Even the world’s billionaires need an element of timing and luck to get their big break in entrepreneurship. According to gaming company Lottoland, British magnate, Sir Richard Branson got lucky with Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells’ song, which was played to movie director, William Friedkin, who loved the tune and subsequently used it for ‘The Exorcist’. This gave Virgin Records a footing in the music industry and the rest is history for Branson, who has gone on to find success in a range of sectors with the Virgin brand.
Here are four of the world’s best-known musicians that have successfully crossed the divide into the corporate world:
It was almost inevitable that rapper, P Diddy, aka Sean Combs, would become an entrepreneur outside of his music career. Combs worked hard to secure a place at Howard University’s business school, but he was always too fixated on working and earning money to complete his studies. Despite dropping out of his business major in 1990, Combs was eventually awarded an honorary doctorate degree in 2014. Combs developed his own record label, Bad Boy Records, which was the birthplace of many huge rap acts, including the now-departed Notorious B.I.G. That label is now worth nine figures. He’s also moved into fashion, fragrances and television. For someone that some claim can’t rap, Diddy can certainly do business.
Paul Hewson, aka ‘Bono’
"Utenriksminister Støre og Bono" (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Utenriksdept
Irish legend, Bono has been the frontman of rock band, U2 since the 1980s. In the midst of touring the world and selling out stadiums and arenas, Bono, along with band member The Edge, have invested in a number of business opportunities over the years. From restoring five-star hotels to underpinning the release of modern-day services such as Yelp and Dropbox, Bono has always had an eye for a successful business proposition.
It’s difficult to talk about Diddy as a musician-turned-entrepreneur without also mentioning Jay-Z, aka Shawn Carter. Aside from being an incredible rapper in his own right, Jay-Z co-founded his own music label, Roc-A-Fella Records, which has since become a global brand in its own right. From TV productions and clothing lines to Scottish-produced vodka, Roc-A-Fella has underpinned the success of Jay-Z. Carter has also owned shares in the NBA basketball outfit, New Jersey Nets, but recently sold the shares on. Today, Jay-Z is reportedly worth over $500m.
Granted, Victoria Beckham shot to fame in one of the most famous girl bands of all time but there’s no doubt that she’s maintained and even enhanced her personal brand since leaving the Spice Girls. As a fully-fledged style icon, Victoria Beckham has brought out everything from jeans and jewellery to handbags and fragrances. She’s also appeared in reality TV shows and penned two books. It’s little wonder that Glamour Magazine named Beckham ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ back in 2007.
While some musicians may just lend out their name and let other organisations ride off the back of their brand, these four superstars have done the dirty work required to build their own successful empires. If you’ve got a passion for entrepreneurship, these guys are living proof that it doesn’t matter how successful you’ve already been in life, the thrill of setting up in business is one of the best feelings in the world.