He Sold His Dog, Butkus, for Food Money… When He Bought Him Back 6 Months Later, He Was a Millionaire
By Michelle Lieberman
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, Sasha, 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 the 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 that 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 their home. But so few, unlike Stallone, are willing to do the work that it takes to achieve that goal. I’m talking about weeks of prep – Scientific Staging, Proper Property Marketing, Investing to Create Value, etc.
What’s even worse? They follow the marching orders of real estate agents who behave as the pied piper, screeching “Faster” and “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 otherwise could have.
And collectively, if you look across the home-owners in any medium-to-large-neighborhood, they leave thousands of dollars (sometimes tens of thousands) on the table. Home-seller profits that could have been theirs if they just followed a documented approach to ensure their home would perform to standard valuation principals.
For example, we recently told you about Felice and Phil, friends and clients of ours who live out of state. They were a bit anxious about the amount of money they thought they would have to put into their home to prepare it for sale. However, once we provided them with the recommendations from applying our Documented Approach outlined in our book, they were very surprised to learn that many of the changes we prescribed during our diagnosis could be done for much less money than they imagined. They put in that time and money and realized their full asking price in less than three weeks on the market. They were beyond excited. We, on the other hand, have come to expect these results and we seem them time and again.
The 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 multi millions.
Choosing to settle vs. pursuing what you deserve, really, isn’t a decision about profit at all. It’s a decision of the smart, investment-minded vs. the stupid, instant-gratification minded. Our clients, thankfully, staunchly avoid the latter.
ABOUT THEM – Jay & Michelle Lieberman have been called “provocative and entertaining,” but also “committed philanthropists”. Entrepreneurs and relentless innovators of the real estate industry, creators of the “Value-Driven Approach to Sell Real Estate”, founders of the Conejo Valley Teacher Only Program, hosts of the Conejo Valley Advice Givers Podcast Show, and attorneys and real estate brokers at Keller Williams World Class in Southern California. They feel honored and blessed every day they are able to serve their clients, their family, friends and their community. You can reach them at info@TeamJayMichelle.com.