I can't believe that I filmed Shark Tank back in 2010!! I'm like one of the Shark Tank grandmas now! Back then, I was fortunate enough to be able to look to Season One folks like Lori Lite from Stress Free Kids and Michelle from Send A Ball for tips on even just getting past the the first round of cuts. I studied their pitches and hoped so much I would a. make it to filming and b. not fall on my face during filming!
After the initial question and answer session with a producer they asked if I would put together a video submission that answered many questions. So I took a shower, put on my go-to dress with jeans under it. Remember when that was popular? And I nervously did the best I could to answer ALL of the questions they wanted me to cover. My husband was the camera man and my dirty garage was the backdrop. You can see the finished product below. :) Thankfully, this video and a VERY long questionaire got me into the finals where producers asked roughly 40+ entrepreneurs to come to LA to film their pitches. I think, that season, only roughly 25 of us who filmed actually saw our pitches air on ABC. I think back then, roughly 20,000 people submitted initial applications online or through casting calls. Then it gets whittled down and whittled down some more.
To all the folks who have submitted the initial info or visited a casting call, kudos for you for putting yourself out there!!
My advice for you, if you're going to submit or are going through the process.....
- Believe in yourself and your product. Be yourself and listen to your intuition regarding every part of the process. I went into it thinking I could really get some help with funding my company. So that was focus.
- Shark Tank is a TV show, so while they're looking for good products and entrepreneurs, they are looking for a good story that will play well on TV. Remember this when you're speaking with producers. Hardship, underdog stories make for great TV. There was no faking involved in our hardship story as we were in a tough position with lay offs so again, just be yourself when you tell your story. But know they will play up ever angle that they feel will make good TV.
- Everyone will give you notes and suggestions. Go with your gut. You have one shot in the tank and if you feel uncomfortable with what production would like you to do, say so. Initially, it was thrown around that I'd wear something ala a white tank top and jeans. I didn't feel comfortable with that. The business experience I had is equally as important as the carpentry/design work so I compromised. I said I'll wear heels and a dress but I'll also wear a tool belt.
- Practice practice but then give it up to the powers that be. If you are prepared with your numbers and your pitch is memorized (no notes are allowed in the Tank), then relax and know they are just people, too. I was much more nervous before the doors swung open than I was when I finally made it out to Sharks to deliver my pitch.
- Even if things don't go the way you want them to, don't be discouraged. There are so many opportunities out there and this is just one of them. And if you do get on Shark Tank but don't get a deal or do get a deal, know that your company just got a 15 minute commercial during prime time. That is priceless.
Biggest piece of advice is if you feel it in your heart that you want to submit for Shark Tank, do it. In my life, the stuff I've been most afraid to tackle has always been the most worthwhile. You just need a few seconds of courage. Then about an hour of courage in the Tank but regardless, by that point, if you make to filming, you will have lots of support and if you truly believe in what you're doing, it will show no matter what the outcome.
Best of luck!!!
For a look at how it all turned out in the Shark Tank, click this link!