More and more celebrities are embarking on the adventure of undertaking. Athletes, actors and actresses, or regulars of coated paper, get involved in businesses to diversify and invest profits or to have a plan B with which to face the post-Covid stage. An objective, the latter, more widespread among the actors as it is a group hit hard in the pandemic. According to the covid 2020 survey by AISGE, the entity that manages the intellectual property rights of audiovisual artists, only 4% of performers obtained annual income of more than 12,000 euros that year. Undertaking from fame, experts warn, can lead to success, but also to premature failure.
“Any business is possible in times of uncertainty. Especially now with low rates, liquidity in the markets and money for good ideas of investment funds, venture capital and business angel who are looking for returns”, points out the director of the master’s degree in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at OBS Business School, Santiago Román. To get started, the professor recommends training for these new entrepreneurs. “You have to study to understand an income statement or a balance sheet, dedicate time to the business and supervise the day to day.” Something that the actress Ana Escribano put into practice when, overnight, she had to take charge of a family business, the Acacias nursing home, in Torrelodones (Madrid), which she has managed to keep covid-free throughout the pandemic.
“I studied a master’s degree in Health Management and an MBA. I discovered that management is exciting”. Escribano confesses that the health crisis has been the toughest exam, with “difficult decisions” due to pressure. It was about “not sinking”, something in which the actors “are hardened because we always live on a tightrope”. He highlights in his management during the pandemic “that the staff decided to isolate themselves with the residents and the respect of the relatives who maintained contact by video call, which settled the anguish.” He believes that the success of a business lies “in being in daily management and knowing your staff very well, making them work happily and feel supported.”
Organizing time is another key to successful management. “In the mornings I work in the residence and in the afternoons and weekends in the theater”, confesses the actress. A piece of advice to which Santiago Román adds another: “Hire managers who know the business and are good people. You have to forget your friends and, above all, your family”. And he insists: “Being famous guarantees the launch of a business, but not its success.”
Fame, despite being worldwide in the case of Fernando Alonso, has not been enough to keep his sustainable textile company Kimoa afloat, with losses of three million euros in the last four years. In the same way, Leo Messi’s wife, Antonella Roccuzzo, together with her partner Sofia Balbi, Luis Suárez’s wife, did not obtain the expected benefits and had to close their luxury shoe store Sarkany, in Barcelona, despite their media release. On the contrary, for the OBS Business School professor, the soccer player Gerard Piqué, co-owner with the founder of Rakuten of the Kosmos Holding fund, is one of the best examples of the excellent management of his fame in the face of business. “Although as an entrepreneur he has had successes and failures, he is a very intelligent man, capable of taking risks and predicting successful future trends. He also knows how to surround himself with good teams”. Another role model for the professor is represented by the Kardashian sisters, who “have worked on a magnificent image of their brand based on fame.”
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.
Associating with a good partner is what the actor Antonio Resines has done in his companies Ymás and BeLiquid, of which he is a co-founder together with the systems analyst, director, producer, writer and actor Coté Soler. Ymás is a loudspeaker that gives visibility to cultural projects that manage to reach the public through the sponsorship of private companies. “We help to position itself in the world of culture within its corporate social responsibility program,” says Soler. “In addition to seeing the work, the public can come to a rehearsal, enter a shoot and understand how a project is created.” The purpose of BeLiquid is to train in the skills of the actors such as self-leadership, flexibility or adaptation to change. The course is done in a theater with four actors. It is completed with a one-month online apprenticeship taught by Resines.
From tables to design
Other qualities such as discipline and effort are those applied by the dancer and actress Mónica Cruz in her facet as a designer. “The sacrifice of dance has made me very demanding. In my collaborations I work until I achieve a quality, handmade, beautiful and affordable product. I do not rule out setting up my company in the future”, says Cruz.
Other actors, the fruit of their long careers, manage a wide contact list and control the who’s who of an industry they know perfectly well. With this premise, the actresses and partners Cristina Urgel and Eva Moreno have launched their audiovisual production company Not Alone Productions in the midst of a pandemic. Its objective is to accompany series projects led by women, both in the preparation of the preliminary materials for their presentation and in the very important mission of “knowing which doors to knock on. We also give them an opinion about their scripts”, declares Urgel.
“The film industry is very complex and loses a lot of talent that doesn’t know how to access the big audiovisual content platforms,” adds the actress. A year after its launch, Urgel assures that the pandemic has favored the development of the company because “it has streamlined management and has gone to the point in virtual meetings.” From her experience, she concludes that “you have to undertake in a sector that you know well, prepare a business plan with your feet on the ground, analyze the necessary investment and the path that the company is going to take.”
In the front row
The actress Mónica Soria has experienced the pandemic in the front row. She studied nursing and made herself available to the health system from the first wave. “I went from filming to living how people died in my arms.” Now 30% of the time she alternates between the Puerta de Hierro hospital in Madrid and the medical center where she works; the rest of it is devoted to her acting career. “My acting part has helped me to show patients my best face and attitude in the face of the drama they were experiencing.” In addition, as an entrepreneur, she has partnered with Mamen Díaz Saura to launch Saura Pets, a company that makes ecological luxury bags and accessories for pets, in the midst of the crisis.
Both partners agree that “fame helps at first, but the struggle is daily to find good labor, 100% organic Spanish suppliers that adapt to the product or open an international market.” And they conclude that, after dealing with the bureaucratic morning, “we have learned a lot from mistakes and we already control digital management.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.