At 30-years-old, Sylvester Stallone was a typical, struggling actor. By night, he sold tickets at the Baronet movie theater, where he was fired for “scalping.” During the day, he worked at the Central Park Zoo – cleaning out the lions’ cages.
In 1976, when finally made it to Hollywood, he only had $106 in the bank. His wife, Sacha, was pregnant. And he was so desperate for cash, he had to sell his “best friend,” a mastiff named Butkus – for $50.
To make matters worse, the rent was past-due on their roach-infested apartment. But what happened next was incredible.
No one wanted to hire Stallone as an actor. So he decided to write his own ticket. He’d rise at 6:00 a.m. Bic pen and notebook in hand. All day long, he worked on a screenplay. And each night his wife, Sasha would type it up.
In just in just 3-1/2 days – the first draft was complete.
And it was good. Damn good.
Hollywood movie studios showed immediate interest. One producer even offered $265,000 for the rights – but wanted Burt Reynolds to play the leading role. Stallone refused to settle. No leading role? No deal.
Finally – his patience paid off. Sly struck a bargain that gave him the starring role in his movie and a 10% stake in its box office receipts.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The movie? I’m sure you heard of it. It was called “Rocky” – and it was a huge hit, grossing $225 million worldwide. It even won an Academy Award.
Stallone’s 10% stake in the film turned out to be worth over $22 million. But to me – what’s most impressive is not the money – the award – or the fact he was able to buy his dog back. It’s the lesson behind the script.
Stallone is living proof you should never settle for less than you deserve.
Unfortunately – far too many people make this mistake. In my corner of the world – the real estate market – they settle for less, over and over again.
Ninety-nine percent of homeowners say they want ‘maximum profit’ when it comes time to sell. But so few, unlike Stallone, are willing to do the “work that it takes” to achieve that goal. Weeks to months of prep. Scientific staging… Property Stories… Investing in value… Etc.
Worse? They follow the marching orders of real estate agents who behave as the pied piper, screeching “Faster, and for More Money.” Which is possible, yes, but not without doing the added work of proper preparation. So end result, they end up selling for much less than they could.
And collectively, if you look across the homeowners in any medium-to-large-neighborhood, they leave millions of dollars on the table. Home-seller profits that could be theirs if
they just followed a documented approach to ensure their home
would perform to standard.
For example, my clients Bill & Louise Mattson. They needed to sell an investment property in the city this past summer. Having not sold a property, on the open market, in recent years they were a little new to the process. After reading my documented approach, they knew this would be the most profitable path to take. After weeks of preparation the unit went on the market. After 30 days we had the condo sold above the appraised value. Thing is, we could have forgone the weeks of preparing but what good would that have done us. Thousands of dollars of lost profit is not a viable option to me or my clients.
Truth is, 99% of desperate and struggling actors, unlike Stallone, would have sold their screenplay for $265,000 and settled for a mere credit or non-starring role. Stallone though, he leveraged that bold move into a $22 million payday, and more important? A career that has now spanned four decades—earning him hundreds of millions.
Choosing to settle vs. pursuing what you deserve, really, isn’t a decision about profit at all. It’s a decision of Smart, investment-minded vs. Stupid, instant-gratification minded. Our clients, thankfully, staunchly avoid the latter.
Steven Weirich is the co- author and collaborator of ‘The Value-Driven Approach: A practical guide to protect yourself from REAL ESTATE GREED & bank and extra $30,000 by THINKING like the great Warren Buffett.’ He is a licensed agent with @properties and a local entrepreneur as well. For a free copy of his book visit: www.literature4charity.com