4 Entrepreneur Takeaways From the King of Reinvention

If anyone defied limits, it was David Bowie. He pushed boundaries with his style, music, and persona — making everyone follow his lead. In time, he influenced generations of artists, but he wasn’t always the iconic musician we know him to be.

Bowie drew inspiration from everything around him. He wasn’t afraid to learn from his mistakes or experiment with something new. As he changed, he took his fans with him.

Here are four takeaways you can steal from Bowie!

1. Accept Failure
At the beginning of his career, David Bowie wasn’t popular. His first few albums didn’t get much recognition. However, when he tried something and it didn’t work, he moved on. Entrepreneurs shouldn’t be afraid to take risks. Not every project or idea will be successful, and once you accept that, you can try something else!

2. Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!
Bowie was constantly reinventing himself throughout his career. In 1972, he was Ziggy Stardust; in 1973, he announced he was retiring from live shows to work on the musical adaptation of “1984” by George Orwell, which turned into “Diamond Dogs.” While on tour, he became fascinated by soul music and changed his band to a soul band — from which came “Fame.” Despite the changes, he kept his fan base and gained new followers.

The takeaway for entrepreneurs is this: Don’t be afraid to take a different path — yes, you may lose some company in the process, but you’ll gain new followers who align with your new interests. If you are bored with what you are doing, your customers will be too.

3. Experiment
It’s difficult to name a musician who experimented more than Bowie. He was a singer/songwriter and tinkerer. He experimented with funk, then joined mainstream and pop.

Experimenting leads to success because it gets your creative juices flowing. Nurture bold ideas, try out new technologies, and establish new trends in your organization. While not every idea will be a gold mine 100 percent of the time, experiments increase your chance of success.

4. Value Your Customers
When asked who his biggest heroes were, David Bowie said, “The consumer.” Bowie was aware of and respectful of his fan base, which is consistent with the values of conscious capitalism.

Entrepreneurs who respect their customers and make them feel valued first and foremost will find that their customers will follow them wherever they go.