'Entrepretainer' Nick Cannon: 'Hurdles are Made to Jump Over'
Star, Philanthropist and Business Owner Shares the Lessons He Learned
Nick Cannon, the multitasking, multi-faceted film star, comedian, TV and radio host, musician, writer, director, executive producer, and philanthropist, is also a successful entrepreneur.
Cannon, who founded Ncredible Entertainment in 2009, recently hosted the first Chase for Business Conference series across the country. "Nick's the kind of person who helps us innovate and grow by sharing his own fascinating experiences as a marketer and business owner," JPMorgan Chase Chief Marketing Officer, Kristin Lemkau, says.
We had a chance to talk with Cannon about what he has learned from his entrepreneurial experiences:
Chase: You're a self-proclaimed "entrepretainer." How did you come to coin the word?
Cannon: It started off as a joke, but I'm an even mix of entertainer and entrepreneur. It's how I approach everything: 50 percent creative and 50 percent business, with the same passion on both sides.
Chase: Tell us about starting your own multimedia company, Ncredible Entertainment.
Cannon: In 2009 I was doing separate projects and wanted to bring everything together in what we call 360 branding. I was looking to create a one-stop shop to sign artists and [intellectual property], do marketing, PR and development, and grow on all levels from entertainment to consumer marketing.
Chase: What are some lessons learned from starting your own company?
Cannon: So many lessons learned! More than anything, I learned perseverance and integrity. What ever is thrown at you, you have to keep pushing through. As I like to say, hurdles are made to jump over. In terms of integrity, you have to stand for something. Make sure your company or brand stands for something that people can trust in.
Chase: What advice would you give to an entrepreneur starting out?
Cannon: Use other people's money! No I'm serious, I wish I hadn't invested so much of my own money initially, but you need to take risks if you believe in yourself. Also, be creative, so that you can be a self-generator. Generate your own publicity, generate your own concepts. Anything you can create on your own is always beneficial.
Chase: What is the most challenging part of being an entrepreneur?
Cannon: The risk factor. It's the most exciting, but it's also the most challenging, because the entrepreneurial spirit is about stepping out where no one else has. It is extremely risky, but with great risk comes great reward.
Chase: What role does philanthropy play in your business ventures?
Cannon: I always look for things that resonate with my spirit and think it's important to give back. Lupus, kidney disease, homelessness and financial literacy are all causes that I have personally experienced and are organic to who I am, so they fit.
Chase: What innovation inspires you?
Cannon: The quick access to large amounts of information and the power of social media. How quickly a message can move around the world is truly inspiring. One person can have an idea, and it can become a global movement by the end of the day. It's amazing!
Chase: You created the hashtag #DemBabies for your twins Roc & Roe and have a huge social media presence. How do you use social media for your businesses?
Cannon: Social media is the true grass roots movement. The conversation has to start there, no matter your product. And you have to be authentic. Trying to be viral never works.
Chase: How do you balance the demands of your various endeavors?
Cannon: Time management and having a team that can support and help me.
Chase: Finally, let's close it out with the lightning round. Favorite small business?
Cannon: Aerospace boxing gym [a fitness center in New York City].
Chase: Who's your role model?
Cannon: My grandmother.
Chase: Best thing about starting your own business?
Cannon: Being your own boss!
Chase: What do you do to relax?
Cannon: Sleep. And write.
Lauren Coulston is Vice President of Content Solutions in the Brand Marketing Group at JPMorgan Chase. She has written for The Huffington Post and Boomer Market Advisor.