Anyone who has been paying attention to rock music over the last couple of decades can’t help but know about Sammy Hagar. He has proven that, in the music world, he is a force to be reckoned with. But what many people beyond his large fan-base don’t realize is that he is also a savvy businessman with an impressive record as a serial entrepreneur.
Establishing His Roots
Hagar has been making music professionally since 1973, when he got his start with Montrose. Since that time, he has been like a cat with nine lives, coming out on top in every area in which he has gotten involved. From his successful solo career, to producing such hits as “I Can’t Drive 55,” to making rock history with Van Halen, to being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he has had a career that most only dream of. Twenty years ago, he branched out, adding “entrepreneur” to his resume. He went into business with other celebrities and opened the first Cabo Wabo Cantina, a small Cabo San Lucas restaurant that serves up Mexican food and entertainment. He took full ownership not long after, when the others bailed because the company wasn’t making money. He had found a love for the area, a place where he could hang out, live his lifestyle, and enjoy life with a business of his own.
Lesson 1: If at first it doesn’t succeed, change the formula. And So It Grows
Little did people know, back when the Cabo Wabo Cantina opened, that it would go on to experience such success and growth. While Hagar, in this time, could have expanded to a lengthy list of locations around the world, he has been content not to “water down his brand,” as he says. To date, in addition to the original Cabo San Lucas establishment, he has only chosen to expand into the choice locations of Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas.
Lesson 2: Keep your brand pure and untainted.
But he hasn’t limited himself to the Cabo Wabo Cantina. Rather, he has gone on to open Sammy’s Bar and Beach Grill in McCarren International Airport in Las Vegas, with plans to open locations in other select airports. And then there is the story of Cabo Wabo Tequila, which he started because he wanted something authentically “Sammy” to serve in his establishments, after he tried and fell in love with premium blanco tequila. While tequila sales were steadily climbing, reaching 147,000 cases in 2006, he sold 80 percent of the company for $80 million. In 2007, it was reported that Cabo Wabo Tequila was the second-best-selling premium tequila in the country. Using his rocker image and lifestyle, Hagar has taken an outspoken route to fueling his tequila sales, mentioning it in interviews and performing the song Más Tequila, to get people pumped. It was reported that, in 2007 alone, Cabo Wabo Enterprises earned roughly $60 million.
Lesson 3: Be shameless in growing your brand’s exposure – offering products (songs) that exposure consumers to you other products (tequila). Success and Beyond
If there is one thing that Hagar sets a fine example of, it’s how someone can turn their passion and lifestyle into multiple revenue streams. He has been a successful business owner for decades, trying his hand in various areas. While he rocks the stage, he is also leaving an imprint on the tequila, restaurant/bar, and entrepreneurial worlds. Moreover, at the age of 63, he is now the lead singer for the rock band Chicken-foot, proving that age really is just a state of mind.
Lesson 4: Passion fuels persistence. Persistence fuels success.
So, how about you? Are you ready to write your own “red rocker” success story? Perhaps, like Sammy, it is as simple as committing to your own dream and letting your personality shine. Whether or not we realize it, we often have the keys to entrepreneurial success locked up inside of us, just waiting to take center stage.