Today he says that it’s an important question for all business professionals to be asking on a regular basis.
“Frankly, these might be the five most important words a person can say” he notes.
Equitz is perhaps most widely known as a cast member of the hit TV series “Hangar 1: The U.F.O. Files,” now in its second season from the History Channel (“H2”). But his current success has not been instantaneous; he’s been cultivating his acting career and his own small business for almost three decades.
“It was about twenty-six years ago that I met my wife Leslie, and at that time her father was running his own company” he explains. At that point, Equitz had worked in a variety of different business and sales positions, and as his relationship developed with his future wife, he set his sights on buying the business from his future father-in-law.
“For about 25 years Leslie and I have owned and operated Jacmar Shelving in Southern California, and we sell steel shelving to commercial furniture dealers” he says. “We’re a small company, and I guess you could say that we’re a pretty typical mom-and-pop kind of thing.”
While Equitz says that he loves both business AND acting, he admits that over the years his acting career has at varying times been on “both the front, and back burner” of his life.
“I had to pursue a more regular income so I could provide for my wife and family, and when the opportunity to buy the company came up, I jumped on it” he says, “but I didn’t let go of my desire to be an actor, either. And over the years I’ve made the effort to stay engaged as a performer. I’ve done a lot of speaking presentations. I’ve volunteered a lot to serve as a master of ceremonies at industry events. All these things have helped me keep fresh as a performer, and have helped me develop my skills as a storyteller over time.”
In “Hangar 1,” Equitz plays the role of a “UFO Researcher.” Noting that UFO’s have been a life-long source of intrigue and inquiry, he says that when the opportunity came up to join the cast, it seemed like more than a natural fit.
Equitz also says that he’s learned some invaluable lessons on his journey, and offers suggestions to other professionals from his own experience, including:
*Identify your dream and keep moving toward it
*Be willing to do “grunt work”
* Take classes, learn new technology and terminology, keep your skills current
* Discover what to talk about, when to talk, and with whom
*Accept failure and move on from it
* Always be developing relationships and making new contacts
With respect to the last point – “developing relationships” – Equitz says that, in part, it was his willingness to be helpful to others that helped lead him to his role with the “Hangar 1” cast. He also says that both failure and success work the same way, whether you’re an actor or a business owner.
“I remember one day I lost a $10,000 sale in my shelving business” he recounts. “I had no idea why I lost it, until I found out that our price was $100 more than the competitor’s price. But it wasn’t the price that lost the deal, you know what the reason was? The purchaser’s wife worked in the other company’s office. I had no way of knowing that at the time, but that’s what I learned later.”
“Sometimes you lose a job in the entertainment industry because you have blue eyes and they want an actor with brown eyes, or they want blond hair and you have dark hair, or you’re taller than the principal actor so you’re too tall. The entertainment business is like any other business, you go out and do another price quote, you do another audition, you jump in with both feet and keep moving forward.”
In the final analysis, Equitz sees his acting career in much the same light as he sees the operations of his own company.
“Being an actor is just like owning a business. I am the product, and I am a good product. I just have to keep pitching the product, and then ask, ‘what do I do next?’”