Daymond John And The “Power Of Broke

How growing up broke taught Daymond John what he needed to be successful.


Daymond John is a true “rags to riches” story showing that it doesn’t matter where you come from, you can change your story.

Undoubtedly, you’ve seen Daymond John on the hit show “Shark Tank”. He is one of the many millionaire/billionaires that interview individuals on their next “big idea”. The premise of the show a simple – individuals and companies present an idea to investors in the hopes that they will provide financial backing for their product and/or service.


Daymond John has been a part of Shark Tank since 2009. Since then, John has invested more than $8 million of his own money into these entrepreneurs. One of his most successful investments was in Bubba’s-Q Boneless Ribs where he helped the company grow from $154,000 in sales to more than 16 million in sales over a three-year time span.


But John was not born into the life of luxury. In fact, John grew up broke. His parents divorced when he was 10 years old and he was left to help provide financial support for him and his mother. One of his first jobs ever was handing out flyers for $2 dollars an hour. Although this helps them, it wasn’t his passion – his passion was to be a part of the hip-hop music industry.


His mom, understanding his desire and passion presented a statement to him that drove him to pursue his dreams. She said, “… You’re going to have to figure out what you’re doing the rest of your life, one way or another.” That’s what he told her that he wanted to start an apparel company. That was all she needed here for she taught him how to sew wool caps.


FUBU: An Idea That Changed His Life


John immediately went out and bought material, made 80 of them, and then sold them for $10 each. Realizing that he just made $800, he went out and started making more.


It didn’t take long for his mom to notice that John was putting in the time necessary to be successful. Knowing that he needed more support, she mortgaged her home to fund his pursuit of success. In 1992, he set up shop in their home creating FUBU (For Us, By Us) products while still working at Red Lobster.


John had even managed to get some of the hottest music videos featuring his products, but even with that, he never walked away from Red Lobster. John would not leave red lobster until around 1996 when he had decided that he had enough money to actually quit.

Since then, food has managed to earn over $6 billion in global sales. And even though FUBU is no longer the name it once was, it has driven Daymond John to a net worth of more than $250 million – how’s that for someone who only made $2 an hour?


The Power Of Broke

Daymond John could have chosen to remain broke for the rest of his life. Instead, he let the power broke drive him. Understanding that he had to do something, he started the idea of FUBU. He didn’t have a ton of financial backing, and a huge marketing team behind him; all he had was some material and a mother who thought there was something to him.


He would use all the marketing prowess he had to connect with some of the biggest hip-hop people in the world, using their influence to help market his product. It was his creativity, led by being broke, that led him to the success he is now.


As Daymond John puts it, “being broke forces you to connect with your customers more authentically”. “It forces you to use your resources more efficiently.”


You’re Limited By You


While Daymond John’s story is considered an anomaly, it shouldn’t be. Unfortunately, the African-American community has allowed themselves to live below their means. Daymond was probably in a situation much worse than anything you’re in, but he found his way out…


And so can you!


The only one limiting you is you. Daymond was willing to do whatever he had to do to get out. His goal wasn’t to be a millionaire, but that’s what he became. He followed his passion and worked through being broke. What’s the difference between Daymond and you?


Nothing!


So, I’m imploring you to look deep into yourself and figure out who you are. Find out what you truly passionate about and look at the industry around you. Is there something that you could provide that others aren’t? Could you offer it at a better price? Are you willing to work for?


If you truly want success, it will require work. Daymond John went from $2 an hour to being worth more than $250 million in less than 10 years. Could you be the next Daymond John?

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