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Let’s face it – we all make mistakes.  From small business owners who miss an appointment to large corporations who underestimate the demand for a product and run out of stock, in business there are many opportunities for us to fall on our faces.  In the past, a company would gloss over mistakes either by hiring a really solid PR team or by simply denying any fault.  In 2019, CEO’s, large corporations, and even celebrities are using mishaps to create even more cash.  In our modern world, taking off our armor, getting real, and even apologizing can turn what used to be a public nightmare into a sizable flow of revenue.

If you are in business, are a social media influencer, or a simple solopreneur with a side hustle, eventually through fatigue, overwork, or some other form of life, you will make a mistake.  It can be something small like accidentally missing payroll because you had to run your child to the ER or something large like having to deal with poison in your product as Tylenol™ did with the cyanide scandal.  The temptation to go into denial or even keep on going as though nothing went wrong is very seductive however large companies, big personalities, and business owners understand that not only do people appreciate the individual who owns their mistakes, vulnerability can lead to even greater brand loyalty and bigger spends.

In the following five examples, you will see that there is a pattern to turning lemons into lemonade.  It takes getting honest about what happened, owning the mistake, setting a new course that is publicly supported, and moving forward.  In these examples, you will see that public humiliation can have huge rewards if handled correctly and some of these rewards come in the form of billions of dollars.

5 Celebrities and Companies Who Turned Crisis Into Cash flow


  1. Kylie Jenner

Kylie Jenner, the youngest of the famous Jenner-Kardashian clan is also the wealthiest.  After being publicly accused of injecting her lips, Jenner turned the tables on her trolls by building a billion-dollar lip kit business.  Her cosmetics empire made her Forbes youngest billionaire. 

  1. Samsung

In 2016, Samsung recalled Galaxy S7 phones due to overheating.  The company’s stock plummeted and many said that the brand was finished.  Today, Samsung’s stock trades at over double its 2016 rates.  The company took responsibility, improved its product, apologized, and has a very bright future.

  1. Korean Airlines

Chairman of Korean Airlines, Cho Yang-ho, had to famously fire his own daughter, Heather Cho, after she famously had a temper tantrum on a flight because an attendant had served her nuts in a bag and not on a plate.  She was later arrested.  Annual revenue of the airline dropped almost ½ a trillion South Korean Won.  Four years later, the company’s annual revenues are up 1.2 trillion won since the now notorious ‘nut rage incident.’

  1. Kim Kardashian

Once Paris Hilton’s personal assistant, and after a notorious sex tape leak, her net worth according to Forbes is approximately $370 million.  Once considered a mere reality star, her cosmetics and endorsement deals earned her a cool $72 million in 2018 alone.  Like Kylie, and the rest of the Jenner-Kardashian clan, Kim is an expert at turning a scandal into year-after-year millions.

  1. Demi Moore

In her new confessional, Demi Moore candidly opens up about substance abuse and alcoholism.  Moore has now revealed that her own mother once sold her for sex to a businessman for $500.  Moore aptly turned crisis, pain, and addiction into becoming the highest paid woman in Hollywood for films like Striptease and GI Jane.

The bottom line is that these five examples are proof that crisis, scandal, or even family drama does not have to have a long-term negative effect on revenue.  The world’s biggest companies and celebrities are able to turn crisis into cash flow and you can too.

Follow Their Steps

  1. Get Honest – admit that there is a problem. Samsung had an obvious problem.  Their phones were heating up and catching on fire.  They admitted that there was an issue.  After all, how couldn’t they?
  2. Take Responsibility – the catch phrase, ‘what I did was wrong,’ can be beneficial. In the case of Moore, she owned her decisions and publicly apologized for causing her children pain.  Well done Demi!
  3. Find an Outlet for Good – look for a way to turn your pain into a powerful lesson. In Jenner’s case, she maintained that she wanted everyone to feel great about their lips and they could do it with her lip kits.
  4. Use the Crisis to Make You Stronger – figure out ways to improve your company and your brand. When Tylenol (not listed as an example above) had the infamous cyanide scandal, they increased quality control and let the world know.
  5. Persevere – you will have to outlast your critics. It is amazing how the public can ‘forget’ a person, or a brand’s flaws.  Bill Clinton, after nearly getting impeached, went onto command $750,000 per speech and make much more money after the scandal than he did during his presidency.  Sadly, Monica Lewinsky gets only $25,000 to $35,000 per talk.  Dare I say that is a subject for another post.
Susan Sly

Author Susan Sly

Susan Sly is considered a thought leader in AI, award winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, best-selling author, and tech investor. Susan has been featured on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime, ABC Family, and quoted in Forbes Online, Marketwatch, Yahoo Finance, and more. She is the mother of four and has been working in human potential for over two decades.

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