Entrepreneur, writer, record executive, film producer.
Kimora Lee (1998-2009)
Russel Wendell Simmons is an American business magnate, entrepreneur and record executive born on October 4, 1957, in Queens, New York. He is the co-founder of the hip-hop label Def Jam and created many other successful businesses like Phat Farm and Def Pictures.
He was raised in a middle-class family neighborhood (Hollis, Queens), son of two public administrators. Even though he wasn’t born rich, his ambition and drive made him one of the wealthiest hip hop personalities in the entire world.
Career and Struggle
When he grew up, he moved his attention into promoting local hip-hop acts, letting him get into the music world and industry as a promoter. He was enrolled in his sociology studies at the same time City College of New York, but he eventually left studies.
He was so passionate about music that during those times working as a promoter he wrote “Christmas Rappin'” together with Kurtis Blow, that led to minor success. In 1884 he launched the record label Def Jem Recordings with Rick Rubin where Simmons was the one responsible for the business-like activities due to his excellent guts for business. Rick later sold his Def Jam shares to Universal Music Group for $100 Million. After that, he created Rush Artist Management, where he got some attention by releasing artists like Beastie Boys and LL Cool J.
His first real success arrived in 1985 when he signed a distribution deal with CBS Records. He later partnered with Aerosmith by creating a remake of “Walk this way,” that finally brought rap music to the mainstream culture. This was when hip-hop started to be incorporated into pop. The massive success anyway began after signing the hip hop group Public Enemy, bringing him into his golden era.
His success was not only tied to the music industry. More than a simple businessman Russel revealed himself to be an eclectic entrepreneur capable of putting his genius into various creative businesses. A confirmation of this is that his first expansion occurred when he started into the fashion business by launching his clothing line Phat Farm that he eventually sold for $140 million.
After that, he also went into the comedy business to give the African-American culture a place to express their talents. This eventually brought to the production of “The nutty Professor” turning out to be a huge success.
Concerning his intimate life, he got married to his longtime girlfriend Kimora Lee in 1998, even though the two divorced 11 years later in 2009.
5 Tips to Succeed
Tip #1: Stay focussed
“The person that says focussed on his dream realizes his dream.” So much truth behind those words, a truth that Russel applied to many of his businesses, including Phat Farm that was not a straightforward success but took him 6 years to make it explode into the success we all know. His advice is to work on one business first and, after that business becomes successful, then you can expand into other ones.
Tip #2: Go Past the Obstacles
It’s expected that you carry the cross by yourself at first as other people won’t probably recognize the work you’re doing unless it starts to produce some results. During this time some people will cheer you up, others will laugh at you, but you have to keep going because one day you’ll reap all the benefits of your work, provided you acted consistently, with a strategy and a positive belief.
Tip #3: Focus on the present abundance & give honestly
What can we do to raise the seconds of presence we experience? When you’re present, you can be happy because happiness comes from the inside out. He also advises operating from abundance as good givers are great getters but only if you give honestly and without expecting something in return. Be here and not in the future, and you will harness the power of present gratefulness.
Tip #4: Provide Needed Service
“If you’re a good entrepreneur you find this real service that people need, and you go to work, and you provide that service” All people need everything as they’re suffering from something lacking in their lives. If you think you can’t help people in lives think again as in reality, there’s always something that people need.
Tip #5: Have faith
That’s the most critical element to have, the element of miracles as many people say, including Simmons. If you have imagination and faith, miracles will happen, he says. You can make a lot of mistakes along the way, but if you have faith coupled with hard work and dedication, you will make it.
“A person’s strength is to know their weaknesses.”
“There are no failures, only quitters.”
“Only do shit you believe in!”
“When you do good by the world, the world will do good by you.”
“Never change for the mainstream—stay in your lane, and if you’re talented and resilient enough, the mainstream will come to you.”
“Needing nothing attracts everything.”
3 Lessons we can learn from his story
Lesson 1: Expand by Diversifying
Once Simmons succeeded on his first business after focussing on it, only then he expanded into other ones, making his financial position so diversified that he now enjoys his massive stable wealth. The rule of thumb is to have at least 7 different sources of income, according to the most significant financial success experts.
Lesson 2: Don’t be afraid to try something new
Fear of failure, coupled with a secure attachment to the feeling of comfort, can be detrimental to one’s success. If you are afraid to try something new because you will probably fail at it, then you’re acting based on the fact that most likely than not will happen to 99% of people. Stop being afraid of failure in new areas as that’s something normal and expected for most human beings.
Lesson 3: Eclecticism
Simmons wasn’t only a successful entrepreneur, but he managed to get out his talent in other areas like public relationships and content creation. Unless you expand your views and possibilities, you’ll never be able to know how good you can be in a specific area.
In 2014 he was awarded by Claremont Lincoln University an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Humane Letters.
He is 1.76m tall.
He criticized Donald Trump for Muslim immigrants to be barred from entering the United States.
He has always been a supporter of gay rights.
He’s been vegan since 1999 and was awarded the 2001 PETA Humanitarian Award.
Russel Simmons is one of the wealthiest hip hop exponents in the world. His business acumen, ambition, and drive made him a successful person in various business ventures, meeting him accumulate great fortunes. His Net-worth today is estimated to be over $350 Million.