While axiomatic, it’s undeniably true that entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes. Though perhaps best typified by someone like Richard Branson, entrepreneurs are an extremely diverse group of men and women.
To highlight just how diverse they are, we’ve created a list of 6 popular celebrities who moonlight as entrepreneurs. Though they have varied backgrounds, possess different skills, and represent an array of age groups, each of these celebrity entrepreneurs has successfully built a business empire on his or her own terms. Check out our list and let us know if we left anyone out who you think deserves to be mentioned.
1. Sean Combs
That Sean “Diddy” Combs would lead our list was an obvious choice. In nearly every way, Combs possesses the archetypal attributes of the most successful entrepreneurs. He’s not afraid to take calculated risks; he’s always looking to improve and expand his personal brand; and he’s built an empire from the ground-up on his own terms. Combs, whose net worth is estimated at more than $700 million by Forbes, amassed his fortune through a number of holdings, including his record label, Bad Boy Records, and his clothing line, Sean John.
2. Jessica Alba
She might be best known for her successful film career and starring roles in movies like “Sin City” and “Fantastic 4,” but Jessica Alba isn’t banking on her film career to sustain her for the rest of her life. Frustrated by what she believed was a dearth of quality home and baby products, Alba co-founded The Honest Company to fill that void. Her startup, which focuses on creating eco-friendly, affordable, and natural products, has been an unequivocal success with consumers and investors, too. This past summer, The Honest Company successfully raised $70 million in a financing round that valued the startup at nearly $1 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.
3. Curtis James Jackson III
Curtis James Jackson III, who is more commonly known by his stage name, 50 Cent, initially gained notoriety thanks to his popular music career and numerous top 10 albums and hit songs. Nowadays, however, he does a lot more than just write songs, overseeing G-Unit, the brand he co-founded that includes a record label, a clothing line, and a charitable foundation. He’s also amassed an estimated $500 million fortune on the strength of his music career and savvy investing. As one of the early backers of VitaminWater, Jackson netted between $60 million and $100 million when the company was purchased by Coca-Cola for $4.1 billion in 2007, according to Dan Charnas’s 2010 book, “The Big Payback.”
4. Jessica Simpson
After achieving success as a pop music and reality television star, Jessica Simpson quietly went about building an empire. While it may surprise anyone who best remembers her as the celebrity who sincerely questioned whether Chicken of the Sea was made of tuna or chicken, Simpson has built one of the most successful celebrity-helmed companies of the past decade. Launched a decade ago, her eponymous brand, the Jessica Simpson Collection, is officially a major player in the fashion industry, pulling in more than $1 billion per year in sales, according to Forbes.
5. Venus Williams
One of the world’s top female tennis stars of all time, Venus Williams has shifted her focus over the past few years to her entrepreneurial pursuits, of which there are many. Williams, who won multiple Grand Slam titles over the course of her professional career, is the founder of V*Starr, an interior design company she started in 2002, and Eleven, an apparel line whose name, she said in an interview, “stands for being better than a ten.”
6. Dr. Dre
A music pioneer, Dr. Dre was among the most popular rappers to emerge in the 1990s, writing and producing some of the biggest hip hop singles of the decade. Still, he saved his biggest career achievement for later in his career, co-founding Beats Electronics with music record executive Jimmy Iovine. The duo grew the company into a hugely popular brand that, earlier this year, they sold to Apple for a whopping $3 billion.