If you don’t already know Drew and Jonathan Scott, you probably at least recognize their matching handsome faces. After all, they have been everywhere in recent years, starring as HGTV’s Property Brothers. What you may not know is that prior to landing their highly successful television gig, the brothers built a successful real-estate and development company. Their knack for branding and business, in addition to their passion for both real estate and entertainment led to the formation of their own production company, multiple reality shows and celebrity status.
It’s easy to see the entrepreneurial spirit in actors, musicians and comedians who have to make their own way and build their own brands. But these brothers were born true entrepreneurs. They started their first business at the age of 7, selling decorative hangers to an American paraphernalia store in Japan. They sold so many, in fact, they had to enlist family members as employees in their operation.
In college, they realized they would need a way to fund their acting careers, so they decided to try their hand and real estate -- and flipped their first property for a $50,000 profit. Another business was born. They kept building their real-estate business for years, all while auditioning, writing scripts and producing their own indie projects. After years of auditions, multiple show ideas and a failed stint on a series called Realtor Idol, the evolution of what is now their entertainment empire began.
Drew and Jonathan Scott took a break from shooting in New York City to share with me their four keys to success as both entrepreneurs and entertainers:
1. Don’t wait for opportunity.
As is common with most successful people, the pair have no time for excuses. In fact, ditching excuses altogether is Drew’s biggest advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Jonathan added, “No one is busting down your door to make you a success. You have to show people you exist. So many say, ‘I’ve tried everything to break into this business!’ and they’re sitting at the bar. When we were trying to break into the business, we were never sitting -- we were always getting our name out there.”
They emphasized the importance of creating your own opportunities, continually marketing yourself and growing your brand and business.
2. Don’t blend in.
Standing out is something businesses need to do in a marketplace, just like it’s something entertainers must do in their industry. Jonathan insisted, a key to success is to make people remember you.
“What’s your hook? How are you different from anybody else out there?” he says. “We focus on our brand and our reach and show people that we’re not isolated to real estate. Make sure that you’re always growing.”
He explained that anyone can start growing their personal brand within their community or city: “With the Internet, you can get your brand out there, and it doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money."
3. Don’t get comfortable.
Drew’s personal mantra explains just how hard the duo works -- Continuous effort is the key to unlocking your true potential. They explained that they grew up on a ranch, which instilled in them the value of working for every single dollar.
“If you really want to reap the rewards of a successful career, be willing to put in the hard work," Jonathan said.
Drew added that the early days included long hours creating their own content: “We were doing 100 hours a week -- networking, producing our own content, doing anything we could.”
Part of working hard means preparing religiously. Jonathan reminded me that just one bad audition can seal the deal on a person’s career. “It’s not that you have to be in the right place at the right time. You have to be in the right place at the right time and be prepared.”
The pair still hold to this mantra, rarely taking a vacation and having to work to schedule in any personal time. Some may say having to pencil in time for friends and family is a bad thing, but Drew disagrees. “If you want to get the most out of your time, if you’re pursuing something that you’re passionate about, you have to have balance, so scheduling your personal time is part of a busy lifestyle.”
4. Don’t get discouraged.
The odds for new businesses may be bleak, but the odds of becoming international entertainment superstars seem downright abysmal. Jonathan, however, says that that’s not true.
“Ninety-nine percent of [other actors] aren’t treating themselves as a business. If you’re working hard, pushing your brand the way you should, you will succeed.”
Drew and Jonathan say that they are living proof that if you work hard toward what you want to do, you will succeed. “If someone tells you that you can’t do it, go out and find five ways to do it,” Drew says. “We never gave up on anything we wanted to do.”
For more insights from TV’s favorite twins, watch the video above.