Taylor Swift: 8 Things
That Helped Her Build an Empire

Published April 7th, 2022

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Written by: The Zoe Team

As one of the most iconic artists of the century, Taylor Swift is set to reshape the music industry. Here’s how she’s doing it!

Taylor Swift is one of the most relevant music icons of the century. Be it about her endless love and breakup songs, her messy drama with Kanye West, and her latest decision to reshape the music industry, people always talk about her. She’s stayed relevant for years. She was the highest-paid musician of 2020. But most importantly, she’s built an empire of her own through talent, perseverance, and unique characteristics that shape who she is today. Her business savvy, as well as the 8 core characteristics she embodies, serve as a a great example for business owners.

Shifting Power Dynamics in The Music Industry

Towards the end of 2021, Taylor Swift decided to re-record every single song she’s ever released (and some hidden unreleased gems) with the purpose of reclaiming her own musical catalog. 

In a long-story-short version, Taylor’s musical catalog was sold, she claimed she was never given the chance to own it, and she was tired of other people making money off of her lifelong work. 

She didn’t agree with not owning her own music, so she re-recorded it with the hopes of having her fans listen to the new versions, which she did own, and not the original ones. 

Taylor Swift as a Business

How we see it is that as human as Taylor Swift may be, some of the power moves that drove her success are better explained as a business. She is her own business owner, and she’s in charge of protecting, scaling, and innovating her own business for the world to see. 

If you’re a business owner (or looking to be one), these characteristics can be helpful to growing and scaling your business! 

8 Characteristics of Taylor Swift’s Business And How They Can Apply To You

Passion and Confidence

This goes without saying. Those who love Taylor Swift and those who can’t stand her can agree on the fact that she’s extremely passionate about her work. She is so passionate that even while being in the public eye (in a very bad way), she made sure to keep her music alive… and better!

From day one, she believed in herself and had confidence in how her career could be industry-changing. She genuinely thought she was gonna take over the world! If you own a business, who else is gonna believe in your idea if it’s not you? Confidence and passion for your work is the #1 rule when it comes to being a successful business owner. 

Support from Family & Friends

Although some aren’t as lucky to have the financial support of their loved ones, knowing those around you believe in your potential and ideas is priceless. Building an empire is no easy feat, and as many say “success is better when you have people to share it with.” 

Your loved ones are crucial to keep you grounded through tough times, give you confidence, and help you become better. 

Taylor Swift was blessed to have parents who jumped on the train with her, moved to Nashville to help her grow, and invested their hard-earned money in her potential. She was a 13-year-old with enormous dreams, and her parents gave their all to help her achieve them. 

Brand Building

The biggest and most important aspect of a business is its brand. The goal of business owners is for people to read a tagline or look at an ad on a street banner and know it’s theirs! Listen to a song and recognize the artist immediately. See a pair of shoes and know the brand. 

Your DNA is your brand, and building your brand correctly will make people remember it more. Brand building can come with time, but it’s one of the most crucial and important aspects of your business, don’t let it slip away. 

Taylor Swift has established a solid brand of who she is, her music, her voice, she’s recognizable everywhere, and this is what makes people who don’t even know her, remember her. 

Scale Economies

The Hamilton Helmer’s Seven Powers framework is an analysis of what enables a business to be successful, persistent, and achieve differential returns. A recent Acquired podcast discussed how Taylor Swift as a business applies to this framework. Her ability to scale, in her business scenario, overcomes the other 6 powers. 

When you think of a business growing long-term, you need it to scale to millions of people around the world. The more people you reach, engage, and keep, the stronger your impact (and probably revenue) will be. 

Taylor Swift is an artist who is recognized in almost every country in the world, she has fans everywhere, and she’s managed to get her music to be listened to worldwide. Her ability to scale herself has been impressive. 

Use Downs to Build Highs

Motivation is a powerful emotional force. If you’re not motivated to do your job right, you might still do it, but you won’t have a good time. What about your business? If you’re no longer motivated in your own business, the likeliness to abandon it is high. 

The shiny and glittery golden trait to have in the business world is: use downfalls to become better. Why did this downfall happen? How can I use it to improve my business? Those are some of the questions you should be asking yourself when you hit a wall. 

Take for example the year Taylor Swift made what she thought was one of her best albums yet, and didn’t even get nominated for a Grammy. When she found out, the first words that came out of her mouth were: “I just need to make a better record.” And she did! 

This is one of the hardest actionable tips we’re gonna give in this article, but it’s the most important one. Don’t let a downfall kill your motivation. You once believed in this idea so much that you thought you were gonna take over the world, one mistake doesn’t mean you can’t do it! 

Create an Organic Creativity Process

In the music industry, there are endless stories of artists who are pushed to differentiate themselves through a curated creative process. Changing their style, their genre, and their music, to be better. 

Think of your biggest business idea and dream. Something you believe in, something you know can change the world. It’s challenging, but you believe in it. 

Someone comes along and tells you that you have to change the approach, the idea, or the industry you want to help because it might give you quicker and easier returns. Sure, if you’re thinking of returns you can consider change, but if you trust your idea and impact, you’re going to want to stick to it! 

An organic creative process is what has driven Taylor to become as unique as she is. She writes all of her music. If she changes her style or creative process, it’s because she wants to do it.

It’s organic and unique to her, which gives her audience the idea that she is a genuine artist. She does what she does out of passion, talent, and love. 

Value Your Audience (& Engaging With Them Through Small Micro-Moments)

When Taylor was young and starting to kick off, one of the strongest things her fans valued about her was her engagement with them through Tumblr. She would be very consistent in maintaining personal relationships with them to keep them close. It was where she engaged with them the most. 

She’s a superstar now, and she continues to find ways to engage with them through micro-moments. Whether it’s through social media, getting them to solve the riddle of her new album, or recruiting fans online to meet her completely free of charge. 

The important takeaway here is that she values her audience, she thinks of them as smart people. Understanding her audience has helped her interact with them better over the years and maintain loyalty. 

Owning Your Power

One of the things that Taylor Swift prioritizes, is control over her business. She wanted to own her business, every single song in it. She didn’t want someone else to profit over her greatest treasure, and she wanted to own her power. Her impact. Her style and her business DNA. 

When things got out of her hands, she dedicated an entire year to fixing them. Up until this day, she owns and protects her power. 

Taylor Swift As a Business… The Bottom Line

It’s a rare occasion to see music artists jump into public controversy to protect their music. But when done by Taylor Swift, many would say “of course she’s doing this.” Her music is her baby, and she will do everything in her power to grow her business, scale it, give her audience what they want, and stay genuine in the process. Our key takeaways are:

  • No one is gonna believe in it if you’re not confident or passionate enough 
  • Stay genuine in the process you think will work 
  • Don’t let a downfall kill your motivation
  • Get support from your loved ones
  • Stay as true and organic as you can 

This is what turned her business into an empire. When analyzed on a deeper level it’s the characteristics that can be applied to any business! Doing so can be beneficial in many ways. Don’t be afraid of taking the jump. And most importantly, stay true to your beliefs, it’s the most unique thing your business has! 

Disclosure: This material provided by Zoe Financial is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to serve as a substitute for personalized investment advice or as a recommendation or solicitation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. Nothing in these materials is intended to serve as personalized tax and/or investment advice since the availability and effectiveness of any strategy is dependent upon your individual facts and circumstances. Zoe Financial is not an accounting firm- clients and prospective clients should consult with their tax professional regarding their specific tax situation. Opinions expressed by Zoe Financial are based on economic or market conditions at the time this material was written.  Economies and markets fluctuate.  Actual economic or market events may turn out differently than anticipated.  Facts presented have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable.  Zoe Financial, however, cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information, and certain information presented here may have been condensed or summarized from its original source. 

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