I love television.
I was definitely a kid who was glued to the television and I’ve always loved watching TV. Sadly, I don’t get to indulge in my old past time like I used to. As I got older, my jobs became more time consuming and strenuous as I moved to working at tech companies like Facebook. Then having a son and starting to work for myself didn’t help. Now I’m more strategic about the things I watch … Power and Insecure remain high on my priority list.
As my interests have become more focused around building wealth and business, so have my tastes in television. There are several television shows that have helped me find new revenue streams in my life and have taught me some important information, while also offering entertainment.
On the other hand, it’s TV and there is a lot of truth-stretching and hiding of negative details. These shows can lead a person to financial ruin if they fail to do more research. Details of the high-risk nature of the investment and the pain and struggle to get it done seem to all get edited out. There are a lot of failures that don’t make it into a season.
But for me, these are some of my favorite wealth focused tv shows:
My favorite business show right now is The Profit on CNBC. The show follows Marcus Lemonis, a successful CEO and angel investor, as he invests in struggling companies. I love the show because it is one of the realest depictions of small businesses and implementing turnarounds I’ve seen. I love hearing of the different types of companies, most making over $1M in revenue, how they started and grew their business and the issues they are running into.
I’m also a personal fan of Marcus Lemonis. His story is that of hard work and staying humble. He’s not flashy nor does he spend all of his time talking and promoting himself. He just gets stuff done and wins. He has an impressively wide range of general business acumen. He discusses supply chain, marketing, operations, accounting, and other things I spent 2 years in grad school to learn.
This is a tv show that will appeal to those with a legitimate interest in small business. It will also show you realistically how things can go wrong and ways to fix them as an owner.
Stay Here is a new show on Netflix I binged watched the weekend it came out. It’s no secret I love real estate investing, with 3 rental properties under my belt. I’ve always wanted a vacation rental in my portfolio and the desire has risen since moving to Spain.
This show follows Genevieve Gorder and Peter Lorimer as they go to struggling Airbnb and vacation rentals and teach owners/investors how to run a profitable vacation rental business. They don’t just talk about the design and remodel, but go into the business of market research, managing operations, and marketing a property. I’ve learned a lot about how to position a high-end vacation rental and have used it to help guide my casual search for local vacation properties.
As with too many real estate tv shows, they gloss over costs and expenses and always end each show with a huge revenue number. But the tips they cover and resources they present are all top notch. If you are considering adding a vacation rental to your portfolio, check this show out.
When it comes to all of the many shows I watch on HGTV, Flipping Virgins holds a special place, starting with my professional crush on Egypt Sherrod-a black woman who is an Atlanta-based, seasoned real estate investor. She is relatable, informative, and fun to watch.
On the show, Egypt Sherrod helps first-time investors working on their first house flipping project. She covers the personal aspects to consider, such as motivations and fears walking into the process. She also covers a lot of things to look for and understands about buying an investment property and deciding whether to flip, rent, or live in. I personally find flipping shows have helped me a lot in evaluating the quality of properties I’m considering buying. I’ve spotted a lot of potential issues because of things I’ve noted on these shows.
Again, as with most real estate tv shows, the math is always funny. They leave out most costs (realtors commissions, closing costs, holding costs) and end each show with a sexy profit number. So don’t fool yourself into believing it’s this easy, but with so many flipping shows around, this is my favorite. And I love watching another black person out there helping others create personal wealth.
I love to mix my personal and business interests, so as a lover of fine spirits
and 40’s, opening a bar has crossed my mind before. Bar Rescue follows in your face Jon Taffer as he works with struggling bars to turn their businesses around.
Even if you aren’t interested in the liquor industry, the process he follows in streamlining operations, improving marketing, and addressing people issues, has lessons for any business owner. Compared with similar shows, there is a stronger focus on the business aspects of the turnaround. And for me, the bar backdrop always makes the episodes more entertaining.
Silicon Valley is a fictional satire on life in “The Valley”, but after working at several startups in “The Valley” and several years at Facebook … I find the show is very accurate. It’s clearly a fictional exaggeration of life at a tech startup, but holds many truthful nuggets of starting, building, and financing a tech startup.
The show also teaches a lot about the business operations of a startup and insight into venture capital. Talks of poaching engineers, raising rounds of VC money, and Palo Alto soccer moms is all based on real aspects of startup life. You’ll even find conferences, companies, and famous figures in tech self-portrayed and based around real life stories.
If you have absolutely no interest in tech, you might find it uninteresting, but the show itself is also hilarious.
I have a love and hate relationship with the hit show, Shark Tank. It does give some insight into how private company investing works and how building a company is more than just having a good idea. I enjoy hearing debates over valuation, useful critiques on presentation ability, and the range of small business ideas out there.
But, my beef is that the tv show is too flashy and makes entrepreneurship seem easy and sexy. The show leaves a person thinking they just need an idea and dedication and they can build a company and get on TV. The truth is entrepreneurship is hard and not for everyone. Everyone does not need to be their own boss. The show is very theatrical and light on real details. I think the aforementioned, The Profit, is a much better alternative.
With the country’s growing interest in business and entrepreneurship, there are too many shows for me to watch or name. Several good ones have already been canceled or live online only.
What television shows put you in a money mindset? Anything I should check out? Leave a comment and let us know.
Damien is a Personal Finance Nerd and former Facebook Product Manager who started Wealth Noir to help others find wealth. He actively invests in stocks, robo advisors, and cryptocurrency … but loves real estate investing. He holds an MBA from MIT and a Comp Sci & Econ degrees from Unv. of MD. He’s a proud dad, which is his biggest accomplishment.