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Money lessons from Kevin Hart’s success


Kevin Hart PHOTO: AFP/Getty Images

Kevin Hart PHOTO: AFP/Getty Images

Listen!! The concept of laughing till you cry was foreign to me for the longest time. In fact, I thought it was stupid. How can one possibly laugh so hard that they start crying? I had seen other people do it but I just thought ‘eleyi o gbadun’! This one is not well or maybe they are just confused about their feelings. However, this all changed when I saw the phenomenon that is Kevin Hart in ‘Soul Plane’. I watched that movie at least six times and I ‘cry laughed’ every single time.

I remember thinking, this guy is ‘hella’ funny and quite good looking but he’ll probably never be a superstar like Chris Rock because he’s too short. Boy was I wrong! 15 years later the guy is a comedic rock star, actor, producer, and writer with an estimated net worth of around $50 million USD and I’m in awe of his hustle.

There is no overnight success…hard work takes time
‘Soul Plane’ may have been extremely funny to me and a few other people but it was a box office flop! So it could be considered a failure. The next time I saw Kevin Hart was in a cameo he did in the video for Fat Joe and Remy Ma’s hit song ’ Lean back’ and I thought oh look at that funny short guy from soul plane ‘eyya now he’s doing skits in music videos’. For several years, Kevin Hart couldn’t get an audition or movie role, he starred in TV shows that were cancelled, he was booed off stage a number of times but he never let any of his failures deter him. He focused on perfecting his craft and taking the jobs he could get, not necessarily the jobs he wanted. He would do seven shows per weekend at smaller venues like college campuses and low-key comedy clubs. Today he stars in movies that gross $80 million USD at the box office and has sold out comedic tours.


We live in a generation where we expect instant success just because we have a good business idea or expect a high paying job or because we went to a fancy university but a champion is a champion long before they ever win the championship. We see the glory but we don’t see the time, effort, preparation and sacrifice that it takes prior to the championship for them to be successful. If you haven’t achieved your goals yet its because you haven’t developed the skillset knowledge and experience to be at the top yet so keep working, keep grinding.

Embrace your Authenticity
Authenticity is something that is somewhat elusive, especially in Nigeria. Most people believe that there is no point trying to re invent the wheel because if someone is already doing something and is successful at it then just copy their format and BOOM you’ll be successful! I can respect this philosophy up to a point because there are generally no new ideas. Everything you want to do or are thinking of doing, someone, somewhere has thought about it and is already executing some version of it.

However, I can’t get with the ‘copy and paste’ phenomenon that we tend to employ because at this point you are basically trying to be someone else and you can’t do that effectively or sustainably enough to make any real money since you don’t understand their vision or motivation for doing what they are doing, you’ll always be a poor imitation.

A better way to approach this is, ‘I think I can do what this person is doing but how do I put my own spin on it’? What makes me different?

What can I do better?
Kevin Hart is a G when it comes to this! There were comedians before him and there will be comedians after him but the guy is authentic. He incorporates every aspect of himself in his work. A lot of his work is centered on his 5’2 height, rejection from women, his painful divorce and his father’s battle with drug addiction. These are things that most people would hide but have made him more relatable. It’s not even about trying to be perfect. It’s about owning where you are in your journey and embracing what makes you different even when they are perceived flaws.


Never depend on a single income
Forget Beyoncé, Kevin Hart is arguably the hardest working person in showbiz! If you follow him on snap chat, you will agree that his hustle is relentless. He is always working on and promoting several opportunities. We haven’t even hit the 6-month mark in 2016 yet but he has achieved more than most people have in 5 years. His ‘What Now’ world tour which sold out arenas and was dubbed ‘the biggest comedy tour in history’, promotional tours for at least two movies ‘Ride Along 2’ and ‘central intelligence’, hosted the MTV movie awards and continued his

‘Move with Hart’ crusade. I could go on but… you get the point.
Did you know that Nike is paying Kevin Hart to create his own cross fit trainers? Which I am convinced came from his constant promotion of his fitness goals and the transformational progress he has made with his body. That’s another thing you can’t promote Kevin Hart more than Kevin Hart, he leverages his social media platforms and has become a marketing machine for his work and his brand such that every tour and every movie is sold out

In this economy, we all need to evaluate our skillset and look out for opportunities to leverage on to improve our earning potential. The average millionaire has seven sources of income. How many do you have?
Kevin Hart inspires me because that little man has the same 24 hours in a day.

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