Why Being Broke is a Blessing when Starting a Business

Image Credit: Marco Grob

Are you starting a business with little to no money? Several successful entrepreneurs once were in your very same shoes, and now they're making millions.

One such person is Daymond John, the broke entrepreneur who became a fashion mogul, millionaire and famous Shark Tank investor.

In an interview with online entrepreneur, Marie Forleo, John talks about his small beginnings, sneaking onto hip-hop video sets to promote the 10 t-shirts he had made. And this was all while he waiting tables full-time. But he says to Forleo, “I was doing something that I loved.” Despite not having a lot, he loved being on those sets and getting to create something. It was that passion and his dedication to it that would make John a huge success.

As he and Forleo discuss, everyone has to reinvent themselves and adapt to the world around them. They mention how you can't just wait for someone to hand an opportunity to you. You have to go out and find those opportunities yourself, even and especially when you don't have much money.

If you think that being broke is keeping you from greatness, think again. For John, he didn't wait for his big break, he created it. In fact, he admits that being broke might have been the best thing that ever happened to him and his career in business.

Watch the full interview in the video above and read more about Daymond John's humble beginnings and why not having any money could be your greatest advantage in business.

Small Beginnings

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John grew up in Queens, raised by a single mother. He worked a few small jobs while going to school to help his mother and him get by. Sweeping up nearby grocery stores and waiting tables wasn’t the most glorious start to John's career. But it was what he needed.

Photo Credit: ABC, “Shark Tank”

While he didn’t make much cash to start up his entrepreneurial endeavors, John learned the basic fundamentals to making a business work working these small jobs, even without a lot of capital to start with. He didn’t network with corporate professionals, but found mentors around him who instilled a drive and work ethic that mattered more than the money and good connections.

“Being broke is temporary, but poverty of mind is permanent. Click To Tweet

Building an Empire from the Ground Up

His mother frankly told him, “You’re going to have to figure out what you’re doing the rest of your life, one way or another.” John could either continue on the path he had been on or forge a new one for himself. Either way, John had to make a decision for what his future would hold.

What John wanted was the life he didn’t have. One where he didn’t have to work at a grueling day job only to just barely get by. But he knew that if he was going to change his life, he needed to go after what he always dreamed of: to have his own business.

Image Credit: Marie Forleo
Watch her full interview with Daymond John above.

That was when John created his men’s apparel store, FUBU (“For Us By Us”). With help from his dedicated mom, he learned how to sew and started making wool hats. After his first 80 hats made him $800, John went home “the next hour” to begin making more hats. He didn’t want to wait another day to keep his company’s momentum going.

In between making and selling hats, John kept working full-time at Red Lobster waiting tables. His mother mortgaged their home to help find the funds so FUBU would continue to survive. In just 6 years, John’s small business had made $350 million in revenue. That revenue today is reaching into the billions.

Why Being Broke Helps

“Always get back to that feeling of being broke. That feeling of taking care of risk, or struggling to maximize every strength. That feeling of hustle that puts you back on the street.” - Daymond John Click To Tweet

Even though he’s no longer broke, John attributes his success with FUBU and beyond to what he learned when he didn’t have money to spend. When he had to fight his way to the top that's when he became stronger to succeed.

How can being broke help you? Check out our infographic for a few ways John believes the Power of Broke can be exactly what you need to start your online business.

the power of broke


Not About the Money

There’s a real power in being broke, something John talks about in his bestselling book, “The Power of Broke.” For him it’s not always about the money.

John says that his favorite advice was from the women who helped him start on the road to entrepreneurship. His mother always said to him, “Money is a great slave but a horrible master.” At moments in his career when John let money be his motivating factor, he didn’t succeed like he hoped he would. He calls his past self a “wantrepreneur” who did what he did “because I thought what I wanted was to be rich.”

Image Credit: Marie Forleo
Watch her full interview with Daymond John above.

As it turns out, working to get rich doesn’t always bring in the money. When John was too focused on the money, “For the most part,” he says, “those businesses failed. Later when I started doing something casually because I loved it, that business burst.”

When money is your driving factor, or becomes your “master,” you and your business suffer as a result. There’s more to business than the money.

As John talks about with Forleo, you have to change the way you think in order to be successful. You have to stop seeing being broke as a disadvantage and see it instead as the blessing it truly is.

How are you using the Power of Broke to follow your dreams? Share your experiences below!

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