From a Kiss rock 'n' roller to an entrepreneur who oversees a record label, a sports team, and a restaurant chain, Gene Simmons is all about building brands. Here's what he has learned along the way.
Best known as the bass guitarist behind the legendary rock band Kiss, and more recently for his family's reality TV series, Gene Simmons is also an entrepreneur who owns a record label, a sports team, and a restaurant chain.
Now he wants to teach you how to "build an army of one, unleash your inner rock god [and] win in life and business."
So reads the subtitle of his new book, Me, Inc., a plainspoken riff on Sun Tzu's The Art of War with 13 principles that Simmons dubs "the art of more." In an interview with Inc., Simmons shared some of the lessons that he has learned over the years while building his portfolio of ventures.
1. Self-confidence is your greatest business partner
Self-confidence isn't genetic or inherent, Simmons argues, but learnable--and essential for success.
"You are the resume," he says. "You better stand up straight, look somebody in the eyes and--if you're not confident--fucking fake it. It's the only way to survive."
2. Learn from the masters
Who are your role models? Your idols? What can you learn from them--if not in person, then through a book?
"I was a voracious reader and still am," says Simmons. "I read all sorts of things I'm not interested in, and therein lies something important: In order to learn something, especially something new, it might not be that you're interested in it... The library, as far as I'm concerned, is the house of God."
3. Find partners who complement you
Entrepreneurs who try to go at it alone are destined for a small, limited venture, according to Simmons. Partners can help bring in new ideas and help with expansion plans, though he notes the key is not to trust those individuals. It's trusting your judgment of people that is most important.
"I don't trust anybody," says Simmons. "I believe and I verify."
How? By spending time talking to others who know the potential partners, having a legal team research them, and watching them in action. In business terms, do your due diligence.
4. Know when to pull the plug
Failure, in Simmons's eyes, means "nothing," and a crucial, learnable skill is having the ability to fail then picking yourself back up.
"I fail every day in my life, in business and in decision-making," he says. "So what? You know who else failed? Henry Ford went bankrupt. Oprah Winfrey failed. I've failed. All the big guys failed--many times--and that's what made them succeed. You're in good company."
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