Gene Simmons is a legend. There's no better way to put it. And in a recent interview on All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett, I had the opportunity to sit down with the legend himself to learn more about his business.
For more than 40 years, Simmons has toured the world with KISS, one of the most successful music franchises in the world, selling more than 100 million albums worldwide. With elaborate costumes and even more elaborate performances, Simmons is a demon on stage.
But Simmons isn't just the front-man for an iconic rock and roll band. He's leading a rock and roll brand.
The Israeli-born American is a record producer, entrepreneur, actor, and television personality with more than 3,000 product licensing categories - including coffins.
Simmons was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But he should really be in the business hall of fame. This guy knows how to make money.
C-Suite leaders don't have to don makeup and get on stage to be a success. But embody the spirit and philosophy of Gene Simmons, and you can go far.
Business comes first.
Simmons can rock and roll all night long, and he can even party every day. But he's never forgotten the most important part of the music business. It's a business.
It might be a thrill getting on stage in front of thousands of fans. But you have to figure out how you're going to make money, too. So Simmons approaches business like a shark. You have to keep moving, keep swimming - otherwise, you're going to drown.
No substitute for hard work.
Simmons will be the first to tell you that part of his success in the music business was that he was in the right place at the right time.
But more than that, they were a hard-working band from day one.
More than 40 years late, if you go to a KISS show today, this working man ethic is still alive and well. Those four guys on stage aren't phoning it in, sitting around cross-legged on the carpet singing about free love. They're putting on a show - every single time.
The harder you work, the luckier you get. There's no substitute for work.
Time is money.
These days, it's harder than ever to earn a living playing and writing songs. Too many people want to download music for free, and it's killing the music industry, Simmons says.
But your work has value. Whether you're a musician or a mortician, your time is worth money. Don't forget that. Figure out a way to charge money for what you do. As Simmons would say: "If you don't like hearing that, too bad. Welcome to capitalism."
Capitalize on a good idea.
For Simmons, it started with a song. But he didn't stop with music. He's aligned the KISS brand with nearly everything - TV shows, a chain of restaurants, a football team, a real estate acquisition company, television shows and more. And he's always looking for the next big idea.
Talent is important. Simmons obviously wouldn't be successful if he wasn't a gifted performer. But more than that, he works hard - really hard.
"The biggest advantage I have is that I'm willing to work harder than you," he says.
Vacations are nice. But Simmons would rather work. "While you're busy resting, I'm running ahead of you," he says. "I consider work a privilege. I love to work."
It's one of the key things that Gene Simmons and I have always agreed on. When you love what you do, it isn't work. It becomes your life.
Failure isn't final.
For every successful idea Simmons has had, there's been many that have failed. And he's never let that get him down. You can't be afraid of the big idea that might not work. Think bigger. Work harder.
It's OK to fail in business. Just dust yourself off and start again.