Generally when people look for celebrity advice on making money, investing, and running a business, they go to one of three sources:
- Billionaire Investors (Warren Buffett, George Soros, Carl Icahn)
- Billionaire Company Founders (Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Elon Musk)
- Celebrity “Financial Professionals” (Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey, Jim Cramer)
But why stop there?
Why not look at a real rags to riches story. From the streets of Brooklyn to becoming one of the greatest entertainers of all time. He’s a multi-platinum multi-millionaire. A rapper turned mogul. He went from American Gangster to epitomizing the American Dream. And he wifed up Beyonce.
Obviously I’m talking about Shawn Carter, better known as JAY Z.
Why JAY Z?
Regardless of what you think about his music, his businesses, or his person, it is undeniable that he has achieved outsized success in his career, and has grown his wealth far beyond the average rapper.
The combined net worth of the entertainment super couple of JAY Z & Beyonce is over $1 Billion according to CNN.
Not only has he achieved success, but he has his hands in everything, and is the true definition of a business mogul. #BusinessGoals
A Comprehensive Guide on How to Make Money Like JAY Z?
So, can I teach you step-by-step the exact approach on how to make money like JAY Z? HELL NO! Aside from telling you to become one of the best selling musicians ever, and then turn that fame and wealth into other successful ventures, what can I really say?
But, what I can do is misinterpret JAY Z’s own words on money into borderline actionable steps you can take to improve your business and investing, and make that money pile up. Pack your umbrella, because we about to make it rain!
“Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t” – from ‘Reminder’ off The Blueprint 3 by JAY Z
The clear takeaway here is you can’t trust anyone or anything except the dollars. In the post-Trump era, facts don’t even matter, because fake news and alternative facts. But you can’t fake numbers for long. Sure, one can easily misinterpret or manipulate numbers to support their argument, but the numbers aren’t the one lying here.
So what does this mean for you aside from sleeping with one eye open and always watching your back when engaging in any sort of business dealing? Question everything and demand supporting numeric evidence.
Signing a contract? Let’s talk dollars and measurable outcomes.
Meeting with a financial adviser? Don’t tell me how you feel about the market, show me the data.
Your friend wants to crash on your couch for a weekend? Quantify what value your friendship has brought me.
“My mind on my money, money on my mind. If you owe me ten dollars, you ain’t giving me nine” – from ‘Say Hello’ off American Gangster by JAY Z
Two thoughts here. First, if you want to be financially successful, you always need to be thinking about money, even at the detriment of other interests and relationships in your life. While that may seem counter to all the other advice ever given in personal finance advice history, JAY Z said it so it must be true.
The second part of the quote is clearly a study on accounts receivable. When customers (or employers or family) owe you money, get every last damn penny from them. Non-negotiable. JAY Z isn’t above shaking somebody down, and you shouldn’t be either. Send Big Tony and Johnny “Two-Times” in to get the job done if you need to. That money is yours; you earned it. Probably.
“I sell ice in the winter, I sell fire in hell, I am a hustler baby, I’ll sell water to a well” – from ‘U Don’t Know’ off The Blueprint by JAY Z
At first blush, this appears to be a boast on JAY Z’s innate persuasiveness and sales ability. There is no need to harp on this. Grit and intestinal fortitude and all that.
However, I think its a far more interesting commentary on choosing the right business plan. I don’t care how good of a sales person you are, why are you trying to sell fire in hell, dumbass? That’s in great supply with little demand. Read an economics book. And if you are getting into the ice business during the winter, that better be some damn good ice.
Work smarter, not harder. While we should all respect a strong work ethic and its a great character trait, just make smarter business decisions.
Set up a trade agreement to export your fire to that eternal winter locale and secure exclusive licensing rights to bring all that ice down the highway to hell. That’s how you make real money.
“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man…” – from ‘Diamonds from Sierra Leone Remix’ off Late Registration by Kanye West ft. JAY Z
One of my favorite rap lines of all time, if this doesn’t answer how to make money like JAY Z, nothing will.
Celebrity success is all about transcending your celebrity profession (actor, musician, etc.) and turning yourself into a brand. The U.S. didn’t really just elect Donald Trump to be president; people voted for the Trump brand. Sean hot take right there.
The obvious next step is to just become famous and continue to ride that wave.
Alternatively, you can also take it as a lesson on personal branding, which applies whether you are President of the United States, or just looking for an entry level corporate peon job. Developing your personal brand isn’t just for the big boys anymore.
“What you call money, I pay more in taxes” – from ‘Oh My God’ on Kingdom Come by JAY Z
I’ll leave you with the best money advice anyone can give you. Even JAY Z pays taxes. The best way to make money like JAY Z is to have a shit ton of money, like JAY Z.
Even though he recently released his 16th platinum album, 4:44, he didn’t need to. Not content to just make money as a performer, he started ROC Nation to manage other entertainers. JAY Z relaunched high end music streaming service Tidal, just because. He even started his own venture fund, because he can.
And with all that money he made? He’s making more money.
Can you be JAY Z? Not in your wildest dreams.
Can you make money like JAY Z? Only if you understand the numbers, keep your mind on your money, hustle smarter, work on your personal brand, and pay your taxes. And are one of the greatest rappers of all time. And have lots of money to put to work.