Covid-19

Dwayne ‘The Rock' Johnson on the Key to Success and Launching 2 Businesses During Covid

Dwayne Johnson plays Spencer Strasmore in HBO's "Ballers."
Aaron Davidson/Getty Images

As one of the most successful and influential entertainers in the world, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is often asked what his secrets to success are.

"That's hard to answer," Johnson tells CNBC Make It. "But I remember saying at the time to the interviewer that I believe in being hungry, being humble and being the hardest worker in the room."'

Those tenets have served him pretty well over the years. For the second year in a row, Johnson was the highest-paid actor, according to Forbes. In 2019, he earned $89.4 million, and $87.5 million in 2020.

But Johnson says he's learned an even bigger key to success during Covid-19 while working from home and launching two companies. In March, when the pandemic first began, Johnson launched his tequila brand Teremana, which has sold more than 300,000 9-liter cases in the past nine months. And on Monday, he announced the launch of his new energy drink company, ZOA Energy.

ZOA Energy co-founders John Shulman (left) and Dwayne Johnson (right)
ZOA Energy
ZOA Energy co-founders John Shulman (left) and Dwayne Johnson (right)

"What 2020 made me realize was that it's even more important to be the smartest person in the room [at what you do]," he says.

What Johnson says he means by that is making sure you surround yourself with people who "are much smarter than you at the things that they do."

"We all have these goals. We all have these ambitions but there is no success alone," Johnson says.

Johnson partnered with his longtime business partner Dany Garcia (who also the co-founder of Johnsons' Seven Bucks Productions), his strength trainer Dave Rienzi and Juggernaut Capital founder John Shulman to help him launch ZOA.

For years, Johnson wanted to get into the energy drink space but wanted to wait for the right time.

"The quicker we can realize the importance of surrounding yourself with people who are experts at what they do in their field," the faster your vision and goals can come true, Johnson says.

Johnson contracted Covid-19 in September, along with his wife and two of his youngest daughters. He says that while the experience was "scary" and "felt like getting punched in the gut," he found a lot of silver linings.

"I can tell you launching a brand like ZOA or Teremana, especially during the pandemic, was very challenging," Johnson says. But he says despite the challenges, he learned a lot about business.

"We learned that there was still a pathway to connect with the consumer, through social media," he says.

"Frankly, in a way that didn't feel polished or produced. It just felt more authentic and directly connected with them."

Johnson says he has learned that the most important aspect to building a brand or company is to always focus on taking care of his consumers.

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