Ever since Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter launched his own record label in order to release his debut album, "Reasonable Doubt" in 1996, he's proven that his entrepreneurial hustle and business acumen go far beyond selling albums. Though, to be fair, he's sold more than 100 million records while racking up 21 Grammy Awards for his music. But it's Jay-Z's unconventional ascent from selling drugs on Brooklyn's street corners to the world's top corporate boardrooms as an investor and entrepreneur that keeps everyone buzzing about his next power move. Want to add some of that Hova hustle to your day-to-day routine? Here are a few of his proven strategies.
Forge Your Own Path
Just because you hear a "no," doesn't mean you don't have a good idea. But it does mean you'll have to make it happen yourself. After failed attempts at getting signed to a major record label, Jay-Z and his business partners founded Roc-A-Fella Records. "Through shopping deals [unsuccessfully I realized], A&R's can't really feel what I feel. So with the record company being the bridge to reach the people, I was like 'Man, you know, we gonna build our own bridge.'"
Dreams Are Good. Action Is Better.
"It just got to a point where it was, like, 'Make this decision, because this is something you really love and you love to do. It's time to really focus on and then get serious about it, give it your all.' And once I did that, it was no looking back from there."
Believe in Yourself
"My success ... it's a bit of business acumen and it's a bit of believing I can and not being afraid to fail. That holds a lot of people back, that fear of failure."
"One of the biggest things in business is to open yourself up for change. We don't have to change who we are, we have to change the way we go about it. At Roc Nation, we've become the biggest concert promoter there is, and there's just so many different aspects we're into to make ourselves successful: touring, producing, publishing, clothing, movies."
Empathy Goes a Long Way
Jay-Z said that therapy has helped him mature as a thinker and a leader. He added that widening his perspective aided him to understand where others are coming from. "Everything is connected. Every emotion is connected and it comes from somewhere. And just being aware of that in everyday life puts you at such an advantage."
Accept Help from Mentors
Jay-Z didn't go to business school. But that hasn't stopped him from building a massively successful empire that spans multiple fields. Success he credits to the lessons he's garnered from such mentors as Russell Simmons, Warren Buffett and Michael Jordan. "The thing that distinguished Jordan wasn't just his talent, but his discipline, his laser-like commitment to excellence. That's something I always respect, especially in people who have great natural talents already."
Consistency Makes You Memorable
"Excellence is being able to perform at a high level over and over again. You can hit a half-court shot once. That's just the luck of the draw. If you consistently do it ... that's excellence."
Volume 10 // 2018
31 Days is back ... And 2018 marks its tenth iteration. When we started this a decade ago, we never imagined that these daily guides to being better men would take off and become one of Valet.'s most popular series of all time. So thank you for your continued support and belief in our mission. This year, we're focusing on productivity—ways in which you can streamline and improve your days to make your job less stressful, your work more efficient and your life run just a bit more smoothly. It's time to raise your game.