Rock Stars With Business Sense


What do Jimmy Buffett, Sammy Hagar, and Bono have in common? They are all rock stars, but all also made more money from their “side” businesses than their music.

Jimmy Buffett turned one song (“Margaritaville”) into an empire. (By the way, the song only reached #8 on the charts in 1977.) It all started with a small T-shirt shop in Key West and turned it into a chain of restaurants, hotels, and merchandise that far surpasses his money made from music

Sammy Hagar did not have a happy childhood and grew up dirt poor, but began his entrepreneurial pursuits by building bikes before he was a famous rock star. When he first open Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, he invited his Van Halen bandmates to invest—which they did, but they all asked for their money back after the bar and grill struggled. Sammy developed his own tequila which he sold for $55 million dollars.

Bono’s private equity firm invested heavily in Facebook and made millions—of which he donates a great deal of to charity. Bono also founded a clothing line with his wife.


• Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull fame started several successful salmon farms.
• Gwen Stefani, lead singer of No Doubt started the clothing line, L.A.M.B.
• Maynard James Keenan, the Tool guitarist owns a boutique winery that produces 2,500 cases a year.
• Bret Michaels, lead singer of Poison, owns a company that sells pet accessories.
• Gene Simmons successfully oversees the merchandising and licensing of everything KISS.
• Alex Lifeson, the Rush guitarist owns a nightclub in Toronto called The Orbit Room.
• Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden is a pilot who also owns Cardiff Aviation. (Nicko McBrain owns a restaurant.)
• Michael Anthony, formerly the bassist for Van Halen, has his own line of hot sauces.
• Joey Kramer, drummer for Aerosmith, has his own brand of coffee and coffee shops.
• Boz Scaggs owns Slim’s, a popular San Francisco nightclub.

Sure, many musicians squandered their earnings, but others were smart and invested them. The same is true for the rest of us as well.

I’m happy to report that my book, “Rock to Riches” is still available on Amazon.

Rock Stars With Business Sense

Free Life Planner


If you could go back in time and talk to your teen self (knowing what you know now) what would you say? I would tell myself to spend more time with my father, stick with baseball, and believe in myself more. Some wouldn’t want to change a thing and believe their missteps make them who they are.

Now that I have two teenage sons, my advice to them is as follows.

1. Find a mentor and accept their help and listen to their advice.
2. Do the right thing, no matter what. It simplifies your life and guides your decisions.
3. Write your goals down and work hard to make them happen.

That’s why I created a teen life planner. Originally, I planned to distribute these to high school guidance counselors. Now, I am offering them for free to whomever wants one. Goal-setting is a skill that should be learned early in life, and I’d like to help by giving away this goal planner. Feel free to pass it on.

To get a free copy, e-mail me at

Free Life Planner

The Power of Stacking


I truly believe that a series of small steps in the direction of a goal is better than one big leap in the long run. So when I made a public statement on social media that I was going to lose at least 25 pounds (I know, what the heck?) I didn’t say I’d lose it in a week–but I did lose 15 pounds in the first two weeks. I’m giving myself until the end of the year to lose 50 pounds–having started in August.

The reason is, if we start small and stack little successes on top of one another (compound improvement) over time we see big results. For me, once I started swimming laps I said I would just swim for ten minutes, then 15 minutes, and finally 30 minutes (any longer and I get bored). I would have tried and failed (drowned, even) to do 30 minutes the first time out.

For any change, instant success and gradual and continual improvement works. One of the reasons we gravitate toward the easy tasks on our things-to-do list is we like the feeling of accomplishment and those are the quickest way to get that feeling–even if the tasks are taking time away from more important (but daunting) things.

Instead, if we break the big things down to the point that we know we can do them and start racking up the wins and stacking our accomplishments, we are still doing the easy stuff, but it’s important / easy stuff and we are well on our way to bigger and better outcomes.

The Power of Stacking

Green With Envy?


It’s easy to fall in into the trap of seeing others on social media who (seemingly) have everything we want and make us feel feel like a loser. It’s natural.

However, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side . . . because sometimes it’s fake grass. Meaning, celebrities, lottery winners, your colleagues, and contemporaries may not be doing as well as you think.

If it’s our friends, we want to be happy for them, but if we are truly honest, we also wouldn’t mind seeing them slip a rung or three. Again, natural.

As cliche’ as this sounds, we really have to appreciate what WE have and realize we may never be rich, famous, incredibly fit, and travel the world in a private jet, but maybe it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. (I know, let me be the judge of that you say.)

All I know is, I travel a lot, have had some degree of fame (minor, at best), and have people praising me after my speeches, but the truth is, the travel (for the most part) is just a means to an end–I hate airports and crowded planes now.

I have an entire file drawer full of articles written about me, and “Meh”–they don’t pay the bills and the coolness of a piece in say, “Woman’s World” only lasts a short while.

As for profuse praise after a presentation, I really do appreciate the kind words, but in a way it’s a little uncomfortable.

So there you go, love the one you’re with, enjoy the job you have, and dream about Paris, but know the French hate us and the service there stinks.

Green With Envy?

Learning When to Let Go


The Universe is always giving us signs, but we often miss or ignore them because we’re too busy, too stubborn, or too set in our ways. Yet, we disregard them at our own peril—or heed them to our advantage.

My family was in the office supply industry for many years. My grandfather founded Advanco, which produced a highly successful line of paper products. My father followed in his father’s footsteps (and I worked for my dad) until he saw the signs that Staples and others were taking over and squeezing us out. My father sold the business and moved on, but I wanted to hang on. That would have been a huge mistake.

Sometimes we have to give up good for great. I went on to open Waves and Wheels Surf Centers with my brothers, and my father retired at age 52. I loved running the retail stores, but there was a time when I knew I needed to move on, and did so to become an author. Now, noticing that less and less people are reading books, it’s time to make a change again.

All I’m saying is, after having been through a few big life changes, I have come to realize that it’s okay to be afraid, but also be confident that everything will work itself out.

In 1989, I bought a townhouse in a brand new neighborhood. I would open my garage and ride my dirt bike all day through the tree-lined canyons without seeing a soul. Quickly, they paved over everything (naming the streets after the trees) and the quiet community became overcrowded and loud. We moved from a big house to a much smaller one by the beach and never looked back. It was time for a change of scenery, and it was absolutely the right move.

Lastly, they always tell you how fast time goes when your kids are kids, and now that I’ve experienced it, I can say it went by in the blink of an eye. With that comes the challenge of letting go—they’re not children any longer when they reach their teens. I’m embracing this phase (I do miss the younger years) and instead of being the coach on the sideline I am often the fan in the stands, and that’s okay. It’s the circle of life and besides, my feet and knees are killing me so it’s nice to be able to sit down and while watching the boys play.

Learning When to Let Go

Life Lesson From Seinfeld


In an episode of Seinfeld, Jerry meets a woman when she saves his life. Quickly, Jerry realizes she’s a lot like him (her name is even similar, Jeannie Steinman). They get engaged, but Jerry quickly calls off the wedding.

He explains it all to Kramer, “All of a sudden it hit me, I realized what the problem is; I can’t be with someone like me—I hate myself! If anything, I need to get the exact opposite of me. It’s too much. It’s too much, I can’t take it . . . I can’t take it!”

Are you the kind of person you would want to be friends with? Spend time with? Work with? Work for? At the end of the day, we have to at least like ourselves. So what does that look like? This is just my take on this, but I am sure more can be added to these tips.

Do the right thing. Be the kind of person you would respect, look up to, celebrate. Do it with your actions and your words. Honesty, integrity, and loyalty in our decisions means less stress, regret, and self-loathing.

Be positive. How we talk to ourselves matters. We should be our own personal cheerleader, celebrating our accomplishments (small and large) and encouraging ourselves to do and be better next time if we fail in some way.

Make time for ourselves. Many of us live our lives for others—which is noble. We should also take time to do the things we want to do, even if we have to do it alone. We should also pamper and indulge ourselves from time to time.

Life Lesson From Seinfeld

Less Is More

Here are three simple things we can do today that will instantly help us and those around us.

1. We often deflect a compliment by explaining that it was no big deal. Accept a compliment with a simple thank you. That’s it, “Thank you.” Do it for yourself, and for the person who gave it. You deserve it, and they won’t feel diminished for saying it–which they do when you downplay it.

2. We speak at around 200 words a minute, but can comprehend 500 in the same time. Sure, you probably know what the other person is going to say, or have already thought of a witty response, but the best form of flattery is to hear people out . . . listen and let them finish.

3. What’s the harm in liking just about every positive post you see in your social media feed. It’s a small thing that makes a big difference to the person posting. Better yet, write a quick comment. I’m sure you can list a few good reasons not to do this, but I know that I look to see who liked this or that posting–even just our of curiosity.

Less Is More