It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since Will Smith became the prince of a town called Bel-Air, but Sept.10, 2015, marks the momentous milestone for the beloved show that still has a cult following today. “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” entertained audiences for six seasons, as viewers couldn’t get enough of the Banks family and the always-entertaining hi-jinks of their West Philadelphia-bred house guest.
Since getting his big break on the sitcom, Smith has gone on to become a household name, proving himself as a successful rapper, producer, writer, director, investor and entrepreneur. He made a seamless transition from television to the big screen, cementing his status as an A-list actor. Entrepreneurs in all industries can learn a few things from the Fresh Prince, who’s as business savvy as he is charming.
Will Smith Net Worth: $260 Million
Will Smith’s net worth is an outstanding $260 million, according to CelebrityNetWorth. Here’s a look at some of the ways the Fresh Prince makes his money:
Acting and Producing
In Forbes’ recent list of the highest-paid actors in the world, Smith came in at No. 18, one spot in front of Matt Damon. Smith earned $26 million from June 1, 2014, to June 1, 2015, which means he made $2.16 million a month in the past year. As an actor, Smith is believed to make more than $20 million per film, and it’s likely some studios are willing to pay much more since he tends to always draw a crowd — even when the movie flops. He also earned $5.5 million in back-end royalties for producing “The Karate Kid,” according to The Richest.
It was recently announced that Smith will be starring as Deadshot in the upcoming “Suicide Squad” movie with Cara Delevingne and Jared Leto. The film is expected to hit theaters on Aug. 5, 2016.
Smith’s music career has also served as a major contributor to his net worth, as he earned $17.5 million from his album “Big Willie Style,” $4.5 million from “Willienium,” $1 million from “Born to Reign” and $750,000 from “Lost and Found,” reports The Richest.
Business Ventures and Investments
Partnering with rapper Jay Z, a friend and his wife, Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment has brought in a ton of revenue. The production company’s projects include “After Earth,” “The Karate Kid,” “Seven Pounds,” “The Queen Latifah Show” and more. According to its website, Overbrook has generated more than $3 million in box office revenue worldwide and even more in home video sales. Smith has also dabbled in a few investments.
10 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Will Smith
If you have aspirations to become a successful entrepreneur, learn from Will Smith. He might be an entertainment star, but he knows a thing or two about building a brand and making smart business decisions. Find out what you can do to become a successful entrepreneur as well.
1. Build Up the People Around You
In business, when you take the time to help others achieve success, your efforts are typically rewarded with a network of loyal connections who always have your back. Smith has mastered this behavior. For example, he recently promoted his friend and fellow actor/singer Tyrese on his Facebook page by sharing a picture of Tyrese’s new album.
Smith always supports his family as well, including wife Jada Pinkett Smith and his three children. The two he shares with Jada, 17-year-old Jaden and 14-year-old Willow, have expressed an interest in the entertainment industry and their famous father has backed their endeavors. Among other projects, Jaden starred in 2010’s “The Karate Kid,” which was produced by both Smith and Jada. Willow also has a handful of acting credits and the hit single “Whip My Hair” to her name.
2. Maintain a Clean Image
When you’re an entrepreneur, mistakes in your personal life can easily destroy your professional reputation, making good behavior at all times essential. And despite a handful of rumors about cheating and divorce, Smith has maintained a pretty clean image.
Even his rap songs are free of profanity, a measure he credits his grandmother for encouraging. In an interview with the BBC Radio Times, Smith said she found some of his early lyrics, which were laden with expletives, and penned the message, “Dear Willard, intelligent people do not use these words to express themselves” on them.
3. Broaden Your Horizons
Whether you’re trying to figure out how to build your brand or working to maintain a successful business, diversification can be the key to lasting success. When you’re willing to branch out a little, you have something to fall back on if one method doesn’t pan out. The multi-talented Smith is the perfect example of this, as he’s enjoyed major success as a rap artist in addition to holding various roles both in front of and behind the camera.
In addition to his entertainment industry pursuits, Smith has also padded his portfolio with a wide variety of investments, including the video-sharing app Viddy, reports Complex. He, Jada, Jay Z and other investors also invested $10 million in the beauty line Carol’s Daughter, reports CNN Money. Smith’s other investments include a Pinterest-like e-commerce site called Fancy, the Philadelphia 76ers and BioBeats, a startup company that turns your vital signs into music.
4. Give Customers What They Want
When running a business, it’s important to know your target audience and listen to what they want. Earlier this month, rumors circulated that Overbrook Entertainment is in the early stages of developing a reboot of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” with Smith serving as the show’s executive producer.
Entertainment Weekly, however, reports that the production company is actually working on a new comedy where Smith will serve only as the executive producer. But, the new family comedy is expected to “share some surface similarities to the classic NBC series in that it could be a fish-out-of-water story.” If this is true, Smith will likely be able to satisfy his diehard “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” fans by giving them a show he knows they’ll love.
5. Build a Solid Network
Networking is everything in business. It doesn’t matter if you’re building a brand from the ground up or keeping an existing one profitable — who you know can make all the difference. Smith has done a phenomenal job of surrounding himself with the right people from a very young age; he met DJ Jazzy Jeff at a party when he was 16 years old, forming the rap duo that would later win them two Grammys.
After moving to Los Angeles, another of Smith’s contacts — music mogul Quincy Jones — thought that NBC could build a sitcom around him, which of course turned into “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Smith also teamed up with former classmate and film producer James Lassiter to found Overbrook Entertainment.
6. Exude Confidence
If you don’t believe in yourself, it’s going to be very difficult to garner any support for your company. Always display confidence — even when you’re not feeling so self-assured — to make others believe in you. Smith’s effortless swagger and seemingly innate sense of cool draw people to him, no doubt helping him with his business relationships and relationships within the entertainment industry. After all, it’s easy to put your trust in someone who knows exactly who they are and where they’re headed.
7. Make Informed Decisions
In the business world, be careful not to make impulse decisions. Every move you make needs to be carefully calculated to ensure you’re doing what’s best for your company’s future. In an interview with “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft, Smith explained that he and his manager conducted research on the movie business when he decided to become an actor.
“And we got the top 10 movies of all time, and we realized that 10 out of 10 were special effects movies,” Smith explained. “Nine out of 10 were special effects movies with creatures. And eight out of 10 were special effects movies with creatures and a love story. So ‘Independence Day’ and ‘Men In Black’ were really no-brainers.”
8. Work Harder Than Your Competitors
Having innovative ideas and natural talent is great, but they’ll only get you so far. If you’re willing to work harder than everyone else, you’re much more likely to succeed. Smith credits his strong work ethic for his success. Surprisingly, he said he’s never considered himself to be that talented.
“You know, while the other guy’s sleeping? I’m working,” he told “60 Minutes.” “While the other guy’s eatin’? I’m working. While the other guy’s making love, I mean, I’m making love, too. But I’m working really hard at it.”
9. Choose Something That Makes You Happy
It might sound cliché, but when you truly enjoy your job, it doesn’t feel like work. Start a company in a field that makes you happy, because it’s difficult to achieve long-term success when you’re miserable. Smith has earned a reputation as a happy-go-lucky person with an infectious personality, probably because he enjoys the work he does.
And one of Smith’s famous quotes is a testament to that: “Give me a problem, I’ll give you a solution. I just love living. That’s a feeling you can’t fake. I’m glad every single day. I think that even the camera can feel that I’m a happy man.”
10. Make Time for a Personal Life
As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to let work take over your life, but that will lead to an inevitable crash and burn. Spending time with family and friends allows you to stay balanced and recharge your energy. Even as one of the most successful actors in Hollywood, Smith has managed to maintain a seemingly happy marriage to Jada — and the two have continuously slammed divorce rumors. He also seems to maintain a close and loving relationship with his children.