Ready for your 15 minutes (or so)? Consider these approaches:
1. Strut your stuff on a shopping channel. Of course, only a small fraction of the tens of thousands of entrepreneurs who send ideas in actually make it on the air, concedes Marilyn Montross of QVC. "We only have 24 hours a day, seven days a week, of programming," Montross explains. "If we're going to put your product on, we have to take something off." So whatever you have in mind, it better be good.
2. Think smaller; appear on local television. That's the route Chrissy Carew took. Every week, for a little more than 20 minutes, Carew, a 46-year-old personal lifestyles and business coach, is on the air doing live coaching for a New Hampshire television station. But local TV can be as tough as national to get on. Carew has some tips for aspiring entrepreneurs/TV stars:
- When you contact the TV station, try to start near or at the top. Then, says Carew, when they suggest you call someone near the bottom of the rung, "you get sort of an endorsement."
- Be patient. Carew had the idea of promoting her business in October 1997. By January 1998, Carew had her first meeting with the program manager. An offer was then made to Carew in June . . . 1999. She went on the air September 8.
- Remain confident in yourself and your product. "Interact with executives at the TV station as peers rather than as far above you. Operate on the same level," recommends Carew. "And go in thinking about your product or service, and the value it can add for their viewers."
Chrissy Carew, (603) 897-0610, http://www.coachcarew.com
The Christopher Lowell Show, (800) 588-6190, fax: (216) 696-8133
Horse Haar Productions/Furniture Guys, (215) 981-0370
QVC, (888) NEW-ITEM, http://www.vendor.studiopark.com
Geoff Williams has written for numerous publications, including Entrepreneur, Consumer Reports, LIFE and Entertainment Weekly. He also is the author of Living Well with Bad Credit.