7 Entrepreneurship Lessons from the Career of Jay-Z

Hate him or love him, Jay-Z is a true entrepreneur. 

He has taken his talents from the recording studio to the corner office. 

The man didn’t stop at rapping and now owns a small-cap growth investment firm (Marcy Venture Partners), was a part owner of the Brooklyn Nets and holds several lucrative real estate holdings. To some rappers-turned-entrepreneurs (Dr. Dre, P. Diddy, 50 Cent), Jay-Z seems to be their polar opposite — although he has plenty in common with them. But he also has seven lessons entrepreneurs should grasp to reign supreme in business.

Portrait of American rapper and business man Jay-Z

Are you a startup founder? If so, Jay-Z is the ultimate role model for you. Your career path may not be as dramatic and filled with accolades as Jay-Zs has been but there are plenty of business lessons that can be drawn from his moves.

In an industry dominated by the cool, the hip, and the young Jay-Z, who turns 52 this year, is anything but. As a successful businessman and rapper, he’s been paving the way for years. His career has included 13 studio albums that have sold over 100 million copies worldwide; $500 million in concert tickets sales; 40 million ringtone downloads; seven clothing lines; five fragrance lines; a movie production company; a chain of sports bars; and investments in technology companies like Fusic TV (later became Sling Media) and Uber.

Jay-Z has been busy. Since the release of his latest album, he’s also spent more time investing in startups. He even gave a talk at SXSW 2016 that’s been watched over 500,000 times. One of the companies that he invested in recently is music streaming service Tidal. He linked up with other investors to buy a part of the company from its current investors. In this post, I’ll share seven startup lessons you can take from business moves made by Jay-Z.

Lesson 1: Don’t be afraid to branch out.

Portrait of American rapper and business man Jay-Z

Jay-Z has built a multi-billion dollar empire by branching out into different industries. He started out as a rapper, then he branched out into clothing and liquor later on in his career.

“It’s important for young entrepreneurs to see that it’s not about being scared. It’s about being confident in the decisions you make and understanding that the worst thing that can happen is failure.”

So what can startup founders learn from Jay-Z? That it’s important to be open to new opportunities and don’t be afraid to branch out. It’s all about confidence and believing in yourself, even if you know your ideas might fail. If you fail at something new, it’s better than not trying at all!

With his latest venture into the sports management world through Roc Nation Sports, Jay-Z has once again demonstrated his ability to create a new division of his business and become an expert in that area. His success as a rapper allowed him to branch out into other industries without having to worry about whether or not people would be interested in what he was doing next.

The lesson for startup founders here is that you don’t have to limit yourself when it comes to starting your own company. You can expand your business into new areas without worrying about whether or not it will work out because you already have a solid foundation and brand recognition behind you.

The best entrepreneurs are always looking for new opportunities to expand their businesses and grow their customer base. But it’s not always easy for a startup founder to stretch into new areas that may seem unrelated or even incompatible with their current business.

But there’s no better way to grow your startup than by exploring new markets that can help you reach more customers or create new revenue streams.

Lesson 2: Maintain your reputation at all costs (but be careful who you’re associated with).

Portrait of American rapper and business man Jay-Z

Jay-Z has built an incredibly successful career by being careful about who he associates with.

He’s done so by building a reputation for himself that he can’t afford to lose.

“I don’t get involved in anything unless it makes sense,” Jay-Z said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey last year. “My whole thing is, ‘Do I want my child to see me do that?’ And if not, then it doesn’t make sense.”

Jay-Z has maintained his reputation at all costs (while being careful who he’s associated with). If you’re a startup founder or aspiring entrepreneur, here are some lessons you can learn from his strategy:

1) Find your niche

2) Build strong relationships with high-profile people

3) Don’t associate yourself with people who could tarnish your brand or reputation

4) Be careful about what you say and do publicly

Lesson 3: Keep learning.

Portrait of American rapper and business man Jay-Z

The best lesson that startup founders can learn from Jay-Z is that he doesn’t stay stagnant for long periods of time. 

Instead, he constantly learns new things about himself and about his business so that he can improve upon his current situation and grow his empire further.

He also understands what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur and uses that knowledge to help others achieve their dreams as well.

Lesson 4: Be true to yourself.

Portrait of American rapper and business man Jay-Z

Jay-Z has always been himself, even at a time when he could have easily sold out. He has remained true to his authentic self and that has helped him become so successful.

In his book, Decoded, Jay-Z talks about how he’s always been passionate about music. He grew up in a single-parent household, where he didn’t have much of an education or many resources. But he was able to use his talent and tenacity to become one of the most successful rappers in the industry.

The most important thing for startups is to be true to their authentic selves and what they do best. It’s important to know what your strengths are and focus on those things. Don’t try to be something you’re not; instead, be the best version of yourself.

Jay-Z’s “4:44” album is about being true to yourself. The song “The Story of O.J.” tells the story of how O.J. Simpson became a popular superstar, but also how he was an abuser, narcissist and even a racist.

Jay-Z is not afraid to look at himself in the mirror and admit his faults. He’s learned from them, but he’s never tried to hide them either.

In fact, he’s turned them into something positive with his new album and its accompanying film project, “Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story.” The album addresses his own experiences with racism as well as the struggles faced by others who are treated differently because of their race or gender identity.

He also uses his platform to speak out against injustices he sees around him — like when he recently asked NFL owners to donate money from their ownership groups to help fund Colin Kaepernick’s $1 million pledge for charity .

The lesson here is that if you want your startup to succeed, you must be honest about who you are and what you believe in — whatever it may be.

Lesson 5: Be focused on your goals.

Portrait of American rapper and business man Jay-Z

The rapper, entrepreneur and business mogul Jay-Z has built an empire by staying focused on what he wants to achieve.

As he says in his song “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me),” “I get it all, I got it all / I’ma have it all / Baby, baby all / Whatever I desire / Right now I desire you.” He’s not messing around when it comes to his goals.

If you’re a startup founder, you know that staying focused is one of the hardest parts about running your own company. You want to grow as fast as possible, but if you grow too quickly, you may get ahead of yourself and waste resources on things that don’t matter. On the other hand, if you don’t grow enough or fast enough, then you might not reach your potential as a company and lose out on opportunities for growth and expansion.

Jay-Z is an amazing example of how to stay focused on your goals and build something great from nothing — something we can all learn from as entrepreneurs.

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Jay-Z was asked about his thoughts on the music industry and what he thinks the future holds for it. He said, “I think that hip-hop is in a very interesting place right now because it’s at the forefront of culture in America.”

In that same interview, Jay-Z also talked about how he uses music as an outlet to express himself. “I take my pain and make it into art,” he said. “I’m not afraid to say that I’m hurting inside.”

Jay-Z is an incredibly successful rapper and businessman who’s been able to achieve many of his goals through hard work and dedication. He’s been able to build an empire based on music, but he hasn’t forgotten where he came from: Brooklyn NY.

Lesson 6: Do many things and do them well.

Portrait of American rapper and business man Jay-Z

Jay-Z does not have any formal education or training in business or entrepreneurship but that doesn’t seem to matter because he knows how to find success no matter what industry he is in.

Jay-Z has been a household name for decades. He’s one of the most successful rappers ever, and he’s managed to adapt his brand to fit even as the music industry has changed over the years. He’s also a serial entrepreneur, having launched several successful businesses including Roc Nation, Tidal and Armand de Brignac (his champagne brand).

Jay-Z is a business man, and he’s always been that way. He didn’t start out with a record deal, or even selling his own music. He started in the street and has always had a hustler mentality, and it shows in everything he does.

Lesson 7: Listen to the market

Portrait of American rapper and business man Jay-Z

Jay-Z is a true artist, and he knows how to read the consumer market like nobody else.

He’s been in the business for decades, and he’s learned how to adapt his style and marketing techniques as he goes along. He’s also gotten into new markets when they’re hot, but he doesn’t mind when they cool off either—he just keeps going with what works.

That’s something that startup founders should try to do too: adapt their style and marketing techniques as they go along, but also be willing to change gears if necessary.

It’s easy for us entrepreneurs to get caught up in our own ideas about what will work best for us, but we have to remember that sometimes it takes time for things to catch on with consumers. And when they don’t work out? That doesn’t mean you should give up—it just means you need more time or more effort or something different altogether!

Bonus Lesson: Nothing is forever

Portrait of American rapper and business man Jay-Z

Nothing is forever and that includes relationships.

Jay-Z had a falling out with his business partner Damon Dash back in 2002 which resulted in the disbanding of their Roc-A-Fella record label and reduced each other’s share of ownership in each other’s companies. In 2006, they worked together again to release an album titled “Watch The Throne” but it didn’t last long as they went their separate ways soon after that. In 2009, they were both inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame along with their former manager Kareem “Biggs” Burke who was also part of Roc-A-Fella Records at that time but was not included

“The lesson is, you gotta keep reinventing yourself. You can only do so much. You can’t do the same thing over and over again.” — Jay-Z

Jay-Z’s career has been a lesson in reinvention. He started out as a rapper, but he’s now also a businessman, a venture capitalist and an artist. He’s known for his business acumen as well as his music, and he’s become one of the most influential figures in hip hop over the past two decades.

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Jay-Z said that he’s learned one valuable lesson from his career: “Nothing is forever.”

This is a great lesson for startup founders because it helps them to stay focused on what they’re doing today while keeping an eye on their future goals. Startups have many opportunities ahead of them; they don’t have time to waste by focusing too much on what they’ve already accomplished or worrying about what might happen in the future.

Photo ofJay-Z
(Sean Carter)
Job Title
American Rapper & Entrepreneur
Marcy Venture Partners

About the author

Hi! My name is Joan Smith, I’m a travel blogger from the UK and founder of Hevor. In this blog I share my adventures around the world and give you tips about hotels, restaurants, activities and destinations to visit. You can watch my videos or join my group tours that I organize to selected destinations. [Suggestion: You could use the Author Biography Block here]