Mon, 15 July 2019
Introducing John Paul DeJoria
In today's episode of Join Up Dots we are going to focus on the story of one of the richest men on earth.
One that probably you have never heard of before.
What makes this story so amazing, and will lead several episodes of Join Up Dots, is it’s not often that a homeless person living out of his car can dramatically alter his circumstances and become a billionaire.
But John Paul DeJoria — co-founder of hair-care company John Paul Mitchell Systems and high-end Patrón Spirits — did just that.
The 73-year-old now has a net worth of $3.1 billion, according to Forbes.
His climb out of poverty reads like a tale from a Charles Dickens’ novel.
He was poor as a child.
Born as John Paul Jones DeJoria on April 13, 1944, in Echo Park, a neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, he was the second son of an Italian father and a Greek mother.
He was two years old when his parents divorced.
Hence, to support his mother, he started selling Christmas cards and newspapers at the age of nine, along with his older brother.
Entrepreneurial even at a young age, John Paul DeJoria sold Christmas cards door to door and got a paper route because he knew that effort led to reward.
He graduated from LA’s John Marshall High School but didn’t have the grades to get a college scholarship, so instead, he joined the Navy for two years.
When Things Got Tough For John Paul DeJoria
When he returned from the Navy In 1966, John Paul DeJoria’s first wife left him and their two-year-old son.
She took all the money they had, as well as the only car they owned.
As a result,John Paul DeJoria couldn’t pay rent of his apartment, and was forced to evict it and live on the street with his infant son. he and his young son were evicted from their apartment and lived briefly out of his car, picking up soda bottles to recycle for a few cents each.
But John Paul DeJoria, 73, recently told me that he decided to take challenges head-on early in his career. "The only way I could go was up," he said.
John Paul DeJoria saw his economic obstacles as an opportunity to work hard.
When there wasn’t money to eat, he sold Christmas cards.
When he couldn’t go to college because he couldn’t pay for it, he started selling encyclopedias.
He didn't rely on anyone else.
As he says “If you expect free lunch to come your way, you’re not going to go far and you’ll be very bored. Go out there and do something. Get involved," he said.
Now fortunately for John, his situation started to change sightly when a friend in a biker gang invited him to live in one of his rooms, which lead to him developing his lifelong love of motorcycles.
(His personal motorcycle fleet includes a 2004 Harley-Davidson chopper, a 2010 BMW Sidecar model and a 2008-2009 Arlen Ness & Victory, re-calibrated to run off either Patrón tequila or gasoline.)
Over the next few years, he held nearly a dozen jobs, including encyclopedia salesman, tow-truck driver and janitor.
He would do anything to make a buck, and hustled hard.
The Early Stages Of Success For John Paul DeJoria
But it was when he entered the hair car business that things started to take a turn for the better
He got his entrée to the haircare industry when he joined Redken Laboratories in 1971 as a sales rep — a job he was fired from in a disagreement over business strategy.
The onetime door-to-door shampoo and encyclopedia salesman partnered with Paul Mitchell in 1980, and the two turned $700 into one of the most profitable hair-care companies in the world.
Not too long after their company took off, Mitchell died of cancer and John Paul DeJoria took over.
Today the company generates $1 billion in annual revenues.
His tequila company is also a megahit.
Patrón tequila is made in Mexico in a sustainable distilling facility that uses recycled bottles and leftover distilled water to fertilize the land. Now more than 2 million cases are sold each year.
But John Paul DeJoria doesn’t measure his success in terms of dollars and cents.
For the iconic entrepreneur it’s not about money and power.
As he sums it up: “I have been so down and out in my life. It makes me feel really good to be financially blessed and give back. I get great joy and a great high out of it. It’s my way of paying rent on this planet to share with others less fortunate.”
The billionaire remembers giving a dime to the Salvation Army when he was six years old and living in Los Angeles.
His mom told him, ‘You may be poor, but there are so many people less fortunate than you, and every little bit helps.’
“Those words have always stuck with me,” John Paul DeJoria recalls.
That philanthropic passion led John Paul DeJoria to sign Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s “The Giving Pledge” in 2011 to give half of his earnings to better the world.
In addition, he established JP’s Peace Love & Happiness Foundation as a hub for his charitable donations to causes that reflect the core values of his companies: saving the environment, helping the poor and protecting animal rights.
Through his foundation, he has raised millions of dollars to support more than 160 charities around the world.
They include Grow Appalachia, a program that provides seed and tools to help poor families in six states throughout central Appalachia grow their own food to combat malnutrition; and Sea Shepherd, a marine wildlife conservation society that confronts illegal poaching and destruction of wildlife in the world’s oceans.
This Thanksgiving he visited Mobile Loaves & Fishes’ Community First Village in Austin, Texas, where they are building an innovative housing model that helps the homeless learn skills, earn income and get affordable housing.
So how did John Paul DeJoria maintain motivation and build such an expansive empire? He says there were three rules he followed on his path to success.
John Paul DeJoria: The Rules Of Success
Rule No. 1: Always be prepared for rejection.
Throughout your career you are going to run across rejection, John Paul DeJoria points out. “You will knock on doors, and many will close on you. There will be people who don’t like your product, your company — or you.” It’s important you realize this from the day you launch your business. “To be successful, you must remain as confident and enthusiastic on door No. 59 as you were on door No. 1.” If you realize this is going to happen, the rejection won’t hit you so hard. It will help you be resilient, he explains.
Rule No. 2: Make sure your product or service is the best it can be.
John Paul DeJoria is adamant: “Always remember you don’t want to be in the product business. You want to be in the reorder business.” As he explains, Work hard to develop a world-class product consumers want. That kind of thinking gives you a better shot at being a success.
Rule No. 3: Doing good is good for you — and your business.
“If a business wants to stay in business, it cannot just think of today’s bottom line,” says John Paul DeJoria. It must make a company commitment to help others immediately. “By helping others, you are creating future customers and inspiring employee loyalty,” he explains. “Customers like to be involved with people and businesses that donate their time to help others, save the planet and make a difference.”
Demonstrating that point, John Paul DeJoria notes that since he started Paul Mitchell in 1980, His total employee turnover has been less than 100, and two of those workers retired.
Rule No 4: Don’t dwell on the past
Letting your past mistakes or background define what you are capable of can limit your prospects.
John Paul DeJoria said he always focuses on his future. “When you’re down, most people think about the past and what got them there. That’s not going to get you anywhere. Think about what your next step is. Don’t dwell in the past—go forward,” he said.
Rule No 5: Your Country Still Works
But John Paul DeJoria has a message for millennials: “You can get through the hard times as long as you’re willing to work and put forth an effort and not sit back waiting on everyone else.
America works, but to make it work you’ve got to go out there and you’ve got to do something.”
What is most inspiring is the different way that you can make success in your life.
Its not all about being online, instead its all about having good ideas and then finding the people to make it happen.
John Paul DeJoria has no personal computer.
He doesn’t use email, surf the internet or own a smartphone.
He’s never downloaded an app.
What has this different and fresh approach to business brought him in his own words?
“I have time to think,” he says. “I don’t have to go on the computer or telephone to know who sent what message when.
I don’t need to know what celebrities are thinking about everything, nor do I want to.”
Live your life the way that you want to
Make a difference to people everywhere you can
That is how success is made.
Until next time, keep focused, keep motivated and remember when the hard times hit that is when the opportunities for growth really appear.