Warren Buffett may have famously said that diversification “is protection against ignorance,” but rapper-turned-business-mogul Master P credits a diversified portfolio with helping pull him out of poverty.
Master P (born Percy Miller) grew up in the housing projects of New Orleans, with 16 people crammed into a three-bedroom apartment. But today he is the head of a vast business empire with an estimated worth of $250 million — with his hand in everything from media to sneakers to a new burger joint which opened in his hometown this summer.
Master P told Yahoo Finance’s My Three Cents, “When you start making money you need the diversity. Some of those things went down, some of those things went up. That's what kept me going. And by me being from New Orleans, the hurricane town, everything could get washed away tomorrow. Then what are you going to do?”
Master P realized early on that to be truly successful in his line of work he needed to be more than just a talented rapper or basketball player. He needed to know and control the business side of his career. “I think that artists, athletes, entertainers, you need to know your business. Let me learn economics. Let me learn banking. Let me learn my business.”
Some people like to play busy
“A lot of basketball players tell me, ‘Basketball is my life. That's my business.’ Like, no, you can't play basketball forever, so you need to learn something else. I played in the NBA, it was only two hours out of the day,” he recalled. “You know some people like to play busy. Real entrepreneurs and people that understand business, they are committed to making those sacrifices, knowing that you have to juggle different things unless you just want to be talent. And I tell people all the time, ‘Product outweighs talent.’”
Educating himself on business and spreading his risk across a diversified portfolio of investments in private companies led Master P to positions in real estate, fashion, telecommunications, and entertainment. “My grandmother always taught me, ‘Don't put all your eggs in one basket,’ but you have to stay focused and you have to stay committed.”
That commitment helped Master P turn a modest $10,000 inheritance into the fortune he has today.
This article is an update to a previous Yahoo Finance post.
Jen is an anchor for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @JenSaidIt.