Judge Judy’s Ending? Business Lessons from 25 Years & $100M Earned

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Did you hear Judge Judy’s ending?

On the Ellen Degeneres show, Judge Judy announced that she’d be ending a 25 year television career. After more than 5,200 episodes and 25 seasons aired, there’s lots to learn from Judge Judy. In this article, I plan to show you several lessons from Judge Judy that you can use to fuel your business growth.

Who is Judge Judy? A Biography

Judge Judy is an American reality court show host, a retired Manhattan family court judge, a mom, a wife, and a philanthropist. She helped many people settle family disputes thru her career as a judge and show host.

Over her working career, she has notable achievements as an author, show host, judge, and media icon. As a public figure whose withstood a long career there are many things to learn from her.

According to Wikipedia:

In 2005, Sheindlin’s salary was US$15 million per year. Her net worth at the beginning of 2007 was $95 million, and she ranked #13 on the Forbes top 20 richest women in entertainment. In July 2010 when Sheindlin’s contract was renewed, her salary increased to $45 million per year. It was later reported in October 2013 that Sheindlin is the highest-paid TV star, earning $47 million per year for Judge Judy, which translates into just over $900,000 per workday (she works 52 days per year). According to Forbes, Sheindlin earned $147 million, pretax, in 2017.


Business Lessons from Judge Judy

After hearing her announcement to end the age ol reality television show, I decided to compile some of the business lessons that can be learned from Judge Judy. These are just a few…

1. Being Blunt Has it’s Place – Funny Judge Judy Quotes

Judge Judy is known for many “Judy-isms” or quotes that she says. Many viewers watch her in astonishment because she says what many people would be fearful to say. Things like:

“Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining”

“Beauty fades, dumb is forever”

“…I eat morons like you for breakfast. You’re gonna be crying before this is over.”

“If it doesn’t make sense, it’s not true.”

Or, another quote by Judge Judy says:

“I love the truth. If you don’t tell me the truth, you’re gonna be eating your shoes.”

Not only does she say comments that are surprising, but she’s appreciated for doing so. She demonstrates how people appreciate blunt honesty at times. If you’re hesitant to mention “the elephant in the room”, then you enable injustice and less than optimal performance to continue taking place.

2. Develop Your Area of Mastery

Judge Judy said “Make yourself indispensible” and you can command what you’re worth. She is noted for keeping an envelope with the earnings she wanted for her upcoming contracts. She didn’t negotiate. She simply passed on the amount. She was considered indispensible, so she didn’t have to negotiate your salary.

Credit: Judge Judy’s Official Fan Page

When you have a significant competitive edge, and those who do business with you know they can’t get a better value anywhere else, it gives you the upper hand with setting your price and it being accepted.

3. Work Hard

Many people today are looking for shortcuts and instant gratification, which is why it’s awesome to study those who have mastered their craft, demonstrated longevity, and who have strong work ethic. Judge Judy has a strong work ethic.

She was retired from the Manhattan court system when the “Judge Judy” show started. The Judge Judy show is recorded in a simulated courtroom in Hollywood and had presides over 650 claims per year and 15,600 claims by the end of the 2019 season!

She hasn’t taken shortcuts.

In addition to presiding over court cases, she also records her show! She has a staff: a baliff, producer, and others. They batch-record the episodes: producing ten to twelve episodes every day they record the show, and they record for three days every other week. The Judge Judy show has been consistently recorded year-round for 25 years with the exception of two breaks: one for the December holiday season and one for summer vacations in August.

4. Jump at Opportunities

What many people don’t know is Judge Judy wasn’t originally supposed to be the host of the courtroom show. She jumped on an opportunity where another host had been released and she pitched to take the place.

She was shut down, but she continued to grow her reputation, and eventually the opportunity returned to her.

5. Be True to Yourself

Judge Judy has recieved a considerable amount of criticism over the years. She’s been called “abrasive”, “rude”, and many other things. Even the judge that originally presided over “The People’s Court” spoke very critically of her, but she remained true to herself.

Since Judge Judy’s word guiness record winning show has led the industry for courtroom shows, many others have arrived on the scene. Other judges like Judge Joe Brown, Judge Mathis, and others have notoriety and viewers watching, but Judge Judy has remained unique.

Her method of remaining true to herself is a great example for you. She shows you that even when others are in your industry and doing something similar, it’s still important to have your “unique twist”.

6. It Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive to be Profitable

The Judge Judy show is said to cost less than half of what a normal television sitcom costs to produce. She does many things within the show as impromptu. She gets a small description of the case before presiding, and a lot of the dialogue we see is not rehearsed. There’s less editing, rehearsal, and changing of sets. As a result, the cost to produce the show is much less than what others cost.

For many people, they think the higher cost option means it’s the best option, yet the Judge Judy show has been more profitable than many other shows over the last 25 years. In the case of Judge Judy, we can see that sometimes, the lower cost option can be the more profitable one.

7. Set Boundaries – Know when to say “No” and when to say “Yes”

As a judge, Judy Sheindlin sees case after case of people who have compromised boundaries, or who have made the wrong decisions. Thru her courtroom, viewers are able to see scenario after scenario where relationships have gone wrong. It’s important to show love and grace, but it’s also important to reinforce correct boundaries, and to let other pay the consequences for their own mistakes.

8. It’s Never to Late to Become a Success

Being a judge is typically known as a salary job, but it was much more than that for Judge Judy. She was appointed as a family court judge, but she also had a “second career” as a television host, a women’s mentor, a speaker, and an author among other things.

She demonstrates that it’s okay to have a job and to have other streams of income at the same time. Entrepreneurship may present good opportunities, but it doesn’t have to be a standalone path–Kobe Bryant also demonstrated this principle thru his 20 year NBA career.

The right job can be a great launching pad, and as she says:

 “If you didn’t make it in your 20s, you can make it in your 30s. If you didn’t make it in your 30s, you can make it in your 40s. And if you didn’t make it in your 40s, you can make it in your 50s,”

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Judge Judy’s 25 year career as a television show host is definitely no small feat. She demonstrated persistence, longevity, and commitment. Her career was also impactful in helping families to make good decisions. We can learn a lot from her example about perseverance, maintaining our uniqueness, and speaking up for what’s right among other things.

Have you been inspired by Judge Judy? If so, what has stuck out to you? Leave your comments, feedback, and questions below.

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