Being an entrepreneur is all about the continuous pursuit of your own potential, but it can also be about helping others pursue theirs. Empowering people is David Meltzer’s mission, but it hasn’t always been like that for him. In this episode, the serial entrepreneur, author, television host and self-made millionaire tells Solomon Ali how he went from adversity to millions by age 24. You’d think that was a happy ending for David, but it wasn’t enough. When he got his millions, David quickly realized that money doesn’t buy happiness. After shifting his direction and deciding to give back, Meltzer began building community centers in Kenya and donating funds to universities in support of diversity and equality. To this day, David builds wealth to create a positive impact, but his rise to a place of significance continues to be an inspiring story that the world needs to hear. Listen in and learn how you, like David, can make money, help people, and have fun!
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What All Self-Made Millionaires Know with Entrepreneur David Meltzer
My team and I have went out, and we spoke with David. He is here with us and he’s going to tell you a little bit about himself. We’re going to ask some questions and things of that nature so you can get to know David.
Thank you for having me.
Can you tell us about yourself?
I’ve got the gun there. I was ready to tell you all about myself. Thank you, Solomon, for having me. I’m always excited to empower other people on how to make money, help people and have fun. That’s what entrepreneurship is all about. It’s empowering others to empower others, to make more money, to help more people, and to have more fun with their lives to be happy. In my journey is one with that of entrepreneurship and my relationship with money. I grew up in a world of not enough. I had a single mom, six kids, and had one objective in life. That was to make enough money to buy my mom a house in a car. My mom worked two jobs, packed my dinner to a paper bag, and she forced education upon us as a necessity and had sayings like, “The fetus wasn’t fully developed until after graduate school that doctor, lawyer, or failure.” That’s not the theme song of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is about providing value. I still followed my mom’s lead and ended up graduating from law school where I made a critical decision. Instead of being an oil and gas litigator and making six figures right out of law school, I decided to be an entrepreneur and work within the internet selling legal research online.
Even though my mom said the internet was a fad, I learned the first lesson of entrepreneurship. Just because somebody loves you, it doesn’t mean they give you good advice. I tell people all the time, “You got to have the ability to be laughed at, scoffed at, made fun of because eventually, the people who love you most will applaud you but you got to believe in yourself and find people who sit in a situation that you want to be in there.” The easiest way to get to where you want to be is to find someone that’s already there and ask them for directions. I’m sure there’ll be happy to give them to you. We’re too afraid a lot of times to ask for those directions. Anyway, nine months out of law school, the internet wasn’t a fad. In 1992, I was a millionaire and proceeded my first company. We sold it for $3.4 billion to Thomson Reuters. I went up to Silicon Valley. I founded another superpower of entrepreneurship raising money.
Everyone wants to know you’re a millionaire at what age?
I was 24.Just because somebody loves you doesn't mean they will give you good advice. Click To Tweet
You did it by taking advantage of new technology at that time. Something that was brand new and disruptive to the industry. How did you know to go into that?
I mitigated my risks. I had a saying, “If I’m not going to invest in myself, what will I ever invest in?” At a young age, we have a big advantage over me because I had nothing to lose. My backup, if things didn’t work out with the internet, I could always be a lawyer. In fact, I took the bar to mitigate my risks. I passed the bar before I went to go work in the internet, just in case I sucked at it or it was a fad. I would go back and be a lawyer. It’s important. One of the advantages of wanting to make a lot of money, which I’m a big believer. My journey has to do with that relationship with money because it evolved over all the years.
The one advantage I have found is that if you want money, then you will keep your options open. You’ll have a much wider view. My siblings all went to the Ivy League. They are doctors, rabbis and lawyers, but they were very focused and closed. They’re well-trained people. I was always looking for a better deal, who could pay me more money, or what deal I could make more money in. I learned to keep my options open. An open mind is a great asset to an entrepreneur. Being able to see things and to dream things that nobody else has seen or dream of before. Most importantly, not only to believe in yourself but invest in yourself. I don’t believe in the word sacrifice. People say, “You sacrifice so much to get there.” I said, “No, I didn’t. I invested in myself.”
How did you have the confidence and the surety that that was the right thing to be doing?
I worked through the math and I’ve always been a math person. I love to figure out and I did it through productivity. I saw what other people were doing in the space. I take myself even through the pandemic and I tell people, “I took my capabilities and saw how they were synergistic or supplementary to what was doing well, what was stable, and what I thought would be doing well.” Covering all my bases within the context of the internet, I saw that my skill set, especially my salesmanship, would fit well as long as I utilize those skills and capabilities with a synergistic or supplementary entity that I thought would be doing well in the future, which was research online. We had the very first natural language search engine and all types of different things. I was more interested than interesting which is one of my rules to bind out where I could make that money.
In the end, it was math that’s making six figures doing this. I can double the amount of productivity. I called it the Power of 64. I said, “These guys are doing it eight hours a day. I’m going to do it sixteen hours and I’m going to be better at it. I’m going to get more efficient at it so that I get 32 hours of productivity by being twice as efficient. I’m going to practice, video myself, and do it in the mirror until I’m twice as statistically successful. I’m going to do it seven days a week.” I had 64 hours of productivity, 7 days a week. That’s 56 days of productivity every week compared to a person getting 5 days over 11 times. When I made my $1 million, nine months out of law school, and they were giving me awards, accolades, big commissions and bonuses, I was laughing inside myself because I wasn’t even to come plan. I beat them with math. I wasn’t even making $100,000 a year. I was just working 56 days a week.
That’s one of the things that I shared with my people when I got out of the military, I started a maintenance company and I couldn’t find a job. This was in the early ‘80s. I could not find a job anywhere because the country is going through a recession. I turned around and started this maintenance company. Six months later, we were doing about $4.5 million. Everyone was like, “How is that possible?” I was like, “I guess I got lucky,” but I did it simpler as to what you did. I was working 15 to 16 hours a day and I always had on a suit and tie. I was like, “That’s what they expect. That’s my uniform.” You went on to become a sports agent.
I’m keeping my options always open. First, I ran the world’s first smartphone division in Samsung and Microsoft. We had a Windows C device in 1999. That was the world’s first smartphone. They call those things convergence devices but they were very smart. I became a Silicon Valley staple making a ton of money and meeting Leigh Steinberg, the most famous sports agent of all time. They made the movie, Jerry McGuire, about Leigh. I ended up being the CEO of the most notable sports agency in the world where I met my business partner and my mentor, Warren Moon, Hall of Fame Quarterback. The first black quarterback in the NFL Hall of Fame and Canadian Hall of Fame. He is an incredible entrepreneur. Warren and I have partnered into Sports 1 Marketing after I was at Leigh Steinberg for the last eleven years before I started building my own brand to do movies, TV, podcasts, books, all the speaking and coaching that I do in the entrepreneur space and the inspirational entrepreneurial space to empower more people.
The sports agency business is a very interesting business in teaching me the spheres of influence and once again, changing my relationship to money. I have a sign that says, “Money does not buy happiness.” I believe it did until I realized that money is still important to me but it doesn’t buy happiness, it allows you to shop. What I learned to do was shop for the right thing. I was born in that world of ‘not enough.’ I was a victim. I always said, “Why me? Why do they have that? Why can’t I have?” I became a millionaire and I thought I made it. I lived in a world of for me. I bought things I didn’t need. If I wasn’t happy, I buy different things I didn’t need and impress people that I didn’t even like. I was lost. What I realize is I need to shop for the right thing. I built community centers in Kenya. I have a Chief Chancellor Junior Achievement University to provide diversity and equality to all entrepreneurs. I truly believe entrepreneurs will not only always save this world, but they will expand and expound on what this world is like. We could see from people like you that entrepreneurs make this world and provide opportunities for many other people. That’s been my mission over the past years to empower others with this dynamic ability to make money, help people and have fun.
Can you tell us what type of deals you’re working on now? What are you doing now? What are you excited about?
The number one thing I do now is I have been doing free trainings for many years. Every Friday, and now with the pandemic, I have over 20,000 people registered. I have the top entrepreneur podcast called The Playbook, where it’s replayed and featured on Spotify. The Playbook is featured on Entrepreneur Magazine. It’s featured on every platform. I have a new TV show launching on January 8th, 2021 on Bloomberg Television called 2 Minute Drill, which is $50,000 a cash and prizes every episode to a pitch competition. I had another show called Elevator Pitch with Entrepreneur for six seasons. It’s still there, but the problem with Shark Tank, Dragon’s Den, and Elevator Pitch is it’s a funding facade. Anyone that’s ever raised money when you watch those TV shows, that’s not how money is weighed. That’s how pitches go. I did a show with the founder of LinkedIn, the founder of Uber as judges with me and some great other people joining me to provide entrepreneurs with extra income and advice on pitching.
On the show, is the winner going to get $50,000?
Yeah. If anybody wants to try out, season two will be in June 2021. You can email me at David@DMeltzer.com. We’d love to have as many people as we can try out for the show, enjoy what we do, and promote your company.
That sounds exciting. How would they try out, David?You have to believe in yourself and find people who sit in a situation you want to be in. Click To Tweet
I have DMeltzer.com/Pitch. You can go to my Instagram, @DavidMeltzer. There’s an application process. We send a little video in, we pre-judge you, and we pick finalists to come on. We film in late March 2021 and it will air on Amazon Prime Video and Bloomberg TV in June 2021. Season one is launching on January 8th, 2021. Twelve episodes already in the can, already ready, and distributing through Amazon and Bloomberg TV.
David, I lost back in 2007 $180 million. I understand that you had a similar experience where you lost quite a bit of money.
It’s over $100 million in 2008.
We lost money at the same time.
A lot of people lost money at that time. It was the best thing that’s ever happened to me because I learned that life is about lessons, and nothing brought more confidence in me than having to start over. Realizing my desire that I must be what I can be and my skills and my knowledge combined with that desire had always taken me to the next level. I call it the empty mile. When you’re doing what you and I do, this Power of 64, there was nothing that was going to stop me from rekindling my light but learning the lessons of how I ended up losing everything. I created a new philosophy instead of living in the world of for me where I was buying things I didn’t need to impress people I didn’t like. I moved to a different world where I blended the currency of money. The object of energy I put into the flow to get what I want with a newfound currency. One that everybody, and I think you believe in as well, is called faith. I started living in a new world of more than enough where things don’t happen to me or for me, but that happened through me for others. I realized that I could climb any mountain. I could oversell it back and sell it, lie it, cheat it, manipulate it, dig under it, but the true power that I had was I didn’t have to worry about the mountain because the man or the thing that created the mountain is always with me and through me.
I will repeat it in a way that you should be happy where you’re at exactly. You’re at the right place at the perfect time. You’ve got to do everything like Solomon and I had to angle to what you want. When you have faith that you’re going to end up somewhere better because the mountains in front of you are made. They were created by what’s inside of you that goes through you. Once you realize what walks with you and through you for others, there is nothing that you cannot achieve, can oblique, and no one that you cannot empower or impact. I have a very simple statement. I had gone from the world of just enough for me to this abundant world of more than enough of everything for everyone. In simply understanding that things come through me, not to me or for me, and that I was going to give my life away. That doesn’t mean I don’t receive. In fact, I teach people to receive and make money but I was saying that I cannot give what I don’t have. I’ve never been poor enough to help anyone but I certainly have been rich enough to help a lot of people. I’m going to make a lot of money to help many people and change this world for the better by being kind to my future self by doing good deeds.
One of the things after I had lost everything, I was trying to figure out what to do. My mother called me and she said, “Give your talents away. Be a service to other people.” I start doing that and then all of a sudden, I made way more money. In my first year coming back, I made almost $1 million. I was like, “I wasn’t expecting that.” For what I lost, I have made almost 5 to 6 times that now. I’m helping people. Before, it was about me going, earning and living, and doing a good business. When you decide to start helping people, being of service, and solving someone else’s problem, it seems to make a huge difference. That’s what I’ve been trying to share with people. It’s not about yourself. It’s about going out being of service like you have been helping other people doing that which they can’t do for themselves, don’t know to do or don’t have enough confidence to sit back take that first step. I’m hoping that the people who are reading get enough confidence and inspiration from you to take the next step and to go on your show. Can you please tell them the show if they miss it so they can try out and try to get this $50,000?
2 Minute Drill is the name of the show. You can either email me at David@DMeltzer.com, DMeltzer.com/ Pitch, or google ‘2 Minute Drill,’ it’ll come up. It’s on Bloomberg TV and Amazon. Even if you don’t win the $50,000 of cash and prizes, the exposure that you get with the two huge networks and the credibility that you have to explain what you’re doing. We’ve had many companies already by trying out get funding, had LaunchBoom involved, a variety of other partners, and interest was generated. Let alone being on the show and it hasn’t even aired yet. We have twelve episodes that’ll be airing on January 8th, 2021. In June 2021, we’ll have season two. Please try out.
If you don’t want to try it out, come to my trainings for free. I teach everything from pitching, scaling a business, how to sell a five to thrive system, and ultimate ego training, all types of things that Solomon and I have learned through our journey as you said on how to give away our lives. We come from nowhere. We’re now here. I promise you, if you’re going to end up nowhere again, we’re here to give our lives away. I know during the pandemic, a lot of people are scared. They’re angry, upset, anxious, depressed, or even suicidal. The only care that I know to that is go do something good for someone else. I promise you, you’ll feel better.
We came out of 2020 and it was a tough year for everyone. How was the business for you?
The business quadrupled for me. I always say, “Lean in. The cream rises to the top.” When the guy who shot in your shoes is giving you stock tips, it’s time to sell your stock. I always look within. I always say, “You cannot find outside of you what you can’t find inside of you.” When the pandemic hit, I said to myself, “What are my skills? What are my capabilities, my knowledge of who and what, and how are they aligned with? How are they synergistic supplementary to what’s doing well now?” There’s 1/3 of the things that are doing well. I looked to see what was stable. I looked at the stock market to find a lot of the industries, careers, a lot of the different companies that were doing well or were stable because it was easy to tell what stocks haven’t moved in three years or what stocks were on fire and where it was going.
I also take a couple of lottery tickets during this time. As you know, you started your first business in a recession. More great businesses are started in a recession or depression because the cream rises to the top. The cream says, “If I can’t find a good job, I’m going to make a business for myself.” I’m willing to do the three things that are necessary. One of those things is playing work. We can be people with math. I have a mathematical equation of luck for everybody because we thought we were lucky. People have called this lucky. Both times around, when we made it the first time and we made it the second time. I tell people that in my life, there’s a mathematical equation of luck. It goes like this. What you pay attention to and what you give intention to, attention plus intention. What you think, say, do, believe your personality traits, characteristics, obsessions, and addictions. Attention plus intention equals coincidence. Those are the coincidences that you want.
If you vote for what you want in your life, too many people vote for what other people want, what’s missing, what they don’t want, and then they’re surprised when they get what other people want from you and resent them. They get what’s missing in their life and they resent themselves. They get what they don’t want and they think they’re unlucky. None are true. Just vote for what you want. Remember what you pay attention to and give intention to is equal to those coincidences. It’s the mathematical equation of luck.Keep your options open; an open mind is a great asset. Click To Tweet
David, to be more specific, you had a good year. I had a better year as well. I helped fifteen countries.
I’m not surprised.
It was exciting but what did you invest in?
I invested back into myself and my brand. The biggest investment that I made was I saw that there was a huge opportunity to invest in my brand to build a community that I could assist empower, help, and end up getting opportunities. By doing so, my podcast, The Playbook, became the top in the world in some countries and here in America in many categories. My TV shows all exploded. My coaching business went out of the roof with requests and demands for people to help me. Investing in myself and my brand was the biggest investment. I also did some interesting real estate moves. I invested in colleges knowing that kids could not live in sororities and live in groups. I bought a few income properties that I thought would do well because interest rates were so low.
I sold an office building because I felt like that was going to move in a different direction as well. I do a lot of investing in this respect and it’s an entrepreneurial perspective. I have found that if you’re entrepreneurial, guys like you and I, we can double the amount of money we make if we pay attention to making money. What happens to guys is we start paying attention to the wrong things. I do a lot of conservative investing into annuities and IULs, things that I don’t have to pay attention to but they’re guaranteed at minimum to make 2%. Even if my investment only makes 2%, my energy, time, and emotion spent making money will double or triple the amount of money I make. I don’t care what percentage I’m making the money I used to have. I just don’t want to lose it.
I’m with you on that one. You have some very interesting athletes that you work with. You have mentioned one, Warren Moon. What are some of the other athletes you work with and what is the common thread that all of them have?
I work with the entire Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Clemente family, I have worked with Sebastian Ramirez, Boxers Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield, you name it. We have the biggest names in sports and I still work with them in a variety of capacities. The coolest thing is the number one common denominator is the same common denominator I see in the billionaires, millionaires, and entrepreneurs. The McCourts of the world, the Sydney Banks of the world, and the Arthur Blanks of the world, these amazing entrepreneurs. I’ll tell you what it is and it’s really simple. The common denominator is they all have the desire that they must be what they can be. There’s something inside of them. It’s not the money, profession, or industry, it is that they are inspired people that they live through themselves. Here’s the definition I give to it. They all enjoy the consistent every day, persistent without quit, and the pursuit of their own potential what they can be. That’s the common denominator. No doubt about it.
You mentioned Holyfield. I used to live down the street in Fayetteville, Georgia. When I had lost everything, I was living in 18,000 square foot home. I couldn’t pay the utility bill that was $300 and something a month. It was one of the most embarrassing things in my life. Before I made it all back, what I knew was this. I knew the secrets of making it. I knew what it was going to take to get back. I didn’t believe that I could, but my attorneys did and my wife did at the time. I was like, “Okay.” Now they sit back and they’re like, “We told you.” I’m making sure I don’t lose any money. I enjoy investing and working with other people. David, it has been a total honor to have you on the show. People can reach out to you. How would you want them to reach out to you?
The best way is directly on email. I answer them all myself. It’s David@DMeltzer.com. If not, google David Meltzer. Every other platform David Meltzer, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram. I prefer people to reach out directly. I’ll answer you myself. One more thing, I’m happy to give my books for free. I have some best-selling books that I’ve done to help you. I will sign them. I will pay for shipping. It’s not one of those, “Get my book for free. Pay $9.99 to ship.” I will pay for everything. If you want my book, go ahead, email me as well. I’d love to send it out.
You said that. Don’t you have another book coming out?
I came out with Game-Time Decision Making. I got a mentee-mentor book coming out in 2021. It will be my fifth book. I’ve had Compassionate Capitalism, Connected to Goodness, Be Unstoppable: How to Create The Life You Love with Jack Canfield, the author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, and that book behind me, he came out with McGraw Hill, Game-Time Decision Making.
I’ve met Jack in Burbank. He was at a conference there in Burbank. We got to chat, sit down, eat, and met his wife. They had a beautiful time. As soon as you said your books, I got a book coming out and I tell everyone it’s a must-read. Especially if we want to navigate the minefields. They won’t let me tell the name of it. I don’t know why. Thank you so very much for coming to the show. We saved a lot of information that we’ll be able to help and inspire them in some way.
Thank you for the opportunity to empower others. Be kind to your future self and do good deeds. Anytime you need me, just reach out. Thanks so much.
Thank you so much, David.
- David Meltzer
- Sports 1 Marketing
- The Playbook
- Entrepreneur Magazine – Playbook Podcast
- 2 Minute Drill
- DMeltzer.com/ Pitch
- @DavidMeltzer on Instagram
- Game-Time Decision Making
- Compassionate Capitalism
- Connected to Goodness
- Be Unstoppable: How to Create The Life You Love
About David Meltzer
David Meltzer is the Co-founder of Sports 1 Marketing and formerly served as CEO of the renowned Leigh Steinberg Sports & Entertainment agency, which was the inspiration for the movie Jerry Maguire.
His life’s mission is to empower OVER 1 BILLION people to be happy! This simple yet powerful mission has led him on an incredible journey to provide one thing…VALUE. In all his content and communication that’s exactly what you’ll receive.
He is a three-time international best-selling author, a Top 100 Business Coach, the executive producer of Entrepreneur‘s #1 digital business show, Elevator Pitch, and host of the top entrepreneur podcast, The Playbook. His newest book, Game-Time Decision Making, was a #1 new release, David has been recognized by Variety Magazine as their Sports Humanitarian of the Year and awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.