4 Important Business Lessons to Learn from the Toni Braxton Story

While we’ve heard differing opinions on the acting in the recently aired Toni Braxton biopic on Lifetime one thing holds true, there were plenty of business take-aways from Braxton’s rise to stardom.

We’ve outlined four of the most important lessons to learn from Toni’s experience in the entertainment business.

Lesson #1: Read the Fine Print

To do what you love can sometimes be stressful.Toni Braxton

Fifteen million records sold.  A reported $170 million earned by the record label.  Global stardom and after calculating recording expenses Toni Braxton only took home a reported $1,972 royalty check from her first recording contract.

Yes, that’s right, despite headlining some of the world’s most prestigious arenas, according to Braxton she collected less than $2,000.

They always say the devil is in the details.  In the legal world, it’s always in the terms and conditions, the most important element of any contract.

Braxton, like many new artists, signed a record contract that wasn’t as favorable to her the artist, as it was the record label, some might say egregiously so.  By the time the reality of exactly how much she brought home set-in, she was already locked into a contract that would impact the future of her finances and career.

Lesson #2:  Know Your Partners

For many start-up founders, emerging artists and the like, the mere notion that industry vets have taken an interest in your talents can be a very blinding experience.   So much so that making sound decisions on business relationships and the intentions of key partners may be overlooked.

Endeavor to know your business partners like you would your love partners, they have the same ability to burn or support you.

In short, understand the WIFM (What’s In It For Me) Factor of every business relationship you engage in to understand where your points of leverage are and if you’re maximizing the monetary value of your time and talents.

For Braxton, business partnerships were questionable not only on part of her record label, but also on part of her team of trusted advisors who advised her against filing a suit against LaFace Records to renegotiate the terms of her contract.  This rift resulted in her changing her management and legal team.

In later years, Braxton would also go on to fire her brother-in-law Vince Herbert due to alleged family rifts.

Lesson #3:  Save Your Money

Regardless of your income, living within your means, saving and investing your money wisely will always take you further in life than a new pair of red bottoms will.

We’ve all heard the stories of celebrities who signed multi-million dollar contracts only to file for bankruptcy a few years later.  To many it’s a great mystery how one can blow through that much cash so quickly.   After calculating month-over-month lavish spending, poor investment practices and even worse saving habits, it become a bit clearer how such misfortune occurs.

In the years following her stardom Braxton filed for bankruptcy much to the dismay of her adoring fans.   In future years she admitted to overspending on frivolous house furnishings, clothing and “girlie things”.  Her spending habits coupled with her unfavorable recording contract all led her to financial woes unbecoming of a musical diva.

Lesson #4: Know How to Rebound

It’s not how many times you get knocked down that count, it’s how many times you get back up. George A. Custer

Failure can be an incredibly humbling experience; public failure even more so.  Despite Braxton’s fairly quick rise and fall from stardom she successfully accomplished what many are too afraid to do: try again.

Braxton unabashedly shared her personal story as a pop icon with the world, learning lessons from her experiences that helped ferment her future successes.

She renegotiated her contract, continued a hit-making career, and landed a multi-year reality TV show that has kept her, and her sisters, at the top of headlines and back in the game.

In the end Braxton has re-emerged from two bankruptcies and a recorded $50 million in debt, to a present-day net-worth of $10 million.

Now that’s the true mark of a music business legend.

 Have your own?  Share your business insights with us in the comments section below…


Walker's Legacy

Walker’s Legacy is a digital platform for the professional and entrepreneurial multicultural woman and exists to inspire, equip, and engage through thought-provoking content, educational programming, and a global community.

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Walker's Legacy is a growing global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business.