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Clint Arthur prides himself on turning his clients into celebrities, but you probably won’t see them hanging out withJohnny DepporKim Kardashian. The seasoned publicist, whose office is across from Judge Judy’s on the lot of a major production studio, focuses on turning his clients into star guests on local TV news stations. He says he has built a seven-figurebusiness, where he and his wife Ali Savitch are the only employees, in the process.
That puts him in a fast-growing group of Americans who are breaking the $1 million in revenue mark in non-employer businesses—those that have no traditional employees other than the owners. Recent statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau show there were 30,174 “nonemployer” firms that brought in $1 million to $2,499,999 in 2013–up from 26,744 in 2011. “Nonemployer firms” are those that don’t hire any W-2 employees, but they may rely on the help of outside contractors.
There are many firms that offer media training, of course. To stand out, Arthurlaser-focused his Los Angeles-based business in 2011 on what, at first glance, might seem to be an unsexy niche: teaching clients how achieve celebrity on local TV. He made the decision after a mentor, the motivational speaker James Malinchak, noticed he was naturally gravitating this way. Malinchak pointed out that Arthur had followedThe 21 Immutable Laws of Marketingby Al Ries and Jack Trout. One key point in the book is that if you can’t be first in a category of business, you have to step outside to create a new subcategory.
“I’m not the first in publicity,” says Arthur. “I’m not the first in TV publicity. But I am the first in local TV publicity. So far, I am the only person who focuses on local TV publicity. When James Malinchak pointed that out to me, that’s when I started focusing on that unique niche and protecting my position.”
To do so, Arthur first released a home study kit aimed at professionals and business people who want to build their celebrity on TV stations in local markets, often far from media capitals like New York City. That led to new lines of work, such as group coaching and running live events called Celebrity Launch Pads. “That’s been going like gangbusters,” says Arthur. He also wrote the bookBreak through Your Fear of Public Speaking on Local TV. Arthur’s clients come from fields ranging from neurosurgery to business coaching.