What I Should Have Learnt about Entrepreneurship From Watching Top Of The Pops

When I was younger, I was glued to a British music chart television programme called Top Of The Pops. In Kenya to watch it, we would go to a video library and borrow the cassettes–there were no DVDs back then.

Anyway, it seems that back then, many of the songs that made it to the Top Of The Pops charts were all about money. Believe it or not, some of these pop songs have fascinating perspectives about money, how to make it, and save it.

Here are some of the financial lessons one can learn from sampling 90’s music.

“She works hard for the money” by Donna Summer.

She works hard for the money
So hard for it, honey
She works hard for the money
So you better treat her right


According to, this song was based on a true-to-life experience. After the Grammy Awards in 1983, Donna Summer was at an after-party at a restaurant in a Hollywood hotspot. She went to the bathroom and saw the attendant, Onetta Johnson, taking a nap with a small TV on. Summer startled her from her nap, and Onetta told Donna she worked two jobs and was really tired. Summer thought to herself, Wow, she really works hard for her money. Donna Summer saw a good song in the making and grabbed some tissue paper and wrote the idea and lyrics in twenty minutes.

Lesson? Don’t sleep on a good idea!

“Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits

I shoulda learned to play the guitar. I shoulda learned to play them drums. 


If you are looking for a business idea, do what you are good at, and the money will follow.

“9-5.” By Dolly Parton

Workin’ 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin’
Barely gettin’ by, it’s all takin’ and no givin’
They just use your mind and they never give you credit
It’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it.
9 to 5, for service and devotion
You would think that I would deserve a fat promotion
Want to move ahead but the boss won’t seem to let me


Now, if there’s ever a reason for you to quit that job that’s leading nowhere and do something for yourself, this is one. Use your service and devotion as an entrepreneur instead of waiting forever for that promotion.

However, before we get all starry-eyed with the prospects of making it big as entrepreneurs, we need to put money where our idea is. Under-capitalization affects our business from a competitive standpoint. It prevents us from reacting to change. It affects how quickly we can get new products into the market and limits our spend on marketing and attracting the best talent.

Note to my future self.

Don’t operate on a shoestring.

While I was happy to have some sizeable savings to work with for a while, I could have boosted my business further by taking advantage of the SME Financing opportunities available.

Check out these sites and blogs for insight: