Thursday, June 25, 2009
SPOTLIGHT ON A MILLIONAIRE - CURTIS JACKSON
This is the first of the ‘Spotlight on a Millionaire’ series where I will be showcasing the secrets to a millionaire’s success in different spheres around the world to prove my theory that anybody could be a successful entrepreneur with the right attributes and mindset.
The focus in this piece is on New York rapper 50 Cent, real name Curtis Jackson. By sharing his path to success, I will highlight the transferable attributes and mindset he demonstrated on the road to success that can be applied to internet marketing
Curtis Jackson was born on July 6 1975 and grew up without knowing his dad. His mum Sabrina, who gave birth to him as a 15 year old, was a drug dealer and was murdered when young Curtis was only 8 years old. Consequently, he was raised by his grandparents in a crowded house of uncles and aunts.
Young Curtis was constantly in trouble with the police for dealing drugs, culminating in a six months stint in a boot camp which helped him avoid serving 3 – 9 years in prison. He was also a keen boxer in his early teens and attributes his competitive nature in rap and life in general to the conditioning he got in boxing. He competed in the Junior Olympics in the mid 1980s. Here, you can see a young man demonstrating competitiveness and courage. Competitiveness in the context of internet marketing include continually looking for ways to enhance self development, learning new techniques to have better results from marketing and setting goals at periodic intervals.
He borrowed the stage name 50 Cent from Kelvin Martin who made a name for himself robbing gangsters. Curtis Jackson has explained that his stage name was a metaphor for change. The rapper commented in Stuff Magazine in 2005 that he chose the name because “I’m the same kind of person 50 Cent was. I provide for myself by any means”. This clearly shows a mindset of someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. In the context of internet marketing, doing whatever it takes to succeed could include listening to training calls, increasing your marketing budget, following the system and learning from successful entrepreneurs in your business.
His first break came when he was introduced to Jam Master Jay of Run DMC in 1996. The legendary DJ and producer taught him how to organise, structure and record his songs. Although they didn’t release an album together, 50 Cent credits Jam Master Jay as an important early influence in his career. Following 50 Cent’s lead, a budding entrepreneur must ensure he aligns himself with a successful entrepreneur as early as possible. He should try as much as possible to get a mentor, if not his sponsor but someone in his upline or he can get one through networking. It is also important to note that 50 Cent had moved away from his drug dealing colleagues by this time which implies that the new entrepreneur must as much as possible distance himself from people that bring little or no benefit to his business.
Three years later, 50 Cent was signed to Columbia Records by successful producers, Trackmasters. He completed the album, Power of the Dollar in 2000 although it was never officially released. By now, 50 Cent was gaining street acclaim, especially as a result of the single ‘How to Rob’, where the Southside Queens rapper talked about how and why he would rob the top artists of the time. With effort, dedication and hardwork comes success. 50 Cent had not achieved his main goal at this time of making the mainstream, but the little success he was having must have served as motivation for him to keep on going. As an entrepreneur, always have a main goal but also have interim goals or milestones that signpost you to achieving the main goal.
Just as he was about to make a breakthrough, on May 24 2000, 50 Cent was shot 9 times in front of his grandmother’s house. He mysteriously survived and began to convince himself he had a purpose in life which was as yet unfulfilled. Even though he was dropped by Columbia Records in the wake of the shooting 50 Cent did not give up and continued to make underground hits backed by the newly formed G-Unit comprising of fellow New Yorkers, Tony Yayo and Lloyd Banks. The example we must learn here is that even in the face of considerable setback, we must not give up but continue to have faith in our ability to turn things around. We must persevere and be consistent and the break or success will come.
50 Cent’s big break finally arrived in 2002, when rap megastar, Eminem heard one of his mixtapes (underground album). Eminem was so impressed that he introduced the rapper to NWA legend Dr Dre by now a top producer. 50 Cent was subsequently signed to a $1m record deal. 50 Cent could have given up not knowing how close success was after he was shot. Incidentally, he was shot because some highly feared gangsters did not want him to succeed in the rap game as that would affect the sales of their artist’s records. 50 Cent ignored the threats and persisted. By being persistent and consistent, an entrepreneur’s break will come. We must learn to overcome our fear of failure and be courageous in pursuing our dreams.
In early 2003, the album which was to change his life forever, ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’ was released. The lead single from the album ‘In da Club’ broke all sorts of records, firmly establishing 50 Cent in the commercial mainstream. The album sold nearly 1 million copies in its first week alone, debuting at number 1 on the Billboard chart.
50 Cent has followed up the phenomenal success of ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’ by releasing two more platinum albums, the Massacre and Curtis and has also released albums with G-Unit and countless mixtapes. He is planning to release a new album in 2009, ‘Before I Self Destruct’. Clearly, 50 Cent is not a man to rest on his laurels. All successful entrepreneurs share this trait of also striving for more. They are never content with present successful and are always pushing themselves to new boundaries.
50 Cent frequently records mixtapes which he allows his fans to download for free over the internet. He is demonstrating a mindset which is crucial to the success of an internet marketer. By using his mixtapes as promotion, 50 Cent is basically offering something of value to his customers to gain customer loyalty. By doing this on a consistent basis, selling his products become easier. Entrepreneurs must firstly focus on providing value to their customers before trying to sell their products.
Mr Jackson’s success is not confined to the music business alone. He has other business projects. In 2007, Coca Cola purchased Glaceau, in which 50 Cent had a stake, netting him around $100m after tax, according to Forbes Magazine. He has also been involved in film projects like ‘Righteous Kill’ with Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino and ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’, a film based on his life. A successful entrepreneur will always look to get out of her comfort zone as the motivation of stretching her boundaries to become the best she can drives her on.
50 Cent will undoubtedly continue to be a success. By approaching his music as a business instead of a hobby, the rapper is living the life of his dreams. His mindset and attributes are transferable and will almost guarantee his success in his projects outside of music. His belief and faith in his ability will help him to exercise patience when the going gets tough, his competitiveness will ensure he does whatever is required to succeed in whatever his set his mind to and his courage means failure is not an option.
50 Cent has qualities every entrepreneur needs to be successful and to achieve the life of their dreams and he certain is an example that supports my theory that with the right attributes and mindset anyone can be successful.