Started From The Bottom, Now We're Here: How To Rise To The Top Like Drake

Drake started from the bottom and now he’s here. The Toronto native has risen from his role as an actor on the television series Degrassi: The Next Generation to become one of the most popular entertainers on the planet. He is the fifth wealthiest rapper in the world, according to Forbes, with an estimated net worth of $60m. He has received numerous awards, including a Grammy, and is nominated for 11 awards at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards, which airs on May 22nd.

So how did he get to the top and what can we apply to our own careers?

1. Get A Side Hustle: Don’t quit your day job! You can find your passion, and make additional income, while continuing to work. When Drake was starting his rap career, he kept his role on Degrassi High, for eight years before pursuing rap full time. He eventually got thrown off the show because he would spend his days on the set, and then go to the studio to record until 4 or 5 in the AM. I’m not suggesting that you work until 5 AM every night, but you can manage having a part job without quitting your day job. I was the head of business development for a fitness app, Gymsurfing, while still keeping my job at ITW. Most companies will allow this, as long as you aren’t working for a competitor. It was a very valuable experience for me; I got to learn about a new industry, experience start-up culture, and make a little money on the side. It’s a great way to test out a new career, industry or company with no risk. 

2.  Create Great Content:  It’s kind of embarrassing these days to talk about your old MySpace page, but that’s exactly where Drake got his start. He started distributing and promoting his music on his MySpace page years before he signed his first record deal. He kept his fan base growing by constantly giving them great, new content. He was still unsigned when he released his first mix tape, Room For Improvement, which featured industry heavyweights like Clipse, Trey Songz, and Lupe Fiasco. No matter what your profession is, you can create relevant, high quality content that will establish you as an expert in your field: You can blog, write for industry trade publications, create how-to videos on You Tube, etc. I was just a sales guy, yet I started writing a popular business blog, which gave me credibility in my field. This led to other opportunities, like becoming a contributing writer for Forbes. 

3. Surround Yourself With Winners:  One of the first people to believe in Drake, was Jas Prince, the son of Rap-A-Lot Records founder James “J.” Prince. Prince was close to Lil Wayne, who was just handed the keys to a subsidiary of Cash Money Records. Wayne was so impressed with Drake’s music that he immediately flew him down to meet and later sign him to a record deal. Since their initial meeting, Drake has collaborated with Lil Wayne on dozens of songs, as well as collaborating with other high profile artists, such as Rihanna, Jay Z, and Nicki Minaj. My mom said it best, “You are who you hang with so you might as well hang with the winners.”  She was right.  Studies have shown that a person takes on the qualities of the five people they associate with the most.”

Who are you hanging with? 

Are you hanging with the “Lil Waynes” of your industry or negative people who are constantly bringing you down?