TV Producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, Shark Tank, etc) Talks Startups

by Tim Metzner

Cincinnati Welcomes Mark Burnett

On January 28th around 3,500 people had the unique pleasure of welcoming TV’s most influential reality TV producer — Emmy-winner Mark Burnett (“Survivor,” “The Voice,” “Shark Tank,” “The Apprentice”) — to Cincinnati's largest entrepreneur group, Unpolished, at Crossroads church in Oakley.

Mark Burnett at Crossroads

In addition to promoting his upcoming movie, Son of God, he dropped some serious entrepreneurial wisdom on us.

Turns out, though now a huge success, Mark showed up to America (from England) with only $200 in his pocket and started out in LA as a live-in nanny. He's come a long way since then and shared some great lessons with us. Here are my favorite nuggets.

5 Entrepreneurial Lessons from Mark Burnett

  1. "Those who need to be certain about everything never end up doing anything." You can be pretty certain that you're never going to reach a moment of complete clarity and confidence about an idea or opportunity, which means at some point you just need to take that leap of faith.

  2. "Pray, pray, pray... but also get off your ass and work!" Mark was very open about the fact that a strong faith and prayer life has undoubtedly been a huge part of why he is successful, but make no mistake about it, so has good old-fashioned hard work and hustle.

  3. "Naiveté is one of your biggest assets." Simply put, sometimes it's what you don't know that will give you the edge. Those who have been hardened by an industry or past failures will not only be facing the real challenges ahead but also the assumed ones.

  4. "If you don't love it, don't do it." We've all heard this a hundred times, but it can't be stated enough. Life is too short to be spending most of our waking hours pursuing something we're simply not passionate about. And while there are always exceptions, you have a much higher likelihood of success if you doing something you truly care about.

  5. "Be open to change, but not to giving up." When asked to talk about any failures he has experienced, he responded that there were certainly some less successful projects than others, but to him, failure would only have come if he had given up on things that he believed in. In other words, he was OK with a project not being a runaway hit, but he would not have been OK with not trying (if he truly believed something had potential).

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