Saturday, January 15, 2011

Professional Profile: Russell Simmons - Rush to Riches

Russell Simmons’ rules for getting “super rich”

Posted Jan 13, 2011 12:46pm EST by Stacy Curtin in Newsmakers
From music to fashion to flim, TV and other businesses, Russell Simmons -- who is worth more than $100 million -- seemingly has the “Midas Touch”. In his new book, Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All, he wants to show you how you too can achieve super richness.

Tech Ticker's Aaron Task recently sat down with the "godfather" of hip-hop after a Jivamukti yoga seminar in midtown Manhattan to glean some of the key principles that have made him a successful entrepreneur and one of the “Top 25 Most Influential People of the Past 25 Years," according to USA Today.

Simmons grew up in a middle-class neighborhood where he has noted, "the only entrepreneurs we knew were the numbers guys and the drug dealers.”

He has come a long way and some would even say he’s become the epitome of the American dream.

After attending City College in New York, Simmons began his music career in the late 1970s. He started small by managing and producing artists like Run DMC and the Beastie Boys.

In 1984 he partnered with award-winning producer Rick Rubin to create Def Jam Recordings which led to the making of mega-stars Foxy Brown, Ludacris and Jay-Z, just to name a few. He helped take hip-hop mainstream. In 1994, Def Jam was sold to Universal Music Group with a final price tag of $300 million.

Just like the legendary Midas, Simmons realized the fruits of his golden touch are not all they are cracked up to be. “People I guess pursue money to be happy and money doesn’t really make you happy,” he says. “[Being] happy makes you money though;” in order to find that happiness one must “start from the inside out.”

After many more musical successes, Simmons saw a crossroads between hip-hop and style and in 1992 started a fashion company called Phat Farm. It was hugely popular and made him millions. He went on to add additional brands to the empire including Baby Phat, Run Athletics, Argyleculture and American Classics.

Now, as Chairman and CEO of Rush Communications, Simmons' philosophy is spiritual and based on the inner peace he has found from 15 years of practicing yoga and meditation.  So without further ado, here are: Russell Simmons’ Top Principles to Super Richness

#1 Give Your Talents Until They Can’t Live Without It
“Wake up in the morning and find out what you want to give as opposed to what you want to get,” he says. “Through this practice of becoming a good giver you become a good getter.”
Simmons gives examples of many of his former selfless, tireless and upaid interns that went on to greatness, including Sean Combs, Kevin Liles, and Julie Greenwald, recently named COO of Atlantic Records Group.
“Those who focus on being good servants usually attract the most in the end,” he says.
Basically, offer your talents and skills for free and the rewards will find you.

#2 Relentlessly Pursue Your Goals Without Appearing Needy
Simmons’ law of attraction says: “when you chase things, they will always run from you.”
This principle goes hand-in-hand with principle number one by virtue of the more you give, the more good that will just find you.

#3 If You Don’t Love it, Leave it Alone
This is not only the idea that you should do what you love and a wealth of richness will follow, but the idea that you should only do things you are “karmically” comfortable doing.
“People can sell anything,” from bombs to drugs, he says, even though there are very serious ramifications to those actions. “I want to stress that making money just for the sake of getting paid is a pedestrian activity that you can rise above.”
If you don’t love it, don’t do it.

#4 Let Go of the Results
“You really have no control over the results, you have control over the action," he says. “So make sure you perform your action and your duty well.”
In the accompanying clip, he explains that he has no recollection of his very first paycheck, but says he certainly does remember making his first good record.
“All I could think is ‘when my friends hear this record’ it will make them so happy,” he reminisces. “Do things you love. Do things that you have faith will make other people happy and that will give back what you give them.”

#5 Get Open
“You want to always be open, creative and fluid as possible, and never become rigid, old or tight,” he writes, encouraging readers to let loose and lower your defenses.
And if you're thinking these principles are easy for someone worth millions to say, Aaron asks him about that too in the accompanying clip.

The Joy of Giving
Simmons' list of his successes are deep but the endeavors most important to him may be those that go along with his first principle listed above. The idea of being a “good giver.”
He is known globally for not only his business acumen, but also his commitment to philanthropy. Simmons has devoted an entire division of empire to charity and non-profit work.

Russell Simmons is also the author of New York Times best-seller, Do You! 

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