Rick Harrison, the star of Pawn Stars, says that because of the series, his business pulls in an additional $4 million a year. But the riches don't end there. To capitalize on his success, Harrison opened a Pawn Stars gift shop which brings in another $5 million and he's working on a book and sponsorship deals.
In addition to added revenue for the business, reality stars also get paid to appear on camera. That could be anywhere from $5,000 an episode to $50,000. No one likes to talk in concrete numbers, but it's rumored that the cast of Duck Dynasty wanted $200,000 per episode before starting their new season. That's a nice bonus on top of your usual weekly, take-home pay.
The Downside of Stardom
Money, and lots of it, is the upside of becoming a reality star, but there is a downside – the rigors of fame and the potential to look like a fool.
It's hard to imagine that life could be rough for reality TV stars but you'd be surprised at how stressful it can be. Suddenly, you can't go to the store without people asking for a picture and an autograph. Might be fun the first ten times, but after that it's a nuisance. The increase in business is great, except that now you have to work double shifts to keep up with demand. And since the show revolves around the business, you have to keep doing what you did before the cameras arrived.
Which brings us to the bigger issue – how you come across on screen.
Just think about what it would be like to do your job with a camera crew at your side eight hours a day. Everything you do and everything you say is recorded for potential playback to a national audience. Even if you're an exemplary employee, a savvy TV editor can make it seem like you're doing something you're not. Or not doing something you are!
Some shows, such as Small Town Security and Welcome to Myrtle Manor, go out of their way to make the employees look as if they don't have a brain between them. Those shows are so far off the mark, you have to wonder how much is actually scripted. But even the most straight-forward, small business shows hone in on the employee mistakes in order to create drama. Dropping a $500 cake is gut-wrenching. Dropping a $500 cake in front of 200 million people is mortifying.
Think the potential benefits far outweigh the risks? Then sit down with the boss and your co-workers and put together a pitch. In addition to a written storyline, you can upload a short video to YouTube so potential producers can see your workplace in action. Find the names and addresses of reality show producers online and try contacting local production companies.
Reality show producers are always on the lookout for the next big hit. With a little leg-work and a lot of luck, they could soon be shouting lights, camera, action at your place of business.
What Do You Think?
Would you like to become a small business reality star? Tell us why or why not in the comment section below.
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Photo credit: Pawn Stars Photo by Zach Dilgard