. I thought, "Huh. I'll jump on the phone." We had actually gotten a few calls from different TV shows. I've been on the news a bunch of times. I had been featured in Austin. We've been featured in a ton of different magazines: SmartMoney, USA Today, Wall Street Journal. So maybe there was a show that William Shatner was involved with that was interested in us.
So I jumped on the call, like it was one of those calls even though I didn't ... I had a policy against taking calls in the moment. I probably should have kept it. I decided to just jump on the call. I jumped on and I got on, and I had a woman introduce herself as a producer for a new TV show called Moving America Forward that was going to feature William Shatner as the host, and Doug Llewelyn, The People's Court reporter. He was going to be the host, or William Shatner was the star, and Doug Llewelyn was the host. I remember thinking, "Wow. What an odd television show."
I even asked the producer, I said, "So you're going to have a show about businesses that are moving America forward, but the star is William Shatner, and the host is Doug Llewelyn from The People's Court? Can you just explain to me how that works?" The woman went off on this pitch that was incredible. She's like, "William Shatner loves the United States and he wants businesses to move America forward, and he knows how hard entrepreneurs work. And so, they put together this program that features entrepreneurs around the country, and it's going to go out on network TV, and it's ... " or did she say network or affiliate?
She said, "It's going to go out on major network," or, "It's going to be aired on major networks," not network TV. She said, "aired on major networks. We're looking for entrepreneurs that are moving the country forward, and we've identified your company, and we want to talk to you about doing an episode." And again, for some reason, the way she was explaining it made me really uncomfortable. So I said, "Okay. Well what's involved? How does this gets set up? She said, "Well we have a short application process, and then you come out to California. You shoot here in one of our studios with Mr. Llewelyn and Mr. Shatner. Sometimes he's on satellite, sometimes you're in person."
I'm like, "Wait, wait. William Shatner stars in the show? But sometimes he's on a satellite feed?" She's like, "Yeah, yeah. It's very common." I said, "What other show has a star that participates via satellite feed?" She's like, "Oh well it happens all the time." Anyway, and I'm thinking to myself like, "Okay. This is already starting to sound like BS." I'm waiting for the punchline, and then she said, "What we do is you come in. We make sure that Mr. Llewelyn really understands your business. We interview you. He asks you questions that highlight how good you look."
And now, I'm thinking to myself, "What the hell kind of show is this? No one has ever approached me for a legitimate media opportunity by telling me how good they were going to make me look. I've never heard that from anybody before ever for any media opportunity. I've done a ton of media." She just kept going about how the show was going to make ... that it was good. This was going to be one of our show pieces in our business. One of those showpieces that you send potential clients, you put on your website. You put on social media that this is going to be one of those things we want to put everywhere.
Then I started thinking like, "What the hell is this really?" This is not a legitimate television show because they don't sell the credibility that they're going to give you. They tell you they're legitimate television show. They let you assume the credibility, because I've been on legitimate television shows. I've never been pitched like that. And so, at that point, I was wildly uncomfortable, and I was trying to figure out what this woman's angle was. Then she said ... you know, then it there and there it was. She said, "And the investment, even though we have a full broadcast studio, all we need you to do is offset some of the production costs, because we give you full rights to the show."
"So even though we put it on TV, we ask the participants to offset production costs so that you have full, full rights. You can put it anywhere and it's only ... " I can't remember how much it was back then, but I think it was something like $28,000. I remember laughing out loud. I'm like, "Wait a second. I'm paying you $28,000 so that I can talk to William Shatner on a satellite feed and get interviewed by some guy from a show called The People's Court, and then that video is somehow going to help me sell my clients? This is insanity. What major network carries this? What time is it going to be on? What affiliates have you been picked up by?"
She said, "Well we have a number of affiliates that we work with," and here's something. When somebody tells you that they work with affiliates and they're going to put you on ABC, NBC, Fox, any of those, or CBS, all they need to do is go to a small affiliate and buy a half-hour of airtime for $200 in the middle of nowhere. They can buy it in Nebraska and then they've "aired" your show, which is what exactly shows like this do. As I was talking to her, I started realizing that this was just like a scam I used to see when I was in consumer electronics.
The manufacturers I worked with would get called all the time to go on a "television show" that was going to feature their products, and there would always be like some semi-famous person that was going to interview them, and it was going to cost them somewhere between ... The lowest I ever saw I think was 14,000. The highest I ever saw was 90,000 to go showcase your products. Now, here's the challenge with these types of scams. First, let's be honest. It's a scam and William Shatner should be ashamed of himself. If you think there's any chance of me getting in trouble for this, I just want you to go to movingamericaforward.tv and click on Cast and you'll see.
Here's what's interesting. I haven't looked at this website in a while. But on the homepage, they've added looks like about a dozen of these shows, and now, you can actually see how pathetic this show is. But what I want you to see is if you go to the website, movingamericaforward.tv just because you want to verify what I'm telling you, watch any of the episodes. They've cut off the first two minutes because as I went through this process, I eventually saw one of the episodes, and it was so sad. William Shatner was on a satellite feed, and it looked like he wasn't even listening to the person that was talking.
It might have just been a recording because there was no way that there was a conversation going on and then you see these people sitting. Then what you'll see is if you listen to enough of them, the first few minutes or the first few seconds, that it's been cut off. Doug Llewelyn actually says, "And I'm Doug Llewelyn," and then he starts talking about a conversation the person just had with William Shatner. So here's what really happened here. This is a complete scam company that somehow licensed William Shatner's name and got him to sit on a satellite feed every time they filmed and hired the guy from The People's Court to create some of the worst production I've ever seen.
If you go to the website, you'll be able to see these "episodes." No one would ever watch this. The problem is, is that, what you get convinced of, like the people who do the fake status stuff that I talked about a few podcasts ago, what people get convinced of in the sales page is that if they have this exposure, if they have this celebrity look, like if there's this event, this speaking, this exposure, whatever it is, then it will create success. If I'm on TV with William Shatner and the guy from the People's Court, well of course I'm going to be successful.
Here's the fact. You're going to spend a ton of time, a ton of money. You're going to fly across the country. You're going to write a check for production that it shouldn't be more than a thousand dollars, and you're going to pay 28. You're going to have a weird, quirky video that when you show it to anyone, including putting it on your website or social media, they're going to think, "Why would Doug Llewelyn do an interview this ridiculously boring?" I dare you to watch any of them. They're pathetic. Every single one of these people wrote a huge check to get this terrible video, thinking that somehow it would create success.
The fact is, is that, speaking and exposure does not create success. In fact, exposure and notoriety does not create success. It's well-known that some of the most broke people are social media stars. If you look at some of the people who have a huge following on social media, they'll do stuff for a few hundred dollars because they're not making any money. They have tons of exposure, but they haven't figured out how to convert any of it. What happens is people know that business owners are craving exposure, because what does every business owner think? "I just need more exposure. I just need more people to see my stuff."
"If only more people could understand how good my product was, if only I could just get in front of more eyeballs, the whole world would buy it." Well the fact is that's not true. And, unless you're getting real exposure, like going on TV, which I've done dozens of times, sometimes even that doesn't really change your business at all. If you have a product that anybody in the world can buy then going on TV changes everything. But I've been on TV dozens of times and it never meant we really sold a lot more product. It certainly helped my credibility. It certainly helped what we did, but it wasn't a direct path to success.
If anyone ever contacts you and says, "Hey, I have an opportunity for exposure for you," I'd take those. I will go speak. When Russell Brunson said, "Will you speak at ClickFunnels?" I said, "Hell yeah. Absolutely and thank you." I was excited to do it because it had the three qualifications of any exposure opportunity. So if you're going to go get exposure in any way, if you get a call from William Shatner's office, I want you to ask yourself three questions. The first one is, is this the right opportunity? Is it the right type of opportunity? Is it the right type of thing right now?
So any of the business owners that have paid this company should have asked, "How is exposure with William Shatner going to drive any business to me?" The fact is that's a quick answer. It's not because unless this was going to go on national TV, what you're getting is a video that you can promote. Well if you can't promote your products already, who cares if you promote a crappy video with Doug Llewelyn? So it's not the right opportunity. The second question you should ask ... If you get past opportunity, like if someone says, "Hey, come speak at my event," well maybe that's a good opportunity for you.
The second one is, is it the right audience? So, is it the right type of person? I know I want to speak to business owners who are growing businesses. If I go where there's not a lot of that avatar, man, I get bored and uncomfortable. I've made some serious mistakes in accepting events, where there wasn't a lot of business owners that were growing teams. It ends up just ... I'm in the wrong place. If you check off right opportunity, right audience, then you have to ask yourself, "Do you have the right offer for what you're going to do to get exposure?" Because if you ever get to this place where you believe exposure will somehow link up to success, you have to understand that's just not how it works.
Now, that being said, if you have an incredible funnel, with a great offer, with a good conversion mechanism, where you get a lot of people to actually bite and take the next step with you, then exposure is everything. When I went and spoke at ClickFunnels, it was incredible. We doubled the listenership of our podcast, which has driven a ton of leads into our company. We've closed a ridiculous, like record amounts of business. But because it was the absolute right opportunity, I was going to be featured on stage with Russell Brunson in front of 3,500 business owners, a high percentage of them who have gotten into this thing called the 2 Comma Club, which means they make at least a million dollars, and that's exactly who I help grow teams.
It's high-margin businesses making over a million dollars, and I know if they're working with Russell, they have created way more opportunity than the infrastructure they have can fulfill most of the time, and they're in a crazy growth curve because the ClickFunnels effect is real. If you look at the businesses that are on ClickFunnels, they grow at a rate that is exponentially faster than the average companies out there in the world. I can tell you because I've been coaching businesses for over 25 years, and I've never seen anything like ClickFunnels. It is crazy.
So, for me, was that the right opportunity? Absolutely. Was it the right audience? 3,500 people in business? No question. And did I have the right offer? Well they're buying it like crazy. That's why I went and spoke at ClickFunnels. So, here's the challenge for you, as business owners. Just like in the podcast I talked about, buying status, you're going to get these opportunities all the time. Sometimes it's not going to be a buying game; it's going to be a your-time game. This is where I've messed up, where I've had friends or people say, "Hey Alex, will you come speak at this event, or will you come moderate at this event?"
It was an event that was just nowhere near my avatar at all. As an example, I go speak at Paleo f(x). Here's why. Is it the right opportunity? Yes, because I love the paleo crowd. Is it the right audience? No question. At Paleo f(x), I'm normal. I'm not even eccentric. There, people look at me and they go, "Oh that's the guy who probably knows something," instead of thinking like, "Why isn't he wearing a suit?" Do I have the right offer for people in that audience? A very high percentage of them are business owners who are into physiology and optimize, and so, yeah, that's an incredible event for me even though it might not look like it.
But then I've made mistakes where I go in speaking events where it's not the right people and it falls flat and it's just wasting my time. It might feel good. It might be fun. If I go speak in an event for beginning-business owners, it's a lot of fun. They go crazy. They think it's incredible that I'm there. I get a huge hit to my ego, but it does nothing for my business, and I've done it. I needed the dopamine maybe. I don't know why, but I've gone to events where it didn't fit my avatar. I've gone to events where I just did it to get attention. I've gone to events where I wasn't in front of people I wanted to be, and here's what I can tell you is that it always ends up frustrating me.
If any one of you flew across the country to go sit down across from Doug Llewelyn, and you realized that this video you were making was going to end up looking laughable, like these are comical. If you watch any of them, you'll see. I mean, they're cute. They're nice. They're decent videos. But for anyone in the world to believe that you were on a real television show, it's not going to happen. It's the most boring crap ever, like not even on public access. This is worse than public access. And so, if you did this, you would end up frustrated and questioning yourself.
So whenever you get an "opportunity," whenever you get a place where you can get exposure or where you can go participate or contribute or whatever it is, ask yourself three questions. Is it the right opportunity, the right audience, and do you have the right offer so that it matters? If those three things are true, then as a business person you should go do it, unless it's for personal enrichment, or if you want to go share, because you're giving back and it makes you feel good. I've done that a lot. I go speak at military bases around the country.
I actually had the privilege of speaking at the Pentagon on behalf of troops in transition. I will go speak for American Dream several times in the next few years. I've never taken a penny for doing that, and I pay all my own expenses. A lot of the speakers get their expenses funded, I won't. I go to every one of those events because I believe that anyone who's honorably served in the military deserves our unconditional respect, and transitioning military members are some of the most overlooked and most incredibly valuable members of our society.
When it comes to having them on your team, they execute like crazy. My entire career, I've had people, ex-military on my team, and I always will because they get shit done, and they do it in a way that they don't complain. They don't think it's a big deal. They execute like crazy. When they miss, they're totally disappointed in themselves, and they'll tell you about it if you manage them the right way. And so, when I go speaking for the military, that's me giving back, and that's exchanging time and giving back and supporting a cause that I care about.
But if I'm ever speaking or getting an exposure for any other reason, it's the right opportunity, the right audience and the right offer. You know what's interesting? The work that I've done with American Dream has actually brought us a ton of business, because when people find out that I speak for that organization, I don't know if it makes me look better. I don't know if they think more highly of me. I don't know if it legitimizes me. But it's helped a ton as well. So, for me, that's still the right opportunity, and helping transitioning military member, for me, that's the right audience, and we give them a bunch of information and content to help them move forward, so we have the right offer.
But for anyone who is looking to get exposure, make sure it's the right kind. If you ever get a call from William Shatner's office, you don't even have to listen to the pitch. You can just let them know you already know and move on. So, if you haven't yet heard about ... We have an event coming up, and it is for the members of the Billionaire Code Grow and Scale program. It is only for $1,000,000-plus business owners, and we've opened up a few seats, not many. Just a few where you can come and participate in this event, with all of the people who are in our grow and scale program.
It's a two-day event here in Austin, and it is where you will come and create a one-year strategic plan for your business. You will leave understanding a forward planning system, and you will be part of the 1% of businesses who know how to predict outcomes and chase them down. If you want to go from the point where you're pushing or pulling your business forward to the point where you can call your shots and your team will help you get there, go to billionairecode.com/apply, and let us know that you want to come to this event. The event dates are June 14th and 15th. Go to billionairecode.com/apply.
If you are interested in applying to any of our events this year, go ahead and follow that link. We have another one coming up in September. If this one goes well, we'll open up some seats in that one as well. Thanks again for being a Momentum Podcast listener. By the way, we just crossed 450,000 downloads this week, and we are two-thirds of the way through May, and this is already our second biggest month by far. We think we're going to blow through our last biggest month. As I'm speaking to you right now, I just looked over at my computer, and today is our highest download day in history.
So far, the count is 5,888. That's kind of cool, and climbing. So, thank you so much for being part of our listenership and this movement.
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