Regular readers of my blog, Daily Money Shot, know that music is a huge part of my life. While I’ve never had the desire to be a professional musician (I have neither the talent nor the dedication), I’ve always admired those who attempt to make a living as a musician. I’m sure it’s difficult and the pay isn’t that great for those who don’t make it big. And, based on what happened to people like MC Hammer, it is possible to lose all that money if you do make it big.
So that got me thinking about the musicians who have a lot of money but have been able to do so not just for their musical ability but from their ability to brand themselves effectively. The ones who have been able to branch out and make money not only from their music but from other creative and/or business ventures.  The first one I thought of, of course, is Jimmy Buffett.
Jimmy Buffett is most known for songs like “Fins”, “Margaritaville” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise”. He’s known for his crazy fans, Parrotheads, and his laid-back, barefoot, Key West loving attitude. His concerts are legendary (with good reason, too. They are so. Much. Fun) and are broadcast simultaneously on one of his business ventures, Margaritaville Radio on Sirius XM. He has also opened his Margaritaville and Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant chains, has LandShark beer (it’s not that great. Trust me), and has written numerous fiction, nonfiction and children’s books. Through all of this, he has managed to take his laidback approach to life and brand it into a multimillion dollar business.  He gets to pursue all of his passions and live the life that he wants.
Another musician that has been able to expand his brand outside of his music is Rob Zombie.  Rob Zombie is like the Jimmy Buffett of horror. If you’re not familiar with his music, it can best be described as…dark.  It’s definitely heavy metal in the truest sense of the word, and it definitely has a specific audience. I’m sure that Mr. Zombie is fine with this. But he takes his love of horror to another level.  Not only are his songs heavily influenced by that genre, but he is also a writer and director of horror movies. I’m not a fan of horror movies, but I’ve heard that some of his movies (House of 1000 Corpses, remake of Halloween, and The Devil’s Rejects) are quite good.  He has received as much acclaim for his movies as he has for his music. Like Jimmy Buffett, he has made a living pursing his passions.
So what does this mean for me?
I’m not really sure what it means. I do know that these two men are inspiration that it is possible to pursue your passions and make a living doing it. I know that it means that all is not lost for me to live the life I want. I know that it means that it is possible to take a talent and be successful with that talent as a foundation. I know that it means if I’m going to be a brand, I need a really good business manager
It also means that I need to have confidence in myself that I can be successful pursuing my passion.  It means that I have to have faith in my talent (once I figure out what it is).  It means that I need to surround myself with people who support me and are willing to pick me up if I fall. And it also means that I need to be willing to take risks. I’m not sure that I’m ready for that. Self-employment terrifies me.
I admire Jimmy Buffett and Rob Zombie and all of the other men and women like them who have been able to brand themselves in a way that not only entertains but has a significant impact on their wallets.  I hope I can join them one day.  But for now, I’m happy writing about personal finance.
And if that doesn’t work, I’m really good at Name That Tune. There’s a future in that, right?