12 Business Lessons “Yeezy Taught Me”
Kanye’s had a busy month.
- Dropped his new album “The Life of Pablo” (2/14/16)
- Released new colorways to his Yeezy Boost 350s
- Premiered a new clothing line at New York Fashion Week
- Took to Twitter and let loose some epic rants about his $53M debt, ex girlfriends, Wendy Williams and more
Everywhere you turn, he’s making headlines. Love or hate him, there’s one thing you can’t debate: he’s the best promoter on the planet.
This is no coincidence. He understands how to manipulate the general public and build a buzz, something that’s incredibly difficult to do. As a business owner, I can’t help but admire his ability to drive attention and conversation, even if it’s not always positive.
I dig some digging into Kanye’s career and put together a visual guide to the 12 business lessons Kanye has taught me over the years.
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail, Take Risks and Follow Your Passion.
You dont have to be scared of me, because I am loyal. Why are people so scared of CREATIVE IDEAS and so scared of TRUTH? All I want to do is good.
I used to work for a large corporation where everything you did followed a strict process. There was no room for ideas or innovation.
Now, I make it a point to listen to my staff and consistently ask them for input. It’s a large reason why I’ve been able to launch and sustain a number of businesses over the last decade.
Takeaway: Challenge the system. Ask the hard questions. Don’t settle.
2. Life is Too Short to do Anything That Doesn’t Make You Happy.
If you have the opportunity to play this game of life, you need to APPRECIATE EVERY MOMENT a lot of people don’t appreciate the moment until it’s passed.
Unlike most business owners, I wasn’t born an “entrepreneur”. I started my first business because I was tired of living for the weekend. Life is too short to build someone else’s dream, so I chased my own.
Key takeaway: The birth of the internet gives us all the tools to chase what we love – all you need is a little motivation and direction. If I can do it, you can too.
3. Be You, Not Them.
Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, BUT THEY WILL NEVER BE YOU.
So many businesses try and emulate the success of others and ultimately, they fail. Everyone has something valuable to offer, understand what that is and make it a cornerstone of what you do.
Key takeaway: You have something unique to offer, exploit that.
4. Go Out of Your Way to Build Relationships.
People always say that you can’t please everybody. I think that’s a cop-out, Why not attempt it? ‘Cause think of all the people you will please if you try.
Yes, believe it or not Kanye did actually say this.
I hate to use cliches, but at the end of the day who you know trumps what you know. When you meet people on behalf of your business, go out of your way to please them, even if they aren’t a paying customer.
Key takeaway: Be nice to people, even if they aren’t your customers. You never know when you’ll need them.
5. Believe in Your Vision. Always.
Would you believe in what you believe in, if you were the ONLY ONE who believed it?
Any successful business owner will tell you that someone called their idea “crazy” or “stupid” at one point in time. You have to believe in your vision and push past it, despite what the haters are saying around you.
Key takeaway: Never lose faith in yourself.
6. Don’t Dwell on the Past. Always Push Forward.
Keep your nose out the SKY, keep your heart to GOD and keep your face to the RISING SUN.
You’re going to hit stumbling blocks when you’re building a business. Keep your head up and stay true to your values. You will push through it.
Key takeaway: No matter how many mistakes you’ve made, push forward.
7. Know Your Worth.
People always act like they’re doing more for you than you’re doing for them…KNOW YOUR WORTH!
Now, I know I said to always be helpful, but at the time time, don’t get taken advantage of. You’re running a business, not a charity – you’ve got to make money!
Key takeaway: Don’t let your kindness get mistaken for weakness.
8. Always be Innovating and Adapting.
I feel like I’m too busy writing history to read it.
Today’s world moves fast. Technology dates itself at record speeds. To keep up with the pace of this world, you need to be constantly grinding, testing, adapting and changing.
Key takeaway: Success takes hard work and hustle.
9. There’s More to Business Than Just Money.
I don’t know what’s better, getting laid or getting paid.
Key takeaway: No insights here. I really don’t know what’s better…
10. Never Stop Learning.
I was never really good at anything except for the ability to learn.
Key takeaway: No matter how good you are, there’s always something to learn.
11. Presentation Matters [Immensely].
Sometimes I get emotional over fonts.
So many business owners skip over the design aspect (website, in store appearances, branding) but these things matter. I don’t think he knows it, but on a deeper level, Kanye is right. We have emotional reactions to colors, fonts, language and styling, to the point where it can bring people in or push them away.
Key takeaway: Design and presentation tell the story of your business. Choose wisely.
12. Disconnect and Appreciate Those Around You.
I don’t even listen to rap. My apartment is too nice to listen to rap in.
When I was building my first business I was working 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. I kept telling myself that was what it would take for my dreams to become a reality.
The truth is, I lost more than I gained during that time. All of the relationships in my life fell apart. In the end, I had a successful business, but no one to enjoy it with.
Key takeaway: Make it a point of emphasis to spend time with those you love.