Charlie Sheen & Two Lessons For Entrepreneurs

"What happened to Charlie Sheen?" 



That's the buzz in the U.S. media this week, after the star of TV series "Two and a Half Men" publicly and repeatedly lambasted his producers.  What happened?

Among many rants, Charlie has been saying that the producers "are not thankful."

Until Charlie made those statements, Charlie was making $1.8 million per episode.

At 24 episodes per year and according to my quick math, that puts Charlie in the $45 to 50 million a year range.

I don't know about you, but I have a hard time understanding what's not thankful about $50 million a year.

The U.S. press and headlines are saying that Charlie may be bi-polar, that the drugs and high life of LA-LA Land have finally taken their toll on to him.

As a sales and marketing guy who often sees things with a business slant, I have a different view.  For me, Charlie let success get to his head.  This has detached him from the realities of the marketplace, and he has lost sight of his business model.


This so often happens in business.  "Success breeds success," but only if you play your cards right and keep your wits about you.

Success often breeds failure.  As entrepreneurs, start-ups and consultants out there in the very tough Brave New Marketplace, we can't let this happen to us.

All too often, those involved in a successful initiative, perhaps even those leading a successful initiative, start thinking that the success is all about them — that they owe nothing to the hard work of other people, nothing to timing, not even to a little luck.  I've witnessed this, and I bet you have, too.

This hubris then leads to a detachment from the real business model.  Partnerships and customer relationships are not nourished.

Call him wacko, drugo or just plain arrogant, this is exactly what has happened to Charlie Sheen.  It was all about him.


As entrepreneurs in a very competitive marketplace, failure is a heart beat away.  Continued success, however, requires continued work.  We must remember what brought us our success, and keep doing it.

If you're a successful entrepreneur, I bet what got you there is listening to customers, building relationships with partners and your business channels, and always adding value.

Success breeds continued success only when we nurture our relationships — from partners right through to end users.  Understand your business model and always remember where your revenue stream comes from.

Don't be like Charlie.  It takes a long time to build trust.  All it takes is a second to kill it.

You gotta' do it every day.  Listen.  Add value.  Build relationships.  Build upon your initial successes.

Keep it win-win for everyone involved.  Success is not just about you.  It's about you and usually a lot of other people.


Have you read Jim Collins' "How The Mighty Fall"?
– Do you see any similarities in others who have had success but then blindly walked right in to failure?
– What were the symptoms, hindsight indicators?