TO UNDERSTAND the Secrets of Long-Term Success Just Study This 50-Year-Long Wrestling Career

The astounding popularity of Ric Flair is a textbook study in developing and keep maintaining a brand.

Ric Flair is widely regarded as among the best professional wrestlers ever. Flair’s iconic "WOOO!" mantra, opulent wardrobe and flashy personna laid the basics on how best to create a celebrity-wrestling character. In the 1980s’s, Flair led just how on building big personalities and bigger storylines; now this is actually the core of pro wrestling’s financial success.

The WWE includes a $1.6 billion market value, over 750 million social media followers, other massive media numbers and has legendary personalities like Ric Flair to thank. The "Rolex-wearing, diamond-ring-wearing, kiss-stealing, wheeling-dealing, limousine-riding, jet-flying son of a gun" (as he frequently described himself during his career) is currently near 70-years old without sign of slowing. His career spans five decades, includes 16 World Heavyweight Championships and a Hall of Fame induction. He continues to entertain, leaving a lasting effect on pop culture.

Flair, largely by social media, has made an extraordinary popularity resurgence recently. He’s routinely inspiring NFL locker rooms. LeBron James had Nike design shoes after him. Snoop Dogg called Flair the “creator of swag” and he has been utilized by NCAA D1 athletic programs to recruit athlete prospects. Migos’ Offset wears a $70,000 chain manufactured in the image of Ric Flair. There are countless other types of his extravagant style and personality being embraced by both music industry and professional athletes. Every social media post, every mention, every interview, increases his internet celebrity. He monetizes this through his booming retail business at RicFlairShop.com

Whether being the namesake of chart-topping hip-hop songs, having NFL athletes wear his image and quotes on the gameday cleats, or his consistent presence on your own social media timeline because of his viral and larger-than-life posts; Ric Flair has leveraged his 1980’s outrageous antics never to only remain iconic but to create money along the way. That is clearly a skill any entrepreneur will be thrilled to increase their arsenal – here are several lessons for entrepreneurs and small enterprises from Flair’s pop culture renaissance:

Leadership Lessons From Sports Legends

Wrestling is centered on who ends up with points, Flair is keeping score and trying to win. Entrepreneurs often fail, however the best study from failure and pivot in the proper direction. Flair’s career has taken many turns, ups and down, but he appears to land directly on his feet every time. Following Flair’s 1975 plane crash, he worked hard to recuperate from spine injuries and opted to abandon his rough, physical style for a far more cerebral, submission-based kind of wrestling. Some would quit after this accident, Flair stayed resilient and recovered by firmly taking on a fresh technique. Entrepreneurs ought to be ready to do the same when confronted with career roadblocks.

Fast forward 40 years and his brand bigger than ever before. “The best thing I’ve ever did, was everything I thought up,” Flair said in a statment. “The limousine riding, jet-flying, the kiss-stealing, wheeling dealing…all that. Who have thought it could all keep coming back?” We swept up with Cameron Fordham of Get Engaged Media, who leads Flair’s digital team, to understand the way the ‘Nature Boy’ was indeed in a position to recreate his excess style to increase beyond wrestling. Fordham explained simply, “Flair is an all natural entrepreneur that understands the worthiness of the dollar…he’s an authentic relatable guy that the majority of his peers have a tendency to gravitate towards.”

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Wrestlers, like entrepreneurs, should practice mirroring every move of an opponent while anticipating their future move. There is absolutely no better way to learn your allies and competitors alike than to get near them. According to Fordham, Flair’s “strong personal network of celebrity and sports relationships” is what keeps the wrestling Hall of Famer’s digital brand strong amidst changing competitive sets and marketplace conditions.

Ric Flair mirrored his heroes like Muhammad Ali and the initial ‘Nature Boy’, Buddy Rogers to create his character. He reflected the "flair" of Ali with the talent of Rogers. For many years he cemented his invented personality with sequin robes and countless other high flash items. He achieved the consumer’s top-of-mind awareness had a need to launch his very successful ecommerce business and attract nearly two million combined Twitter and Instagram following. He’s a must-follow for just about any entrepreneur.

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Flair has escaped many head and leg locks, survived a lightning strike (and that plane crash) and, lately, a near-death health scare linked to his heart, but perhaps his greatest escape will come in the proper execution of monetizing again and again. “My eyes are available to the contemporary world which includes brought new ideas and opportunities [to me],” Flair said inside our exclusive interview. He believes staying on his feet is simply not enough. It is about continue and gaining traction in this new digital space.

Late in 2017, Ric Flair was featured on ESPN’s 30 for 30 series. Flair’s episode ranked #1 among cable originals for the night time. As an ironic comparison, Smackdown (which Flair used to be a part of) aired on a single night but didn’t yield as high ratings as the ESPN special did. Snoop Dogg said in the 30 for 30, “[growing up] We wanted to be Ric Flair; we wished to be flamboyant and the ‘kiss-stealin, wheelin-and-dealin,’ we wanted to be always all of this. He was part of our culture and our life. That’s why we love him and we cherish him.”

Why Wrestlers Make the very best Entrepreneurs

During the period of his career, Flair wrestled in five leagues (WWE, nWo, WWF, WCW, NWA) so that you can stay in the overall game. But Fordham believes Flair’s non-wrestling ways of staying hip has been the foundation for his longevity. “He has such a captivating presence that him staying popular is merely natural,” Fordham explained. “With or without social media, Ric Flair has been and can continually be a legend and an icon. But social media takes Ric to astounding new heights with regard to popularity and engagement. Exactly like anything, social media and going viral permits more eyes and more folks everywhere to activate and follow the type Boy… Ric’s own legacy creates the buzz and the attention.”

Through the years Flair’s platforms have changed from the wrestling ring, to the number of books he has co-authored, to his celebrity relationships, then to digital media. Ric Flair’s personality has continued to grow when you are authentic. His original fans stay close and he attracts millennials as new fans from around the world. It only helps that, according to Fordham, “Flair has really taken up to the brand new age music and the digital stratosphere which fills him with fresh energy.”

Like Flair, early stage companies and entrepreneurs can stay youthful by monitoring industry developments, reacting accordingly, and leveraging assets to keep awareness high irrespective of platform.

Along with his popularity at an all time high, Ric Flair has found the fountain of success. By leaning on his bigger than life persona to go viral on social media or when you are embraced by culture tastemakers like rappers and athletes, “the Rolex wearing, band wearing, kiss stealing, wheeling dealing, limousine riding, jet flying, son of a gun” will still be as culturally relevant as he was over 40 years back. And entrepreneurs should “WOOO!” alon

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