As a marketer, David Fagan of Icon Builder Media has been helping a lot of celebrities by giving them that marketing collateral brand or helping them become a key person of influence by making them realize they’re selling themselves more than anything else. He helps to package them, brand them, help them become an author, help them win awards, get the testimonials, get featured in the media, and all of that, so that they can answer that question, “Why you and not somebody else?”
Listen to the podcast here:
Sharkpreneur: David Fagan, Author of Guerrilla Parenting
We’ve got a very special guest, David Fagan. He is the former CEO of Guerrilla Marketing, the host of the California Cable TV Show, The Hollywood Entrepreneur, the former owner of LCO Communications, a Beverly Hills PR firm that represented 58 Academy Award winners, 38 Grammy winners, and 43 New York Times bestsellers. He’s been on every television show known to man like Fox& Friends, The Today Show, Washington Post, Forbes, Investor’s Business Daily. He’s also won the award The Entrepreneur Educator of the Year from Infusionsoft. His company, Icon Builder Media, is based out of Southern California where he lives with his wife and eight children. David, thanks so much for joining us.
Thank you. I appreciate it.
That keeps you hopping, David. Good to be with you here. As a marketer, you’ve been helping a lot of these celebrities. You’re involved across the board. What’s your sweet spot as a marketer?
People that are in the advice business, meaning they make money off the advice that they give. I’m helping those people realize they’re selling themselves more than anything else. Attorneys, dentists, chiropractors, speakers, coaches, trainers, authors, high-end real estate agents, and helping to package them, brand them, help them become an author, help them win awards, get the testimonials, get featured in the media, all of that, so that they can answer that question, “Why you and not somebody else?” I give them that marketing collateral brand.
I call that how to become a key person of influence. You mentioned doctors or chiropractors. They went to school and they’re some of the smartest minds available in the marketplace, but they’re not good marketers. That’s historically the case.
They were taught how to clean teeth. They were taught how to crack backs. They were taught how to sell real estate, but they weren’t taught about, “How do I make money? How do I make sales? How do I attract the clients I’d love to serve?”
You won The Entrepreneur Educator of the Year award from Infusionsoft. How did you get onto the entrepreneur educational side of the business? I believe you’ve got a book around the topic as well.
I’ve got a couple of books myself. I got to practice what I preach. I did a contract with Infusionsoft back in 2008 to 2009 when they were going from $7 million to $14 million. Now, they’ve got more than $100 million in venture capital. I made some good connections there. I’ve always had a passion for entrepreneurs. I want the entrepreneurs and the professionals that can afford what I’m worth. That’s something I teach other people too. How do you find the people that can afford what you are worth?
I love helping people who are just starting out, but the entrepreneurs I’d love to serve are those people I mentioned. A lot of times, these agencies, real estate people, CPAs, fitness experts, attorneys, they don’t realize that they’re entrepreneurs. To me, I don’t see a difference between helping Paul Stanley of KISS, somebody we’ve represented before, all the way to helping the local real estate agent that’s selling million-dollar homes. They both are trying to monetize their brand. They’re both trying to monetize their knowledge and their experiences.
David, have you done this by word of mouth or do you put on any kind of seminars? How do you get the word out about yourself? I would imagine you’d take any city, there’s tens of thousands of people that can use your help.
My answer’s probably similar to other successful people. 91% of my business comes from referrals. I get a lot of referrals from other people. I have my own list. I have my own database. I put on my own events. Icon summits, Icon events where people are coming in, learning how to be published, write their own books, how to be a speaker, how to get featured in the media. One of my presentations is do it yourself PR, how to be your own publicist. I find a lot through events. I speak at CKX and Infusionsoft. I speak at a lot of other events, like ONTRAPORT and a lot of entrepreneur-related events with software organizations. They’ll usually seek me out. GKIC is something that’s coming up here less than a month and I’m a big supporter of.
That’s one of the reasons why you’re here, to talk to our audience. Talk a little bit about the book you wrote on that related topic. Then let’s talk about the part you play in the GKIC conference.
For almost six years now, I’ve been running their teen entrepreneur program. I do my own teen entrepreneur summer camp in California. It’s been featured in Forbes Magazine. It’s something I do for fun and something I’m passionate about. I co-authored some books with Jay Conrad Levinson. I rode his coattails for awhile. I bought Michael Levine’s PR company, LCO. All those accolades mostly belong to Jay and Michael, but I’ve been smart about finding people who I can learn from and grow from. This is one of my books called Guerrilla Parenting: How to Raise an Entrepreneur. It’s all about how to teach self-reliance. This is something that I do on the side, but this book and this program combined with GKIC, Dan Kennedy, Bill Glazer is something we do.
We take these teens at the camp. Their parents go to the event and they bring their teens. What we do is we teach them about branding. We put them into groups and they create a brand. We teach them about writing slogans and copy, then we’d put them in a group and they do that. Then we teach them about websites. We put them in group, they do the websites, presentation, video commercials. They do all this. By the end of three days, it’s a combination of Shark Tank and American Idol. They get up in front of everybody and they say, “Here’s the business we created. Here’s what the product sells for. Here’s what our market is. Watch our commercial. Look at our website,” and we literally judge them. The winning group gets to go to our $5,000 summer camp in California.
We take them to Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive and the Porsche dealership. I take them out on my sailboat. We do team building stuff. At this GKIC event, they get the chance to learn. These are teenagers, anywhere from thirteen to seventeen, that are being put in groups of five to six and in three days, they’re building a business and all the marketing that goes with it. This year, we’re doing infomercials. What they’ll do is they’ll take a product or business and they have so much fun. They script it and they get on camera. Someone will be an actor, and someone would be the director. Someone is scripting it out. Some are more tech savvy. They’re building apps. You should see what these kids come up with. It’s pretty cool.
The time I spent on Shark Tank, I realized that so many of the parents would come to me and say, “My kids love that show.” The millennial generation has started becoming more entrepreneurial. I call it ‘The gig economy’, “Let me drive an Uber for the weekend. I don’t need that full-time job.” Then I’ll get the side hustle. You’re blending Shark Tank and infomercials. You’re speaking my language.
What’s cool too is a couple years ago, one of the businesses that won, it was like this grocery cart where as you put things inside the grocery cart, it would automatically scan it and it’ll tell you how much it costs. A month ago, my college-aged kid dragged me into a Walmart. As I walked into Walmart, they stopped me, and they said, “We’ve got these handheld scanners. What you do is you can scan everything as it goes into your grocery cart.” I’m thinking, “My teens came up with this five years ago. They had this idea and now, it’s in business.” I’ve seen that happen a couple times now and it’s pretty amazing the way their minds think. It gets me excited. GKIC.com/Teens. They only charge $97 for three days and they’re feeding the kids all three days.
How’s your involvement in it come about?
About five or six years ago, they saw me doing my own camps. They saw the things that I did with my own teenagers and kids and they said, “Would you like to run this for us?” Aaron Halderman was there at the time and a couple of other people there that I knew I’d spoken on their main stage. It was something I was passionate about. I bring my own kids too. That’s what they were looking for is somebody who was already practicing it, so to speak, in their own home. They invited me to do it and they invited me back the next year, the next year, and the next year. We’re going on six years now.
Jay Conrad Levinson was a great man. I know his wife, Jeannie, is still out there doing some things. The whole Guerrilla theme that he developed was an amazing brand itself. You’ve probably had some interesting transformations you’ve created for some people in your programs. Anybody that comes to mind that you want to mention for people to visualize themselves?
We’ve represented some reality TV people. We’ve represented people in the music industry, but quite honestly, the people that I find are the best examples is like this woman named Allison Larsen. She’s a small-town Idaho Star, 5,000 people. We helped her with a brand, helped her with a book, got her onto a TV show, got her own California Cable TV show, on Time Warner Cable, and Verizon FiOS channel 45. Now, she has her own Speaker’s Coalition. Why do I use her? Here she is, a stay-at-home mom with four kids. She’s basically gone from zero to hero.
Sometimes I talk too much about my celebrity clients. They go, “That’s Paul Stanley. He’s going to do so well.” They start to make excuses for themselves. Some of my best examples are people that have come out of nowhere and they got that work ethic. They take massive amounts of action. They do what you say. They show up when they said they’d show up. They do the writing assignments. They take advantage of the introductions. Allison Larsen would be a great one of the keynote Speaker’s Coalition.
What was her business?
She started out with the reflexology practice, like foot zoning and things like that. She did that for other women and helped other women start their own foot zoning practice. She wanted to do so much more and be so much more than that. She saw me at one of my events and she put up quite a bit of money, more money than she probably felt like she had at the time, and went all-in. I started saying, “You need to be at this event. I’m going to have you on a panel. I’m going to get you an interview on this show.” She did it. She traveled to the places. She made the phone calls. She had the conversations. I said, “You’re going to write a chapter and give it to me.” She did it. I wish there was some big magical thing I could say that was the magical pixie dust that everyone’s looking for, but she just put in the time. It’s called ‘do the work’.
I want to say something about Jay Levinson. He was a mentor of mine. He’s an amazing guy. I don’t know if most people really understand. They hear Guerrilla Marketing, but Jay Levinson was the Creative Director of the Leo Burnett Ad Agency. He created some of the most famous brands that still exists today. He still holds the record for the Morris ads and commercials that are still running. He created a Marlboro Man, Tony’s Frosted Flakes, Jolly Green Giant, Morris the Cat, Die Hard Battery, Lonely Maytag Repairman, Charlie the Tuna, Pillsbury Doughboy. So many times, I got to sit out on his back porch and pick his brain.
I could tell you some amazing stories. He’s probably one the humblest guys that you’ll ever meet. I was there when he passed, and I got to do one of the eulogies. I can’t say enough about that guy. Sometimes I probably get more credit than I deserve from Guerrilla Marketing or things like that. I make the joke. I say, “Between me and Jay Levinson, between us two, we sold 23 million books in 62 languages around the world. The truth of that is Jay probably sold 22 million.” I owe a lot to him. He’s a great mentor. A lot of what we’re teaching to these teens are things that I’ve learned firsthand from Jay Levinson, one the greatest ad inventors.
Take a look at GKIC.com/Teens if you’re interested in taking your teen to the teen entrepreneur conference and getting them the massive awesome business education and marketing education they will get at that event. Also, check out Guerrilla Parenting by David Fagan. David, thank you so much for joining us.
Thanks so much for listening to this special productivity series of the direct response marketing podcast. I’ve interviewed hundreds of the most successful entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and CEOs all over the world and I want to share with you one of the biggest ways I’ve discovered to triple your productivity that I’ve learned from these amazing people. Even better, I’ll pay you $500 to test-drive it. Just go to Takethe500Challenge.com to learn more. Thanks so much.
- Icon Builder Media
- Guerrilla Parenting: How to Raise an Entrepreneur
- Jay Levinson
- Speaker’s Coalition
About David Fagan
David T. Fagan is a columnist for the Beverly Hills Times Magazine and the host of the California Cable TV show, The Hollywood Entrepreneur.
He is also the former CEO of Guerrilla Marketing, which sold over 23 million books in 62 languages all over the world, as well as the former owner of LCO Communications, a Beverly Hills PR firm that has represented 58 Academy Award Winners, 34 Grammy Winners , and 43 New York Times Best Sellers.
David is regularly sought out by the media on entrepreneur education and cracking the icon code. He has recently been featured on Fox & Friends, the Today Show with Matt Lauer, The Washington Post, Forbes, Investor’s Business Daily, Your World with Neil Cavuto, Fox’s The Five, and What’s Happening Now. And most recently won the award for Entrepreneur Educator of the Year from Infusionsoft.
He is a best selling author and an International Speaker in places as far away as Bangladesh and Australia. He has shared the stage with everyone from Former Secretary of Defense Dr. Bob Gates to Mark Victor Hansen.
David’s company, Icon Builder Media, is based out of Southern California where he lives with his wife and his 8 children.