How Hugh Hefner Built His Half A Billion Dollar Enterprise “Playboy”

How Hugh Hefner Built His Half A Billion Dollar Enterprise “Playboy”

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Hugh Hefner Playboy

Hugh Hefner and his magazine Playboy single-handedly transformed the adult entertainment industry as the world knew it, and has since become a multimillion dollar business endeavour that has expanded to incorporate television, web ventures, clubs, and more.

Read on to find out how Hugh Hefner built his half a billion dollar empire, Playboy.


Hugh Hefner & The Creation Of Playboy

Hugh Hefner first showed his interest in publication at an early age, founding his high school newspaper while attending Steinmetz High School. Although he had a high IQ of 152, Hefner was unenthusiastic about school in general. After graduation, he served two years in the United States Army, then went on to attend classes at the Chicago Art Institute. After two years at the Art Institute, Hefner attended the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in the year 1950.

Fresh out of college, Hugh Hefner began working for the Chicago office of Esquire magazine, which was considered to be a rather racy publication for the time. While at Esquire, Hefner work at entry level pay and served as a promotional copywriter. He later ended up leaving the company over a salary dispute.
Hugh Hefner Working Playboy OfficeAfter working at Esquire, Hefner decided that he would like to start his own publication for men, with similar features that Esquire offered, only “better”, in his opinion. To obtain start up costs for this business endeavor, Hugh Hefner borrowed funds amounting to $8,000 from forty five separate investors, one of them being his own mother. Thus began the launch of the famous Playboy magazine, with the first edition actually having been produced in Hefner’s own home. This first edition made it’s appearance on Chicago newsstands in December of 1953. This rare edition does not have a date on it, because of the uncertainty at the time as to whether the magazine would be successful enough to warrant the printing of additional editions.

As a bit of a clever marketing tactic, the magazine featured a full colored nude centerfold of a young Marilyn Monroe. The magazine did well, selling over 50,000 copies, and was considered to be a success. Since then, the popularity of Playboy has never faltered, and the trademark Playboy logo of the bunny wearing a bow tie, as well as the man himself, have become legend. By the 1960’s, the sophisticated image of Hugh Hefner smoking his pipe while wearing a silk smoking jacket, had become synonymous with Playboy.

As the magazine reached it’s golden age in the 1960’s, the Playboy enterprise came to include “private key” clubs, hotel resorts, modeling agencies, feature films, books, a record company, and of course, the iconic hostesses, the Playboy “bunnies”. By 1970, Hugh Hefner had gone from beginning an entrepreneurial endeavor in his own home, to being the founder of a major corporation. Circulation of the magazine went public and copies were selling at rates of seven million copies per month. The year 1972 earned Hefner a twelve million dollar profit.

Hugh Hefner Playboy BunniesHugh Hefner is undoubtedly one of the most successful men of our time. He is definitely a man who knows how to go about obtaining success. Much of his philosophy revolves around the idea of not letting your life’s dreams and goals slip away. Some of his business advice includes his recommendation of not always conforming to the pressures that life presents, but rather to bring things to a conscious level and to not allow society to squash your dreams or steer you in another direction. Hefner suggests truly taking stock of your life and then deciding what you want to do with it. Hugh also suggests staying focused on your goals and taking advantage of the technology that is modernly available. For example, if you want to begin publishing, perhaps start your own website and take it from there.

Hugh Hefner also points out that he does not necessarily consider himself to be a good businessman even though he is a man who has been very successful in business. He attributes this to being a good entrepreneur with decent skills in the marketing and editorial areas, who also happens to be creative.

Hugh also admits to leaving the financial details associated with running his corporation in the capable hands of other people. To quote Hugh, “The business end of business has never interested me.”.

According to TMZ, this is how much money Hugh Hefner makes per month:

Hugh Hefner Arrives At Stansted Airport For Launch Of Playboy Club London Salary from Playboy: $116,667

Social Security: $1,896
Dividends and interest: $121,099
Rental property: $17,058
Income from HMH Productions: $15,808
Pensions and retirement: $413
Other miscellaneous income: $17,639

Total monthly income: $290,580


In addition, Hugh has the following assets:

$306,548 in cash
$36,802,558 in stocks and bonds (besides Playboy)
$6,122,990 in a joint account with an unnamed person

Total assets (excluding Playboy stock and property): $43,232,096


Here is how Hugh Hefner spends his millions of dollars per month:

Rent (including groceries, household supplies, utilities, cell phone and email): $53,593
Food (approximate): $18,000
Entertainment: $25,000
College expenses for kids: $10,130
Health care: $3,215


Hugh Hefner’s Quotes For Success

Young Hugh Hefner“The interesting thing is how one guy, through living out his own fantasies, is living out the fantasies of so many other people.” – Hugh Hefner

“If you let society and your peers define who you are, you’re the less for it.” – Hugh Hefner

“Life is too short to be living somebody else’s dream.” – Hugh Hefner

“I have no plans to retire. It’s the perfect combination of work and play that keeps you young. If I quit work it would be the beginning of the end for me.” – Hugh Hefner

“There are many roads to Mecca”. – Hugh Hefner


These quotes are all food for thought for anyone thinking about pursuing a dream or achieving a personal or business goal. Consider it good advice coming from a man who started out as a young college graduate, and who is now one of the most successful business men in the world.

Although becoming the founder and owner of a gigantic, multimillion dollar corporation or running a hugely successful and popular gentlemen’s magazine may not be your own personal business goal, the ideas and philosophies of Hugh Hefner as a business man make a lot of sense for anyone trying to find success in any type of business. He is a prime example of how following through and staying focused can help anyone obtain great success. He decided what he wanted to do with his life, how he wanted to go about doing it, and with the financial backing of some family and close friends who believed in his dream, brought it to fruition. Hugh Hefner focused on his strong points in order to bring his creative vision to life, which is something any of us can do if we set our minds to it. Will we all be as successful as the legendary Hugh Hefner? That is doubtful, but not impossible, as long as you never give up on your dreams.


Article By Christy McCarl |

I am the the Founder of and I am so grateful you're here to be part of this awesome community. I love connecting with people who have a passion for Entrepreneurship, Self Development & Achieving Success. I started this website with the intention of educating and inspiring likeminded people to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances. I'm proud to say through my podcast and through this website we have impacted over 60 million lives in the last 4 and a half years.


  1. Well written article, Hugh definitely utilized his creativity to build his empire, nothing can beat that feeling.

    Nice site, I like the design, good luck moving forward!

    Your friends at repyourswag

    • No, corruption sells… And in the eyes of The Lord this is corruption, hope he enjoys life and the abundance here on earth, as according to Gods law it will all end once his life here ends… I’ll sell morality any day for eternal wealth vs this!

  2. Hugh Hefner is definitely an underdog and deserves all the success he gets.

    What happens to Hugh Hefners empire when he dies? Does anybody know???

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