Bret Michaels‘ resume includes, but is not limited to, being the frontman for hairsprayed hitmakers Poison, winning 2010’s Celebrity Apprentice, starring on Rock of Love With Bret Michaels and launching a line of pet clothing dubbed “Pets Rock” at PetSmart and a luggage collection at Overstock. Oh, and he also has a rock star suite at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya. But who doesn’t have one of those, right?
I spoke with the multifaceted music man about creativity, risk taking and his opinion on a certain former boss who is now leader of the free world.
What does the word entrepreneur mean to you?
It’s a person who handles the world of business in a free-spirited manner. To be a good entrepreneur, you need to have that inner fire, nerves of steel, creativity and perhaps most important of all, the desire to take risks. You have to be confident without being arrogant. You are a leader but you can be led, which means that you need to listen to everyone around you. An entrepreneur doesn’t lose who they are and they manage to stay relevant.
That sounds a lot like the definition of a successful musician.
You’re right. A musician stays true to who they are and looks out there to try and be relevant. It works for an entrepreneur as well.
You talk about taking risks. What’s the greatest risk you’ve taken as an entrepreneur?
I like a challenge. When I was in the middle of working on Rock of Love, I was asked to do Celebrity Apprentice. People around me said, “You’re nuts. Why would you take a risk like that? A lot of people look really bad on that show.” But that challenge was a turn on to me. I’m from Pennsylvania and come from a family of veterans. We’re always up for a firefight. It’s not that I don’t have fear. I just have enough courage to move forward.
What was Donald Trump like when he was lording over Celebrity Apprentice?
Trump was so unpredictable. He’s actually a very funny guy. When I was on the show I was what every entrepreneur should be: focused. I kept my eyes on the prize. I was totally focused on winning. I tried to be the best listener. It worked. I won.
You’re always optimistic. Is that a necessary ingredient for an entrepreneur?
I think so. I’m a dreamer but I’m also a realist. I call myself a “drealist”. You need to dream. You put a lot of hard work in to make that dream a reality.
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How did the music industry prepare you for all of your other business and TV projects?
It taught me one thing: adapt or die.
What was it like when Nirvana pricked the hair metal bubble in 1991?
I accepted that that was part of rock and roll. First of all, I loved Nirvana’s music and the other bands that came out of Seattle. We took Alice in Chains on its first arena tour. I loved everything about Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” I loved the video. I loved the song. To me “Teen Spirit” sounded like a new version of “Wild Thing.” I learned to adapt during the ‘90s. When you have a company, things will shift. You have to make changes on the fly.
What are you working on?
I’m always working on music, but I have my attention on other things as well. That’s my entrepreneurial side. I’m working on a show called Surrealestate. It’ll be just like what it sounds like, surreal real estate. Maybe someone wants to build a farm in the middle of the city. Maybe someone wants an amazing body of water in the middle of Arizona. I’m also going to be in Sharknado 5. You’ll enjoy the opening scene.
Any favorite inspirational quotes?
“Have fun but get it done.” I’m quoting myself!
How would you rate Trump as an entrepreneur?
Donald Trump would be at the very top. Trump has the entrepreneurial spirit. He also has tough skin.
Were you surprised he won the presidency?
No. America is built on capitalism. Trump is all about capitalism and he is patriotic. You have to put money back into the pockets of people to make democracy work. Hopefully, Trump can make America a better place and I think he can do that if he starts with the entrepreneurial spirit.