Queens native, Russell Simmons, co-founded the hip hop music label Def Jam Records in 1984 when he was 27. In the 30 years since then, he has expanded into the fashion industry (Phat Farms clothing), financial services, TV, and film. He sold both Def Jam and Phat Farm for more than $100M each while he currently runs Rush Communications—a holding company that invests in prominent brands in the media, fashion and lifestyle industries.
Simmons’ net worth is estimated to be over $340 million. Tania Padgett of CNN Money reported that “Simmons says that a positive attitude, passion and openness to wealth—both spiritual and material—are some of the qualities needed for entrepreneurial success.” You can read all about it in Simmons’ book, , or you can catch snippets of his philosophy below (which, surprisingly, is more about generosity than making money).
“Respect your parents. What they tell you is true. Hard work, dedication and faith will get you anything. Imagination will drive itself. You can get anything you want, but you have to have faith behind all your ideas. Stick to your goals and have an undying faith.”
“If you wake up deciding what you want to give versus what you’re going to get, you become a more successful person.”
“I think if you’re open-minded, the road will take you where it takes you. If you’re closed, you might not get to go where the road is heading.”
“The stuff I do, I do every day, and I’ve been doing it for long periods of time. I don’t start and quit—ever. I start and stay on it.”
“From a business standpoint, I instinctively do things: when I get something right, it’s never because I use my brain.”
“I think that diversity is key for the next American entrepreneurs. They want to be a part of this society where there is so much diversity they have to have people from all the experiences.”
“As I get, I give. Giving as you get is critical. It has everything to do with being happy for yourself, and making others happy is the cause of making yourself happy, and it’s the cycle of giving and getting.”
“I’ve been blessed to find people who are smarter than I am, and they help me to execute the vision I have.”
“I like to do things that I see clearly that are in my, you know, scope. And then, I had to figure how I get talented or smart business people around me to execute. That’s what I have to do.”