Paul C. Brunson
Before Byron Allen became the sole owner of a global media empire, he was broke and sitting in his underwear.
OK, maybe that’s overkill – Allen might have been in his underwear (by his own admission), but he was doing everything but sitting.
Allen is the founder, CEO and sole shareholder of Entertainment studios (ES) based in Los Angeles. Its content production and distribution company has more than $ 1 billion in assets, including the recently acquired Weather Channel. Allen also controls the networks behind shows such as “Funny You Should Ask”, “Beautiful Homes & Great Estates”, “Animal Control Patrol” and “Entertainers with Byron Allen”.
What many people don’t know about him is that the company he founded before ES was forced into involuntary bankruptcy.
As he describes it, “ES was launched in my living room. I was working in my underwear and I was broke.” Its trough level is even more significant when you realize that it is the same Byron Allen who was a household name in entertainment and comedy throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, having embarked on the business. fame at 17 as the youngest comedian to appear on Johnny Carson. Tonight show.
I recently sat down to speak to Allen for “Uncommon Drive” – USA TODAY’s new video series home for startups and entrepreneurs, USA & Main, where I pick the brains of today’s most successful entrepreneurs. ‘hui.
Reflecting on our conversation, which I encourage you to check out on usaandmain.com, I thought of the many Entrepreneurial Potential Assessments available, each with varying complexity and precision. I did quite a bit of these tests. At first I think I took them as a confidence factor to reassure myself that I was made for the trials and tribulations of self-employment.
And on top of that, given the enormous amount of time and resources we devote to pursuing entrepreneurship, wouldn’t it be great if we could take a test that could determine if we will pass before we begin our journey of business. business? The stakes are high. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 50 percent of new businesses close within five years.
After going through all of these tests, I never thought that a simpler version – one with less than 20 questions – would be very informative until my interview with Allen.
Return to Allen: After a successful career in Hollywood and what he thought was the launch of a promising business, there he was, with nothing.
“Most people would have called it an absolute failure, but I didn’t,” Allen said.
So what kept him going?
“Failure is not what I’m afraid of; what I’m afraid of is not pursuing my full potential,” he said.
This simple statement sums up Allen’s genius and explains why not only him, but all the entrepreneurs I interviewed for “Uncommon Drive” were successful. Each guest had the same vision of failure. It’s just a data point to tell them what to change, as opposed to what most people interpret about a failure, and that is to stop.
So ask yourself this simple question. Are you more afraid of failure or more afraid of not reaching your full potential?
Paul C. Brunson, host of USA TODAY’s “Uncommon Drive” video series, is a serial entrepreneur with three outings and a pioneering matchmaker (yes, he’s the real “Hitch”). He is also building a school in Jamaica. Follow him on LinkedIn Where Instagram for behind-the-scenes footage and glimpses of his interviews and travels.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.