At 52, Jennifer Lopez has done what only a few have accomplished: Since the late 1980s, she has successfully built careers as an actress, musician, entrepreneur and businesswoman.
The key to her business acumen and brand-building sense, she says: emphasizing the unique qualities she brings to the table and being resilient. “It’s about being the scarce asset,” Lopez recently told Adweek.
By honing into her individual talents and roots as a Puerto Rican woman from the Bronx, N.Y., Lopez has built an empire that includes endorsement deals with shoe retailer DSW and luxury design house Coach, a philanthropic arm called Limitless Labs that’s partnering with Goldman Sachs to support Latinx entrepreneurs and her new line of beauty products JLO Beauty, which she founded this year.
Today, Lopez is one of America’s wealthiest self-made women, with an estimated net worth exceeding $150 million, according to Forbes. And according to Lopez, there’s a superpower behind her success: “There’s only one me.”
The idea of focusing on what differentiates you may seem simple, but especially in creative industries, women are often sold the idea that they are “a dime a dozen” and “disposable,” Lopez said. “That’s not the truth.”
Lopez said everyone has something unique about themselves that no one else has, and she’s learned to foster those skills. “I am the scarce asset — somebody who is a proven creator, artist and entrepreneur who has an ability to really connect with people,” she said. “I cherish it and try to use it in the best way that I always can.”
That’s great advice, according to bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch. Welch told CNBC Make It in 2017 that you can “find your area of destiny” by identifying overlaps between your unique skills or talents, activities you enjoy doing and “areas of economic growth or opportunity that have interest to you.”
“Stop wringing your hands and wondering,” Welch said. “Instead, use those same hands and draw this Venn diagram.”
Another of Lopez’s strategies: constantly encouraging herself to explore new industries and opportunities, rather than limiting herself to “just do one thing.” Recently, she said, she’s been working harder to put her own business stamp on companies she owns or invests in, instead of just being the brand’s name and face.
You can’t do that without achieving a certain level of resilience. Lopez said she works to make sure nobody can “influence” her core beliefs, or limit what she’s capable of doing. In 2019, she told GQ that if you’re resilient in your ideas and beliefs, any doubters will eventually just “give up.”
“The energy was always in just getting better, doing more growing, and driving myself,” she said. “To be better, all the time. And creating more opportunities for myself.”