From Bankruptcy to Empowering a Billion People: David Meltzer's Journey of Resilience and Success

The Dropout Multimillionaire podcast is where business strategy, sales team development, and business growth are discussed. Our host, Brian Will, takes listeners on a journey of success and failure, with a focus on learning from both. David Meltzer, former CEO of Steinberg Sports and Entertainment, co-founder of Sports One Marketing, and a top 100 business coach, joins Brian in this episode. David shares his personal story of failure, including going bankrupt and losing over $100 million. He also discusses the lessons he learned and emphasizes the importance of humility and seeking help when needed. This is a must-listen episode for anyone looking to build a multi-million dollar business and teaches us all about resilience and success.


Welcome to the Dropout Multimillionaire podcast, where we talk about tactical business strategy, building high performance sales teams and growing your business. If you're ready to break free from the status quo and join the ranks of the Mavericks, the rebels and the renegades who refuse to conform and instead build multi-million dollar businesses, then buckle up, because here we go.

Welcome to this episode of The Dropout Multimillionaire podcast. I am your host, Brian Will and I will be leading you down this journey that we call the Journey of Success and Failure and hopefully learning from both to achieve Resilience and Success. Today I am fired up because we have David Meltzer on the show. He's probably the biggest guest I've had on here, so I am very excited about this conversation.

And we only have 20 minutes because he's probably jetting off to some other part of the world. So if I talk fast, that's because I'm trying to get a bunch of questions in today. So this is going to be a good one. So real quick, just to, you know, unpack David's background a little bit and there's way too much to go into in depth.

Who is David Meltzer?

David was the co-founder of Sports One Marketing and the former CEO of Steinberg Sports and Entertainment, which interestingly enough, was behind the movie Jerry Maguire, which I love that movie. That thing was awesome at this. I did not know I read this today, also launched the world's first smartphone with Samsung. I might have to ask a question about that at some point.

He is a top 100 business coach, international keynote speaker, and it's interesting...his speaking fees are $100,000 and I got in for 20 minutes. This is like a $30,000 podcast today, so y'all better listen to this one. Learn all you can about resilience and success. He does podcast TV shows and it goes on and on and on. And the most important thing I learned about David in this was last week on his Instagram live, he's a former pole vaulter.

Welcome to the show, David. How you doing? I'm glad that you prioritized skills, knowledge and desire the same as me. And the epiphany that I've had is all bloggers share a bond that can never be broken. So that's why I'm here today to make sure that I'm supporting a fellow pro. Well, I appreciate that very much.

Although as we learned, you were better at it than me. I was like 13 tops and you were like 15, I believe you said in the last show. So memory, that was pretty good. But let's jump right in. I got a bunch of questions for you, if that's okay with you. Yes. So I literally was reading a bio about you and online and a bio literally said pretty much every business you've ever touched succeeded.

Have You Ever Failed People?

So my question for you today, David, is have you ever failed people? Well, I don't know what bio you read because I failed so many different times, including I lost over $100 million, went bankrupt in 2008. We have to unpack that. How did you lose $100 million? I mean, I can't even imagine. You know, to be honest, I didn't ask for help and that's core to resilience and success.

So because I had so much success up to that point, I had not had a mistake or a failure of any significance up until 2008. What happened was I thought that I was Midas. In fact, people called me Midas. They called me money, money. They wanted to they chased me down to put money into the deals that I had.

And I realized that I don't know what I don't know. So when I went into a bank, my private bank, which I had a relationship with over ten years, I got into a lawsuit. I allowed my ego to interfere with prudent business decisions, which, by the way, talk about ignorant arrogance. I was a lawyer as well. So to go ahead and to not only waste my money, but to walk into a bank that I had a $40 million line of credit to learn a valuable lesson when I went to go get in, pulled down about 5 million on that 40 million.

And the person who I'd been dealing with for ten years was in there. And I had this person who walked up to me as I came into my private bank after ten year relationship, yet being treated like a young king. Right. Anything you need. Mr.. Meltzer Whatever you need. Mr.. Meltzer All of a sudden, I was in front of a gentleman who said, who is Mr..

Meltzer How can I help you? Mr. Meltzer Oh, no problem. I just want to pull down $5 million. I have a lawsuit and some other things going on. Oh, I'm sorry. You know, the banks are having some difficulty. We've maxed out your line at $1,000,000. Now, when you have 33 homes in San Diego alone, all doing well, what do you have?

Of course, a ski mountain, several different businesses, development businesses, as well as construction businesses. That line of credit is essential. You know, and although I had a pretty large cash savings is, you know, today when the banks go down your cash savings even get locked up. We just learned that with Silicon Valley. So when I became what I call illiquid or with over $100 million, I only was forced into bankruptcy to allow my creditors to benefit with all the profits.

I'm one of the few people that probably went bankrupt in the end, The creditors actually benefited more than me and I personally. I could have fought it more than I did, but I wanted a reset. I had found a new paradigm in my life, new values in my life. I wanted to live my life not buying things. I didn't need to impress people I didn't like.

Starting Over in a World of Abundance

I wanted to start over in a world of abundance where I could make a lot of money, help a lot of people and have a lot of fun. Be a faith that I was being protected and promoted, not punished, not in the competition, not trading and negotiating everything, but living from a zero sum game, which I was very good at to what I call a value add game over the last 15 years.

And I have proven with the right values, the right daily practices and execution model, you can live in abundance. I've written books like Connected to Good is Capacity Capitalism Game Time Decision Making, Creating the Life You Love with Jack Canfield from Chicken Soup for the Soul, And we've written those books so I could teach people to live in abundance and that's why I love your show is the psychology of a value add negotiation, not a zero sum game.

How old were you when all that happened? David I was 36, so 36 years old and I'm 55 today. And you came back. How long did it take you to come back? You know, you always hear the stories. Like, if I lost everything today, I know what to do. I could rebuild it. And I do believe that. But I'm just curious, how long did it take you to come back?

I hate to say it because this isn't true for everyone. It took me two weeks to make my first move, and that's okay now. And I'll tell you why. Because when I went bankrupt, I said to myself, I started with nothing except for $100,000 in loans. And it took me nine months to make my first million. You know why?

In what world? Knowing what I know today, I chose my first job. I was right out of law school. Knowing what I know today and who I know today. If my objective was only to pull myself out of this debt in this situation, how long would it take me? And so I went to the core of asking people, What are you doing today?

What do you like about it? What don't you like about it? And would it help you if and I went to the most powerful people, the people who sat in a situation I wanted to be in and ask them for help, which was the lesson, right? I told you the lesson of everything was I didn't ask anyone for help.

Developing Resilience and Success Through Mistakes

So I learned my lesson. Instead of repeating my mistake, I went and said, You know what? I know exactly how I lost all my money. I'm going to make all my money back by doing what I made that mistake. And so I had all these great people around me, and I asked them, what can I do to be of service or value?

And I went right to the core of being able to go get things and create margins by buying things and having them pre-sold. That's awesome. Did you stop being a lawyer at some point? Are you still practicing? Where does that time fit? My mom made me pass the bar. I went to law school because my mom believed doctor, lawyer, doctor, lawyer failure.

I just registered. I got that right. So I passed the bar, but I never practiced law. I got into the Internet, which led me to be CEO of Samsung's. It was a convergence device in 1999. I started in the Internet in 92 when people like my mom told me it was a fad. It would never last. Even Justice Scalia I sold legal research online and on CD-ROMs back in 92 and Justice Scalia told me nobody could ever do research on a computer, that you had to read books to do research that just shows you, you know, how people are closed minded for change.

But I, you know, worked my way in technology, utilizing my law degree in two ways. One, just myself understanding how to formulate agreements and then to also saving on my legal bills, because it was very difficult for lawyers to blow smoke up my rear end about topics they were going to charge me when I knew exactly what they were doing and how they were billing me.

What If You Were Going to do it Over Again?

It's so funny. I've always you know, you talk about if you were going to do it over again, what would you do? And I've always said one of the things I would have done is gone to law school. Now, mind you, I filled out of high school so I was nowhere near going to law school, but knowing now I would have gone to law school just because I think a I think I'd be a good litigator because, you know, litigation is nothing more than sales and negotiation.

Apparently. I can be good at that. But, you know, I think I would have done law school for that very reason. I would have been fun. So that's what business man is kind of like the real estate guys that become brokers themselves because of the money they save by being a broker and branding themselves. I will tell you that in my career, although you know, it may sound inexpensive, when I borrowed $100,000 to go to law school, I was blessed to get a scholarship to college.

But I saved more than that a year in my legal bills. Just because I have a law degree and I know how they bill be on the eastern side and knowing how to, you know, create and quantify and articulate quantify value, that's a mis a misstep for so many people. You can save a ton of money by having a law degree.

Studying and Managing Time

That's interesting. All right. Next subject. You ready for the next one? Of course. I just went to your website and read that in the next 60 days you're going to Virginia, Huntington Beach, Spartanburg, Bali, Indonesia, Indianapolis, Israel, Scotland, Chicago and Toronto doing a weekly podcast and a Friday webinar. How in the world do you do all that? And that blows my mind.

You know, it's I'm a student of time and I've been studying time for 17 years and with a lens of productivity, accessibility and gratitude, it's kind of like at the dentist, I mean the optometrist, when you have that machine with three lenses and the letters get clear fuzzy in your eyesight, I literally study, I pay attention and give intention to what I think they do believe and feel in the trajectory of what I think I want in the future with these lenses of the activities of a day, the activities I planned, activities I don't have planned.

A lot of people don't study that. The white space, the empty space of how I can utilize that when things come up that I don't have planned, how do I reprioritize and utilize that free time and then my sleep. I also sub categorize time by activity. I get paid for inactivity. I don't get paid for. So is it important?

It is that I seven days a week of activity I get paid for from coaching, speaking podcasts, TV shows, movies, all the things that I do do. As you listed off in the six weeks, I also take vacations every day, so it's a common occurrence that, you know, in the middle of the day, I'm in Southern California and I get a day that's 72 and sunny that I will jump in my 55 Ford Thunderbird, grab my wife at 1145 and drive her down to the Ritz-Carlton.

Parked my car right out front. Go up to the deck of one of the most beautiful places on earth. Have one drink a date with my wife, as if we were in Cancun or anywhere around the world and be home by 1:00 in when other people are dillydallying for an hour and 15 minutes, you know, eating their jersey.

Mike's or their P.F. Chang's or whatever they're doing. I just had a luxury exotic vacation with the person I loved more than anyone. My wife and I do stuff like that every day. We go hiking in a mountain or, you know, just sit out by the pool and it's a minimum of 30 minutes a day. I vacation every day.

And I will tell you that when you do things like this, 2 minutes a days were 2 hours on a Saturday. I'm very consistent at everything I do with the time and activities that I attribute to the time, always in the trajectory of where I think I want to be. So let me ask you this. So I I've read that one of your goals in life is to about empower a billion people to be over, over over a billion people to be happy.

Getting To Do Your Job

So when I talk about that travel schedule and all the things that you do and and and you go all over the world, it blows my mind. Are you, this is a loaded question, Are you doing this because you need to do it or is it a part of your overall goal in life? Are you chasing money or are you really chasing the and why are you doing and how does it tie back into that life goal?

I mean, I just I ask myself sometimes if I had X number of dollars, I don't know that I would ever work anymore. And it always fascinates me what drives people when they've hit these extreme levels of success and wealth to continue going, Well, I get to do it right. I'm not going to do anything that I have to do or need to do.

I get to do it. And so I spend every day in a mindset of, you know, where do I find the light, the love in the lessons of what I get to do? How can I maximize aligned with my personal experiential giving and receiving values each day? And so because number one, I am a master at travel.

So a lot of people look at that that art masters of travel. I can travel all of those places the same way and probably with the same ease that Michael Jordan could beat me In basketball, I can travel and actually my own anatomy is built for travel. I have very short legs and a long torso which is built for an airplane in my sleep anywhere.

So all of these great I have a sleep coach who helps me as well. So for me, you know, whether in where I am, I spend every day a minimum amount of time with my kids. I have three kids who are older, but I have a 13 year old who will travel with me. We just got back from the Masters.

But even to that extent, right the way that I went to the Masters last week, Tuesday is my sons, the 13 year old spring break. We went to Phenix. I had a business lunch with my son, my wife and her friend. We went to the Waldorf. I left my wife and her friend at the Waldorf. They went to the spa and shopping.

My son and I hung out together, had dinner, and then we flew to Atlanta on Tuesday night. We then went to the Masters Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with had a meet up all the different things going on at the Masters beside the Masters together. We flew into Dallas on Friday night and had dinner with my wife, who met us there.

We then he went to a dude ranch on Saturday. I went and visited friends and family with my wife all day on Saturday, and we took a private flight Sunday morning for Easter first Don, and made it to the country club for brunch with our friends and family. Spent the whole day Easter. Now my daughter came and visit us at the Masters and all these other things.

But in the interment I did, you know, business meetings, meetups, coaching, calls, all these other things. So where other people don't challenge themselves to do do it all, they would just, you know, go to the Masters and that's all they would do. We incorporate a lot of things because I study time and I get to do these things.

And when you ask, well, why do you make the money? So I don't need I don't need to make any more money. I never have to work again. It's because it allows me to shop for the reasons I want to shop. So I build villages in Africa. I am the chief chancellor of junior team and I empower young, invest investment into, you know, minorities, into women entrepreneurs, giving them the same opportunity that I got by people who gave me scholarships to college and funded my companies.

Creating Top Fortune Companies

That's awesome. All right. I'm going to be running low on time. So I got another question I got to ask when we get down here is you told me on our Instagram live last week that you are executive coach to several top CEOs in the country like Fortune 500, Fortune tortured 50. I think you said Fortune 50. Where in the world?

Yeah. And so most of my audience are we call it well-funded startup through 10 million revenue. So these are these are much smaller enterprises. The advice that you give at that level that you're dealing in is that the same advice you would give to people that are in my audience? Do they make the same mistakes, or what would you tell my people?

Or how does it relate to what you do in your world? Yeah, so two areas are the exact same. The mindset side of it and the heart set side of it identical. No difference. I, I do free Friday training with over 80,000 people registered everyone in your audience I'd invite to come I'd send my book out for free, sign it, etc. so make sure you get my email.

David It do email intercom I do group. I do group setting with start ups just like yours. And the one on one business advisory side are mostly higher echelons, but the mindset issues identical. The heart set, the emotional issues identical. Where the difference is, is the situation knowledge of the handset, the pragmatic practical advice. It differs when you're talking to someone that has a $80 billion company compared to an $80,000 or any other company because there's just tactical things that I've been blessed with over 35 years of running major corporations, understanding, for example, it does practically advice on how to deal with a board of directors is a big issue for these CEOs.

That's not an issue for an $8 million CEO. He is important. Right, right, right. Or is tied up. So but I will tell you, you know, the majority of my coaching is mindset and heart set beyond pragmatic advice. And it's identical. They they're just better at it. The guys running the bigger companies but they still have minutes and moments of the exact same.

How Do You Stay Balanced to Maintain Resilience and Success?

How do you stay balanced? You know, my wife my wife wants me to do this, but I got to finish this. And I do that type of coaching every day. That's awesome. So you know who my audience is. Give me one piece of advice for these folks to take with them. Two pieces of advice I'm going to give you about this.

So, one, stay in business. People lose sight of, you know, being in that space before I do anything else, till the day I make sure that my businesses are in business tomorrow, guaranteed. That's the once I'm done with that, then I already know I have another at bat tomorrow. So no matter else what I do, screw ups, etc., I'm guaranteed to be in business tomorrow.

Therefore I have a formula of success because as long as you stay in business, it's just a matter of time until you figure it out. The second one I've already mentioned from the beginning of the interview, ask for help in your time will be well-spent. Don't have to do it yourself. Doing your due diligence with extraordinary technology and communities that we have available to us today that we've never had available to us.

If you find every day someone who sits in the situation that you want to be in and ask them for help, you will have the aggregation, exponential reality and acceleration in a trajectory of what you want in your life beyond your wildest magic imagination. I still give myself the same piece of advice when I have failure, setbacks, mistakes, voids, shortages and obstacles.

The first thing I did is ask myself, Who could have I got? Who could have? I asked for a help so that this would have happened? Not what did I do wrong. I could have asked to make sure that already paid this dummy tax, because I know now that there's someone out there that already had been through this and all I had to do was give them a call at DRM or a LinkedIn post and say, Hey, man, I'm about to buy a golf course.

What do you think any schmo that owns a golf course would tell me, Hey, be the third owner of a golf course, never read or write stuff like that. Think about how many millions of dollars you'll save.

Concluding Our Talk on Resilience and Success

So everyone out there, take those two pieces of advice If you want more, email me David Meltzer dot com. And your staff told me that if they emailed you, you'd send them a free copy of your book. Is that correct? For shipping the book and I'll sign it. So whether you want it or not, I'll sign it. The free copy of the book just for email and David, that is awesome. Any last words for me? Just be kind to your future self and do good deeds. I promise it'll work. David, this has been incredible. I appreciate this today.

So that's going to wrap the show up. I appreciate everybody listening you can find us at WW W dot Brian will media dot com and I hope everybody comes back for the next episode of the dropout multimillionaire podcast. And remember you have to be in the game to win the game. I hope you enjoyed this episode and if you would like to get more information on either of my books, joining the Force multiplayer mastermind for my one on one coaching programs you can find me at WWW dot Brian will media dot com.

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