By: Dan S. Kennedy
“When someone is successful, there is always a feeling they were lucky. Luck plays a part, sure, but you must have iron discipline and energy and hunger and desire” – Faye Dunaway
WELL, THIS WILL BE DISAPPOINTING. Geez, another one. You may or may not be familiar with the comedian, Chelsea Handler. If you only know her from the ill-conceived, hastily cancelled network TV sitcom, you don’t know her at all. She hosts her own late night show, Chelsea Lately, half her with a panel of comics, half her interviewing a celebrity. She has a midget as a sidekick, sort of in the Ed McMahon role. Or satirizing that role. She works blue; she critiques celebs a la Joan Rivers and Kathy Griffith. Her show’s popularity has steadily climbed, making a series of books topping the New York Times Best-seller lists and lucrative tours and ownership of other comedians and even an endorsement deal with a vodka possible.
And she has just signed a contract extension through 2014 with the E-Network, at a base of $12-million a year, making her higher paid than David Letterman (in dollars per viewer). She may even be the highest paid comedy/ talk show host you never heard of.
And her secret? To many, bitterly disappointing. She is yet another superstar, entrepreneur and big money-maker whose explanation of her success is positively banal. In an article in Daily Variety (7-25-12), the entertainment industry trade journal, Handler said: “MY SECRET IS that I just work really hard all the time.”
Say it isn’t so. Tell us you have a secret for driving floods of traffic through your Facebook site and magically converting them to fast ‘n easy fame ‘n fortune. Or let us down easy by revealing you rose by dumb luck or who you knew or who you copulated with or through sheer, unique, genetic talent. Don’t tell us you outworked and keep out-working everybody.
Long slogs to distant comedy clubs, room-sharing with other comics in crappy motels, dead-end auditions, endless writing, refining, testing material, honing of wit and delivery and confidence, finally a break, another break, now prepping and doing a nightly show, managing a staff, pumping out one or two books a year, book signings, media tours, hitting the road for big payday shows at every opportunity, giving interviews, going on Leno, etc. as guest whenever invited and lobbying and wheedling for the invitations, and yes, engaging in every imaginable social media, and still, endlessly writing, refining, developing new material. This, the life of a millionaire? ‘fraid so.
The great actress Faye Dunaway told an interviewer: “When someone is successful, there is always a feeling they were lucky. Luck plays a part, sure, but you must have iron discipline and energy and hunger and desire.” Hmm. She said exactly the same things Napoleon Hill said in his seminal book, Think And Grow Rich-in 1937 incidentally. And now, in 2012, Handler is an echo. You can argue the world and technology and media have changed so much that Hill’s advice or, for that matter, Dunaway’s must be antiquated. Handler, of this moment, would differ.
Appearances are deceiving. If you watch Chelsea Handler do her act or her show, words like ‘iron discipline’ may not leap to mind. Behind scenes, bet that’s what you find. If not, you wouldn’t find a $12-million a year contract. Exceptions, in Hollywood and elsewhere, yes, but far fewer than most imagine. Most multimillion dollar successes’ behind scenes realities are, well, banal. Oh, and the other half of Chelsea’s secret- “Although I like a finished product, I don’t really enjoy doing anything.” I get that question all the time: of all the things you do, which do you enjoy the most? It’s a question born of the ‘find and do what you love and the money will follow’ fantasy.
It’s not how it really works. Like her, I enjoy the results. All the rest of it, not so much. I rarely whistle while I work. But I really enjoy the results.
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DAN S. KENNEDY is a serial, multi-millionaire entrepreneur; highly paid and sought after marketing and business strategist; advisor to countless first-generation, from-scratch multi-millionaire and 7-figure income entrepreneurs and professionals; and, in his personal practice, one of the very highest paid direct-response copywriters in America. As a speaker, he has delivered over 2,000 compensated presentations, appearing repeatedly on programs with the likes of Donald Trump, Gene Simmons (KISS), Debbi Fields (Mrs. Fields Cookies), and many other celebrity-entrepreneurs, for former U.S. Presidents and other world leaders, and other leading business speakers like Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy and Tom Hopkins, often addressing audiences of 1,000 to 10,000 and up. His popular books have been favorably recognized by Forbes, Business Week, Inc. and Entrepreneur Magazine. His NO B.S. MARKETING LETTER, one of the business newsletters published for Members of Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle, is the largest paid subscription newsletter in its genre in the world.
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