Although the singer-songwriter rose to stardom because of her empowering music, Beyonce Knowles has expanded her reach into the world of business. She partners with big brands like Adidas and Pepsi, has ownership in TIDAL streaming service and owns the production company Parkwood Entertainment, runs the philanthropic organization BeyGOOD, and has an on-demand meal delivery service and a fragrance line. In 2014, she was named one of the 100 most influential people by Time magazine, and in 2020, she made the Forbes list of the 100 Most Powerful Women.
As you’re working toward financial freedom, it can be helpful to take lessons from millionaires like Beyonce. Queen Bey has always been an inspiring voice, particularly for Black women, and there’s a lot we can learn from her business acumen. Here’s how Beyonce built an international brand and some business lessons you can learn from her.
Pursue your passion
Beyonce was once a member of a group called Girls Tyme, which lost a contest on Star Search, a TV talent show. Had Beyonce given up on her passion for music at that point, we would never have been graced with her six studio albums. Research shows that when you pair passion with perseverance, it leads to better performance in your career.
Beyonce has made room in her life for other passions besides music as well, giving back to her community through the organization BeyGOOD. Recently, BeyGOOD stepped in to help families nationwide with coronavirus-related needs. That’s one of the reasons Beyonce has been so successful; her goals are aligned with causes she cares about.
Networking is essential
Beyonce networks with big brands like Pepsi and L’Oreal, nonprofit organizations, and other professionals who inspire her to elevate her career. Research tells us that leaders become most successful when they accept that they depend on others and develop strategic relationships with stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds. In other words, you can’t do it all by yourself. If you’re starting a business, form relationships with other people in your industry and anyone who may be able to support your success.
It’s OK to be vulnerable at work sometimes
The masterpiece visual album “Lemonade” has been hailed for dismantling harmful stereotypes of Black women and encouraging vulnerability and emotional expression. It recognizes the strength that comes from pain and anger and strips away the shame. Even if you’re not an artist, you can learn from Beyonce’s emotional honesty. Being vulnerable in business allows you to have difficult conversations with colleagues, which leads to greater transparency and better innovation. Vulnerability also leads to a culture of trust, which can allow creative ideas to flourish.
Your brand matters
Beyonce has a strong sense of both her genuine self and her on-stage persona. She knows herself, her audience, and the values most important to her. From that, she’s been able to build a powerful online presence and become a global brand.
To be successful at building your own personal brand, you’ll need to be authentic and showcase what makes you unique. Highlight your expertise and what you have to offer so you can connect with an audience that is eager to learn from you. Be strategic about the content you share and the story you tell on social media so your audience can clearly understand what you’re trying to achieve.
Know and connect with your audience
Beyonce understands her audience is made up of people who believe in the strength of independent women, and she stays consistent in her message of empowerment, even as her style evolves. So her fans know what to expect, but they can also expect something new and creative with each release. Beyonce has surprised her audience on multiple occasions with new releases, keeping everyone guessing about what she’ll come up with next. In doing so, she doesn’t condescend to her audience with heavy-handed marketing efforts. She includes fans in the fun.
Set the bar high for yourself
With every performance, Beyonce seems to outdo herself. Her 2018 Coachella performance was a stunning departure from her performance at the 2017 Grammys, as if the star reinvented herself with new energy. Beyonce sets a high bar by pushing herself to do the unexpected, and it’s always clear to fans the effort she’s putting in.
By setting high goals for yourself and determining what habits and behaviors you’ll need to reach them, you can propel your career forward. Research shows tracking and evaluating your goals can increase your chances of success at attaining your goals.
Focus on your physical and mental health to be your best self
Beyonce learned from a young age that it’s important to take care of your mental health. Her mother, Tina Knowles Lawson, took her and her sister to counseling to help them cope with fame and be more sensitive in their relationship with each other. As an adult, Bey continues to look after her health, using self-care techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises to recover from a difficult pregnancy. She’s also learned to focus on aspects of herself outside of her physical appearance when assessing her own worth.
Although you don’t have to use the same exact tools as Beyonce, it’s a good idea to make time to take care of yourself, or your business could suffer. Listen to your mind and body and take breaks when you need them. And develop some routines that help alleviate stress and leave you feeling your best.
Queen Bey is known for being honest and relatable in her interviews, and that makes the megastar lovable to her fans. Whether you’re an influencer trying to connect with your audience or an employer trying to gain trust from your workers, it helps to show that you’re human. If you admit to your struggles and your mistakes, your success will be that much more meaningful.
Say thank you
We can all learn from Beyonce’s graciousness. A simple “thank you” goes a long way in endearing you to clients and colleagues, and it doesn’t cost anything. Be sure to show your appreciation for the people who support your success so you can continue to maintain those relationships.
Think outside the box
It’s a good idea to think creatively when deciding what business to start, and you may also want to find ways to delight your audience with the unexpected. It could be special packaging for your Etsy merchandise, an innovative email campaign, or a unique service that others in your industry aren’t providing.
For Beyonce, thinking outside the box has meant dropping surprise albums without traditional marketing. Although it’s not the path most artists take with their releases, the move has been a huge success for Beyonce, proving it can be smart to catch your audience off guard. And other artists have followed suit.
Build a strong team
Beyonce isn’t afraid to collaborate with other artists. The visual album “Lemonade” required the work of talented cinematographers and directors. And more than 200 dancers, musicians, and other staff, individually selected by Queen Bey and her team, made her astounding 2018 Coachella performance possible. To work on her film “Black Is King,” Beyonce found talented novice filmmakers and Guggenheim fellows alike, and their diverse visions made the movie more profound than what one artist could possibly accomplish on their own, even a creative genius like Beyonce.
In business, building a strong team of people with unique insights and talents is essential. Even if you’re an expert in all aspects of your business, don’t be afraid to rely on others; two heads are often better than one.
The right partnerships can be lucrative
Beyonce has partnered with Adidas to develop her athleisure brand, Ivy Park; earned $50 million from a partnership with Pepsi; and has been a spokesperson for L’Oreal Paris. A good brand partnership can not only make money for your business, but it can also expand your audience, giving you more exposure and potential customers. Look for companies that align with your business’s mission and have a network of customers that you’re aiming to reach.
Get support from those around you
Everyone needs support from family and friends, even Beyonce. Beyonce and husband Jay-Z have a team of nannies to help out with their children, so don’t feel bad asking for support with caring for your own children. Tell your friends and family about your business and personal goals, and you might be surprised how many of them are willing to lend a hand.
Don’t let your critics get in the way of your success
Even though Beyonce is almost universally beloved, she still deals with negative comments on social media. But she doesn’t make apologies for being herself, nor does she let criticism get her down. She says it’s liberating to be in a place where you don’t care what people think of you. If you stay genuine while focusing on what matters to you most, the negative opinion of critics should bounce right off of you.
The bottom line
Patience, persistence, fearlessness, authenticity, and resourcefulness will all pay off as you work to grow your business, and these are all traits you can learn from Beyonce.
Although difficulties acquiring starting capital could be overcome with the right business credit card, it’s even more important to ditch any negative notions about yourself that might be holding you back. If you know yourself just as well as you know your audience and can leverage the expertise of others as you work toward your goals, your business could become a smashing success.
Image credit: By Kristopher Harris - https://www.flickr.com/photos/thekrisharris/27394364042/in/album-72157668964165491/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69682885