You may know Hanson thanks to their one-hit wonder, “MmmBop.” But since then, they’ve grown up into full-fledged, multi-faceted entrepreneurs. Together, they organize festivals, continue to make music and produce their own beer label (called MmmHops, naturally).
Entrepreneur caught up this week with Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson in a live Google Hangout. Below are three things the brothers have learned as they transitioned from teen heartthrobs to grown-up businessmen in full control of their brand.
1. Most successful artists are already entrepreneurs.
“When you are a local band, you are an entrepreneur,” says Taylor. Successful artists — and the Hanson brothers include themselves in this group — recognize that art and business don’t have to be separate, but can instead compliment one another. “When I first started doing my gigs as a local band, I had to negotiate with the guy who is running that bar or small theater place, I had to figure out what merchandise I wanted to put out,” says Isaac.
While not directly related to making music, these considerations directly relate to a band’s image and thus impact its influence. Similarly building up a base of loyal fans or followers, either through social media or live shows, should be a top priority for any musician, all three brothers agree. Part of being an artist is getting your work out to the public.
2. The ‘oh shit’ moments are all-important.
Success, be it in art or business, is often achieved by pushing boundaries. “Great art is made by people who are not risk-averse,” says Zac. In other words, it’s important to get outside your comfort zone and do something that scares you. Yes, you risk failure, but failure is a great learning opportunity.
It’s what Isaac calls the “oh shit” moment, the equivalent of standing up onstage in front of a large crowd. At first, it’s an unsettling experience but if you don’t force yourself to repeat it over and over again, you’ll never get comfortable. “The only way to know what to do is to have done it so many times that when you make that mistake or have that unusual experience, you can be like, ok! and move on,” he says.
3. A business partnership is not always a democracy.
The Hanson brothers have been working together for the majority of their lives. Obviously, there have been conflicts. By now, however, they have developed a system for making key judgement calls. Not everyone gets an equal vote for every decision. “People’s personalities play a distinct role,” says Zac. Each brother brings his own unique skillset to the table, and therefore is more qualified to take a leadership position when it comes to certain topics. “Time and history play factors in that.”