It turns out that even the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, did not make his money in film…at least initially. Although that sounds potentially salacious, in the book Tools of the Titans by Tim Ferris, he discusses how he invested all of his early earnings in real estate. As a result of his successful real estate investments, he could be more particular about the roles he selected. Most other actors had no choice but to take any role they were given because they needed the money. In many cases, the roles they took were less than desirable and negatively impacted their careers. When an opportunity came along to jump start his acting career, Schwarzenegger was able to negotiate a deal taking no salary and a percentage of the profits on the back end. As a result, this was his most financially successful acting job to this day; “Twins”.
The takeaway: Having something in the ground is a key to being able to fly. Find a small project to start with; a small house or cottage to buy and rent or a fix and flip. Learn and make your mistakes on a small scale. If you cannot do it on your own, find a partner with whom you can pool resources and grow together or look for a partner with a different set of skills that is willing to invest time for equity. Either way, get in the game!
Tools of the Titans is a great bedside read and will definitely have a permanent place on my bookshelf. The interviews of highly successful people, or in Ferris’ words, “world class performers”, from all walks of life, are only a few pages long. Each person talks about the things they attribute to their early and ongoing success and the people that influenced them. What’s very clear, is that there is no one formula. In fact, many of the interviews are contradictory or may make you ask; "What?!" Ultimately, the reader has to determine what tips and tools resonate with them, but the gems are there for the taking.