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Getting in Touch with Guest Daymond John: MakingBank S2E29

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The Achilles heel of many entrepreneurs is the simple (and horribly misguided) thought that there are only one or two steps separating them and their ideas from success.

The reality is success can’t be achieved by clearing one or two hurdles because the race to the top isn’t like a 110-meter sprint—it’s like a marathon, with hundreds of steps to take and an endless sea of obstacles to clear.

And even for those entrepreneurs hard-nosed enough to actually find what they’re looking for in terms of success, it’s a vicious, day-in, day-out fight to hold onto it.

Having said that, there is one thing every entrepreneur can do to make the road to the top a little easier…

…Stay close to the customer.

Why? because the customer is the one who hands over their hard-earned dollars and cents in exchange for your products, your services, and your ideas. The customer is the one that keeps your doors open, your lights on, and your employees paid. If you’re not clued in to what they’re looking for, and not giving them what they’re asking for, your business is as good as dead.

These are the immensely wise words of today’s guest, Daymond John, who sits down with host Josh Felber for his second Making Bank interview.

Born into the rough and tumble neighborhood of Hollis, Queens, New York, Daymond is no stranger to being hard-nosed and clearing seemingly insurmountable hurdles in pursuit of a dream. Today, he is known as the CEO of FUBU, an investor on the reality TV series Shark Tank, and a highly sought after consultant and speaker.

Tune-in to hear Josh and Daymond discuss…

  • Why your health is a today issue as opposed to a tomorrow ..
  • What it takes to face and overcome self-doubt…
  • Why self-reflection is one of the most valuable ways to spend your time…
  • How to position yourself so you’re one-step away from the money…
  • Why the people in your company are as important if not more important than the numbers…

And more…

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Getting in Touch with Guest Daymond John: MakingBank S2E29

Josh Felber:        Welcome to Making Bank. I am Josh Felber. I’m excited today to be able to bring back a very special guest, Daymond John. Daymond, welcome to Making Bank.

Daymond John:                  Thank you for having me again, thank you.

Josh Felber:        Yeah, for sure. Last time we did it over video, online. Now we get to do it- hang out in person for a few minutes, so. The show is such a big success with having you on there, we had so many response- great response from the interview and everything and got a lot of questions, so I’m excited to dive into some of those today with you. We’re going to share more entrepreneurial life advice.

Daymond John:                  I hope I can help.

Josh Felber:        Awesome. So one of the big things is people really wanted to know what are your top three, kind of, life rituals?

Daymond John:                  One in [inaudible 00:01:16] that we were discussing earlier is that I set goals. I think that this is something very, it’s not just a simple goal setting pattern, it’s really-it has a, ya know, a method to it. So I have goals and some will expire in 6 months, and then some expire in five years, and then twenty years. And I [inaudible 00:01:40] a lot of myself doing that, kind of like meditating. So that-that’s number one.

Number two is, and it’s part of the goal setting process, is that I go and find time for myself whether it’s an hour on the treadmill walking or whether it’s, you know we’re in beautiful Arizona, and I’m gonna go and hike the mountain, going to have my headphones on, I’m gonna just to zone out, because, you know, we are always being bombarded with all this information [inaudible 00:02:08] around the world, and we never really get to tap into ourselves and see what we really want to do.

Josh Felber:        Sure.

Daymond John:                  And number three, and none of them are in order, number three is, by far, my health. I go out of the way to [inaudible 00:02:19] my health, no longer do I do the, “I’ll get to it one day,” “I’m gonna take up swimming,” “soon I’m going to start dieting.” There is not dieting, dieting is a band-aid, as you know…

Josh Felber:        Right.

Daymond John:                  …and often when you diet you rebound, so I’ve learned the value of health and I think maybe, because honestly, at forty-seven years old, too many of my friends have passed away.

Josh Felber:        Sure.

Daymond John:                  And I got to the point where I said, even though I think I’m healthy, we all heard the person who had the tumor out of nowhere and then this out of nowhere, I’m going to alkaline my body, start getting more proper sleep, exercise, and everything else. And I know I’m sounding like a, you know, all, you know, yogi-ish and stuff but it is absolutely important, and today when we were [inaudible 00:03:02] I think that somebody said something really brilliant, they said, “entrepreneurs have a thousand dreams and people without- healthy entrepreneurs have a valid reason to be [inaudible 00:03:14] their health [inaudible 00:03:14]”, and I found that fascinating when somebody just said that.

Josh Felber:        Yeah, that’s very impactful. One of the things, and this is kind of a personal preference, you know you said you kind of walk and you have your headphones on you and you zone out, and I’ve done both, I’ve run, I’ve walked, with and without headphones. Do you find that you connect better and you’re able to clear your thoughts with the headphones on or be able to listen, kind of, and be able to connect with nature?

Daymond John:                  Well, it all depends, you know. Often I’ll walk without them, the reason why I do listen to music is because, going back to goal setting, I have a playlist that I play, Bill Conti, going the distance, the old Rocky song, [inaudible 00:03:50] and I believe that almost like anything [inaudible 00:03:54] whatever the case is, when I play that list, whether I’m doing my goal, [inaudible 00:04:01], it acts and it starts to reinforce what I was thinking. You know, at the end of the day, to me I’m a very [inaudible 00:04:07] loving and [inaudible 00:04:09] the soundtrack of my life and I don’t care who you are, you hear a track reminding me of the most difficult time of your life or the best time of your life, it’s not gonna- it’s old, it’s young, whatever the case is. So that’s why I do it, and then a lot of times I’m really a nature person so I love looking at the ocean and I don’t need, I don’t need any distraction when I’m looking at the ocean, I could sit there and look at it for seven, eight hours.

Josh Felber:        Right. Awesome. Well cool, so what- where, what has suffered the most from your success?

Daymond John:                  Well, you know, that’s always going to be a question on if, ya know, I am divorced, I have two beautiful kids that are older now, and was I in their lives the way that I would like to be? I think all parents always question.

Josh Felber:        Yeah.

Daymond John:                  Of course, you know what was sacrificed during their career now. The times that I been out working and playing or whatever I been doing, you know I was working on my dream, but you know honestly if I wasn’t who I am and I was working someplace else I would’ve put the same time and or energy of somebody else’s dream. And many people watching are doing that right now. So I always question, of course, did I do the right thing as a father, parent, or a husband.

Let me see, what else suffers? Going back again now to health. My health has suffered and declined over a couple of years and I don’t know if I’m going to pay for it five years from now, twenty years from now, thirty years from now, I have no idea. But it’s never too late to, number one, try to do more for my family first, try to do[inaudible 00:05:42].

Josh Felber:        Definitely, I think, you know, the better our health is, it definitely impacts our overall ability in, as an entrepreneur and our business, for sure.

What have you learned about yourself from running all your different businesses?

Daymond John:                  I mean, I think that’s a good question and what I- what I like about the conversation we’re having is too many people talk about entrepreneurship and only talk about the numbers and how to maximize this or this and that but, a lot of people, you know, don’t really acknowledge that fact that people are people and however you are and how you act and how you run the company and how you treat the people around you or [inaudible 00:06:18] is very important.

Josh Felber:        Sure.

Daymond John:                  So what have I learned about myself? Well, I learned that I don’t like micromanagement, I hate micromanagement. I also learned that over the years, I had at one point, I had probably about four hundred employees working directly underneath me and then another thousand that worked indirectly for me and I don’t like more than fifty, sixty employees. I don’t care how many people want to stand on the mountain, say, I run this and that. And I want to change peoples lives, but, you know, studies have shown that after you get past one-twenty or one-fifty, people stop knowing names and it becomes a little cold, and I find it fascinating when I hear people who run companies with fifteen-thousand, twenty-thousand, I find that absolutely fascinating.

Josh Felber:        Right.

Daymond John:                  But I do not like large staffs. So those are a couple of things that I’ve learned.

Josh Felber:        Okay. And I know today we were kind of talking a little bit about brand and bringing [inaudible 00:07:15] that question keeps popping up a lot. So one of the questions was, had to do with like brand authenticity, and what are some of the brands out there that you think are truly authentic and then what makes you want to pursue them?

Daymond John:                  Well, brand authenticity is, especially today with transparency, brand authenticity is really are you speaking to [inaudible 00:07:34] on why you were created and the natural progression of the brand is something that you agree upon and you’re not doing it because of money, at the end of the day. And don’t get me wrong, we’re all in the business to make money and there are natural ways to grow your brand to make money. But also, your brand, now today, we’re seeing it now more than ever before, how do you enrich somebody’s life, whether it’s a social cause you can help or whether you’re curing this challenge they have in their life, because now we’re starting to learn that consumers today, they have a hundred choices in any concept of what they’re going to buy and they tend to go on to buy things they really empower other people.

So, that’s one aspect, of course, what brands do I like? It’s going to be brands I consume. I’m a big Apple fan, you know, no matter what, still I want to think of some other brands that are out there. Five Four Denim is really an amazing brand, it’s kind of like a subscription model brand. I like Spiritual Gangster. You see, I always find Coca-Cola fascinating, you know, Coca-Cola, you know, is sugary water at the end of the day and the brand is still globally recognized, they keep up coming up with new ways to, share and find new audiences. I mean, Cola is made by millions of [inaudible 00:08:53] very effective. I mean, I’m loving what Netflix and Amazon is doing. I mean, Amazon, of course, Amazon is taking over the world. Facebook, ya know, incredible brand. So, ya know, those are some of the brands that are, for various reasons, I like. They keep changing, they keep evolving, they keep developing, they keep finding new customers, and I find it fascinating.

Josh Felber:        And so part of it is why you consume that. So you know, Spiritual Gangster, my wife loves their t-shirts, they’re super soft and comfortable.

Daymond John:                  Yeah, so I consume them for a couple reasons. So Spiritual Gangster I’ll consume because it is [inaudible 00:09:26], just like Lululemon, another brand I respect. It manages to stick to its core beliefs, but yet be appealing to everybody.

I love a brand like Nike because, as big as Nike is, going to get almost twenty billion dollars in annual sales, they will still make a one-off shoes for the one-off individual that customizes. So they can go as high as mass all over the globe and then they can also customize things. So, I like that.

And Facebook, of course, I like it because the data and the analytics you thought you were doing one thing on Facebook, next thing you know we’re broadcasting live on Facebook. It’s becoming the medium of television and or the way to broadcast, and it’s empowering people because if you look at some of the challenges we see out there today, some of the challenges we see out there today, whether we want to talk about how negative they are or not, if somebody would have told you, hey I heard this guy got shot, cause he had a- he got shot cause his taillight was broken, you’d be there going, ya whatever. But now, all the sudden because it’s in the hands- in the power- in the hands of people there is conversations that have to be met, so these are reasons why I like some of them.

Josh Felber:        So you kind of mentioned Facebook and Facebook live, you’re always [inaudible 00:10:34] the Facebook live idea. How have you seen it impact your brand and be able to directly make an impact?

Daymond John:                  Oh I’ve seen an amazing, amazing, not resurgence, but I’ve seen that, even three years ago, you know, there was something that came out negative about me or even positive about me, I couldn’t enlighten people and show them and or empower them directly and I could see how many people are analyzing and I get to answer their questions live and I could then go analyze and see other people and how they’re using my content. And after that, then I have to say, who I really hit, you know, who would want ABC and Shark Tank, and you know, I don’t often know who is my customer because if you look at that customer, a lot of kids watch, a lot of parents watch, a lot of middle-age Americans watch who are [inaudible 00:11:24], but I’m also the fashion guy who the fashion people are watching, so I get to start to see the analytics by the questions there.

Josh Felber:        Right. And that’s the cool thing about Facebook is that they do drive [inaudible 00:11:32] to so much data and analytics for you.

What are some of the key metrics that you’ve found that have made your business successful [inaudible 00:11:40].

Daymond John:                  Well I always have to monitor the consumer of course, because the end of the day I’m in so many different businesses and as we all know there’s many people who say they like something, they love something but will they actually dig in their pockets and take out some money and actually purchase it, and will they also share that information with another person? So the key mentions that I look at is usually how many times do I have to touch a person for that to convert into some level of a sale? Now, listen it doesn’t have to be hard cash.

Josh Felber:        Sure.

Daymond John:                  It could be a like, it could be somebody showing up someplace, it could be somebody sharing something, so I try to look at how many times I have to touch them and also their share with you. My theory is we want to step away from money at this stage and that means that I don’t want to have to depend on a retailer to make me put it out here and maybe somebody else buys it, I want to talk directly to the customer and if they don’t want something from me, I want to know why and how can I make [inaudible 00:12:31].

Josh Felber:        And I think that’s, you know, very interesting, cause you know, one step away from the money, and I think a lot of people these days, you know, they keep, you know it’s bad to really want [inaudible 00:12:43] or businesses [inaudible 00:12:44] making money. How do you manage or deal with that?

Daymond John:                  Well you know, I have a very, you know, a way that I try to discipline myself. I don’t keep my [inaudible 00:12:54] even though I may have fellow partners who want to invest our money at home or things of that nature. I try to do as much as I can with little to no resources and then once we see that it works to some level, we can go and replicate it various [inaudible 00:13:09] and grow it. I don’t go, well if I just spend another hundred thousand we’re not gonna get better, no we’re gonna have to figure this out, there’s gonna be a lot of fights with my staff and or I might have to fire myself that day and go, we need another manager for this because I suck. So, you know, it’s just something if you don’t want to throw money at things all the time, you then start to, the reality of why it’s working or not working, tends to show itself.

Josh Felber:        That’s great. This is a good one, what is your winning strategy now that you’ve seen, you know, that’s created success for you now, past FUBU.

Daymond John:                  Well my winning strategy has been, number one, don’t throw money at it, it’s not gonna solve it. Number two, and not in any order, have an absolute passion and drive and want to do this. You know, all the times that the companies have failed that I have had out there or been part of has failed for one of three reasons [inaudible 00:14:03]. Number one, I didn’t love it. Number two, when I didn’t love it I didn’t do enough research on it, and number three if I didn’t love it, then I also didn’t spend enough time. So first of all, I have to be passionate about it, then I also have to surround myself also with younger talent because I can’t get too comfortable thinking I know everything because time is [inaudible 00:14:26] so fast, have to [inaudible 00:14:30] opportunities to look at things. So those are a couple things that have worked for me, you know.

Josh Felber:        And then how do you, you know, with all the different business you’ve invested in, with Shark Tank, how do you find the time to be able to make sure you, you know, you’re getting to it.

Daymond John:                  Very challenging, finding the time. I put really good people around them. But at the end of the day, it always goes back to who’s running the ship as entrepreneur, the CEO, the President, whoever is the owner. I can only add a couple of things to them, whether it’s advice, things of that nature. But if you’re not doing well, I can’t change everything if you’re not open to listen or a hard worker. So the Sharks are only one step of the person’s level to success because there’s a hundred different steps and at the end of the day, the buck stops with them.

Josh Felber:        Yeah, and that’s what a lot of people I think don’t realize from seeing the show, it’s what you guys really [inaudible 00:15:20].

Daymond John:                  I have failed many, many people because they thought I’m gonna, I’m, you know, I got Daymond John as my partner and I’m gonna be a millionaire and he knows everything. Well, if I knew everything I always joke and say [inaudible 00:15:31], and I do not know everything, and they need to know that no matter what, you can’t get around it, the buck stops at you.

Josh Felber:        For sure. So let’s see, we got a few minutes left. One thing I wanted to ask ya. So, my daughter started a business, she’s eight, she has a company called Paleo Pets, and she’s making pet care products that are all natural and organic. What would you say to aspiring kid entrepreneurs for where business is going?

Daymond John:                  Oh, aspiring kid entrepreneurs, so you know, I guess they have to find their following and definitely be something that they love. So it sounds like, you know, that maybe she wants to keep her pet healthy or maybe you know a pet that’s passed in a natural way in the past and she found out that, you know, there was a lot of things that she could’ve or somebody else could’ve done to do better, so you have that understanding there.

But also, you know, you have to look at the competition out there and see if you’re priced accordingly and you are, you know, what’s the reason or what’s the unique selling proposition that you have for people. So, there are other natural dog foods or pet foods, you know, are you delivering faster, is it healthier for them than any other [inaudible 00:16:45], is it cheaper, is it more expensive cause its exclusive and its handmade for various [inaudible 00:16:50]. At the end of the day, what’s the numbers, how much does it cost for you to make it, how much do you sell it, and put every single cost in there, how much your time is, how much shipping is and everything else, because so often we just want to sell something and we think that’s the right price but we need to put all aspects, packaging and everything else.

Josh Felber:        That’s awesome. I know you do a lot of education, you been working with the Curt administration, Obama, on bringing more awareness to entrepreneurs. What is that direction that you’re driving with them?

Daymond John:                  Well, I mean, you know, we have three pillars of responsibility, you know, one of them are, first of all we have to inspire people, domestically and around the globe about entrepreneurship and educate them on how entrepreneurship can change your life. Number two is that we want to now show them how to actually do things that are entrepreneur, [inaudible 00:17:45] your smartphone and open a business. And number three how to get access to information and data, and once we do that the reason why we do that is increase more jobs and also helps for a better world because when people have ways to empower themselves with money, they’ll be less likely to do something, join a gang or do something crazy that is not in our best interest. So, that is my job and I love every minute of it, I love seeing people be empowered.

Josh Felber:        That’s awesome, and I really appreciate you coming on today. I know we have a copy of your book here, so.

Daymond John:                  Sure. And Shark Tank’s new season is out now on ABC, Friday nights, 9:00 PM. You’ll see some of the six shark panel, you’ll see more shark bites, and more importantly, you’ll see way more young and amazing entrepreneurs that are going out there, they are changing the world and they are empowering lives.

Josh Felber:        I think that’s one of the biggest things with Shark Tank, is the fact that kids can watch it and it inspires them and really helps drive them to start thinking creatively.

Daymond John:                  When kids watch shows like that and, you know, they start to think about how they can empower themselves and create something and live their dreams then they’re less likely to go do other things and waste their time like I did most of my life watching crazy cartoons and music videos, you know?

Josh Felber:        Right. Cool. Well, thanks again for coming on Making Bank, it was an honor, and I appreciate your time today.

Daymond John:                  Thank you.

Josh Felber:        I am Josh Felber, you’ve been watching Making Bank. Get out and be extraordinary.