Mark Burnett, Emmy Award winning creator of Survivor, The Apprentice and Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader, was a former nanny. Who knew? In fact, Burnett says it led him toward the path to big time success.
Burnett told Best Life Magazine that when he left the British Army Parachute Regiment and arrived in Los Angeles, his friend had been a chauffeur in Beverly Hills and heard of another family looking for a chauffeur. It turned out to be a job chauffeuring kids around, as well as being a nanny and a housekeeper. Burnett, a 22-year-old ex-soldier had to sell himself to get the job that would give him $125 a week, a roof, a car and time to figure out his next move. He sold the couple on his experience cooking, cleaning and doing laundry in the army. He calls it his defining moment.
Wondering how being a nanny changed his life? Burnett says living in the home of multimillionaires opened his eyes to possibilities. The father suggested Burnett start a small, service-based business and use it to build what he and his wife had. Burnett took his advice and started selling T-shirts in Venice Beach.
Burnett says he learned this important skill --- something that should ring true for all of us: Only an idiot sells the same product the same way to every person. "The first mission in commerce is to analyze the person opposite you, get to know him a bit, and then adjust your sales pitch to match the person," Burnett told Mike Zimmerman at Best Life Magazine. He says it's the same strategy he used to sell Survivor and every other TV show since.
"I often look back on those nanny days as fundamental," he says, "No matter what you're doing, you have to be determined to make it work."
Now, there's a lesson we could all use.