“Madonna Is a Billionaire.”
I smiled when I saw that headline online last week, but didn’t click on the link. While I’m not a particular fan of Madonna’s music, acting, fashion, or lifestyle, I have long respected her business savvy. The woman knows how to bank coin. While almost every other big artist from the 1980’s has been broke and on the “Where Are They Now?” lists for decades, Madonna blazed her own trail and just became the first female pop artist in history to gross ten figures.
When I mentioned this story to a relative earlier this week, she sighed, shook her head and said, “If I had to do it all over again, I would have done more of what I wanted and less of what others wanted me to do, because at least I would have been happier.”
My heart went out to her.
She’s in her early 50’s, raising teenagers, and is unemployed for the second time in as many years. She built her name in a luxury industry and did well for decades, but as the economy tanked, so did her career. The last two places she worked at closed their doors overnight. Meanwhile her husband has been in out of the hospital with major health issues during all of this, and like so many people who have been hit hard by the recession, she’s ready for the little black cloud that’s been following her around to dissipate and go away. It’s been way too much drama, and it’s taken a toll on her self esteem.
Maybe you can relate.
It’s hard to see others succeed when everything that could go wrong in your life does. It’s hard to be patient and wait your turn when you feel your reward is long overdue. But it’s downright impossible to sit by and watch those with less talent and skill leapfrog over you like you’re standing still when you know you can run circles around them.
So what can you do to “tip the odds” in your favor?
Be like Madonna: reinvent yourself. Then, command the spotlight.
Madonna is an amazing marketer. She’s never been the best singer, dancer, or actress, but she could teach P.T. Barnum a thing or two about P.R.
In the 80’s, she did it with lace and blasphemy. In the 90’s, it was cones and skin. By the 2000’s, she was writing children’s books. Today she espouses Kabbalah. All the while she’s been writing new music to appeal to changing trends. She’s been called “The Mother of Reinvention” because every few years, she reappears with something new and fresh to reinvigorate her career. What has it gotten her? A billion dollars – and a place in history.
Here’s what you can learn from her.
1. Begin With the End in Mind
“What do you want for 1984?” Dick Clark asked Madonna when she appeared on American Bandstand that year.
She laughed and said, “I want to rule the world.”
That hasn’t happened, but she’s certainly left her mark.
If you want to leave your mark, you need to begin with the end in mind. Because the only way to get where you’re going is to know where you want to be. If you’ve never been big on plans, it’s time to start. If you used to “have your act together,” but have lost your way because of something unexpected like a job loss, death, divorce, or whatever, take some time to mourn the loss, then get yourself back on track. You can’t move forward if you’re stuck in the past. Set a new goal and go for it.
2. Be Entertaining
People are bored out of their minds. They’re tired of their troubles and looking for escape. If you give them something to talk about, they will.
Entertaining has always been Madonna’s greatest strength. She uses shock value to shake people out of their ennui and get them talking. The controversial videos, the nude coffee table book, sound clips meant to tantalize – it creates buzz…and sales…and a billion dollar empire.
You don’t have to controversial to entertain. You can be funny, clever, or just plain talented. “Razzle dazzle them and they’ll make you a star,” isn’t just a line from a song – it’s a fact. Just try it yourself and see.
3. Maintain Your Appearance
People judge you by how you look. Period. The nicer you look, the more attention you’ll get.
Madonna has always been attractive, and she’s worked hard to maintain her face and figure over the years. She doesn’t always make the most appealing wardrobe choices, but no one can ever accuse her of being “stuck in a rut.” She regularly changes her look.
Many women don’t – and it’s hurting them more than they realize. If you haven’t updated your hair and wardrobe in a while, it’s time to make a change. Because just as prospective home buyers discount homes with décor and appliances from another decade, so too do employers discount potential employees who look 20 years out of date. If you want to be competitive, you have to look current.
4. Update Your Skill Set
While many singers from earlier decades stay stuck in the past with their greatest hits, Madonna writes new songs and cuts new albums. She challenges herself to keep current.
So should you. Technology changes rapidly these days and it can be hard to keep up. But try. It’s essential to staying competitive.
Madonna’s billion-dollar income didn’t come from just one source. In addition to her record and tour income, she also sells merchandise and DVDs, has a clothing line, a perfume line, and does the occasional endorsement.
Having multiple streams of income is smart, smart, smart, because if one stream dries up, you have a few more to pay your bills. The problem is, you can only work so many hours in a day. So how can you have multiple streams of income? By setting up passive income streams, like rental income, royalty income, investment income, and the like. The sooner you start, the more income you’ll make.
So what’s the bottom line here?
If your life isn’t going the way you think it should, you have the power to change it. Yes, it can be challenging, but if you’re not happy, it’s time for a change. Set a goal, update your skill set, polish your appearance, and go for it. You may find the excitement of a new adventure is the very thing to get you back on track.
Need some more help in creating an exciting new life? The Industry Darling shows you how to use your current knowledge and expertise to become the darling of your industry, like Rachael Ray, Suze Orman, and Martha Stewart.