David Meltzer is the CEO of Sports 1 Marketing, one of the world’s leading sports & entertainment marketing agencies, which he co-founded with Hall of Fame Quarterback Warren Moon. He is the main judge of the Entrepreneur Network show “The Elevator Pitch” and is an award-winning humanitarian, an international public speaker, best-selling author, and is profiled by national publications such as Entrepreneur, Forbes, ESPN, Bloomberg, CNBC, Yahoo, SB Nation, and Variety. On top of this, he hosts a weekly series called The Playbook.
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David: Just because somebody loves you doesn’t make them a great mentor. A lot of times we ask the people that love us for advice or mentorship about things that they don’t know anything about, and then we resent them for giving us bad advice or for manifesting what they want for us not what we want for ourselves. It is a huge problem.
Kevin: How is it going everyone? Welcome to The Fitness Founders podcast. I’m Kevin Mannion, VP Marketing here at Glofox. This week we interviewed David Meltzer, a business coach, keynote speaker, and advisor to top sports people. He is the host of entrepreneurs’ podcast The Elevator Pitch where he has interviewed the likes of Maria Sharapova, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Sugar Ray Leonard. David talks to us about picking good mentors, changing your mindset when faced with failure, and how you can build a fitness brand that matches your unique identity. He’s got a lot to say so let’s kick off.
David, welcome to the show.
David: Thanks for having me, very excited to be here.
Kevin: We’ll jump straight in here now, David. I know you worked with a lot of former athletes. Many of these are maybe looking for a new calling in life, similar to a lot of our listeners, so what is the number one piece of advice you give to somebody transitioning from any walk of life into entrepreneurship.
David: You know, I always say, crawl before you walk before you run; ask for help, get mentorship. Make sure that you guarantee that you’re going to stay in business is the first rule of entrepreneurship. So don’t get out over your skis, and I think utilizing that approach of alignment first, action second, and then prepare for adjustment third, always create a more statistical success for any entrepreneur whether they are coming in, like the athletes that I work with, with a lot of money or bootstrapping it with none.
Kevin: Okay, that makes a lot of sense. You know, I think a lot of our listeners are probably bootstrapping it. One thing I heard you say once is that, gratitude is a superpower. Can you give some insight into what that means especially for somebody who is starting up, who maybe feels they don’t have a ton to give away or be grateful for as they get started?
David: You know, I deal with this every day. Perspective is everything. You know, we create our own illusions. After we create those illusions, we put faith into the wrong things and then we question, “Why we get more of the wrong things.” And the key to having the right perspective, they key to putting faith in what we do want, the key to getting what we do want is gratitude. Gratitude is the duality of not only appreciating what we have but adding value to it and giving it away. Gratitude is the key to life, like I said the superpower of life because it is the superpower of perception. And everything that you look at, I mean, even just our activity and actions, if you look at it, one simple switch from “I got to do this” to “I get to do with this”. And the difference between I get to do and I got to do is gratitude. And so there is not one circumstance that gratitude is not a superpower of perception. It does not allow everything to be better in our lives.
Kevin: Okay. And maybe tell me about a time where you use that in a, I suppose an example of that, but going to be understandable for our users that are listening.
David: Yeah, I’ll give you two. One is a humungous one, and one is a common day one. Because I think people need to see things in different rights. I lost over a hundred million dollar portfolio and I looked at it as the best day of my life. I looked at it as saving my life. I looked at it as being able to start over and to provide value to others, to relive my life as a motivator not a manipulator, and I saw it as a new beginning all through gratitude. I was so grateful for the lessons and for the universe saving me from what I think would have been a great tragedy if I continued with the success that I was having, surrounding myself with the wrong people, the wrong ideas.
Then, in a microcosmic level, I had a 72-hour trip that took me from HongKong to LA to Mexico City back to LA. And then I came home exhausted, my wife, first thing she asked me, if I could go pick up my 14-year old daughter. And I looked at her and I said, “Are you kidding? I have to go pick her up?” And she looked at me and said, “Oh, Mr. Hypocrite. I am going to pull up 16 videos on Instagram, @davidmeltzer, to show you how you are telling people that you get to do everything. You just have complained over the last 72 hours, and how the number one thing that you miss and regret from this extraordinary trip was being able to spend time with your teenage daughter. And here I am giving you an opportunity to spend 30 minutes one on one with her in the car completely captured, and you are telling me, you have to do this?” No, through gratitude and the shift of the paradigm change the way you look at things, things you look at change. Sure enough gratitude took me to a place of true joy that I get to do this, and I had an extraordinary energy shift. There wasn’t any resistance, or voids, or anger, or frustration. It was simply so much inspiration and excitement once I shifted my perspective. Those are two classic examples of how gratitude had been used in my life as a superpower.
Kevin: That makes a lot of sense. And, you know, the first one was probably a bigger blow.
David: Yeah, a little bit.
Kevin: In the second one, you had your wife to help you, I suppose, set your perspective. But how did you change your perspective on the first one? Did somebody help you or did you come have this change of perspective on your own, or how did you do that?
David: You know, it is an evolution, not a revolution. So I met several different people at several different circumstances that were giving me an idea, a quantum shift in my life to live my life as a motivator, not a manipulator, to start allowing things to happen, to surrender, to put faith in really what I wanted, to have faith at all and not believe that I am in control of everything, and that there is a higher power or higher source that I could surrender to and just be of service to help as many people as I could. Some simple changes was just to say ‘thank you’ before I went to bed and when I woke up. Simple changes to pray to God for at least 10 people that I could help every day, to be of service, to look at every opportunity in every situation of how best can I add value whether it is picking up trash, opening up doors, smiling at people, putting shopping carts, or when I see something on the ground in the aisle somewhere I take the time to go back, when I see someone that’s in need of food, money, clothing to go back and take the time to give them what they need, to fulfil and put faith into what I do have and allow things to come through me for the benefits of others. And all those things created purpose and passion and fulfilment in my life, and it allowed me to keep focused in faith and more what I want. I actually shifted the paradigm from living in a world of just enough for living in a world of more than enough. When I live in the world of more than enough there always seem to be more than enough. Even though I had over a hundred million dollar portfolio, I live in the world of just enough, and now it is just have just enough and that’s how I lost it all. But now that I live in a more than enough, when you live in a world of more than enough, you can’t lose everything because it will always be more than enough.
Kevin: Yeah, okay. That’s really cool. And tell me how, you know, if I am running my own business, you know it sounds very admirable to give away as much as possible and to help people as much as possible, how do you maybe help people get the balance right between focusing on the business and having that real, clear focus on the business versus exercising gratitude? How does that work?
David: Yeah, so don’t confuse gratitude with profitability. The truly grateful people understand profitability. In fact, they understand it so much that their primary purpose is to attract as much as they can in an abundant way so that it can go through them for the benefit of others. I live in the context that I can’t give what I don’t have. Therefore, I allow things effortlessly through productivity and accessibility, being accessible to others, as well as accessing what I want as much as I can of the more than enough. Knowing that every time I receive and allow things to come through me and add value to it and give it away, there is a process of expansion that takes place allowing me to receive more. When you are just enough and live in a world of just enough you would never expand. In fact, you can overflow, [unclear – 9:10] if you are able to receive more than just enough, you actually can create self sabotaging behaviour, negative energies, putting faith into manipulation, and other things that cause you to feel not worthy of what you have, not appreciative of what you have allowing you to lose everything that you had. And that sort of the process that I went through but not anymore because I believe in an expansive universe and I am consistently, persistently, without quit, trying to do expand or pursue my potential which is to receive more and more so I can benefit others.
Kevin: Okay, that’s cool. And how hard is it to convince your clients that that is the way to go?
David: You know, I don’t convince anyone. What I found more importantly is I find my own frequency. So I used to try to please other people. I used to care what I did, how much I had and what other people thought. And what happens is when you are trying to please other people or trying to convince other people you can never really do that. You can understand people, you can utilize and act as an example to them. But for me, I allow myself to connect emotionally, give them logical reasons, impacts and capabilities and hopefully to share the vision with them, to share your vision with them. And so for me, when I provide value, I trust that the universe will provide me everything that I want unconditionally. If I just commit and concern myself with the productivity of what value I’m providing, the accessibility of me being accessible to others, as well as most importantly, how quickly, rapidly, accurately I could access what I want.
Kevin: Okay, that make sense. So tell me, for the people you do talk to, when you see people starting a business what is the biggest mistake that they commonly make?
David: One is they are in love with their product. I call it the McDonald’s problem. The McDonald’s brothers they founded the McDonald’s franchise, the speedy service system, but they were in love with their product. They were not entrepreneurs. They were innovators. I see too many entrepreneurs that are in love with their product but have no plan or direct path to revenue. They have no profitability idea. Have a great idea, but no way to make money from it. And I think that’s the biggest problem is on the emotional level that people have sacrificed their lives, their families, all their money for something that they love instead of being pragmatic and the fact that this is a business and you need to be profitable. You need to make money with your idea; you just can’t have a great idea.
Kevin: How do you know in the early days when things, maybe everything is going wrong, you believe in the idea. How do you know whether you are on the right track?
David: So if you are on the right track, you have at least three mentors telling you that you are on the right track. They are helping you understand that assumptions that you are making. Because most people really make good decisions but a lot of people are just basing those good decisions off of bad assumptions. In order to make better assumptions, and be more statistically successful, efficient, effective, you have to have great mentorship. You have to be humble. You have to ask for help from those people that sit in the situation that you want to be in. If they sit in the situation that you want to be in then they are verifying that you are on the right track. I believe you are on the right track.
Kevin: What makes a good mentor in your experience?
David: A good mentor is someone, number one, that is willing to help you, to be accessible to you. But two, actually has the situation, knowledge, experience, has paid the W tax, about what you want to learn. There is a million people out there I would say just because somebody loves you doesn’t make them a great mentor. A lot of times we ask the people that love us for advice or mentorship about things that they don’t know anything about, and then we resent them for giving us bad advice or for manifesting what they want for us not what we want for ourselves. It is a huge problem.
Kevin: Yeah, okay, that’s some really good advice. I’m going to change a slight bit. I know you work with a lot of entrepreneurs but you also work with a lot of brands, finding marketing opportunities for them. You know, what’s working for brands nowadays even from a perspective of somebody who wants to start their own brand?
David: What’s working for brands is frequency. They utilize that not only as a product, service or as a person. What you’ll find is people that are patient and have their own frequency, are not trying to please others or worried about what other people think but simply understand. Just on the internet alone there are over 4 billion people growing at 20% a year. That if I can find my own frequency, stick to my frequency in an organic, authentic way; that each week, each month, each year, I can double the amount of people that are attracted to my frequency, then I would build an audience, an authentic, organic audience, and be able to monetize it by providing value of my frequency to that audience. As well as attracting them into my community and allowing me to create a business that not only shares the vision but manages and develops that vision so that they are referring in a very inexpensive, efficient way more business to me. That’s what creates a business. That’s why a business thrives through the authentic, viral nature of finding your own frequency and allowing others to pass that frequency unto others that have the same or carrying the same frequency.
Kevin: Yeah. And by frequency you mean another word of identity?
David: Identity is one of the frequencies that we have. Some of it is energetic. Some of it is spectrum, reach, power, inspiration. But there is a certain frequency, or identity or brand that carries an emotional energy and motion aspect to it. So there is a way we feel when we see a big brand and that is what we need to be able to identify. That’s what we need to be able to portray to others is a true frequency. If we are giving varying degrees of messaging, if it has differing frequencies, then it has a mix messaging, it could create resistance, shortages and obstacles for a brand when people don’t understand or feel what that brand is like, or what it stands for, because it is trying to be everything to everyone.
Kevin: Yeah. What would be a good brand? Or what brands stand out to you that fulfil that?
David: Old Spice is one that I think is a classic brand that finds its own frequency. [unclear – 15:58] is another brand that finds its own frequency. And then you have some other brands where they don’t. And it’s hard to use those examples because the less known brands are ones that I think of that don’t have that frequencies. There is a small insurance company here at Orange County that they are trying to be everything to everyone. They are trying to be pleasers. I’ve seen different shoe companies go through iterations of trying to be everything to everyone. I think Under Armour is a good example of losing its frequency a little bit as it scaled and grew to a multinational brand that have went from the very specific type of marketing and branding into a more mass trying to be everything to everyone. Rebook for example had a very strong frequency and stuck to it within the fitness world, kind of that cross fitness and then held to it. It is very, very important I think to stick to that frequency and allow your brand to grow and attract those who like that frequency. And not a problem for people that don’t like it.
Kevin: Yeah. What advice would you have, say somebody setting up a fitness studio, or a pilates studio, or yoga studio, how could they start to find their frequency if they are struggling with that?
David: You know, I think they have to have, like you said, their own identity, their own personalities. I know I was with a young, in their 30s, entrepreneurs in Chicago that has started their own fitness studio and they were two moms that were both married, and they basically created a business and really weren’t trying to scale it but as they realized that they found their own frequency because they build the fitness model around mothers who are married with kids. And that was their frequency and there really wasn’t anything out there. All of a sudden they have realized that every market that they are one of the fastest growing franchises. That once they franchise it, I think they are up to 70 different franchises because there are so many moms that want to have different type of child care when they go their different types of exercise. They want to have a family environment, the times of classes are different because moms who are married with kids have different times that they are available. It works. That’s a great example of finding your frequency, doing what you do, staying in your market. We are lucky there are plenty of people to sell to. We don’t have to sell to everyone.
Kevin: Yeah. No, I think that a good advice. I think it is actually very relevant for our listeners. So another couple of questions, you know, you’ve been pretty successful in business. If you wind the clock back, 5 or 10 years, what would you do differently given what you know now?
David: Oh that’s simple. I can wind the clock back one day and it is always the same thing I do differently, but especially 10, 20, even 30 years, I would ask for help. I think even today, I teach, I preach, I scream, I yell, I inspire people to ask for help, to be radically humble. Egotistically it is so difficult to be that humble, to all the time surrender and ask for help and understand that the best way to get what I want is to help others and to ask for help. And constantly I have to remind myself, how can I be of service and do you know anyone that can help me, are the two most powerful questions that I can utilize. Once again, incorporate gratitude is the superpower because you can’t ask those types of questions unless you are truly grateful. And you can’t be grateful without being radically humble.
Kevin: Yeah. Tell us about like when was the last time you asked for help?
David: Oh, I asked for help this morning. I’d have a big book launch on July 15th and I was asking the office for help on the marketing plan, understanding what’s going on, because I have a lot of younger people that work for me to understand how exactly the best way. I’m getting old. My first book when I wrote we were still doing book signings and they had some great ideas about doing meet-ups. You know, for the amount of time we are sourcing money that it takes to do book signing as Barnes & Noble. Why not just do a meet-up. I get such a huge audience at meet-up. Even if I do the meet-up at a Barnes & Noble, in the coffee shop where my book is being sold, I don’t have to go through. The bookstores will love it, right, because they don’t have to go through the expense, the time. I do. I ask for help every day, but there are times in my life that I still, very simply that I didn’t ask for directions. And it cost me 25 minutes because I wasn’t radically humble just to ask for directions, and I thought I’ll just do it myself and it didn’t pay off again. If I could tell people start up by seeing how you could be of service but with whatever you really need, if you have someone with the situation knowledge is much easier, better, efficient, and effective, and statistically successful to ask for help.
Kevin: Yeah, okay. I think I want to take that advice myself. Actually I think it is a good learning. You say that your business, you say that you manage $20 billion of relationship capital, so what is this relationship capital?
David: Oh, so, $20 billion in relationship capital. That’s a better way of saying [unclear – 21:39] of human existence, try to create the Bible and logical inclusion. That sounds like marketing bullshit. I probably have billions and billions of dollars in relationship capital. Relationship capital is the effect of over 51 years of me being alive, of being one degree of separation from almost everyone at least in United States, if not even within the world in sports, entertainment, and business. Relationship capital is the value of the relationships that I can go to in either ask for help or to give help to or to refer someone to. There’s almost no one in the United States that I can’t get to in my relationship capital. So people ask me all the time what that $20 billion of relationship capital. That’s an old number. You know, I was with a couple of billionaires the other day in my circles of influence, my experience of influence, and I think each of them our worth now more than $20 billion. You know, I can go with the Hinduja family being friends of mine, and I think they make $23 billion a year just being Chairman of Gulf Ooil International.
The point of that is I have two assets in any business that I have. Number one, the relationship capital. Right, I have the inner inner circle of sports, entertainment, business, politics that I can help people accelerate what they want to do. I can introduce them into the decision maker far more than a group of 10 sales reps making a 100 grand a year can. So I have extreme value because I have relationships. I’ve earned those relationships by earning respect and helping other people. And then the other asset that I have is utilizing my awareness one how to monetize an opportunity. So I think my two superpowers as a business person is, one, who I know, and how to monetize it.
Kevin: Okay. Those are two good ones to have. One the relationships, how do you keep them warm? You know, with a vast network and anyone starting a business obviously then has as many friends as they can get, but how do you manage a large network of people? How much time do you put into it?
David: You know you got to have things like the 5-20 rule that I have. I keep all my phone calls to 5 minutes, all my meetings, interviews to 20 minutes with a few exceptions if I really like someone. But moreover, also utilizing and being a student of my calendar, being productive and accessible by using my time correctly. Everyone has 24 hours of the day. You need to understand how to be productive and accessible with those 24 hours being more interested than interesting, being as efficient as you can with that time, being also as grateful as you can with that time. Not only the time that you have scheduled things but the white space in your calendar as well as your sleep. You know, I’m a student of my sleep. I know that everyone during the day has to rest and through meditation and sleep. I utilize sleep as an asset as a productive and accessible activity. I look at the 24 hours of activity and divide those activity that I get paid for and activity that I don’t get paid for. So there is a variety of different ways.
How do I keep in touch with that huge network of relationship is through the content that I have, 40 million viewers on my show The Elevator Pitch. You know, 5 million or so people with the podcast that I have, The Playbook. I also have so many videos on Instagram, on YouTube and LinkedIn. I consistently post things two or three times a day to make sure that I am at the top of the box and people are hearing. I have books, I have radio, I have TV. I’m consistently trying to touch people with the frequency of motivation, not manipulation, and more and more people I have access to because of that. And most importantly, the biggest rule I have in life is to be kind to my future self and to do good deeds.
So throughout my life even though I made tremendous mistakes financially as well as other mistakes, I have always been kind to my future self, done good deeds. Always try to be the best person I could with good intent. Even when I was a salesperson, a manipulator, a shortage, a scarce person in a competitive space separate from all with inferiority and superiority, the need to be right offended, separate from others, I still was a good person and I still was kind to my future self and did everything that I could do to help elevate others, to elevate myself. Those types of activities can really enhance that $20 billion of relationship capital.
Kevin: Okay. Now, I know we are getting close on time. I want to be respectful of your time. I‘ve got two more quick ones for you.
Kevin: Lots of our listeners are starting businesses today and this year. What is the number one thing they can do to minimize the chances of failing in the first year?
David: Yeah, so the number one thing you can do to minimize your chance of failing is to every morning wake up and make your first priority and guarantee that you’ll be in business tomorrow. If you can make sure that your perspective and priorities are all set with the values, your personal, experiential giving you values that are all set, focused, clarity, balanced on just staying in business tomorrow. Every business is an evolution, not a revolution. It all evolves. And the only thing, just like your heart, right, your heart stops, you are dead. You run out of money, your business is dead. So you need to make sure your first priority, your first guarantee everyday is to make sure that you’re in business tomorrow. Once you do that, anything can happen.
Kevin: Got it. Good one. Okay, and last question before we wrap. What is the thing I can do to future proof my business against changes in marketing and in technology?
David: To future proof your business is a difficult thing to do. You have to go not limit your port of entry, keep an open mind, and always have a mentor that is future oriented. Not every mentor, but I always have one mentor that is a future thinker, that’s bringing up all types of things and keeping me informed. That’s how I got involved in e-sports for example which probably my number one investment over the last 10 years. When I made my investment with Metta World Peace and Marcus Carlsen, two famous athletes here, and I own one of the top e-sport teams in America. When we made that investment that’s because my mentor, my future looking mentor, when I asked him, “What are the things that you would invest in sports and entertainment in the future?” Without a doubt he told me why it was e-sports. And that allowed me to, number one, meet people. Two, that opportunity as well as not limit my port of entry. Increase my relationship capital and my situation and knowledge of the past. Right, I studied the past because I want to learn human nature, apply it to this future opportunity of e-sports, and they all combine into the number one investment that I’ve made over the last decade.
Kevin: Cool. Nice one. Okay, David. Well, first of all, thanks very much for your time today. But secondly, before we wrap, just tell us where people can find you? Tell us about your next book and anything else you want people to know.
David: Yeah, perfect. You could find me @davidmeltzer on Twitter. You can Google me, dmeltzer.com is my website, sports1marketing.com is my business’ website. All those places that you could find me contact me. I answer everything myself. My book is coming out and it is Game-Time Decision Making, and that’s with the business strategies of the biggest names in sports and entertainment, so very, very excited about that. It launches on July 15th. I think it is up on pre-sale for Amazon if anyone is interested. But it is just a pleasure to be on the show and I appreciate the interview.
Kevin: Thank you very much. It was great to have you and we really appreciate your time, so thank you very much.
David: Talk to you soon, Kevin. Have a wonderful night. Take care.
Kevin: Alright, thank you.