Bishop T.D. Jakes hails from four generations of entrepreneurs. In fact, he asserts, “I was entrepreneurial before I was ministerial. It has always been a part of my history, my destiny.” His father developed a janitorial business from a mop and bucket to a 52-employee operation.
Over more than two decades, the bishop has expanded his brand beginning in 1994, when he established the non-profit, T.D. Jakes Ministries Inc., to produce television sermons and conferences. In 1995, he established the media and entertainment company TDJ Enterprises L.L.P., the umbrella under which he still produces his books, movies, television programs, music CDs, digital properties, leadership training, and live events designed to entertain, educate, and empower—not just Christian—but mainstream audiences.
The following year, he founded The Potter’s House of Dallas Inc., a mega church with more than 30,000 members and more than 50 non-profit community outreach ministries. He also developed real estate, including the $150 million Capella Park, a community of single-family homes and a charter school, Clay Academy.
What’s more, a best-selling author, Jakes also has deals with major publishers, reaching millions through some 40 books, selling more than 20 million copies in total and producing $115 million in revenues. The bishop is very clear that if he wants to grow and sustain his business, he has to create and generate multiple streams of revenue.
Here are some of the top lessons the bishop has learned about operating a business and living life authentically:
- “You can hire intelligence, but you cannot hire instinct. Instinct can tell you what, why, and when to do something (such as when do you launch a product).”
- “Intellect loads the gun —but instinct pulls the trigger.”
- “If you have no records, you’re a hustler, not a business person. Data is a tool.”
- “Every opportunity I’ve ever seen came dressed as an obstacle.”
- “We are aborting too many thoughts prior to birthing them—all success starts as a thought.”
- “You are so busy with people who drain you, you don’t have time for people who build you.”
- “When what is in you is bigger than what is around you, you have to crack out of that shell.”
- “I refuse to be a slave to who you think I am.”
- “Find people like you in work ethic, but different in talent. Hire someone to complete you, not compete with you.”
- “I’m not afraid to die. I’m afraid of not living first.”
- “We all have a destiny. Find the courage to drive past the challenges, pains, and even the shortcuts of life.”