I was lucky enough to see Hamilton live at PrivateBank Theater last night in Chicago. Going into it, I was unsure what to expect. Coming out of it, I was amazed at how many entrepreneurial lessons stood out to me as I watched the performance.
Young, scrappy and hungry, Broadway’s hit musical “Hamilton” is now playing in Chicago. The award-winning musical has taken home 11 Tony Awards, a Grammy, a Pulitzer and was the first musical to reach No. 1 on Billboard’s rap chart. “Hamilton” documents the life of Alexander Hamilton, America’s founding father and first secretary of treasury, from the revolution to the Federalist Papers — and its performances have been sold out since its debut on Broadway in New York City.
Lin-Manuel Miranda is an actor, composer, rapper, and writer. He is best known for creating and starring in the Broadway musicals Hamilton and In the Heights. He has won a Pulitzer Prize, two Grammys, an Emmy, a MacArthur “Genius” Award, and three Tony awards, among others.
I was incredibly impressed with the performances, music, set, and costume design of the entire production. The story was fast-paced, entertaining, funny, and kept you on the edge of your seat. The story also aligned to entrepreneurship nearly perfectly. As I watched Hamilton make his way to New York and leave his mark on the world, it reminded me of my journey, and so many others who have a dream they want to see realized.
Throughout the musical, I noted five entrepreneurial lessons you can take from Hamilton.
1. You Can Be What You Want To Be, No Matter Your Background
Hamilton was an immigrant orphan from the Carribean who found a way to get himself to New York City. It was in New York that he began to shape his life towards what he wanted. He chose to be decisive and to stick to a consistent message. This built his reputation.
2. Focus on “Not Throwing Away His Shot”
Throughout the musical, Hamilton refers to getting the opportunity to “not throw away his shot.” He wanted to lead an army, he wanted to impart his plans on Congress – he wanted to be taken seriously. Entrepreneurs are in this same boat. They want to make sure they do not miss their opportunity to take their shot.
3. Hamilton Was a Voracious Writer
There is an entire song dedicated to Hamilton and his writing called “Non-Stop.” Hamilton was constantly working to push his ideas forward, gain support from people, and build relationships.
Hamilton’s got skill with the quill.
Hamilton’s work ethic proved effective, as he never quit. Entrepreneurs can take this to heart. Writing is incredibly difficult, yes, but the more you write, the better you become.
I’ve been writing using Grammarly for the past several months. Each week it provides me a weekly summary. Just this last week, Grammarly recorded over 35,000+ words written. And this does not include the book project I am working on. I can relate to Hamilton with his obsession for writing.
4. Hamilton Built Smart Relationships
Throughout his life and career, Hamilton made friends and stuck by their side. Hamilton was mentored by George Washington, who seemed to watch out for his best interests, keeping him out of the danger of war.
Hamilton’s first friend was Burr. While he and Burr did not always get along, they indirectly worked together to help progress their careers. Relationships open up opportunities.
5. Perseverance and Work Ethic Need to be Constant
Hamilton never stopped working. He never stopped fighting for what he believed in and he took opportunities to make his ideas come to life. However, he also seemed to have trouble balancing his life’s work and his family. This is something many entrepreneurs deal with – and it seems it was apparent nearly 200 years ago!
Consistency is a little-known tactic that builds slowly over time. Most do not have the discipline to keep going, even when it doesn’t seem to translate into anything tangible. When you commit to writing an article each day, it can feel lonely at times. You spend time and energy researching, writing, and formatting an article that will help others. While results may not occur rapidly, over time, your body of work will begin to get recognized. Commitment to consistency pays off over time.
I would highly recommend seeing Hamilton at least once, if not twice. The story was so powerful and relatable. As entrepreneurs, it is important to build relationships with others who support and help you accomplish your goals. Do not be afraid to reach out for help and collaboration.
Be relentless. Hustle. Write every day.
Chicago just recently announced that they have added tickets for an additional 26 weeks of performances. Starting in March 2017 Hamilton will tour the country, starting in San Francisco.
Over to You
Have you seen Hamilton yet? How do you see the similarities with entrepreneurship? What is your favorite song?
Also published on Medium.