Ep. 151 – Daymond John: Do This When Success Is Your Only Option

Daymond John James Altucher show

“I remember it like it was yesterday. It was Good Friday, 1989, at 3:30 in the afternoon. It was 37 degrees outside. I stood outside the Colosseum Mall, a mall in Jamaica, Queens. It’s pretty popular. Just shivering with a bag of hats. I sold $800 worth of hats in an hour,” Daymond John tells me.

$800 an hour. That’s “the power of broke.”

Before FUBU (a $6 billion global apparel company), before Shark Tank, and before Obama chose him as the Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship, Daymond John worked 18-hour days driving a delivery van. And he wasn’t making money.

His paychecks covered overhead – the cost of his van, gas, and maintenance. He worked to make money, and he made money to work.

“When I took that to FUBU, I started saying, ‘If we’re not making money, it’s not worth doing anything,’” he says.

It’s not failure. It’s experience.

“Other people call it failure. I won’t call it failure. It’s part of the process,” he says. You need to take every single “failure” and bring it forward.

You’re on the floor. And broke.

Learn from it.

Money is the byproduct of energy, effort, and strategy.

“Before you have any business, you’re supposed to take inventory of yourself,” Daymond says. “Assets and liabilities can be time, energy, education, friends, location, way of thinking.”

You have to take inventory of yourself.

His new book, The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage is not Daymond’s story. It’s your story.

And mine.

It’s about how you’re going to get up, get experience, and get money. These are stories I learned from.

The power of broke is “the common thread between all of us,” Daymond says. It’s about how you can learn from your mistakes and profit off your potential.

Take advantage of that.

Listen to my interview with Daymond.

Here are the top 3 things you can only learn by listening to today’s podcast:

1. What’s the most important thing about running a business?

“That is the most important thing about running a business,” Daymond says. “If you don’t have that, I don’t care how much money you have. You can’t buy your way into it.” (at 5:35)

2. How to start

I ask Daymond: What are the first steps? What if you’re listening and saying, “I got born at the wrong time,” or “I’m in the wrong town”? What if you’re hungry? And you want to hustle, and you’ve got the power of broke, but you don’t know what to do with it? (at 21:59)

3. When do you know if you’ll succeed?

How do you know when a business will be successful? Because it sounds too romantic – the power of broke. Find out how to leverage your resources for success. (at 32:51)

Listen now.

Resources and Links:

  • Tim Beaufoy

    This is an excellent interview James. Thanks for sharing Daymond’s story!

  • When you are hungry, you hustle. You hustle before the hunger and you’ll not suffer hunger.
    Thanks for interviewing Daymond and thank you for putting on interviews after interviews.


  • DS

    Excellent interview. A needed book!

  • sararoxy18

    i loved this interview – thanks and go Big Red!

  • Inspiring, uplifting, breathtaking. Thanks for sharing this phenomenal podcast.

  • Dee

    “…sick that day and run…” That did make me laugh.

  • Eddie

    Great discussion. I learned a great deal – things that I already knew, but now I know why they are important from another angle – so now I have more light on the subject.