It’s a given that everyone has their own skill set and by utilizing what you’re already good at, you should be on the road to success. But what about those who decide to branch out and explore other options? Sure, this may be a more difficult task for some, but those who have the cash to spare can easily afford the possible risks in either going into business for themselves or investing in one. So, who can possibly do this without breaking a sweat? Well, celebrities for starters.
From becoming the spokesperson for a brand of whatever nature to building their own empire, Hollywood stars have the financial means to basically do anything and everything they see fit. Those that are smart have taken the risk and invested in something greater than their own commercial desires.
You will be able to read about some of those who have stepped out of the box and made things happen for themselves down below. From designing their own clothing line to owning record companies (and even owning a multi-billion dollar licensing corporation), these celebrities have proved that they’ve got what it takes to make it in the business world – and have the big bucks to show for it. So, to counteract all of the stigma revolving around how celebrities hardly work for their money, here’s to 15 stars who bring home the bacon the old fashioned way.
15. Sandra Bullock
Sandra Bullock may still be a huge name in the Hollywood scene, but she likes to focus her attention on a wide variety of things and entrepreneurship is one of them. Not all of her businesses have stayed afloat, and Bess Bistro is a prime example of this, as it permanently shut its doors on September 20, 2015. But one thing that they all do have in common is success. Both Bess Bistro and her other restaurant Walton’s Fancy & Staple have been critically acclaimed among foodies. But, restaurants aren’t the only thing that she’s explored; she also launched a line of eco-friendly soy candles that aren’t only long-lasting, but contain no lead in their wicks. However, the question remains: will she continue to find a way to sell them despite Bess Bistro being shut down or has that idea burned up?
14. Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston is a huge fashion icon in a lot of ways, and the way that her hair is styled falls under that category just as much as the rest of her look. So, it would only make sense that she would eventually start investing in something of that nature. On top of being the spokesmodel for Aveeno, she bought stakes in the hair care company Living Proof, became their spokeswoman, and hasn’t looked back since. Then again, neither have they. This once small, high-end company has now been able to expand and sell their products in over 1,000 locations, receiving an abundance of advertisement from this Hollywood icon. So, what do they do exactly? Living Proof’s mission is to simplify the whole hair care routine, so that you can spend your time doing more with your day and the founders did just that. By eliminating the silicone, the biotech scientists at MIT made it possible for people everywhere to wash their hair once every two or three days instead of once a day and not look greasy! Sure, there are a lot of other benefits as well, but you can check out their website to read all about it.
13. Francis Ford Coppola
We may not have seen a film directed by Francis Ford Coppola for quite some time, but there’s a very good explanation for this: he’s been in the wine business. The director best known for The Godfather decided to take his talents in a new direction and this business move has been a very smart one at that. He first stepped into the wine industry back in 1972 when he took a fair chunk of the money that he made from the first installment of his epic gangster films so he could buy part-ownership of the Inglenook Winery. He started in the wine biz and began releasing bottles under his own name and things were starting to look up. As his career in Hollywood continued, there were some flops but thanks to the box-office success of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, he was able to purchase the remainder. The Francis Ford Coppola Winery has since took off and has become a huge success. Sure, he may not be able to name the wine after himself anymore, but the new taste of Inglenook is all his own and the brand has undergone a wonderful evolution because of it.
12. Jessica Simpson
Jessica Simpson may not be known for being the brightest bulb in the bunch, but sometimes it’s better to keep things simple. She’s become a successful entrepreneur as a direct result! While her entertainment career may stand the test of time, she has made enough of a name for herself to be able to expand her horizons. Under the brand the Jessica Simpson Collection, she is able to generate about $1 billion in annual sales, which really isn’t too shabby. Given, this is more of a joint venture with her mother, Tina, but the point still stands. She has gone from designing shoes, clothes and accessories to expanding so that she can now include a maternity line, girls clothing, home decor and even luggage! So, what’s the secret to her success? She is able to think “outside the box.” While most brands design their clothing to fit one specific body type, she is gearing hers for women everywhere and that’s what makes it so spectacular. If that wasn’t enough, the Sequential Brands Group decided to become her partner on this venture and their stocks have jumped 12%!
11. Jessica Alba
Jessica Alba is way more than just another pretty face in Hollywood; she is a proud mother and owner of The Honest Co. Geared toward a sustainable and simpler way of living, Alba has aligned herself with some of the best in the industry to ensure that all of the products that she sells are safe, affordable and desired by their consumers who mainly consist of new parents. After she suffered from an allergic reaction that came on while she was washing her unborn daughter’s onesie, Alba decided to do a little research of her own and discovered that there were a lot of harsh chemicals in the products that she was using. In fear of future complications, she took initiative, came to the conclusion that she would launch her own line of organic products and set out to make this dream of hers a reality. After years of waiting for the right moment to come along, she eventually partnered up with Brian Lee. After over a decade of business, it has come to the point where they make about $1.7 billion a year and they don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. That is, as long as their recent lawsuit over apparent discrepancies regarding their organic nature, which the company fully denies by the way, doesn’t escalate into an all out war.
10. Gwen Stefani
Gwen Stefani may have gotten her big break as the lead singer of No Doubt but she has since gone above and beyond everyone’s expectations. Not only has she continued her musical career as a solo artist, but she has also become a fashion icon and used this status to her advantage. By taking advantage of her fame and idolized sense of style, she decided to partake in the fashion business and this was probably one of the smartest moves that she could have ever made. Her biggest line is one that goes under the name L.A.M.B. or, Love. Angel. Music. Baby., the name of her first solo album, and it has become an international success. With its rocker-chic aesthetic that plays upon mixing hard and soft elements (while still playing on a vintage sense of what it means to be a woman), its unique look is something that everyone can appreciate. She also collaborated with designer Michael Glasser to launch an eco-friendly line, DWP (Designs With a Purpose), in 2014. If that wasn’t enough, her line for girls in the toddler age range, Harajiku Mini, can be found for affordable prices at Target and the Harajiku Lovers brand also has its own fragrance line.
9. 50 Cent
50 Cent may have not come from the best of backgrounds, but a lot had changed since his childhood and, if anything, at least he has become great in spite of it. 50 Cent came into the public’s eye after he began his music career as a rapper, and his acquired success has since given him the means to explore the entrepreneurial side of life. One of Curtis Jackson’s first moves as a businessman was buying stakes in Glacéau, a company that’s best known for its line of vitamin water, which was later bought out by the Coca-Cola Company – thus making him $100 million as a result. He also owned a boxing promotion company at one point. The company went under, but things aren’t all bad for 50. By going into business with SMS Audio, he has launched his own line of headphones called SMS by 50, so that he can compete with Dr. Dre‘s Beats, and he even has his own line of energy drinks! But, he’s not all about the money. With every purchase of SK Energy, his energy drink, some of the proceeds go to feed a child in Africa. He may not be the first one to do something like this, but every little bit counts, right? Also, does anyone remember the G-Unit clothing line? Yeah, he was responsible for that too.
8. Sean “Diddy” Combs
Sean “Diddy” Combs, Puff Daddy or any other name that you may know him by, may have started out in the ghetto, but he has by no means stayed there. In fact, he’s done the very opposite. In a world filled with entertainers, Sean Combs is one of the few that you just can’t seem to get away from. But, it’s not in the way that you’d expect. He started out as a simple student at Howard University, which then got his foot in the door at Uptown Records, a company that he would be the Vice President of at 21, and it just snowballed from there. A lot of his business ventures can be categorized as a part of the entertainment sphere, at least in one sense or another, and they have brought him nothing but success. They typically fall under the grandeur scheme of the Bad Boy Entertainment Group which includes record label, Bad Boy Records, a clothing line, Sean John, and an award-winning fragrance line. He has also gotten on board with Aquahydrate, a sport water, and has helped revamp Ciroc Ultra Premium Vodka. When you take into consideration that everything mentioned is just the tip of the iceberg, it really starts to make you wonder about what’s next for this business mogul.
7. Sammy Hagar
While he may not be the most popular man on this list, Sammy Hagar began his music career in the late 60s and was even the frontman of Van Halen after David Lee Roth left. But, after he earned enough money from the band, he took a step back from the entertainment business to live a semi-normal life. He took his money and founded the now popular Cabo Wabo Cantina. What started out as an odd restaurant/nightclub in Cabo San Lucas back in the 1990s has since boomed with locations in places like Hollywood and Las Vegas. But, that’s not the only restaurant franchise under his name either. He also has Sammy’s Beach Bar and Grill which may not be as party-centric as his other venture but it’s just as popular. You also can’t forget about Cabo Wabo Tequila, which he launched and later sold in two parts for a grand total of $91 million, with Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum also in the sale.
6. Kathy Ireland
Kathy Ireland may be best known for her appearances in 13 Sports Illustrated issues, but she has transformed herself and her brand to be viewed as more than just a supermodel – and there seems to be no stopping her. Kathy Ireland Worldwide is a licensing company that Ireland founded in 1993, and has since had over 17,000 products under its ever-expanding belt. This multi-billion dollar corporation sells everything from clothing to anything you could possibly need for your home and even has resorts bearing its name. However, she primarily deals with businesses on a smaller scale, so that she can then help them build their businesses and make a lot more than they currently are. But, this hasn’t stopped the company from recently launching a diamond collection. All in all, she knows her products and is fully aware that in the state that the financial market is currently in the consumers – looking for pieces that have great value and quality and, most importantly, something that they can feel good buying.
5. Dr. Dre
The legendary producer and rapper has done so much for the world of hip-hop world that it’s almost difficult to know where to begin. From signing artists like Eminem and 50 to popularizing gangsta rap, he definitely knows the business and that’s something that no one can take away from him. This 49-year-old entrepreneur has spend 25 years in the entertainment industry, so he was able to sense the steep decline that record sales have faced over the past few years as a result of its digitization. The most popular of these is his high-end line of headphones called Beats. Since he and Jimmy Iovine started the business in 2008, it has turned into a multi-billion dollar enterprise, whose main mission was to bring quality headphones to the world. While it may have been ironically bought out by the very brand that he set out to show up (Apple), the $3 billion price tag means that they better keep up the good quality because they’ll probably end up losing all of their money otherwise. In addition, he co-owns Aftermath, a record company, alongside Eminem and Kendrick Lamar. All this to say that he probably won’t be running short on money anytime soon.
4. Paul Newman
After Paul Newman retired from the entertainment business, he founded what would eventually become a nationally acclaimed food brand that he simply named Newman’s Own. He decided to start off small and just focus on salad dressing, but the expansion that it has gone through now allows it to include everything from frozen pizzas and pasta sauces to its own line of organic produce and, of course, its popular salad dressing was here to stay, too. But, that’s not the most impressive aspect of the corporation that has been around for over 30 years. Newman’s Own is one of the few companies out there that donate 100% of the money that they make after taxes to a charity founded by Newman called the Newman’s Own Foundation. This may sound a little egotistical but when you consider that all of the money that is donated, which has amounted to over $430 million over the years, it’s hard to keep that negative preconception for very long.
3. Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro is one of the busiest men in Hollywood, but that hasn’t stopped him from finding some extra cash elsewhere. What started off as being one of the co-founders of Tribeca Productions led to him to launch the Tribeca Film Festival and other establishments under the same name. And all of this started because he wanted to start working behind the camera in the late 1980s. Since then, he has really been into investing in restaurants and this has been nothing short of a big success as well. For example, in 1994, De Niro and celebrity chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa became business partners and came up with the idea of opening up a restaurant named Nobu, which would later become a huge sushi franchise and hotel chain. In 2015, Australian billionaire James Packer put out $100 million for a 20% stake in the company! If that wasn’t enough, he has also dabbled in real estate and can be held solely responsible for the popularity in the Tribeca area of New York state. Is there anything that he can’t do?
2. Earvin “Magic” Johnson
After he announced that he was HIV positive, Earvin “Magic” Johnson decided that it was time to retire from the LA Lakers. From building shopping malls and Pepsi factories to founding AMC or Magic Johnson movie theatres, he’s definitely had a lot to show for venturing into the urban environment. His first major step? Having a conversation with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz that finally convinced him to go 50-50 on additional locations in “undeserved” areas, but not without a few cultural changes (like altering the menu and music, of course). This was a great move on his part, because his 105 locations were doing so well that in 2012, Starbucks actually bought him out! When you pair that with him selling his 4.5% stake in the Lakers which, when combined with the Starbucks ordeal, landed him with an extra $100 million, he obtained status as a great businessman. Eventually, he decided to open up, own and manage his own company called Magic Johnson Enterprises, which focuses on delivering whatever the ever-fluctuating, multicultural needs of the moment are. But they tend to be either focused on entertainment, service or products of the technological sort. In addition, through his charity, the Magic Johnson Foundation, he has used his HIV positive diagnosis to bring about social awareness and help those in need.
1. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is without a doubt one of the most famous people that the media realm will ever have the honor of knowing in all of history. Considering her major influence and how she’s dominated the industry, she will probably be one in the history books as one of the greatest African-American women that we have ever seen. By going against the odds, Oprah started out by hosting her own talk show, which then led to her starting a production company, HARPO. This helped her launch a cable network, in which she owned and co-founded Oxygen Media. Despite HARPO Studios shutting its doors in March 2016, there are already plans for its relocation to The Lot in West Hollywood. The move was inevitable because Oprah was no longer hosting her own show. But, this doesn’t mean that this self-made woman is going anywhere. Despite being transferred over to the office in California, HARPO continues to produce shows like The Rachael Ray Show and Dr. Phil, while Oxygen Media will continue doing what it’s always done – which is put out shows that their viewers want to see.