Phil McGraw grew up as a poor but hard-working and ambitious kid from Oklahoma. A glimpse of his future genius and level of hustle came one stormy night when no one, especially the other paperboys or anyone in their right mind for that matter, dared go outside.
But young Phil was determined to collect money for his paper route. When questioned by his mother before heading out in a melee of rain and wind he answered, "Mama, everyone will be home tonight, and I'll get paid..."
Fast forward years later, and you probably know Dr. Phil from his extremely popular daytime TV talk show. But have you ever thought of him as an innovator or tech entrepreneur? You might be surprised by what I learned by spending the day on Dr. Phil's set and going Behind the Brand.
Here are eight important lessons from Dr. Phil that anyone can use to build their brand into an empire.
1. Work your butt off.
There is no substitute for hard work, but it's also about being smart and watching for opportunities. From his days as a young paperboy to being one of the highest paid entertainers on TV, Dr. Phil has his eyes on the prize and hasn't let up after all these years.
2. Accept that being lucky is a thing.
Phil told me, "Nobody wants to hear this, but sometimes, being in the right place at the right time is key" -- case in point, working with Oprah and having her invent The Dr. Phil Show. Phil was doing legal work for Oprah at the time, and they became friends.
Upon seeing Phil's talent and potential to share his no-nonsense style of talk, Oprah saw the vision and was ready to pull the trigger to share him with her audience. This would undoubtedly unleash the O-Factor of success -- but Phil declined. He had no interest or intention of being on TV. But Oprah persisted, and after waiting for Phil to take a scuba vacation, she followed up -- and the rest is history.
Surround yourself with great people. Choose your clients carefully. Be ready when your number is called, because you never know who's paying attention.
3. Innovate, but stay in your lane.
Dr. Phil's new app, Doctor on Demand, is disrupting the entrenched health care industry by using his common sense approach coupled with technology. It eliminates almost everything we hate about getting sick and having to physically visit a doctor.
Phil said he is not interested in taking risks in business that he can't control. But he is willing to spend a million dollars (or more) to try something that's in his lane and within his reach to work the problem.
4. Separate yourself from failure and success.
If you're someone who equates personal worth by the success or failure of your projects, you're probably not fit to be an entrepreneur. It's that simple. The truth is that if you fail the first time, you might not fail the next. Success works this way too. Just because you had some success in the past doesn't guarantee you'll be successful in the future.
Separate your worth from your work. Your worth is invaluable. Always.
5. Rely on a great team.
Dr. Phil doesn't micromanage. He delegates many of the important tasks to his team, and they create a great show. When you're the visionary, it might be tempting to try and do it all -- but this doesn't work for very long.
Your brand or execution can't scale. You may also be missing out on great ideas that can come from anywhere in the organization. I believe the person in charge should understand every role, but they don't have to be good at everything.
6. Create multiple touch points and cross-pollinate.
Dr. Phil is a branding genius. He's written bestselling books. He has successful TV shows and websites. He's innovating and connecting people via technology. Although his audiences are arguably in different places and consuming different media, the Dr. Phil brand is the common thread that integrates and cross promotes all of the properties together in a very seamless way.
7. Work the problem.
Does your brand have an awareness problem? Quality issues? Phil shared a take-away from his son, who was asked by someone else about the best advice he got from dad. His son talked about how Phil taught him to work the problem. That is, whatever the problem, that's the most important thing to focus on at the time -- solid advice that makes sense even before developing your product or service.
8. Have a solid support system.
Phil's wife Robin, a business dynamo herself, and their children are his support system. Despite all his success, he's still content with a decent tennis racket and hanging out around the house with his family. It goes back to remembering your self worth and surrounding yourself with people who not only believe in you but will help you during those tough times you don't see success right away.