Being a boss is no easy task, so who better to get tips from than rapper and multi-hyphenate businessman, Rick Ross?
On September 7, Rick Ross answers all of your entrepreneurial questions in his new book, The Perfect Day To Boss Up: A Hustler’s Guide To Building Your Empire. With writer and former XXL Magazine editor Neil Martinez-Belkin on the assist, Rozay discusses how he was forced to pivot his business strategies during the pandemic, the importance of having a solid team, and drops nothing but gems for those who have their own business, are thinking about starting a business, or just need a little motivation to get them going.
AfroTech not only got the opportunity to preview the book early, but we also got the chance to speak to the Biggest Boss himself. Check out just a few of the many major keys we walked away with.
1. Don't Keep All Your Fabergé Eggs In One Basket
When we talk about hip hop’s biggest businessmen, Jay Z, Master P, and Diddy often come to mind. However, Rick Ross’ business endeavors aren’t anything to sneeze at.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, everyone was affected, even Rick Ross. Due to nationwide lockdowns, the rapper was unable to tour for the unforeseeable future. Touring is a major part of how many rappers make their money, and for fifteen years, it was the multiplatinum rapper’s largest source of income. However, the inability to make show money didn’t completely halt Rozay’s finances thanks to his numerous other revenue streams.
Aside from being the CEO of Maybach Music, Ross also owns 25 Wingstop locations, is a franchise owner of Checkers and Rally’s restaurants, has a partnership with spirits brands Luc Belaire and Bumbu, has his own men’s hair and beard grooming line, RICH by Rick Ross, is in partnership with Rap Snacks and Verzuz, has ventured into the cannabis industry with Cookies brand, and even has a partnership with CTRL Meal Replacement shakes.
Believe it or not, that’s just the tip of the iceberg for what this mogul has been cooking up. He even rents his 235-acre Atlanta-area home, dubbed The Promise Land, out to film studios (it’s where Coming 2 America was shot).
Needless to say, Rick Ross will be set for life — even long after he retires from rap.
2. Align Yourself With Brands That Are Consistent With Who You Are
Rick Ross may have a lot of partnerships under his belt, but believe it or not, he’s very strategic about what he says “yes” to.
According to the music mogul, before he aligns himself with a brand, the connection has to feel right.
He tells AfroTech, “If I sat down at a meeting, I tell whoever’s at the table that’s going to make their presentation to not say one word and I take [the proposal]. Am I inspired naturally? Is this something that I want to be a part of? Don’t sell it to me. Is this going to be something that I’m like, ‘damn, I can’t wait to tell the homies we did this?'”
And if he’s not feeling it immediately, Ross says that 9 times out of 10, the deal is not for him.
He’s lived by that mindset throughout all of his professional dealings. Going into the business of opening Wingstop restaurants, or aligning with Black-owned snack company, Rap Snacks, came naturally for Ross, who happens to be a big fan of lemon pepper wings. And the Checkers he owns in Miami Gardens was one of his favorite hometown hangouts as a teen. Every collaboration holds a level of significance and alignment to Ross’ brand, making the partnership much more natural. But will that work for the average person?
“Most definitely,” says Ross. “Navigate towards what you love the most. Do you LOVE this? Because it’s going to be hard for you to fail. When I’m involved in something I love, I’m the first one in the room, and the last one to leave. That’s just a habit. I make sure I outwork everybody else that’s around.”
3. No Job Is Too Small For A Boss
No matter what level you’re on in your entrepreneurial journey, it’s always important to remember that you’re not above getting down and dirty.
In his book, The Perfect Day To Boss Up, Rick Ross says, “If you do more than what you’re paid for, eventually you’ll be paid for more than what you do,” and his work ethic shows.
During our Lunchtable chat with Rozay, he says that even though he’s worth millions of dollars, there’s still no job that’s too small for him to handle.
“Ain’t nothing too big nor too small for a real boss,” Ross tells AfroTech. “I’ll walk into one of my franchisees, and if the floors need to be swept, I’ll grab the broom to sweep it rather than calling somebody over from the register. Nah, I’ll do it myself. You know what I mean? That’s just the approach.”
4. Surround Yourself With The Right Team
Rozay does not handle business alone. In fact, in Chapter 5 of The Perfect Day To Boss Up, he makes it very clear just how important it is to have the right people around you.
He refers to his mother (Ella) and sister (Renee) as his “most trusted confidants.” They have a hand in all of his affairs and even have very lucrative businesses of their own. His mother owns over a dozen rental properties, while his sister has a car dealership in Olive Branch, Mississippi.
Ross also has Yvette Davila, the General Manager of Maybach Music Group, Lex Pierre-Louis, who runs point on all of MMG’s marketing and promotions, his DJ, Sam Sneak, and the list goes on.
“I may be the head of this empire, but all of these people make up the backbone,” he writes. “A backbone consists of many vertebrae, and if just one of them is out of alignment, the whole body suffers.”
5. Always Remain A Student Of The Game
The pandemic was the perfect time to boss up — on stocks and cryptocurrency. Rick Ross learned that the hard way when he missed out on an opportunity to cash in on some Wingstop stock early.
“[Wingstop’s] stock price was under $50 in March , and by July, it was up to damn near $150,” he writes. Unfortunately, because he owned very little stock in the company, he missed a huge opportunity to rake in some major dough. Are there other things Ross says he wish he learned early?
“I can only imagine,” he tells us. “The list would be as long as from here to New York City!”
But Ross says that there is a lot to learn from those losses, as well.
“There’s a wisdom that you gain from these losses, through these experiences,” he says. “And that’s why I put the book together, just to share that.”
And as for where Rozay goes to get his ever-growing wisdom, he credits mentors like his high school football coach, Walt Frazier, as well as notable names like Kenneth Williams, Tony Draper, J. Prince, Diddy, and Jay-Z. However, Ross tells Afrotech that the words from an incarcerated friend still ring most true for him today.
“One of my big homies, he’s actually served 40 years now, he told me back then, ‘homie, whatever you eat when you got $10, you should still eat when you got $10,000. Nobody should know the difference.’ And I applied that same game right now.”
6. Bosses Hold Themselves Accountable
Bosses make mistakes — and learn from them. For Rick Ross, he had to learn how to handle his emotions because leading with the wrong ones was becoming costly and detrimental to his business.
In his book, he discusses learning how to not be such a reactive person and how a physical altercation with a blogger became a costly legal battle. He also opens up about his infamous “U.O.E.N.O” drama, and how it caused him to lose his Reebok endorsement, except this time, after learning from his past mistakes, he knew how best to handle the negative situation and took his L in stride.
A comment he made on The Breakfast Club about signing female talent to his record label also caused quite a media stir. Although it was a failed attempt at being tongue-in-cheek or funny, Rick Ross knew right away that he had to make amends with his female fans and the many women who work within his empire.
Accountability was a lesson that Ross had to learn the hard way. In his interview with Afrotech, he gives fellow rappers some helpful advice.
“As an artist, you’re on a whole nother platform where millions of people have their eyes on you,” he says. “That means there are millions of potential ways people could absorb the statements you make.”
Ross explains, “When you were a mixtape artist, there were things you could do and say to entertain the streets. It changes [once you get a larger platform] and you have to take that into consideration. And the bigger you get, you have to remind yourself of the reason you’re here — to make incredible music and do it for incredible fans, incredible people.”
7. If You Want To Be A Boss, You First Must Be A Worker
Whether your end goal is to be a boss or you just want to make enough money to sustain a comfortable living, Rick Ross wants you to know that you should always follow your vision and never cheat the hustle.
In The Perfect Day To Boss Up, the rapper/label exec recounts the early days in his career where he’d barely have enough money from performing at a club to get a hotel. Instead, he’d have to sleep in his car. He recalls the early days of meeting Drake and knowing that he’s got it. He even touches on all of the top hip-hop playmakers he met and networked with along the way and how important it was to maintain those relationships.
“Being a boss is about being in the driver’s seat of your life, regardless of whether you’re riding in a Bugatti or your momma’s Ford Focus,” he writes.
It took many years and two failed record deals before Rick Ross eventually became the multimillion-dollar man he is today. And to think, he almost gave up. Thank God for “Hustlin‘.”