Everyone dreams of traveling and meeting their favorite celebrities. Join Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen as they sit down with former celebrity photographer and current owner of The Points Partner Owen Beiny. Owen takes us through his journey in the glamorous world of globe-trotting, sharing his experiences in Hollywood. He also discusses tips and tricks he learned in over 20 years of travel on saving money and using your credit card points efficiently. Finally, Owen gives his take on the power of celebrity and building your brand.
Listen to the podcast here:
Life-Changing Advice On Credit Cards, Celebrity, And Coffee With Owen Beiny
I met this guest through the Clubhouse app, which is a fascinating platform to connect with people and to hear their stories. One of the reasons I keep going back to that app is it’s about connection and fascinating people opening up about their lives and sharing what they’re doing personally and professionally. Owen was in a room about the Free Britney documentary. He was very kind to say yes to coming to talk about his work, his fascinating career and how things have shifted over the years for him personally and professionally. A great place to kick it off, Owen, is to hear more about your work and what highlights come up for you. Jason and I can dive in with some questions based on all the different angles. I’ll probably be taking lots of notes over here and try to figure out how we can summarize all of the fascinating elements of your life. I’d love to know what part of your life do you want to begin with?
We’re going to start with a current date on Clubhouse and then I’ll give you the background as to how we all ended up here. Clubhouse has changed my life in every way. I’ve done nothing but talk for twenty hours a day about 2 or 3 subjects of which I am an “expert” and everything else is me learning from other people. The two subjects that I specialize in are paparazzi or international world media and photography. The other is credit card points, flying for free and all things saving money or not spending money when it comes to travel. The two were born out of each other. I should start by saying that I’m drinking homemade lemon, ginger and honey tea because my throat is hurting so much from talking nonstop on Clubhouse. That’s the starting point.
Is it helping you? Is the tea making you feel better?
Yes, it’s good. It’s a nice little tickle down the back of my throat.
We like hearing little home remedies that any of us can apply to our lives. We can also relate. I got very sucked into Clubhouse probably in the first month that I was there. I’m taking a break because it burns me out a lot.
It does. I shall start by going back to the very beginning and give you a brief understanding of who I am, where I’ve come from and how the three of us have ended up in this show. I was born in London, England to a nice couple called Hazel and Lloyd. Long story short, by the time I was in my teens, my dad was owning a company called World Entertainment News Network which at the time was selling a story or two a day to ABC News here in America. I’m based in Los Angeles, California. They were selling gossip stories about celebrities.
ABC asked if they could ramp it up to 5 stories a day and 5 stories became 10 and became 20. Nowadays, it’s 250 stories a day that the company provides about celebrities to not just ABC but 3,000 other media outlets. WENN represents about 60% of all of the entertainment news and photos that you see around the world. September 11th happened and I was in between jobs. I was sitting at home when the Twin Towers was hit, watching it live on TV. That was the biggest change that had happened to any of us as a global community until the pandemic hit.I don’t like to spend money. I like to make money. Click To Tweet
My dad had to let go of 90% of his staff. I was trained as a professional salesman and my dad asked me if I would come in for free and help him sell some of the pictures and news that they had. That was the beginning of what turned out to be a twenty-year career in entertainment news and photos. I realized very early on that the pictures were worth more than the stories. I realized specifically that the red carpet pictures and the paparazzi pictures were worth more within the pictures.
I was a young bulldog back then and I went to war. I was working 20 to 21 hours a day hiring photographers around the world and chasing celebrities. I was based in London but we ended up opening up offices all around the world. We had about 1,500 photographers that were working for me, stalking celebrities and getting pictures of them and selling them for astronomical amounts of money. It was all gravy.
Out of curiosity, what is the range of that astronomical amounts of money? Everyone has different ideas about that.
Back then, a good set of exclusive pictures of an A-list celebrity walking down the street that no one else has could be worth $20,000 to $30,000. I was able to produce multiples of those in multiple cities every day. You can get an idea. It was no joke. That was my life. My life was being on a plane every single day of the week chasing celebrities, doing deals with celebrities, fighting with celebrities and security police. I was a crappy James Bond where things did go wrong. I didn’t always get laid at the end of the night. That was the basis of who I was. For me, it was very normal to wake up on a Monday morning, go to the airport, fly to Paris, Amsterdam, New York, Miami, Vegas, wherever it was. Rent a car. Wait for a celebrity to get off the plane and we’d follow them to wherever they’re staying. I’d booked myself into the six-star resort and shot pictures of them by the pool an hour later. That’d be $100,000, get back on the plane and off I go.
That was my life. What that did was the basis for who I am now. Being on planes every single day of the week, I wanted to be as comfortable as possible. I learned the art of getting myself upgraded. Back then it was the golden era where you could flirt with in-flight staff or people at the desk and get yourself an upgrade. Those days are long gone. It’s a mathematical game these days of upgrading using airmail, points, having status and all that type of stuff. It became a necessity for me to be able to do that. From sitting in first-class lounges with celebrities at airports, you talk to other frequent flyers and you get their tips. This one would say, “You should get this credit card.” The other one would say, “You need to transfer your points here,” all these little tips.
It started as a necessity and then it became a hobby. A hobby then became an obsession. It got to a day where I have no more questions. Everyone is asking me questions. That was the point where I realized I was at the top of the pile. I thought, “This is how I can spend the rest of my life.” I can help other people do what I’ve done and fly in a bed every single time for free. That’s where The Points Partner was born and I’ve never looked back. That would be the fairytale ending but unfortunately, that is not the end. It was all gravy for years. I’ve been running The Points Partner and it’s overwhelmingly successful. I love what I do. I can do it from my pajamas in my house.
My process is super simple. People contact me because they’ve heard of me on amazing shows like this one, Clubhouse or TV. I do a lot of work talking head stuff on TV about credit cards and points. Somebody contacts me and I’ll send them a lovely email back that says, “Send me your credit card statements from the previous month.” I will sit here and do all the math, then I send them back a summary. That summary is a mathematical summary. It’s not so personalized from a social perspective. It’s math. The math goes like this, “Here is the percentage that you’re getting back from your annual spend on benefits.”
To help you understand, the average person in America gets back under 1% of whatever they spend on their credit card in some form of benefit. There are three different types of benefits. There are credit card points, frequent flyer air miles and cashback. Those are the three different ways that you can get those benefits. I tell them what percentage they’re currently getting back. I tell them what percentage it could be if they take my advice and then we execute on the plan that I’ve built for them.
Let’s pretend an average person is 5%. From there, I tell them what that equates to in points. For argument’s sake, we’ll say it’s 300,000 credit card points a year. That doesn’t mean anything to anyone unless your name is Owen and you have lots of gray hair working all of that out. I then translate that into what does that mean in dollars in free travel, in either business class or coach for the year. For argument’s sake, the result might be $30,000 worth of business class travel for the year for free.
At the end of that summary, they have the option to click and book a consultation with me. It takes about an hour to two hours depending on who, what, where and when. I execute on the plan that I’ve made for them and that’s it. That’s the main bulk of my business. I also help people book flights like a travel agent. If you don’t want to pay for your flying, you can come to me and say, “I’ve got X amount of points or air miles and the two of us want to go to Paris for the weekend.” I will work it all out and off you go. I charge a small fee for my time for doing that. That’s my business model and how I do what I do now.
On a personal note. I am a single dad to a daughter. I was married for six years-ish. I have joint custody of my daughter. I get along very well with my ex-wife. You should probably have my ex-wife on here. She’s much more interesting than me and much more pleasant to the eye as well. We get along very well. We share our daughter 50% of the time. I am now officially American. It took me sixteen years to do the paperwork. I am a dual citizen, both British and American. I’m in the middle of knocking down my garage to build an ADU which is going to be a little house at the end of my house that I’m going to rent out to someone. That brings us back to the pandemic.
When COVID hit, my calendar completely cleared out. I went from seeing three clients a day to nothing. It was a tough time. I didn’t earn a penny from March 2020 when the pandemic hit until November 2020. It was a long stretch without a penny. As I was thinking, “Flying is never going to come back. Nobody’s ever going to want to get new credit cards and fly for free again,” Clubhouse came out. I have never in my entire life been as grateful as I am now. I didn’t know what I was missing. I don’t do any advertising or marketing. It’s all word of mouth. People come to see me, they get to fly for free and their friends come to see me. Clubhouse came out and I can open a room called How to Fly for Free, and 300 people will join me and of those 20, 30 people will contact me. I’m very grateful for Clubhouse. I’ve met you through it.
I was curious and I’m sure many people are also about what it was like for you with this career and travel and how the pandemic affected it. It sounds like you have become very financially savvy over the years. Hearing your stories about understanding credit cards, not many people can attest that that’s certainly an art form for lack of a better term. To the average person, they’re confusing. I’m certainly confused by them. I barely understand all the APR stuff. I don’t even want credit cards but I’ve relied on them at times. I’m working my way to paying down all my debt.
It’s interesting hearing this because it’s overwhelming enough to manage the cards and pay them down. Maybe once I have taken care of that, I can finally start to think about points because that’s something that I’ve been curious about for a long time. In 2020 and 2021, at least people might have been saving money and could pay down some cards. Some may set you up for success because perhaps if they have gotten a handle on that, they might feel more empowered and more eager to travel. There’s the other side of it where a lot of people struggled financially like you going from March to November of a year is a long time. Going back to my initial question with all your financial savviness, did you have a plan like a savings set up for you so that during that time it wasn’t as challenging? Did you find it so unexpected that you weren’t set up for it to take that much time off from your work?I tried 100 business models without knowing which of them would be successful. Click To Tweet
I should probably give you a bit more background which is aside from being a professional in sales, I’m an efficiency expert. Efficiency is looking at any process and being able to find the cheapest and quickest way of doing it. My whole life, I’ve changed processes to make them serve the purpose that I require. I’ve always been good with money, with numbers, scaling things and squeezing the last cent out of everything. I didn’t realize that this wasn’t my perfect life because I was distracted by A-list celebrities, drugs, sex, violence, money, gambling, flying and all that stuff. I was a crappy James Bond. Every day, I was on a plane with beautiful women and celebrities. There were money and drugs. It was fun and insane.
At the time, I didn’t think about tomorrow because I was so busy. I thought it would last forever. Eventually, one of my planes would crash or somebody would shoot me. It wasn’t until there was some disruptive technology in the media world which essentially was the internet itself. It was phones and cameras and then blogs. Media evolved and it became too scaled. The quality wasn’t there. It became quantity, not quality. Those same pictures that are worth $20,000 to $30,000 cost $2 to $3. I saw it coming and told my dad, “It’s time for me to get out.” I was making a nice living at the time but I could see the trajectory of where it was going. I did this for twenty years and I could see it was going to do that. I tried to get out as quickly as I could but I was so ingrained in it that it took me 4 or 5 years to finally pull the trigger and leave to open up The Points Partner.
With regards to me getting through the pandemic, I’m very blessed that I have a skillset in efficiency. I’ve owned a home and saved money. I have emergency funds. I wanted to touch on something you mentioned before which is you find credit card points secondary to paying off your bill, to begin with. You don’t have me here because I’m a pretty face. I’m not even a pretty face. I’m going to give some value to all of your audience and the two of you. I’ll try to explain a couple of simple things that people can write down that might help them. There are two major portions of credit cards. The first one is debt. The other one is benefits. Most people think that all credit cards are created equal, they are not. There are two types of credit cards. There are traditional credit cards that are meant for borrowing money when you don’t have any. There are charge cards and they look like credit cards. Most people call it a credit card but it’s different. They are designed to be paid off in full every month. Assuming that you do that, you are rewarded with benefits and those benefits are credit card points, air miles or cashback.
When you misuse a credit card for a charge card or a charge card for a credit card, that things start getting ugly. I specialize in the latter which is charge cards that are getting benefits from your credit cards. This conversation doesn’t even start until you’re out of debt and you’re paying off your bills every month. If you need to borrow money, the last thing you want is another credit card. What you need to do is earn more money and spend less, both of which I can help you with. That’s the prerequisite before getting in bed with the plane game. I want to make that very clear to anyone who’s reading this. Do not go out and get credit cards because you heard this guy with a British accent on this show. It starts with, “Are you paying your bills on time?” If you are, then you can go ahead and start playing the game. I do offer resources for people that don’t want to come and see me and pay me privately.
On my website, there’s a link called Get My New Card. You don’t need me. You don’t need to pay me. I put it up there for my clients with the best signup bonuses of the day. It’s updated every single day. If you are going to go get a credit card and you do want to get more points, you’re welcome to go to my website. There’s a link there for you to the absolute best deals of the day. I don’t earn any money from it and you don’t have to pay me. If you don’t know what you’re doing, at some point you’re going to need some information. I’m going to give you some simple ways of understanding it.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the points and credit card game and traveling for free, there are some great resources out there for free. There’s a website called The Points Guy. It’s the Wikipedia of everything that I know. I would highly recommend people going to that. What I do is the complete opposite of that. That’s generic information that you can read for 100 hours and draw useful information from it. However, they make their money by selling credit cards or services on the actual website. You need to read it with a pinch of salt because they’re essentially trying to sell you something. Whereas, what I do is the opposite. I don’t get paid by any banks or credit cards. I charge people but I help them as opposed to helping someone else. That’s conceptually the difference.
I’ll give you some super basic ways of understanding how credit cards and points work. The average American gets back under 1% of whatever they spend on their credit card in benefits. What I’m able to do is mathematically make them more efficient by using the right credit cards at the right time in the right places to hit these bonus categories that we talked about. Those big bonus categories are predominantly supermarkets, coffee houses, bars, restaurants, marketing, travel and gas. Those are the big ones. If you’re spending any money in those places, you are missing out on tons of points and the points mean prizes. That’s conceptually what I do. If the average person is getting back under 1%, that could be as much as 12% if they know what they’re doing.
I’m going to describe it the simplest way, it is complicated but my job is bringing it down to layman’s terms. The way that I do this is I’m going to show you The Points Partner’s pyramid of points. I want you to imagine a pyramid. At the very top of that pyramid are American Express and their points. They are worth the most. Below them are Chase and their points. They’re worth a little bit less. In the middle of the pyramid, you have all the other credit card companies like Capital One, Discover, Citibank, so on and so forth. At the bottom of the pyramid, you have 170 airlines and 10 different hotel groups, and their frequent flyer air miles or hotel points.
The reason I offer it to you as a pyramid is I want you all to remember this. If you take a handful of sand on your next vacation and you drop it on the floor, gravity will have it fall in a pyramid. The reason I want you to remember gravity is those points can only go down the pyramid. They can’t go up the pyramid. If you have your points at the top of American Express or Chase, you can transfer them down into an airline on the day that suits you best or in other words, whoever is doing it the cheapest that day. You cannot do it the other way around.
That’s why you’ll always hear me talk about credit card points, not air miles. Air miles are only useful to collect if you’re a very specific type of person. That person is somebody who works for a large corporation that has to fly the same route week in, week out because their company is paying for it. They have to fly on a particular airline. For those people, it makes a lot of sense to have these credit cards that are called co-branded. It’s an airline and a credit card that get together and you get loads of air miles for those types of people. For the other 97% of us, it doesn’t make sense. It makes much more sense to have credit card points and learn how to transfer them out. What do you think?
This is fascinating. I’m glad you have a lot of resources. I want to start tuning in on Clubhouse more often because you talk about this all the time. The visualization is incredibly helpful. It feels complex. That’s the thing that I’ve felt about credit cards. When I first got a credit card, I felt that I shouldn’t be doing this. I thought getting a credit card was a bad thing. When things were tough financially, I would use a credit card. A lot of people operate that way then they get in debt, then they feel completely burdened by it. I’m on a mission to clear my debt. It’s like a new door opens up that maybe I can start to get those benefits from it that you’re saying.
I love seeing stories of how people use their points to go on extraordinary vacations, which I imagine is a huge part of your work. I see that and I immediately think, “That feels like so much work.” Do I have to devote my entire life to understanding these things if I’m somebody who lives a pretty simple financial life? I don’t like to buy a lot of things. I’m not a big Amazon shopper. I do spend probably most of my money on a few big items a year. The grocery store is where the rest of my money goes. For anyone who can relate, it sounds like there’s an opportunity there.
Don’t be overwhelmed. They offer it to you in simple ways and complex ways. The easiest way to explain this is there are three different types of ways that you can get on a plane. The first way is you can pay for it and that’s what most people do. That’s not my favorite option. I don’t like to spend money. I like to make money. The second option is what they call pay with points. If you have a credit card that is collecting credit card points, the likelihood is it’s with American Express, Chase or possibly Citibank and many others like Capital One. You are collecting points.
You are welcome to go on their website and to their travel portal. You can book any plane, any cruise ship or any hotel in the world. It’s no different to being on Kayak, Expedia or Google Flights. You can book anything you want. You can pay with your points that you have. It couldn’t be any simpler. The problem with it is that the valuation that they give you of your points is 100 to 1. It means if you’re booking something that costs $1,000, they’re going to charge you 100,000 points for doing so. The reason that people mainly think there’s no value to these points is that they spent years collecting them and then threw them all away on one flight. They’re like, “That wasn’t worth my time and effort. Why is this guy doing this for a living? There’s no value in it.”Let’s not confuse arrogance with confidence. Confidence is knowing that you can and not being shy about it. Click To Tweet
The reason that they don’t understand the value is that they don’t know about the third option. If we go back to my triangle, if you close your eyes and imagine that triangle, I’ve got my American Express points at the top. I can transfer those points out of American Express all the way down into one of 170 airlines and book the cheapest sale price, business class, award ticket there is. I’m going to give you an example of all three of those options so you can understand the value difference. I live in Los Angeles. I’ve decided that I’m going to fly to Paris to do this show with you. I want to do it near the Eiffel Tower. I want a sale-price business class ticket from Los Angeles to Paris and back again. There are three different ways of paying for it. One, I can pay with cash. Two, I can pay with points on the credit card company’s website. Three, I can transfer the points out. If I was to buy that ticket, it would cost me $7,000. That’s not going to happen.
The second option is I can pay 100 times the cost of the flight in points or pay with points. That would cost me 700,000 points. The third option is I could transfer them down my pyramid into an appropriate airline, which is likely to be Air France. I might find a sale-price business class ticket that would cost me 104,000 points. The difference between moving the points out and doing it in the American Express portal is seven times the value. That’s using points or points going out. I would be getting seven times the amount that somebody else would. When we talk about points coming in, most people are getting around 1% back. I’m able to average about 4% or 5%. I’m getting four times the amount on the way in and seven times the amount on the way out. If you add those together, that’s eleven times. That is how I take people from 1% to 11% back of what they spend. Is that clear?
100%. I’m wide-eyed because you’re opening a whole world. I wish I had known about you before I got all my credit cards. That’s the thought in my head when you were talking about American Express. I have one of those co-branded Delta cards and I have all these points. You’re like, “That works for 3% of the population.” I’m like, “I’m not one of those that fly for my corporate job and goes to Dallas back to LA back to Dallas.” I have this Amex card. I remember getting it like, “I’m getting a good card” and then I’m like, “Shit, I’m not getting a good card.” I wish I would have had you as my travel Yoda years ago but here we are. You’re my Yoda now.
A lot of people have the same reaction which is, “I’ve missed out on so much.” The short answer is, “You have.” On the upside, you have an opportunity now and you have more information to do something about it. People are directly messaging me off my Instagram going, “I don’t understand. How do you always get to fly in business class?” I’m like, “Come see me. I’ll tell you how I do it.” It’s not rocket science. I’m not a magician. I don’t have a skill that is crazy that it’s a scam. It’s being efficient once you understand the rules. I don’t break any rules. A lot of people use this phrase, “I’m a travel hacker.” I hate that phrase because hacking gives the implication that I’m cheating, I’m breaking something or I’m doing something in a gray area. I am none of the above. I call myself a travel efficiency expert. That’s the difference. There’s nothing derogatory. You’re not screwing anyone over. People always ask me, “Do the airlines hate you? Do the credit card companies hate you?” No, they love me because when people talk to me, they go and sign up for credit cards and they make their money. I’m not breaking anything. I’m simply using what’s available there to you within the rules. Nobody’s getting hurt or getting upset. You get a bed on a plane instead of paying for a crappy seat at the back. It’s that simple.
Being an entrepreneur in the media side, the paparazzi business and with The Points Partner, one thing that we talk about is the mental journey of being an entrepreneur. I’m curious in two ways. You mentioned being a bulldog when you got into the media business. What are some of the skills in both of those industries that you found have translated and been effective for you, just the foundational skills as a business person or an entrepreneur? The second thing is, was there at any point during this pandemic where you were like, “I’m going to give up and do something else.” What was the tenacity that allowed you to weather that point between March and November of 2020 and not throw in the towel completely?
I’m going to pop onto this in clichés. My first one is I don’t negotiate with terrorists. That’s a starting point. What I mean by that is don’t talk about things that you don’t know about. If you do know about it, then you know better than the person that you’re talking to. I’ll equate that or analogize that back to The Points Partner. I know that I can help people and there is value there. I can help them fly for free. The fact that I couldn’t find the right business model for it at first was a hurdle. The fact that there was a world pandemic and nobody could get on a plane was a problem. It’s a massive hurdle, but it doesn’t change the fact that I can bring value financially. This year might not have been the best year to get into a travel business. At the same time, the long-term effect was there was something there.
I struggled for three years to find the right business model. I tried doing it in twenty different ways. I tried doing Zoom calls with hundreds of people. I booked conference suites at Hilton Hotels and tried to pack it out like I was an inspirational speaker. I tried seeing people one on one. I tried recording videos and building a funnel system online. I tried 100 different business models knowing that I didn’t know which one was the right one, but I knew eventually one of them would prove to be successful. The result is what I’ve got now works. It will never make me $1 trillion, but it will allow me to live a nice life for almost next to no stress. I used to be stressed out with what I did, flying around the world, fighting with security, police, celebrities, other photographers and members of the public. Now I sit in my pajamas and talk about credit card points which I love, and I help people.
There are a lot of moral implications for being a paparazzi photographer. I do a lot of talking head stuff on TV about that. I don’t try to defend it but I do try and explain it. I now found myself in the complete opposite. What I do is so positive. They always say every company should have a mission statement. My mission statement is, “I like to be woken up in the middle of the night with a text message with a picture of you in a bed on a plane saying, ‘Thank you, I only paid $100 for this instead of $7,000.’” That is my mission statement. It puts a smile on my face. If you can live like an absolute gangster and you don’t have gangster money and you didn’t hurt anyone, that’s a win. That’s my mission statement.
Going back to the mentality of an entrepreneur and what it takes to be successful, I don’t know if I’m qualified enough to answer that but I’ll happily give you my opinion. What’s worked for me is the cliché of, “When you get knocked down, you dust yourself off and get back up again.” It’s the opposite of that. That may work for Aretha Franklin or whoever it was who sang that one but it doesn’t work for me. If I get knocked down, I don’t need to dust myself off because I would have already gotten back up, I’m fighting and I’m going to war. The mentality is pure aggression and focus. If that doesn’t work, I’ll find another way of doing it. If I notice that all of these ways aren’t working, I’ll sit down and stare at a wall, then come up with twenty different ways knowing that they’re not going to work. I’ll have the next one lined up to try and make it work. It’s sheer aggression and drive. You have to believe in yourself, otherwise, no one will believe in you.
If I tell you, “I think I can help you get a bed on a plane for free.” You’re like, “I’m not sure about him.” If I’m telling you 100% I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it. It’s having that confidence. Let’s not confuse arrogance with confidence. Arrogance is when you think or you want everyone else to think that you can do something. Confidence is knowing that you can and not being shy about it. Scalability is imperative to every business. My business is all about educating people on a subject they know nothing about and they think they don’t care about.
That’s a hard thing to market because nobody’s looking for me. I can’t advertise on Facebook or Instagram because people that would be looking for it are not the people I’m trying to see. I’m trying to see people like you two that don’t know about it and don’t even care about it because you think there’s no value. How do I find those people? The answer was I’ve always struggled. I work hard and people tell their friends and there have been referrals that came through. Clubhouse is the perfect platform for me because I can go into any room. It doesn’t need to be about credit cards, points or travel. For example, we met in a Britney Spears room on Clubhouse and a few weeks later, I’m doing your show. There will be more people that will be mildly educated on how they can fly for free. That has been the most scalable business model.
I started a room on Clubhouse. I swear to you on my mother’s life that this is a true story. I was about to cook dinner. I was making lamb chops and broccoli. I opened the room called How Should I Cook My Broccoli? Seventy-five people came in and told me how they would cook my broccoli for dinner. I reset the room, introduced myself and said, “I’m going to reset the room real quick. My name is Owen. For those of you who don’t know me. I’m known as The Points Partner. I help people maximize their credit card benefits. I get them, mathematically, as many points as I can. I teach them how to fly for free in business class.” I then went straight back to talking about broccoli. I got 25 people that followed me on Instagram, seven of them went on my website and filled out a form. After this interview, I already have one of them as a client. It is that simple.
I urge everyone who is an entrepreneur trying to make it, it’s tough and you better be tougher. It’s not easy. Your friends and family will tell you, “It can’t be done. Go get a job. Give up. Go back to school.” If you believe that what you do brings value, do not start by trying to make money. If you’re trying to make money, in my opinion, you’re going to fail. Starting by telling everyone you want their money is not a good place to start. If you think you can help someone with a product or a service, find the right business model. That might take a long time depending on how smart you are, the luck or the people that you meet.
I am a huge believer in networking. For every coffee you buy someone, you will learn something. You’ll meet someone new. You’ll be introduced to someone new. Back from my old world in media, a lot of the time, I get hundreds of people around the world every month that contact me and ask what it’s like to come and live in Los Angeles and make it as an actor, singer, dancer or photographer. I always tell them one thing, “Make sure you have a massive coffee budget.” There is nothing more powerful than saying to someone, “Let me take you for coffee.” It costs you $5 but I promise you that they’re your new friend by the end of it. They’ll introduce you to someone else that will help you along your path for whatever your dream is. Above all else, have a coffee budget and meet people. Clubhouse, I couldn’t be a bigger fan. It doesn’t even cost me $5 for a coffee. You can open up a room called How Do I Cook My Broccoli? You can meet people and make money.If you believe that what you do brings value, do not start by trying to make money. If you’re trying to make money, you’re going to fail. If you think you can help someone with a product or a service, find the right business model. Click To Tweet
I love that because I feel alike with so many people being interested in health, broccoli is one of those foods that people associate with health. I wouldn’t be surprised if a bunch of Clubhouse rooms started with that title. You can take some credit for it. I also find your coffee budget interesting. Didn’t you say coffee shops are a great place to get your credit card gets points? What phrase do you use?
Coffee houses have what’s called a bonus category. It’s a place where you can get more than one point or 1% cashback per dollar that you spend. The average person in America who buys a $10 coffee is getting ten points or $0.10 back. What I’m able to do is recommend them the right credit card for that where they would be getting four times that amount.
In a way, your advice doubles up because you get the coffee experience that you’re encouraging people to do and get the credit card benefits.
We’re getting somewhere now. This is what we call coupon stacking. I do a one-on-one class and then I do a gangster class. I do what’s called digital coupon stacking. I’m here to give your audience value. I’m going to throw out a couple of gems for nothing. The first gem that I’m going to give you is if you are human and live in America, the likelihood is that you eat and drink. The best credit card to have, assuming they have a credit score of above 600, is the American Express Gold card. I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about this credit card. Grab a pen and paper, I will give away some secrets. The bad news is that this card comes with an annual fee. It’s $250. This is the point where most people go, “I’m not paying $250 for that credit card.” Yes, you are and I’m going to get you all that money back and some. If you want to apply for this credit card, you can go to my website. There’s a link called Get My New Card. It comes in gold and rose gold which is a special edition. I highly recommend the rose gold one.
Rose gold is my favorite thing right now. I feel like this is my sign.
When the card arrives, call the number at the back of the card and ask to speak to Card Services. Ask them to enroll you in the dining program. When you do that, they’re going to read you a paragraph. You’re not signing up for anything, you’re not paying anything, they can’t charge you anything. It’s just terms and conditions. You say, “Okay,” at the end of it. Once you’ve done that, every month that you spend $10 or more in any of the five following places, you’ll get a $10 statement credit on your account. Those five places are Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Shake Shack. If you buy one meal a month on Grubhub or Seamless, you’re getting $10 back every month. There are twelve months a year, we’ve got back $120 of our $250 annual fee.
The other thing that this card comes with is the same deal but you don’t need to enroll. It’s with Uber. If you take one car a month or order one meal from Uber Eats a month, you’re getting another $120 back a year. That’s two times $120. That’s $240 of your $250 annual fee that you’re getting back. Now this card is costing us $10. What do we get for our $10? You get four times points for everything edible. I’m talking supermarkets, coffee houses, bars, restaurants, delicatessens. Anywhere that is serving food or drink to you, you’re going to get four times the points. That’s how easy it is. I go into a lot more detail for my clients but you don’t need that. I do want to bring value here. That is an awesome one to do. On my website, there’s a button called Get My New Credit Card. You can find every credit card that you ever hear me talk about on there and I update them daily with the best signup bonuses. It’s 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 within six months or something. It’s very achievable. The likelihood is that will change but if it’s anything above 20,000 or 30,000 points, it’s worth getting that card. That’s one bit of hot value that I wanted to bring.
There’s another phenomenal one. There’s something called shopping portals. These are websites or apps where you can tell where you’re about to spend money using your laptop, desktop and phone. They will link you straight back to the site that you came from but they will monitor what you’re spending on that site and they’ll sell that information to whoever it is that you’re buying from. Essentially, you’re selling your data but it’s the data that you are giving to them anyway and they give you cashback. There are hundreds of these things. I will give you my top pick for the one that is the best. The one that I get the most cashback from every quarter. It’s a company called Rakuten. They do a referral program.
As long as a friend sends you a link to sign up for it, it’s free to sign up and doesn’t cost anything and they’ll give you $20 for signing up. You can make $20 by writing your name and your email address. It’s that simple. They send you a physical check every three months for all of your cashback. How much cashback do you get? It depends on how much you’re shopping. I don’t spend an awful lot of money. I’m an efficiency expert by trade. I don’t spend much and I still get about $250 a quarter. That’s $1,000 a year that they’re giving. I would highly recommend you to sign up for Rakuten. You will need a referral link to get $20. Find a friend who’s got it or you can direct message me on Instagram @ThePointsPartner and I’ll send you a referral link. I might put a link on my website with a button that you can click on to sign up. Was that useful?
That’s incredibly valuable. I’ve never had an American Express card but I believe it’s common that places don’t take it. Is that true? I thought that was the big drawback to the card.
You’re right. You will need a supporting Visa. The American Express card is going to be upfront and stage and center. You’re going to need a support act in the background which should be a Visa card. If the majority of where you’re spending can take American Express, you can go ahead and use your debit card from your bank for the rest of it because it represents such a small percentage. If a lot of the places that you spend money don’t take American Express then you might want to look for a different Visa card that also has some benefits. A good pairing with the gold card if you need a supporting Visa would be any one of the low-end Chase cards and there are a bunch of them. There is the Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Sapphire Preferred. I would highly recommend those three as a supporting Visa card to your American Express card.
The reason that a lot of places don’t take American Express is that the amount that they charge the merchant is much higher. Some stores and restaurants don’t want to pay that extra 3% that they charge so they don’t carry it. The extra percentage that they charge the merchant is being given to us, the people in the cool club who have the American Express card. That’s why we get more rewards with the American Express card. The aim of the game is to know what you’re spending and where you’re spending it. Most people in America don’t struggle to use an American Express card. When you leave America on your free travel that you’ll be doing. You’re going to struggle to use your American Express card as much, which is where your supporting Visa comes into play.
You’re such a wealth of information. It’s fascinating because people are looking for ways to be savvy about money without being overwhelmed. There’s also the draw of travel so you are offering so much value through the work that you’re doing. My other question is one place that I have started to learn is TikTok. I know things are going well in Clubhouse for you. Have you explored that platform?
Here’s where I stand on social media and it’s different for every person. What I do does not mean that’s what everyone else should do. It’s what’s right for me. Instagram is the pillar of people valuing you. People want to see pictures of you. People look for links to your website and your other social media. Instagram is the home because it has evolved from Facebook over the years. I am on Facebook, Instagram, Clubhouse, those are my three big ones. They’re all different for different reasons. I’m also on LinkedIn and all that stuff. I focus very much on Instagram and Clubhouse. For me, that’s the leader service or the way that I get to meet people and help people and bring value. I’m going to keep saying value because that’s what it comes down to. If you can’t bring value and help someone, why are you bothering them to begin with? It bothers me when you get stuff in the mail and they’re trying to sell you something. They are starting by saying you want my money. I’m not interested. You should start by telling me you’re going to make me money. That would be helpful and that’s what I do.For every coffee you buy someone, you will learn something. Click To Tweet
If I like to meet people, Clubhouse is the easiest way for me to get an audience and to bring value. The only way that you can link out of there is through Twitter or Instagram. I don’t do Twitter because I know my skillset and I’m dyslexic. For someone who’s essentially a mathematician, I excel in math but I’m terrible at reading and writing relatively. I have people link to my Instagram and they can directly message me. They can come to my website, they can knock on my front door or send a pigeon. In answer to your specific question about TikTok, I’ve messed around with it. I don’t think it’s the right platform for me. I don’t have the time. I’m too busy talking on Clubhouse, doing shows with beautiful people like the two of you, seeing clients or booking flights for people. I love talking to people so I allow them to book a call with me. I don’t charge them. I want to hear what they’re up to and see if I can bring some quick value. If you help people, the rest comes later.
I have a question that’s a bridge between your previous profession and your current one. It has to do with the nature of marketing, building a personal brand and the nature of celebrities and how celebrities are treated. One of the fascinating aspects of the rise of the internet, social media and reality television is in every industry, some people and entrepreneurs are trying to establish a personal brand. It’s not just for credibility, trust and value, but also for the idea of creating their microcosm of celebrity in their industry. We have celebrity chefs, celebrity real estate people, celebrity interior designers, probably celebrity garbage men at some point. Everything’s being celebrity-fide if you will. In building your brand, are there any techniques in terms of creating a buzz around yourself? Do you even want that? Is there any benefit you see in terms of creating a platform where you are regarded in that way? Is there any value to that in terms of how you build your brand and your business?
Yes is the short answer. Growing up around celebrities, I saw the power of celebrities. Don’t be confused with what a celebrity is. A celebrity is a marketing tool. It’s a way of reaching people. What you reach them with is another conversation. There’s a massive difference between marketing a person or a brand with a specific purpose in mind and doing it for the sake of doing it, and then something will come out of it. I’ll give you an example of both. I try to reach as many people as possible because I want to help them and bring value. In turn, they will pay me for my services. I’m creating a brand or a celebrity if you want to call it with a view to it being my business and me making money and helping them in exchange.
Kim Kardashian who I was a huge part of her success in the early days was the complete opposite. She’s a visionary. She is an entrepreneur and a very smart woman. She saw that the platform of being a celebrity brought so many people many opportunities. Something would come out of it that would make her money. She didn’t have something in mind, to begin with. She knew that marketing herself as a person or a brand. It’s like having coffee with ten million people every time you post a picture on Instagram. Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Lindsay Lohan, the list goes on, are marketing geniuses. If we backtrack when I was talking about going for a coffee, meet people, network, that’s the way you’ll eventually find your way. They found a way of scaling that. They can have ten million coffees a day. Somebody is going to contact them with something that they want to pay them for. That is their business model. It’s the same path. One is you know what you want your result to be. The other is you’ll go down the road and the path will show itself. That would be my response to that one.
Psychologically and sociologically speaking, what do you think are the roots of the power of celebrity? In some ways, we almost treat people with a level of fame and influence whether that’s through the traditional routes, television, movies, music, etc. Now we have social media celebrities. We give them power, privilege and access. What is it about human psychology and the way that we interact with each other where we elevate certain people to godlike status? We deify them. Why do you think we do that as humanity? What do you think is behind that?
I spent many years watching the power of celebrities and what it does to their fans and followers. I have two answers. I’m going to change the question slightly and add in some extra value, which is what I get asked a lot when I’m doing talking head stuff on TV about why celebrities end up killing themselves. It’s the same answer. I’m going to answer this in two parts. The first answer is going to be hope and the second answer is going to be religion. I’ll start with hope. Why do celebrities end up overdosing and killing themselves? The answer is a lack of hope.
We wake up every day and we hope that tomorrow we can make more money, be more successful, be healthier, whatever it is that your wishes, hopes and dreams are. We hope because tomorrow could always be brighter. When you’re given what you’ve always wanted, which is what every celebrity has, they want to be rich and famous and they’re given that. What do you think they hope for? I’ll tell you the answer is pretty sad. The answer is they don’t have hope. They are hopeless. When you are hopeless and you’ve got too much money and time, you will do drugs and things that are bad for you. Unfortunately, the results are in the likes of Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, so on and so forth. That would be my answer for that. That’s the hope answer.
The other answer is religion. If you look back in history, religion is always what tied together people mentally, physically and in the community. Religion keeps you disciplined to make sure you don’t go off the rails. You could always look up to your local priest, rabbi or whichever religion you are. There was somebody locally in your village that you could go to if you felt bad or look up to who helped guide you and keep you disciplined with the rules of that particular religion. As the world has evolved, we have essentially priests and rabbis who aren’t priests and rabbis. We have Kim Kardashian preaching that everyone should get their boobs done and buy her lingerie.
We’ve become so left-wing and accepting of each other that there’s no longer segregation. Therefore there’s no need to say, “I am Jewish. I am Christian. I am Muslim.” Religion is on a downturn, which is a bad thing. People are not disciplined. If you’re not disciplined and you’ve got nobody to lead you, you’re going to do worse things for your life because you have no discipline. At the same time, you’re going to be letting people lead you in a place that’s not good for you. Normally, it’s to sell you something but there can be other concerning things as well. My two answers are hope and religion. Does that resonate with either one of you?
Absolutely. On this show, we’re always trying to get to the dynamic of the why. Why do we worship people the way we do? Why do we deify them? Why do we value them in the ways that we do? I thought your answer was wise and poignant. You mentioned being hyper-efficient. You didn’t use the word ruthlessly efficient but I’m putting that in there. You seem to be a ruthlessly efficient person. Is there an offshoot of this mentality of efficiency that gets into minimalism in your life? Do you not buy that many things? Do you keep a simple home life? Is minimalism tied into part of your efficiency at all?
Let’s talk about the room that I’m in. I’m in my lounge dining room. Behind me are a few simple pictures on the wall of things that I’ve shot around Hollywood over the years. How do we decorate a room? What’s an efficient way of decorating a room? If I had such little stuff in the room that wasn’t pleasant, that’s not efficient because now it’s not decorated. It’s got sparse things to look at. On the other end of the scale, if I go out and buy all the most expensive, gorgeous artwork, couches and the like, that’s inefficient because I’ve spent too much money and now the room looks too full and it’s not a pleasant place to be. It’s cluttered. It’s about finding a healthy balance of efficiency.
In one of the sections that I do in my consultations, I do a section called Home Efficiency and Optimization. People always assume that’s going to be ways that I tell them to not spend money. The short answer is I want them to spend less money but I still want them to have the same experience for whatever it was that they were trying to purchase, be it a product or a service. I’ll give you an example of where you need to find a balance. I love lamb chops. I had lamb chops for dinner. I cannot live without lamb chops. I don’t care that it’s more expensive than chicken. I want a lamb chop. It’s not efficient for me to eat chicken instead of lamb because then I’m not getting the experience of the lamb.
It’s also not efficient for me to go to my local farmers’ market and buy lamb because it will be expensive that it will represent a larger percentage of my weekly food shop. What is efficient? It’s efficient to say, “There’s something that I have to buy because it’s important to me. It has value to me.” How can I buy this for cheaper? There are twenty different answers but the first thing I always look at especially when it comes to food and things around the house is scalability. If you buy something in bulk, you’ll get a better price. I buy my lamb chops at Costco because Costco does it at about 40% less than my farmers’ market. Going to Costco is annoying because it’s far away. When I go, I buy seven racks of lamb and I put 4 or 5 of them in the freezer. I put one of them in the fridge for later on in the week. I leave one out to room temperature for the night.
If you’re doing dry goods, dry goods are such a place that people can save money. All you need to do is go on Amazon or Target and try and buy the biggest one that you can. It will last forever but you’ll get a much better price. Let’s talk about coffee. Coffee is a huge one that I beat people up on. I have an espresso machine at home. Without being arrogant, I can easily go to Starbucks and buy myself a coffee but I don’t because I’m an efficiency expert. It’s inefficient for me to pay $6 for a coffee when it only tastes twice as good as one that costs me 100th of the cost. I have an espresso machine at home, which is not the cheapest way to make coffee at home but it’s that balance of value. I don’t want to French Press and drive myself crazy. I don’t have the time. I want to chuck a pod in and be done with it.Make sure you have a massive coffee budget. There is nothing more powerful than inviting someone to coffee. Click To Tweet
I have an espresso machine but here’s the payoff, I don’t buy Nespresso pods. I buy off-brand in bulk from Amazon with my Amazon credit card where I get 5% back. If you want to buy a single Nespresso pod, it’s going to cost you $1 to $1.25 per pod. I pay $0.21 for my pods and I then get 5% back. That’s a good example of finding balance with value to spend less money, get more points but still have a relatively pleasant experience with that particular product or service.
I like your approach because you’re not encouraging people to be ascetic like to save money and be efficient, you have to give up the things you enjoy. You’re saying that we can still have the things we enjoy and love but we can do it in a much more mindful and efficient way, which is good. Some of the people I’ve seen out there giving financial advice, they’re like, “You need to cut this out, cut that out, stop doing this and stop eating that.” You’re saying, “Enjoy the things you want to enjoy, just be strategic about it.”
Here’s how you become efficient and I’m going to use home spend as the basis for this. Write down everything that you want for the month. The easiest way to do that is to print out last month’s statement, debit or credit card and look at what it was you bought. Chop it all up, put it on a table in front of you and put it in priority order. What’s the most important? I can answer the question for you because I do this for a living. The answer is a roof over your head. Rent or mortgage will be number one, then it’s going to be your bills, then it’s going to be food, then maybe your phone bill, internet bill, etc. Below that is everything else. Now that you know what’s most important to you, attack those big ones first.
We’ll start with rent oblique mortgage. If that represents more than 30% of your income every month, you’re living in the wrong place. It should be around 30%. For most people, it’s not. It’s higher than that. Be aware of that. In an ideal world, 30% to 35% of what you earn should go on your accommodation. The next third should be all of your bills and regular payments, phone, gas, electricity, Netflix, internet, etc. The last third is going to be food and entertainment. Once you know what’s important to you, you can prioritize and say, “That brings me value.”
A lot of the time, I look at people’s credit card statements and I attack them. I say, “I see that you went to HomeGoods four times this month and you spent $300. What did you buy?” “I bought this vase and I bought a picture for the spare room.” I’m like, “I get that they’re useful. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have them. On a list of the most important things to you, would you rather go out for dinner once a week or would you rather have that vase?” You have to look at the value that you’re getting from each thing and prioritize. Once you know what your priorities are, you can have whatever you want because you’re going to get the stuff you care about and not a ton of the stuff you don’t care about.
I’ve got hundreds of these little tips. Another one is to count the bags. Count how many bags come in your front door and count how many bags go out your back door. Do it for one week. Jason and Whitney, promise me you’ll do this. It’s a great exercise. What you’ll find is that you’re bringing in five bags a day from Whole Foods or wherever you go shopping. You’re only chucking out two trash cans out the back. That means your house is slowly filling full of crap. Do not overwhelm your guests in your home by feeling cluttered with all the crap that you have everywhere. Be efficient. Try it for one week. Make sure that for every bag that comes in, a bag goes out. That way your house is not filling up. Every ten years, you don’t have to take a week off work to clear out your entire house and throw all the crap that you bought and wasted money on out.
There are lots of these things. Food shopping is another great one. Food is the number one place you can either get points or save money if not both at the same time. When you eat or drink anything in your house that you would like to have, just write it down again on the fridge or in the note section on your phone. When you go shopping, buy the things that are on your list. Don’t walk around and see all the shiny things in the store and go, “That’s interesting.” You didn’t want it. You don’t need it. If you eat something and you finish it, put it on a list. Once a week, rush to a store and grab those things and get out. Do not be sold by the 10,000 other items that they have. I have a daughter and I’ve trained her that when we go into a supermarket and when we get to the front section, I say, “What’s this section called?” She says, “It’s called the impulse purchase section and this is where you don’t buy anything.” It’s all about how you train your brain to understand your life and understand the rules.
I love what you’re saying. Efficiency is something that I have mixed feelings about because I’m drawn to efficiency as well for money’s sake and time’s sake, and this minimalism mentality. Sometimes we can overdo it when it comes to efficiency and become obsessed that we’re trying to make everything efficient and then that can burn us out. It’s almost like you need to be efficient with being efficient.
You took the words out of my mouth. If you spend so much time being efficient but you don’t feel good about it, that’s inefficient. I know it’s an ironic statement but you have to take efficiency for what it is. It’s only efficient if it works. If it doesn’t work then that’s not efficient. You describing spending too much time being efficient is inefficient by the sheer nature of it. You always have to look at what you’re trying to get out of the situation, time versus money versus value versus happiness. It’s tough to do that when we’re all so busy. You wake up in the morning and you’re hungover, the dog is on your face, the kids are screaming and you got to rush off to work. Life gets in the way. How do you do something about that? You have to be efficient and say, “Saturday morning, when I know I have an hour, let me print out my credit card statement and write down what’s important to me. Let me make a shopping list for next week.”
Another thing that I like to do is I’m going to do more fun stuff in the kitchen because food is where you can make or break your points and your bank. When you get back from the supermarket, before you put the food in, take everything out of the fridge. Why do we do this? If you’re going to a supermarket, they always stack from the back in the fridge section. Why do they do that? It’s because the sell-by date of the stuff at the front is going bad. When you get back home and put all of your groceries at the front of your fridge, you’re going to eat those. You’re not going to put your hand all the way to the back. All the stuff that was in the fridge is going to go bad and then you got to throw it out. Don’t think that it’s inefficient to have to take everything out of the fridge because you’re going to have to do that anyway when you go to throw it out. You might as well get it over and done with. Change it around and put the new stuff at the back, the old stuff at the front and then you’ll eat that before it goes bad saving you time and money. That’s a good one. I like that one.
Where were you when I needed this advice? Speaking of coffee, I made myself a coffee and took a sip and I was like, “This doesn’t taste right.” I realized my creamer had gone bad because it was in the back of the fridge and I did not prioritize it before the other creamer that I was too excited. All of your advice is helpful for these practical ways of life. You dropped so much value throughout this. It’s interesting because you’re right about what you were saying about Clubhouse for you. A lot of people are drawn into celebrity conversation. I met you through the Free Britney conversation, which is fascinating.
I’m fascinated by the paparazzi. I went out to eat for the first time at a restaurant in a while. I need to ask you this as an aside because every time I go by this restaurant, I wonder, “What is going on at Craig’s Restaurant?” I’ve never been there but I’ve been many times to the restaurant across the street, Gracias Madre. Every time I go to Gracias Madre, I look across at Craig’s and I’m like, “What is with the paparazzi there? Why are there always paparazzi at certain restaurants?” I want to know from a personal level because this is part of my fascination.
Let’s unpack Gracias Madre and Craig’s. Gracias Madre, for those of you who don’t know, is a vegan or vegetarian restaurant on Melrose here in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. I don’t like it because even though it’s vegetarian, it’s heavy. I leave there and I feel like I’ve eaten a truck.
We have to acknowledge that because Jason and I make jokes about it. Every single time without fail, I leave that restaurant, I don’t feel great because I’m either full or the food did not agree with me.Celebrity is just a marketing tool. Click To Tweet
Across the road is Craig’s and it is what we call a seen or to be seen place. The idea is if you’re in media, Hollywood, TV, music, film, digital, it is the place if you’re taking someone to show this town and how it works. It’s the new Ivy. It used to be the Ivy in the ‘90s and the noughties. Now it’s Craig’s. It’s a gathering place for celebrities, agents, writers and paparazzi to shoot them. It’s that simple. If I’m taking someone out for dinner and I’m trying to impress them with who I know in Hollywood, I got to Craig’s because everyone else will be there and people will come over to my table and say, “How’s it going, Owen?” It’s a seen and be seen place. As a paparazzi, if you’ve got nothing better else to do, you go and hang out there. There will be something to shoot by 7:00 PM, for sure. On that note, the chicken there is particularly phenomenal. They do a buttermilk chicken. If you do ever go there, that’s what you should have. On top of that, you would want to use your American Express Gold or Rose Gold card to pay for your meal and get four times points.
Because of TikTok, I also saw that the bread was good there.
Pretty much everything there is amazing.
Jason and I are both vegan and grateful that there are vegan options there including their ice cream, which they now sell in stores. It’s fascinating to me because living in Los Angeles, celebrity culture is such a huge part of the city. I find that the paparazzi world has this fascinating element to it. One other point that I want to touch on there is the Megan Markel and Prince Harry interview on Oprah. The paparazzi has been such a big part of the Royal story. They’re a big part of celebrity culture. I wonder also if the paparazzi influence social media in a lot of ways because many of us grew up seeing celebrities get photographed and get all this attention.
Now, people are almost becoming their own paparazzi over time. Instagram and the photo have become valuable and yet you were saying that is also not as valuable anymore because of it. It’s almost like a snake eating its own tail type of thing. People want to be seen in photos but the value has gone down because many people are doing it and we have so much access. I’m curious about your overall perspective especially now that you’re out of that industry and you can look at it with a little less bias than you used to.
I’ll start by saying I’ve shot all the Royals. I’ve done plenty of stuff with them over the years. My claim to fame is I was the first-ever person to get Kate Middleton’s address. I shot her every morning taking out her trash exclusively and made a fortune. The headline was, “The future Queen of England taking out her trash.” If you’re bored, Google those pictures. They’re fun. It’s all-encompassing. The paparazzi themselves do not determine the rhetoric. We take the pictures and then the editor or the journalist for the newspaper magazine blog or website creates the rhetoric with what they write. It’s all about what you write. You can ask a question in a headline that implies something horrific but doesn’t give you any fact.
I’ll give you an example. We can say, “This interview is Jason and Whitney interviewing Owen Bieny, The Points Partner.” We could say, “Jason and Whitney, did they have a racist Points Partner on their show?” It’s not saying I’m racist. It’s a question but the implication is there and now you’re creating a rhetoric that the Points Partner is racist, which I am not. A great exercise to do is take any article, any newspaper, any magazine and cross out any sentence that has a question mark in it because it’s not giving you any information. It’s asking a question but it will make you think differently about the content.
The other thing you can do is cross out any sentence that refers to someone without a name. If they say, “A source said or a friend of so and so said,” you can delete that. It doesn’t exist. It’s bullshit. My gut feeling is by the time you finish crossing out the ones with question marks and the ones that refer to people that don’t have names, you’re left with the facts. It will represent about 20% of whatever it was that you were reading and it will be boring. “Somebody walked into a restaurant,” is what you’ll get. That’s a great fun exercise that I always like people to try out. It will change the way you look at what the media and the news that you’re being fed are.
With regards to the pictures and fame of everyone, it’s simple. It’s quality versus quantity. Back in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s even, we had true celebrities or people that were famous. Everybody knew them because of their talent. They could sing, dance, direct and they could create. Now everyone is famous. Whoever has the most followers and the most clicks or likes gets the attention of everyone even though they don’t necessarily have a talent for singing, dancing and the like. There are pros and cons to that. It’s mainly cons. If we go back to religion, we’ve now got eight billion people on earth following imbeciles that shouldn’t be followed. That’s the downside.
The upside is it’s a fair stage and everyone gets a fair chunk of the marketing audience to do whatever it is that they want to do. Without Clubhouse, would I be successful? Yes, I would because I’d fight to the death but it will take me a lot longer. There are advantages for the average human to have these stages, these platforms, these social media apps and websites to get an audience for whatever it is they’re doing. That would be my response on that one.
Through this episode, I feel like I have taken more notes than I have on any other episode, which was delightfully unexpected. I’m going to get myself a Gold Card after this, thanks to your advice. You added so much incredible value from the heart coming on and giving people these gold or rose gold nuggets of wisdom. You’re doing it with such a joyful spirit. The other thing also is you have a joyful buoyancy about you. There’s a sweet spirit that you have. It’s no wonder people love to work with you because you’re not only bringing value, you’re bringing a lot of fun and joyfulness to it. It’s been a phenomenal episode with you. I’m going to stalk you and dig in more of your advice after this so that I can optimize my whole travel system and my point system, which I feel is woefully inadequate.
It’s ironic. You used to be stalking other people and now you’re having people stalk you, Owen.
How the tables have turned? That’s a part of my shtick. I spent years badgering celebrities, being negative and stalking people. Now the tables have turned and karma is a bitch. Now, I have to be nice and bring lots of value. People stalk me and I help people do something, which is super cool. Jason, thank you so much for your kind words. I’m pleased that I come across in the same positive light that I try to. At the end of the day, we all need to get along, be nice to each other, bring value to each other, help each other and bring us all up and not just one of us.
With that being said, I’m going to shamelessly plug my situation. For those of you who don’t know already, I am The Points Partner. I help people maximize their credit card benefits. I get them as many points as is mathematically possible with a smile on my face and then teach them how to fly for free for life. I do three different things. The first thing that I do is I can help people recommend what credit cards to get. I do not charge for that. I have it on my website already for my clients and it’s my pleasure to share it with people that either can’t afford to come and see me or don’t want to.
The second thing that I do is a private consultation for people. My process is super simple. You send me your credit card statements, your credit score and I do all the math. I do not charge for that. I send back a summary where you can see what it’s worth to you and what you get out of it. If you think it’s worthwhile, you can book me for a private Zoom call where I will personally talk you through all of the details to fly for free for life that you will need. That’s the fishing rod version. The fish version is don’t do any of that. When you want to fly in your points, you can come and see me. I will charge you to book it all for you. It’s a fishing rod or fish, whichever you prefer. Do we have any questions, queries, comments, requests or revelations that you’d like to share?
One last question out of sheer curiosity before we wrap. Out of all the celebrities you had a chance to work with, who were some of your favorites, people that you deeply connected with, people that when you think about them, bring warmth to you? Who are some of your favorite people you had a chance to work with over the years?
I’m blessed that I’ve worked with everyone. There are a few people that I haven’t either shot or had some form of relationship with. One that was close to my heart was Amy Winehouse because not only she was British but I grew up with her. She was a friend of my family. She worked at our company. She was a journalist for us. I shared a desk with her for many years before she was even famous. I used to come in every morning and she would have song lyrics on my desk. She had the night shift on my desk and I had it during the day. I would come in and there would be all these song lyrics, leftover curry and whatever she’d been eating in the middle of the night.When you’re given what you’ve always wanted, you don’t have hope. Click To Tweet
I used to get pissed with her. I throw it all in the trash. Back then, there were no text messages. I used to send her an email going, “Can you stop leaving crap all over my desk?” If I would have kept that crap, I would probably own most of Hollywood if I could sell all those lyrics that she used to write about me on my desk, but I scrambled them up and threw them away. By the time she made it, I did all the pictures of her walking around in London and all that sort of stuff. That one is close to my heart.
If I’m honest, when we talk about my career, there’s so much of it. The obvious thing that sticks out is the one that changed my life, which is Britney Spears. I came to America the week that Britney Spears’s breakdown started and I was supposed to come for a week. Sixteen years later, I’m still here. I live here now. I’m an American. I’ve been married. I’ve bought a house. I’ve been divorced. I have kids. I’ve started a new business. I’m not even in paparazzi anymore but yet, I still get drawn back into the world of Britney. That’s the reason I’m here with you guys because I went into a room on Clubhouse talking about the new Britney Spears documentary, which is not as good as the one that I did years ago called Britney Speared By the Paparazzi. That was fun. Six weeks of cameras in my car and chasing her around, that’s well worth a watch. I met Whitney in a Free Britney room. Even to this day, everything I do has an undertone and the root of it or the route of it comes from my good friend, Britney Spears.
It’s fascinating how something like that can transform your life and bring it in many different directions. That’s a reason that people like me are fascinated by her. She’s made an impact on many people. I hope that she continues living a long life and doesn’t end up in the way that your dear friend, Amy, did and some others that had unfortunate ends to their lives because of all the struggles that they’ve been through.
Owen, it’s been an absolute pleasure.
Thank you for having me. If you need me, call me. As always, I’m here to bring value to all of your lovely readers. If you need me, you know where to find me, ThePointsPartner.com or my Instagram, @ThePointsPartner. If you want to have a chat with me, come and hang out with me and Whitney on Clubhouse. My handle is @PointsPartner. With that being said, I am going to go and do more efficient things like making my lunch.
Thank you for taking the time. I know efficiency is important to you. Being efficient on a show, you did a phenomenal job. I’m going to end with a new phrase that you might want to try out for your messaging, which is Rose Gold Wisdom. If I saw that, Owen, I would click on it in a heartbeat. Let’s see what you do with that and I can’t wait to see what you do next on Clubhouse.
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About Owen Beiny
“If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life”. I am Owen Beiny – a Brit living in LA. As a former CEO, I’ve spent 15 years traveling across the globe. As a single father to a beautiful girl, I know how to travel both with kids and in style – using points, air miles, upgrades and benefits. After years of helping friends and family with my experience and knowledge of using benefits efficiently, I have turned my hobby into a business. https://www.thepointspartner.com/
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