John Paul Jones DeJoria was born to immigrant parents and grew up in Echo Park, Los Angeles, California. Like a lot of the inspirational stories we hear about, his was not an easy childhood.
His family, under the care of his unemployed single mum, struggled. At the age of 9, John began selling Christmas cards and doing newspaper routes with his young brother in order to help his financially struggling mother.
It was not easy. The two boys would get up at 4 am to go do newspaper routes and come back just in time to get ready and go to school.
However, despite all his best efforts to help out as a young boy, he never could make enough money. Eventually, his mother became unable to support him and his brother, and he was placed in a foster home.
But that was not the last of his personal struggles. Things were not any better at school. John said in one interview that at school, his math’s teacher once told him that; “He would never succeed at anything in life”.
Now imagine the psychological impact of such heavy words being said to an already struggling young person. It could very easily have had very unfortunate, far-reaching consequences to his adult life.
However undeterred the young man continued to work as he grew up. He soon took up a job selling Collier’s Encyclopedias door to door.
A really tough job if you ask me. But as he himself says, this job helped him to gain and develop a very important skill- the art of selling. If you have ever done door to door cold calling you will know that it is not for the faint-hearted.
You only have a few seconds to pitch and convince an individual to buy. The rejection rate is almost 90%, even higher if you don’t know what you are doing.
However, this experience very quickly taught him two very important business lessons: One- that he needed to develop a thick skin and become insensitive to rejection, and Two- his selling skills had to be on point otherwise the door would be quickly slammed in his face.
His troubles continued as an adult and he became homeless at one point living in his car. As things got financially tougher and tougher, his wife decided that she`d had enough and abandoned him, leaving him and his two-year-old son with no money for food and rent.
He tried but failed to hustle out some rent money on the streets. He said; ”I was out there hustling, getting a job, picking up Coke bottles along the way, cashing them in, two cents for a little one, five cents for the big one”.
However, he failed to make enough money to cover his overdue rent and consequently, he and his son were kicked out and ended up on the street for a few days before being taken in by a kind friend.
He then got together with his friend Paul Mitchell and each put in $350, creating $700 capital, and began making hair care products. They made the products and guess which selling strategy they employed;
Door to Door selling!!!
John and his partner moved from Hair salon to Hair salon selling their hair care products, and that’s how Paul Mitchell Systems was born.
All that experience gained over the years from selling encyclopedias door to door was finally paying off. From the time it was formed around 1980, Paul Mitchell system has grown from the modest $700 start-up to now making over $900 million in revenue each year.
According to Forbes 2010, John Paul DeJoria was at the time said to be worth $4 Billion. Yes you heard me right, $4 Billion.
So what can we learn from John`s story?
Just like a lot of the successful people we learn about, having humble beginnings has never stopped anybody from becoming successful. Being born to immigrant parents never hindered John from achieving his goals.
Therefore poor background can never be used as a legitimate reason for not achieving one`s own goals.
However, the main reason why I love John DeJoria`s road to success is the amount of capital he started his company with. It was a $700 hundred-dollar start-up. I cannot think of a better example of a small budget start-up.
I have heard a lot of pretenders writing start-up business plans which go into thousands of dollars, some even go as far as hundreds of thousands of dollars. Well if you are really serious about doing something in your life, then you do not need thousands upon thousands of dollars to start.
If you have in your bank account $1000, you have more than enough to start, and it is possible to build a multi-million dollar business from there. Let no one tell you that it cannot be done, because John DeJoria did it, and he was just like you and me.
In fact, most of us are in a much better place in our lives today than where John started.
Another important point to learn from John` story is that everything that you go through in your life at any given time teaches and prepares you for future events.
If you want to make it in life, you need to reflect on your own personal life experiences and audit what skills you have gained over the years. You will be amazed at what you are now capable of.
Let me also make this very important point.
Unfortunately, in most cases, this point is missed in all the excitement of John`s story. What is most amazing about this example is that it represents the epitome of business expansion and growth.
I have no doubt that there are so many other businesses that were started at the same time as John`s Paul Mitchell Systems business.
And as is obvious to you they are not all worth $4 Billion today. Some of those businesses probably still exist today but only as small businesses.
NOTE: You have to understand here that you will never get rich unless you are willing to expand your business.
There are hundreds and hundreds of examples of success stories that I could share with you. The truth is you do not need all of them in order to inspire you.
Just pick a few of those that you feel provoke something within you and run with them.
Good luck as you find the inspiration to start your own success journey.