Starting a Business

KISS Co-Founder: To Be a Success in Business, Think 'Me' First

In his latest book, ME, INC: Build an Army of One, Unleash Your Inner Rock God, Win in Life and Business (HarperCollins, 2014), Gene Simmons, co-founder of the multi-platinum rock band KISS, shares how to build a business strategy, harness the countless tools available in the digital age, network and be the architect of an entity.

In this edited excerpt, Simmons shares the importance of your personality and skills when starting a business.

The journey that you must make to become a real estate mogul and have your name become a brand, like Lefrak or Trump, is not the same road that a comic-book geek has to travel to launch a comic-book company (like my Simmons Comics) and get production companies to develop his comic-book creations into TV shows and films.

So what does all of this mean? It means you will have to figure it out for yourself.

That’s what entrepreneur really means.

Related: Big Business Lessons From Three Rock 'n' Roll Legends

You make up your own rules. And you have to educate yourself and learn whatever you need to learn to have the tools to go out there and be the business warrior and champion that’s inside you, yearning to get out.

They don’t teach that stuff in school.

The reason this book is called ME, Inc. is that I am the most important person in my private and business life.

That’s right, me first. Maybe it’s not politically correct, but it’s necessary, if you want to increase your chances of success big time.

Take a hint from the airline industry. If there is turbulence on your flight, the crew will tell you to take the life-sustaining oxygen mask that just fell in front of you and put it on your face first -- not your child’s face. On the surface, it sounds cruel, but it makes pragmatic sense, because if you can’t help yourself first, you will not be able to help anyone else. Not your child, not your family, not your friends, not anyone.

Related: 7 Lessons to Rock Both the Stage and Sales

To some extent, capitalism in America has its hands tied behind its back. But there is still enough of a capitalist business world out there that will give you a chance of making Big Money.

In point of fact, you cannot fail. Yes, you heard me right. You cannot fail.

You have everything to gain, and little or nothing to lose, by throwing yourself head-first into your entrepreneurial endeavor. If your business fails and you cannot pay off your debts, under current business laws you can declare Chapter 7 or Chapter 11, which means that with a decent lawyer, you will be forgiven of all your debts and you can start all over again. Of course, because you’re an ethical person, as soon as you hit the big time, you will pay off your debts anyway, even though you may not be legally required to do so.

The only thing holding you back from succeeding in America may be you.

Before you undertake this journey, you must have the heart of a lion and your self-esteem must be intact. If your self-esteem isn’t strong, then bluff and act like it’s strong. Grit your teeth and pretend that you have enormous self-confidence. Fake it until you make it.

Related: Richard Branson on Finding Your Passion Project