With celebrity status brings brand and self recognition, but more importantly loads of money in many cases. Even D-List celebrities with their 15 minutes of fame will try to capitalize on it.
So what do a few celebrities do when they have too much money and want even more? Simply launch or invest into a few businesses. Instead of bringing you high calibers celebrities like Jay-Z or 50 Cent, let’s take a look at a 10 celebrities you didn’t know were entrepreneurs…
Surprisingly, Jackie Chan has never completed proper education which hurt his ability to read or write. This did not stop him from successfully being casted in role after role in movies where he eventually found more success in the United States with the Rush Hour franchise to name a few. In parallel to his acting success, Jackie has launched and co-founded several businesses. Jackie has his own film and distribution company while owning three other production companies. Throughout China are his movie theaters Jackie Chan Theater International, dubbed some of the biggest cinema theaters. Other ventures include his own line of signature gyms, clothing line, several restaurants and talks of dipping into the supermarket and furniture industries. Each and every single one of his business donates a percentage of their profits to his Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation.
Best known for his role in That 70’s Show and MTV’s Punk’d, Ashton Kutcher is an avid entrepreneur with deep interests in social media and internet startups. In fact, Ashton Kutcher was the first person on Twitter to receive 1 million followers. Ashton founded Katalyst Media with his friend Jason Goldberg which was behind Punk’d and several other TV shows and movies. Ashton’s first venture into online entrepreneurship was Blah Girls, an animated web series. We suppose things didn’t go well as the website is no longer working. This did not stop Ashton from investing $1 million+ in several startups like Blekko,Optimizely, Flipboard, and Nowmov. Ashton sits on the board as an advisor for a handful of other companies as well.
When Phil Mickelson isn’t on the green battling Tiger Woods you can find him at a local Five Guys. The problem is Five Guys is only available in certain states like its home state of Virginia. East coasters are in an ongoing battle with West coasters over the best burger joint. East coasters live by Five Guys while West coasters swear by In-N-Out. There is no denying that Five Guys is slowly converting In-N-Out customers to the dark side, even Phil Mickelson. Five Guys has plans to expand in Southern California and all the Orange County rights were purchased by a group of investors, one being Phil Mickelson. Five Guys is definitely one franchise you’ll be hearing about for a long time.
As if dating Jessica Biel and being filthy rich wasn’t enough, Justin Timberlake has become more than just a singer through his entrepreneurial ventures and acting roles as you may have seen in the Social Network. In the movie, Justin played Sean Parker, founder of Napster. His interests in startups actually exists in real life and can be seen through his investments in Miso Media, an application development company and Stipple, an online photo labeling tool. Justin Timberlakes endeavors don’t stop there. He has launched his own record label, Tennman Records and co founded a clothing line sold exclusively through Bloomingdales. Together with his former assistant turned business partner, they launched Southern Hospitality BBQ restaurant in New York.
Best known for her numerous movie roles and for her relationship with Jesse James, Sandra Bullock is actually an entrepreneur at heart. Her major business is her film production company, Fortis Films which has produced over nine films, one being Miss Congeniality. Back in Texas, Sandra owns Bess Bistro, a restaurant in Austin. Down the street she also founded Walton’s Fancy and Staple, a bakery and florist shop that also does event planning. Let’s not forget shes an executive producer for the George Lopez show where she will earn over $10 million in syndication rights. Not bad for a girl that’s won an Oscar and Academy Award.
Currently ranked number 5 out of the worlds best tennis players, Venus Williams can be seen off the court focusing on several of her businesses. Like many other celebrities, she too has her own clothing lined called EleVen, an athletic but stylish sportswear for women. Clothing may be cliche but don’t let that fool you as Venus has a good eye for design and also runs V Starr Designers, an interior design firmed based in Florida. Her company has designed several TV show sets and is well known for their design work among residential and commercial businesses in Florida. Along with her sister Serena Williams, they both own a very small minority stake in the Miami Dolphins. The latest thing to add to her list of accomplishments is her NY Times best selling book Come to Win.
Hollywood’s kid at heart funny man founded Funny or Die when he wanted to watch only comedy videos online. Funny or Die is like Youtube except all the content is comedy based and users can vote on which videos are funny, if not then they obviously die. With Will Ferrell running the show, he has had no problem getting other celebrities like Lindsay Lohan and Jerry Seinfield on board to submit their videos. Funny or Die’s first video was The Landlord which went viral and has over 75 million views. Funny or Die’s network has since expanded to Shred or Die and Pwn or Die. They also founded Kung Fu Todd and Eat Drink Die but both were considered a failure.
When Ludacris is not in the studio or on the streets disturbing the peace, you can find him involved into several business ventures. As surprising as it may sound, Ludacris did study business at George State University. As an up and coming rapper, no one would give Ludacris the time of the day so he solved that by opening his own record label to which he has had great success and passed that success along to other artists on his label like Bobby Valentino. Ludacris has teamed up with restaurateur Chris Yeo and will open one of several restaurants across Atlanta. His latest ventures include Conjure cognac and a fragrance deal with TAG body spray.
You either hate Kanye West or love him but there is no denying that he knows how to create controversy and market himself. Kanye West takes on all fronts of the music industry from rapping to producing to even having his own record label. What you may not know is that Kanye originally wanted to be an artist and is actually very talented at that. His creative side can be seen through his clothing line and shoes that he has designed for Nike and Louis Vuitton. As a fan of the fast food restaurant Fat Burger, Kanye has bought all the Chicago rights and plans to open 10 across Chicago.
If there’s one artist that has revolutionized the music industry recently, it would have to be Lady Gaga. Dubbed the modern day equivalent of Madonna, Lady Gaga has put out hit after hit and was the first artist to reach 1 billion cumulative video views on Youtube. Lady Gaga knows how to create buzz through her outlandish outfits and acts so there’s no doubt she has some business savvyness in her. Lady Gaga is involved in everything from her own perfume, to her own brand of headphones, to an exclusive deal with MAC cosmestics, to her own comic book series, and even becoming part owner of Vince & Eddies, a restaurant in Manhattan.