Daymond John on The Skills You Need to Build A Multi-Million Dollar Business| Impact Theory | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Daymond John on The Skills You Need to Build A Multi-Million Dollar Business| Impact Theory".


Note: This transcription is split and grouped by topics and subtopics. You can navigate through the Table of Contents on the left. It's interactive. All paragraphs are timed to the original video. Click on the time (e.g., 01:53) to jump to the specific portion of the video.


Intro (00:00)

- Hey everybody, welcome to another episode of Impact Theory. I am here with Damon John. What is up, man? Thank you so much for coming on the show. - Ah, thank you for having me, man.

Mindset Formation And Early Lessons

What did your mindset develop for you (00:12)

- Absolutely a pleasure. I have to say that in researching you, I really resonate with some of the ideas from the power of broke to nobody's coming to save you, nobody's gonna get you off the couch. That's on you. Where did that mindset develop for you? - You know, I've written several books and I'm dyslexic, so it's challenging for me to write books. And I realize that the mindset of being able to apply something is first the negotiation you have to have with yourself on why do you deserve it? Why are you in your circumstances? What have you done wrong and they're not too late to change it or whatever it is? I mean, mental change are the hardest to break. So I usually get the most, I compile like the most commonly asked questions because usually when I write my book, somebody ask me, go read that book, go read Tim Ferris book, go read, whatever the case is, but I realize a lot of people just didn't mentally think they had the power. So I wrote a power shift because like you said, nobody's gonna come to your house and take you off the couch. I mean, especially today, right? Everybody right now is scared. They're excited, they're concerned, they're angry and they're not thinking of you right now. They're thinking about survival mode themselves. So until you understand that you are in charge of your mental aptitude in the way that you're gonna handle life and take on the bumps and bruises, to understand it's up to you, the box after you then, you're not gonna eat away. So.

Nobody is going to give you power (01:49)

- Yeah, one thing that I have found very difficult to deal with is that it's really hard. If somebody has a mentality that somebody has to give them power or that somebody could even take power away from them, it's hard to get them to start taking action that's really gonna help them. Do you have, say, magic words? If somebody's listening to this right now and they want you to be right, do you have sort of that key insight that helps people see and then I know I really can do this? - Yeah, you know, if they looked at all their successes where they're happy or where they've overcome things in life, they realize they dove deep into something, they realize that they didn't take no for answer. If they look at where they are stuck or challenged, they need to reflect and say, at what point in my life did that starry-eyed person, where did it go? What took that away? And you'll realize at the end of the day, I mean, listen, if you hear somebody who was that middle-aged person, who turns back around and says, you know, I was out of Bundy, I was the star of the football team, I had that time or whatever, I was that beautiful woman, I was that smart, loved my life, and now, you know, something's going wrong. Once you accept that, you'll realize you can get back to where you were or at that good moment, but you just have to take a hard look and take inventory. You have to write your bisharary down right now and you wanna know if you're going to live like that. Now, God willing, you're still gonna be here tomorrow, next year, 10 years and 20 years from now, but until you create that change yourself, like, what do you expect to get out of it? You're gonna get zero, right?

Taking a hard deep look at yourself (03:27)

And if you're miserable right now, then obviously you have done a lot of things or made a lot of excuses or had the wrong influences around you that has created the environment you're in. And what are you gonna do to change it? I mean, we're seeing it every time you have to. That's why I thank you such a great show. You know, you sit in home and you know, you use the thing millionaires and billionaires that born with money or everything having, you're seeing moms and dads and kids and people of all colors and genders and race and sexual preference come on there and say, no, I was home, I had zero. And I took this one sock and I made two. And then I made four and then guess what? And I think that's why, you know, so to give you the short answer, it's taking a hard, deep look if you're inventory of, you know, what in life was your successes, what were your failures and how did you learn from them? Taking inventory of where do you wanna go? How do you wanna be seen? Taking inventory of what is your, you know, your assets right now? Do you have a certain amount of time? Are you somebody that lights up the room when you come in? Do you wanna cure somebody's problem? Do people love you? You know, are you willing to work harder than everybody else? You know, where is the empathy you see in the world is gonna need to be changed? So you take inventory of all these and you do some real soul searching and you're at the first step of living a very fruitful life and even if you don't get to where you wanna be at least, you know you left it all on the damn field. - What do you say though, to people for whom the deck really is stacked against them? Like they're coming at it from a place that's harder than somebody else, you know, for better or worse, I think we'd all agree for worse, that the luck, who you know, all of that stuff is not evenly distributed, right? So some people are, they're certainly starting from a deficit. Do you give them a pass or to you, is it just sort of the nature of the beast that you have to outwork, outperform? - I'm never gonna give them a pass because my father left when I was 10 years old, raised by a single mother. I started working when I was 10 years old, I haven't stopped working ever since. I'm dyslexic, I got left back in school, I never went to college, I didn't know anybody with wealth.

Getting past the adversity (05:43)

I grew up in a community that was riddled with crack and half of my friends were dead or in jail by the age of 21. I'm sure I don't have no athletic skill, I can't sing and I can't dance really well. And I'm black and I've been at the barrel of a cop's gun three separate times, we were minding the crime with I had t-shirts in my back trunk and I was reaching for the stars. I've told I've never been able to do anything in life and now I'm a motivational speaker, a five-time author, best-selling author. I've been on a major network for 12 years, I've created a company that has influenced a good portion of the planet and I've employed thousands of people and been able to change people's lives. You know, the reality is I'm never gonna get away from being black, short and dyslexic. That's just what it is. So let's get past that. I'm not gonna get away from the fact that COVID is here. That's just what it is, right? So if I can do it, and this is one of the main reasons that I do write the books and I put things out because I'm a prime example of simplicity, hard work and common sense with morals and being able to embarrass yourself, take affordable steps and learn from them and you apply that, you can do it. I do know it's hard. And reality is I've met people that are more successful than me that had it harder than me. People that grew up in countries where they have to drink out of the same water that the animals drink out of. You know, that they've seen tragic, tragic things happen on a daily basis, you know? So, you know, it's out there. But we have two choices. To sit there and say, well, with me and just be another one of the statistics or to sit there and give it our best and learn from people like me to say, my dumb ass can make it, then you can do it too. - Dude, one thing that really inspired me in your story is your mom. I love the story of you taking her to the meeting with Samsung and I thought that was brilliant. You're like, look, my mom's smart. Why wouldn't I bring her? What was it that she like gave you mentally? 'Cause it seems like you're, and maybe you had to overcome some crazy shit that was like problematic from a belief system standpoint. But you seem to have been on the right beliefs pretty early. Did she instill you with stuff that allowed you to reach for the stars even though you had what looked like from anybody's perspective to be a lot of things that had to be overcome? - You know, I think the beauty of my mother is that she always tried and she always educated herself.

Everyone in Life Is a Teacher (08:10)

And even if she had a day job, she worked on some kind of night job or an other way to make money. But the key to her was that she educated herself and she tried to educate me and educate me in real life experience. She, you know, listen, we're at a day and age right now where people are, it's tough, right? And people are thinking that white people are the oppressor or they have it better. Maybe they do, maybe they don't. Black people are being tortured and there is no way out. Maybe that is the challenge. But when my mother didn't, when my father left, she did a couple of things. Number one, the man who came into my life, wife happened to call my stepfather. He dated my mother for about three or four years, happens to be of the Jewish faith. He happens to be white. And I learned at that time, I educated myself and I learned that people are people and we are more in common than we have against each other. And his brother actually was one of the lead attorneys over here who helped to free Mandela. And I realized at that time, if you really look back that whether it's civil rights war or civil war or the civil rights or apartheid, no oppression was never overthrown without unity of all colors. So number one, that opened my mind to a world of accepting people for people and vice versa, not letting people make me feel lesser of a person because of my color. I walked into the room as a man and when I walked into the room as a man, a proud man, if you happen not to see my vision, then there's nothing for us to do. But the other side of it is because we're different, we're gonna get innovation because I'm gonna share things with you that you may not know and you're gonna share things with me that we may not know, we're gonna make money together. So she educated me in regard to that. But then also she would send me away to someplace different every summer for various reasons. And she wanted me to get out of the inner city where my friends were obviously, you know, being and having challenges 'cause they didn't have the right resources around. But she wanted me to see the world. So she would send me to Barbados or Toronto or I lived in Hawaii for the summer. Now somebody who sit there and go, "Oh, okay, Damon, well, "settles like you had a lot of resources "living in Hawaii for the summer." No, my mother had a friend that worked on it that was in the Navy and that woman had a son. My mother said, "I will take your son "for the summer, you take my son for the summer." And this would be one of 11, you can buy a ticket in advance. So my mother would buy a 17 connecting light ticket from New York to Hawaii three years earlier. So I would leave in June to get to Hawaii, I'll get there in September. But my mind was open to all these things. And the last thing my mother did for me is at an early age, she made me understand that I'm in charge of my own destiny. And this is the hardest thing to teach kids 'cause I have the challenge of teaching and to my daughter now and I believe that if you give somebody everything, you make them the poorest person in the world. And when I was in a school right when my parents got divorced, I thought messing up would get my parents together 'cause I was in the seventh grade and I remember the teacher telling my mother to Damon only passed one test, one last test that we know he's rebelling, we will let him go. If not, he's going to have to get left back. And I went out that night before the test and I played as much basketball as I could and wrote my bike and choose bubble gum, do whatever I did. I get a 30 on the test. My mother goes into the school and the teachers go, we know about the divorce, we see what he's doing. We're gonna allow him to move on from seventh grade to eighth grade. And this was a Catholic school at the time 'cause my mother said, you say no, no you're not. You're not gonna allow him to move on 'cause he needs to understand that his destiny is in his hands. And I don't have any money anymore. So the little $4,000 a year I would pay for a Catholic school, I don't have it. And I'm taking Damon out and putting him in public school. Well, of course, during that summer, I said, first of all, my mother said I'm gonna be a punishment for the whole summer, I'm not gonna be able to go out. But guess what? She has two jobs. There's no way in the world that she's gonna be, it was hell if I'm going out or not. And by the way, that public school she wants to send me to, they eat their young over there. I mean, they are horrible people. My mother wouldn't send her little only child to that public school. And guess what happened? My mother goes out and gets a third job so she gets a babysitter to watch me. She whips me the old school way, laid out, she took a belt, pulled down my pants, whipped my ass. And then when I got to school in September, it was not with my cozy little friends I knew for seven years, I was in public school getting my ass with. And it's soaked in. My wrist, nobody's gonna save me. And so I learned responsibility at that time. And that was, I think it would do it, do it, follow me for the rest of my life that the buck stops with me. - Dude, your mom is legit. That gave me the chills when you were telling that story. I have, I didn't get into quite that much trouble, but I had a similar, my mom was so fucking hardcore, she was not for play. And she was just like, look, if I have to discipline you till the cows come home and so be it, that's how it's gonna be, you're gonna be on the straight and narrow, you're gonna get your shit done. And that really did have an impact on me. And so I ended up not having kids. And part of the reason that I didn't have kids was to, one, like you said, I think if you give somebody everything you make them the poorest person in the world that is so well put. And I'd been very successful. And so I was afraid, if I say this super, super raw, I was afraid I did not have the strength of character to deny my children something. When they look at you with those big, you know, doughy eyes, you recount that story so powerfully in your new book, Power Shift, where of course we don't know you're talking about your three year old daughter, but you're telling the story of this like really intense negotiation and you reveal that it is your daughter. And I thought, yeah, that's the moment where I thought I was gonna be weak.

What Damon's Mom Taught Him (14:40)

So mad props to your mom. I think that is so powerful and forcing somebody to see the consequences of their actions, I think is really intense. Now there's a couple of ways though that you could have gone in that and I'm super curious to know whether it was something else that she gave you that brought you back around to I Can Do This or something else. But one way is, you know, get so angry with her that you just continue to rebel and not do your thing and find you want to send me to this school, then I'm gonna start hanging out with the bad kids and doing drugs or whatever. Why didn't you?

Get in trouble (15:12)

Why'd you, I mean, you end up obviously killing it in life. - I, well, initially with my mother, well, you know, I had common sense too. I realized that, you know, it's gotta be a bigger world out there than the little world that I knew in Hollis Queens and I would hear people getting beat up or dying or going to jail and I would say, I'm just not, I couldn't understand living in a cage for five, six, seven, 10 years. And I mean, listen, when we're thinking about this quarantine, people can't even, they can't, they can't stand living in their home for a month, right? So I realized it was what I didn't want out of life. I didn't know that I could potentially become successful and that would happen later on in life. But I also broke my mother's heart when I heard her one night, I was listening in her bedroom and she was sobbing. She's a very strong woman. And I remember why she was sobbing. It was because I was not doing the right thing and I was getting whatever, you know, bad grades and I think that I heard her on the phone and she was saying how much she was working and why was I doing this to her? And I think it was my love for her that maybe one do this, go on the straight and narrow. So it was two things. It was, I didn't wanna end up where I was seeing most people end up because I just had common sense and being a drug dealer was short lived. And next thing I was breaking the heart of the only person in my life and I just didn't wanna do that. And then I started to apply myself in various different ways and I started to find my meaning in life on what I wanna do, how I wanted to challenge myself and how I wanted to create a difference. And I think that they all kind of started to flow together, but again, that didn't happen until I was like 20, 21, 22, but you know, that's what kids do at trying to find ourselves. - Yeah, for sure. Speaking of kids, man, if, so I know you had a health scare with thyroid cancer, congratulations, by the way, for finding it so early and taking aggressive measures, but if it had gone the other way and you could only like sort of package up for your kids like three ideas, it doesn't have to be three, but just like a couple core ideas that you think maximize their chance for success. Like what are those foundational ideas that have led to your success?

Foundation for success (17:20)

- Yeah, it would have been to constantly keep moving in different circles and finding mentors and people that are smarter than you or they're complimentary to you, they're all reaching for the stars in a methodical way that your moral compass understands. So keep expanding your circle, number one. - Why is that important? 'Cause it's interesting when you talk about getting shipped around a lot as a kid to obviously experience different things, how does that help? - Yeah, I think the world view and I think different views make you a more well-rounded person, you know? And I think that having empathy for other people makes you somebody who people wanna be with and you have better answers for things, you know? I think that you'll see different races, religions or colors of people and you'll start to say, it'll broaden your mind, it really will make you wanna educate yourself in different ways and you may find something that you never would have thought of, you may find a love and a passion in a different area that you wanna go into. You know, when I was coming up, there was two companies, Cross Colors and Call Can I that were started and I remember seeing Call Can I want a hang tag? And I remember saying, I mean, this just, this life went off on my head, it said, wait a minute, I can actually make and design my own clothes 'cause prior to that, we had only seen people who have flamboyant, European, white, you know, designer, right, we never saw that. So the seeing of that person opened me up to say, maybe I wanna try to make my own clothes and t-shirts. Now, that's point number one. But also in my travels, I met a lot of people who were gay and I, and white and brown and whatever the case is. And I, and they became good friends of mine. In my neighborhood and, you know, listen, Fubu was very close to rap and it was about a, you know, a music that I wanted people to enjoy and I wanted to dress people for it. But it's a very homophobic culture. And to make a long story short, by opening up my mind to see that picture of that young man, by knowing people who have different sexual preferences, but knowing and loving them for who they were, I didn't mind becoming a designer, but all of my friends thought that I was gay at the time and they stopped talking to me, but I was comfortable with my sexuality because I knew people who happened to be gay, that were great people. I was comfortable being able to design because I swung the thing. So it was all these exposures to things that made me say I'm going to do this. Because a lot of the things that we see people, you know, that hinder them is because they don't think it can be done, because they think people will laugh at them, because they haven't seen somebody else do it that looks like them or who believes in the same thing they believe in. And I just think that those are the things that I, that's why I will share with my daughters to go out and meet as many people in the world as they can, and also to not lock themselves down until they're 35 years old or older, because, you know, for the first 15 years, do you like? - Lock themselves down, meaning marriage? - Marriage, yeah. - Because I believe that for the first 15 years, you're somebody's daughter or son, right? And if you're going to live to hopefully be 100 years old, you know, after that, you're going to be somebody's husband or wife, then somebody's parent, then somebody's grandparents. I want my daughters to travel the world and know who they are just for 10 years, right? From 20 to 30, 20 to 35, where in case, is that other person you want to get married to, or they're not the end-to-end school? My name is Faye, don't have a boyfriend, but don't let them be you for a period. Kind of know who you are, what you truly want out of life. And then last but not least, you know, I would tell my daughters to constantly educate themselves, you know? - Other things that I would push on them. - Now, I love that man. I think those are amazing things to push on somebody. You mentioned education with your mom as well, and I wanted to ask you then, how did she educate herself? Was it just buying books, library card?

Early Education (22:02)

I'm guessing this is way before the internet. So what was she doing to further her education? - Yeah, she would read, you know, newspapers. She would go and go to the library and pick up books and stuff. And she would also, if there was a way to do it, meaning she read a book or, you know, she wanted to make a blouse for herself, she would then actually hands on, try to do it. She would also teach me about everything myself, because, and she did it, you know, being very slick about it, she would say, "Hey, Demi, you know, I gotta get the food ready, "then I gotta go to work, so do me a favor. "Can you read me the New York Times?" And so I would stand there next to her for an hour a day, and I would read the New York Times, and then she would ask me questions about it. And it got me used to reading, and I gotta say, you know, and I know that, you know, like your interviews, we go up on different topics and stuff like that, but something fascinating happened to me yesterday. My friend called me, and he said, you know, my son, who was 12 years old, I bought him something very expensive, and I told him to read that whole manual, that book, you know, front page to the last page. And he was online, and he said, "All his friends were laughing at them "because kids no longer wanna read." - That's crazy. - They're reading memes, or they hit the top hit on Google, and they wanna read little things like this, because there's too much information out there, whether it's good, bad or indifferent, they don't have the attention span anymore, 'cause, you know, our buddy Seth Golden will say, "They're not making far attention in this world." And the other thing, which is not that important, but his son does not know how to really write cursive. We're going into a new world where the kids are not educating themselves in certain ways, or so I think that my mother teaching me, even though of dyslexic, how to sit down and have the patience to read something fully through, a whole book, is extremely important for parents to teach their kids today to get that discipline going early. - Yeah, no question. And that whole notion of education, what it is, what topics matter, I think is really interesting, and I've heard you answer the question a lot of times, like, "What would you have done different?" You always say financial literacy. You would have gotten that early. What are the topics that you think, like, right now, if somebody's listening to this, and let's say they're 14 or 15, and you just wanna make sure that they are set up, what are the core things that they should be educating themselves on? So, obviously, financial literacy, what else? - I think technology, in the form of coding, in any form, so they can write their own code, their own line, I don't know how to do it myself, but this is where the world is going to be going. So, I think operating those two things, and not as much as necessarily as you, as when we grew up, but of course, health. But a young kid, 14 years old, they're not thinking about much. They're not thinking about drinking a green drink, but that investment pays off in so many more dividends when you're 30, 40, 50, 60 years old. But fully, definitely educating yourself on some kind of the digital divide as well, obviously, is a big challenge, and financial intelligence, those are the two keys. - What do you think, so a lot of your advice, I find, sort of circles around leadership, you have really counterintuitive, and I would say, as an entrepreneur, really insightful notions about motivating a staff, keeping them excited, keeping high functioning talent around for the long term. So, where do you come down on, is leadership something that people can learn about?

Entrepreneurship lessons (25:38)

If so, sort of what are some key tenants, and then, how do you think about deciding, am I an entrepreneur, am I an entrepreneur, is there anything around those things people should be getting clarity on? - Yeah, so the first part about an entrepreneur and entrepreneur is, I think that all people should think like entrepreneurs, even working within a system, because then you'll have more-- - What does that mean, exactly? - You know, that is the basics of entrepreneurship is that you're seeing a problem that you figured at first, somebody else is gonna solve, but you decide that nobody else is solving, you're gonna take on that problem. It is taking affordable steps, and so you can act, learn, and then repeat. - So, because I've read your stuff, I know what you mean by affordable steps, but give people like a super quick example from the early days of FUBU, this is, your rise is one of the most instructional, educational, inspirational rises of any entrepreneur ever. It'd be great for people to get just a little taste.

An example of taking affordable steps on your way to success (26:37)

- Yeah, so, you know, the theory of me having a clothing company and going into stores, and there's one way to look at it. Hey, I'm gonna have a clothing company, and I'm going to take that alone, and I'm going to, you know, get some samples, and then I'm going to go around to the store, or I'm gonna market it, or I'm gonna go online, and I'm gonna put up a store, and, you know, and I'm gonna invest on the online site, and I'm gonna invest in social media, maybe I'm gonna do some Facebook ads, and I'm gonna have a good amount of inventory, right? And that was in my way of doing it, not because that couldn't be possible, it could be possible in whatever form back then, meaning I'll get a boutique, or I'll get a kiosk, or whatever the case is, but I didn't have any money, so taking affordable stuff was something that I was able to do. I was able to make the gift $40, and make 80 hats, and go on the corner, and stand on the corner and sell them, and make $800, and then, you know, get a couple of t-shirts and sell them, and it always went before, you know, boom, boom, and then a step back, right? Because I would, but I would be learning during the course of the process, right? So I made the hats, made $800. All right, so let me go and buy $800 with a t-shirt that's $10 a pop, that is 80 t-shirts, and what I'm going to do is I'm going to buy 10, I'm gonna buy eight colors, right? I'm gonna buy black, blue, green, red, blah, blah, blah, right? But because I did that, what did I learn? Well, out of the 80 t-shirts, in fashion, 65% of all sales are black, 20%, white, and other small percentage of anything else. So now I got a huge shirt, and I sold all the blacks and all the whites, now I'm sitting on top of 60 t-shirts that I can't sell. All right, so now I fall back. So the next time I then finally get some money, I buy more black, I'm white and more white, right? I took an affordable sale. Well then I realized that my customer won it only double XL because at that time, double XL was cool. Babe, I think if the kid was 95 pounds, holding a brick, soaking wet, you know what I did? I took a small shirt, and I cut the small out, and I put double XL in the same shirt. So, you know, so that's why affordable steps are important because you act, learn, and repeat, and I closed school down three times from '89 to '92 'cause I ran out of capital, but I ran out of $500. I ran out of $1,000, and the business kept calling me back. I, you know, people would say, I sold the shirt, I love it, and I got this euphoria feeling, I said, I'm gonna do it again. I'm gonna start up again. So, when I see really, truly successful entrepreneurs, they failed six or seven or eight times. They started a company, they didn't have all their legal in place, they closed the company down. Started it again, they didn't have their accounting, they had their legal, but they didn't have accounting. Started it again, legal accounting, they didn't have distribution, started it again. By the time they get to their eighth company, they're like, "Yo, I got all this shit worked out," but they took affordable steps. - Yeah, I love that idea of affordable steps. I think that's so important. People also should know that you're, when you first really started getting recognized, you were already 10 years in. Like you said, you shut it down almost three times. So, getting that this is a long road that you're gonna be going, that it better be something that you're passionate about. I always tell people, look, the success is not guaranteed, but the struggle is. So, if the struggle is guaranteed, you know this shit is gonna be hard. No matter what you do, then it better be something that you care about because that's gonna be the only thing that keeps you sane as you're trying to build this thing. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense to me for sure. - And as we talk about the leadership stuff, and I love to simplify it. I think that's what makes me excited about stuff.

The importance of struggle and leadership (30:30)

I've been to many of the speaking age men's, and I've seen a lot of things where people are, they're PhD's and they're talking so great about the information that's going over my head. I love to share with people my story and what I've done because I shared in simplistic form because sometimes people can get intimidated by what they see out there and people they see out there. But my leadership theory is that as a person of color who felt like being able to glass heal the embarrassed places that I may have worked, I never wanted people to feel like they're the glass healing working for me. Also, - That's really interesting.

Building Fubu And Principles Of Negotiation

Introspection during the early days of building FUBU (31:11)

Can we drill into that? So, when you were coming up, and are we talking at Red Lobster? That's the only place I've heard of, I'm sure there were more. - In life. - In your story? - In life, yeah, in life. You know, 'cause when I was coming up-- - How did that internalize for you? Were you like, man fuck, I just, I know I'm not getting opportunities because I'm black or what was that? - No, my feeling was, it'd be hard for me to go after opportunities because I've never seen somebody on TV that looks like me that wasn't music related or asked for in sports. And at that time, we didn't have the internet so we couldn't get to see amazing business people of color which there are millions of them and they're amazing people. I would work as a foot messenger for a company called First Boston that happens to be a venture capital firm. And when I would have my paycheck every two weeks and I could afford a four dollar hamburger, I would go upstairs to the corporate dining room and there were no women and there were no people of color there. So, I felt that society only rewarded a certain person or they actually held other people back. So, as I would grow my career in my office, my office was United Nations. I couldn't care who you were, whether it's your education level or whether it's your color. Okay, yes, I did want to be educated if you were my attorney. I live the time and intern for my attorney. But other than that, I believed also that, I mean, the theory of being an entrepreneur, I'm making $10 right now, but I'd rather give you two, and I'd only take eight because collectively, now we're going to make 12 and vice versa. But I never believed that no matter what jobs you were doing, were you ever beneath anybody else? You have to be able, in my company, you talk to the boy or the girl in the mailroom, the same way that you talk with respect to the CEO. Because somebody's dedicating themselves who you have no right to say that you are a better man or woman than that person, that that person has family, that person has love and that person is a person. So I think that that is where my leadership mentality has come in from. And as well as, how can I have people be entrepreneurs in my company if they can't, if they're not rewarded for potentially taking small steps and trying to do things outside the box as long as it's morally correct with what we're doing and long nobody else gets hurt. So I have those, that's just been my way of leadership. And I'd be very honest, I don't like, when my company was big and we had three or 400 people working for us internally and another couple of thousand ex-firmary, I didn't like it. So I also take my hat off to those who can move 10,000.

What he and the other Sharks on Shark Tank look for in people (33:58)

- What was it that you didn't like? - You know, I felt like at that time, you know, listen, I came up in the streets and I wasn't as educated a lot of times and certainly leadership and I didn't realize for every 50 people you may need one HR person. So I had it open to our policy and I felt like I was a shrink, you know, all the time. And I did want my people to feel comfortable to come and be able to speak to me. But again, I also, in that my leadership way, I also have a massive amount of respect for people who can move 10,000 people in unison and lead people. So there's gonna be a million different ways to be a leader. - So if you're not looking for education, for most roles, I get the thing about, you want your attorney to be really well educated. But if you're not looking at education, you don't give a shit about skin color. What is it about? What is it you're looking for? Is it a trait, personality type? Like what do you go for? - Yeah, so definitely it is a trait. It is a problem solving trait. Personality-wise is I have to like you. Or I feel the team has to like you because you're not gonna get too much production out of people that have conflict and/or don't want to work with each other because whether it's on Zoom, whether it's an investment, whether I'm employing somebody, can I sit next to you for eight hours a day, five days a week for the next five years of my life? And if I can and I'm excited about it and your problem solved, but then we're going to have innovation. We're going to have, it's gonna be infectious for the rest of the team. And we're gonna set a culture that people want to be part of and you're gonna retain more people because if you have heavy turnover, a lot of work stops. Number one, you may be creating a competitor of yours because that person sees where you're doing wrong and says I can do it better. Or a lot of industry secrets are being let out. So I don't want heavy turnover. I want people we can trust. And just like in any relationship, in a couple of things happen bad, well, if you get somebody new, you're gonna have your own form of problems anyway. Let's realize what happened, how can we learn from it? How can we get that out of the way?

Negotiating (36:18)

'Cause no longer will that happen because we've gotten that out of the way. And you know, so that's how I feel about it. - Another skill set that certainly in the new book, I mean, is largely about this. That seems pretty important to your skill set is negotiating. People see you negotiate episode after episode on the Shark Tank. So what are some things that you hope people take away from the book? What makes for a good negotiator? I thought you've really approached this in a unique way. You were giving advice, you don't usually hear. So I'd love for you to lay out some of the basics. - Yeah, you know, Shark Tank has spoiled people in regards to how they think the theory of negotiation gold because again, some of those pictures can be two hours long, but you only see eight minutes and it's very simple, high sharks. And my name is so forth and so on. And within eight minutes, you have a deal of you not and it's very, very, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Right, when, you know, the reality is the negotiation almost never closes the first time that you speak to somebody, almost never. And there's three parts to a negotiation. Number one, it is how do you build influence? Whether in the room that minute on Zoom or whether when people do have that first point of interaction with you, when they pick up their phone and look and research you and then look at your social media, are you able to build influence there because they already were kind of on the fence? - That's really interesting. So are you saying that the things you put out into the world, the content that you create for your own social media account is a form of influence, even if you're only followed by your friends? - Yeah, very true. I mean, that is, you know, before, you know, we used to, you know, get somebody's card or call their references or, you know, whatever the case, but we're no longer doing that. You know, we're meeting people and we're pulling up who they are to relieve the elevator, you know? So, I did an example, you know, I was an elevator and, you know, somebody said to me, what's the name? It's 90 seconds in an elevator. How can I build influence at that time? Well, you know, you said to me, and listen, I know you are a new product, I need to. Here's what I'm doing, you know, and, you know, I love to solve these problems for people. And you know what, if you ever want to, you know, have somebody from your team call, I'm willing to do this for you, do that for you, whatever the case is, and, you know what, either, you know, I can over-provide for you or we'll just shake hands and, you know, never see each other again, but I appreciate it, whatever the case is. I'm gonna leave that elevator and I'm gonna probably pull you up. And it's the same as kids. When kids come over to my company to work and we look on their social media, you know, we look at what they're saying. You know, we look at when they're posting. If you're coming over and you're an accountant and you want to work in my company, well, you know, you got six TikTok videos that are popping up every single day and you're not in social media. And then when are you making those videos? You know? And we're looking at the things. Are you in, you love charitable organizations? Are you, you know, are you always on there with a smile? Hey, everybody, you know, like, we're looking at these things. We're human beings and we're looking at these things. So, you know, that's where influence now is 'cause no matter what, somebody's gonna look at what you're doing, they're gonna look you up. - No question. - There's two parts to that influence. That side of things is really powerful and I think people seem willfully blind or certainly unintentionally blind to how much they're broadcasting about themselves. Then the other part was them making an offer, "Hey, look, maybe you never call me, whatever, maybe it doesn't work out, but here are the things that I can do for you. How do you feel about people making that pitch? Because one thing that drives me crazy, I get people coming up to me all the time. Tom, let me know how I can help you. And my thing is don't make me think of how you can help me. Like, that's the first thing you can do. - Oh my God. - So, yeah, what, how do you, like, what way actually moves you if somebody comes up and only has 90 seconds to give you a reason to go check their Instagram? - Yeah, they need to see, they need to feel like they can add value in a certain way and they need to highlight their strengths on how they can bring that to the team and maybe there's something there maybe not. But yes, that happens to me all the time. Hey man, let me get a job. How can I help you? I don't need that. I don't know, if I had all the answers and how you can help me, I'm still not gonna look for you. I would have had the solution already. So yeah, I mean, that is the best way people to pitch people is saying, how can I be a value to you? Okay, well, here's what I do. And I know you're in a parallel, Damon. I do this or I do that.

Value Proposition (40:55)

I'm a paper-cut expert on Google. I can do this on Facebook pages. I'm a great editor. And here's where I can help you with an apparel. I may say my apparel is covered, but I didn't realize that you can do that. You know, I'll give you a shot at another company that I'm working on. Is this within your skillset? And you said yes, no, or indifferent? - Yeah, that's huge. Letting somebody know, like even what you do, I'm always selling people, look, just tell people what you're up to. Tell them what your skillset is. When you find somebody that needs that thing, then it can be a tremendous fit. Like there's invariably something that, I mean, this is even more true for you 'cause you have such a portfolio, but there's so many different things I'm looking for in sort of abstract areas of the business that if somebody lines up on one of those abstract things and you tell me in an elevator or elsewhere, it's like, oh shit, okay, I actually do really need that thing. That's super interesting. But if you're just asking me, I don't know what you know, so then it becomes this impossible situation where you're asking me to do work just to like possibly have something to do with a random stranger that I actually have no incentive to figure out how we can work together. So all right, if influence is the first of the three parts of your strategy here with shifting power, what are the other two?

Negotiation (42:00)

- Well, the next one is gonna be negotiation. And I love the whole saying. I mean, they're around for a reason. It's not what you accept, it's what you negotiate. And what people again, like Shark Tank, they don't realize that the best part of negotiation and what's in it for the other person on the other side of the table 'cause that person has their own challenges. And a lot of people get thrown off of negotiation because they don't ask the right questions and they may not have the amount of empathy they need. You know, if I'm talking to you and you know-- - Did you say empathy? - Empathy, yeah. Because remember, everybody is, you know, you're negotiating when you're trying to get into the bathroom before your husband and wife, you're trying to tell you a child, get on the school bus and take your chucky cheese on the weekend, right? So negotiating is something you're doing all day long. But sometimes people don't know the right questions to ask. You know, I've seen people take things that I have said and said, well, you know, he doesn't want to do the deal. But sometimes they don't say, what's in your way? How can I make this more attractive? What else can I come back and bring to you? Is there any references that you would like to know because I'm telling you, I've done this several times. And by the way, even if we do this, if you have a challenge and I'll find ways to dissolve it fairly quickly, you'll get your money back, whatever the case is. But a lot of people are so transactional and they just want to have the conversation and that's part of the negotiation process. But however, you know, the most deals don't happen as I said the first time you see somebody negotiate, but you see somebody or you talk to somebody. But the following part is how do you nurture that relationship way after the initial contact point? Because that person is either going to recommend you to many people, not recommend you to many people. They may do a deal later on down the road because you, you know, they felt that you had empathy. They felt that you knew what you wanted. They felt that you knew your value and your offering. And more importantly, you wanted to make sure that they were okay. And, you know, the cost of the barrier, entry is nothing with you or easy. And they can take affordable steps with you. And that is where you have to nurture those relationships. So you can do 10 deals after that or you have that person go on your board or be an ambassador or be a reference on things of that nature. - Yeah, that's critical. And so the third part there is how to, because that is really that, right? The ongoing deal flow that you get with the different people, if I remember right from the book. - Yeah, so it's three parts. It's how do you deliver it once? How do you negotiate what's in for the person you're negotiating with? And then how do you nurture that relationship to bring more value and get more value out of that relationship, whether the negotiation has happened or not? - Yeah, Damon to me, this is really, man, the three killer pillars to not just shifting power, which in a second you should walk us through why you called it power shift.

Stacking your Successes (44:40)

But isn't just the key to that, which is already interesting, but it is how you let your successes stack. And one of the things that's so intriguing about your career is that you've been able to branch out into different areas and continue to win, you know, obviously as an entrepreneur, but now as talent as well as an investor, as a motivational speaker, which we haven't even touched on. So it's, you've really gone into all these different areas, but when I think about the three things that you just out laid, that is what I talk a lot about the physics of something. Like when you get to the place where it can't be reduced anymore, and the way that you laid that out, especially nurturing a relationship, because you never know where that is gonna go, having empathy, which is interesting. I don't hear a lot of people talk about that, certainly not in the context of negotiation. It really adds up to something pretty special, which is that it will get better and better and better for you over time. So even if you sort of lost in one deal, if you have a good relationship with them, that is, it's like that loss will pay dividends. And I'm assuming that the loss is just, you left some money on the table out of empathy or just not being overly aggressive or whatever the case may be. But now it's like you've got a partner that you can go back to again in the future. Is that sort of one of the core things that you teach young entrepreneurs? - I do, I teach them that they're solving a problem and they need to have empathy for everybody on the other side of the table. People who wanna always feel like you're in their corner, they wanna feel like you understand their challenges and you respect and value them. If you're looking at it as you're just a number and they're just a number, then they're not gonna wanna necessarily more with you. That's what I find. Of course, there are the exceptions. But having empathy is what I think is the biggest thing that all people should have. And I just think that it makes you a better person and it makes people feel appreciated. People just want to feel appreciated. - So if you're rocking the empathy and you're really asking yourself, like how do I make this a win for the other person? How do you avoid getting taken advantage of?

Confronting Adversaries And Conclusion

Dealing with adversaries (47:01)

One, the other person might not be as empathetic as you. Two, they might just outright be going for the jugular. And especially if you're new, man, there's so many creative ways to negotiate that a lot of people just don't know, don't understand. What are some principles for how to not be taken advantage of? - Yeah, well, first of all, when I'm saying be empathetic, I'm saying that it needs to be a win-win for both parties, but I'm not saying it could be taken advantage of. But I think what you bring up is a really good point, is no way your line is drawn. Know what you are willing to deal with or not going the room knowing what you're willing to deal with and stand firm by it and have no problem telling somebody where it's at. You know, some people are gonna go for the jugular and that's okay. Maybe they've been trained like that. Maybe they grew up watching too many Wall Street movies and that's just what it is. So they're not as mature at that point in life or just that's what they do. But you can still have empathy for somebody going for their jugular too. - You might have to find empathy for anybody. - Miss the Scrooge still has a heart. There's something, you know, Kevin O'Leary has a heart, believe it or not. But if you're empathetic to him saying, all right, are you a VC that basically says, you know what, you need to be out of all your, you know, you need to have your business open and close, your investment in seven years, three years, is that what you need for the projections? Do you need to tranche the money in different ways? Okay, if we do that hard deal of yours, I think I can overbod her. There's some triggers that I can get some bonuses because, listen, we're gonna do it your way. Well then, how are you gonna incentivize to me? - Well, dude, I love that you're out there trying to inspire people and motivate them. I think it's critical. And I also think that your advice is real and it's good. And if people take it, their lives will be better, which is the barometer by which I judge all advice. So man, keep doing it. I think it is absolutely fantastic. And, you know, we're obviously in a super weird time, but your message about no one is coming to save you, but you can do this, you can make the change, you can learn, you can educate yourself. And no matter how the deck is stacked against you, like you got this, I think it's phenomenal, man. And I hope people continue to flock to you in that message. And thanks again for being on the show. Oh, where can people find you? That is the right question. - Yeah, I know, and thank you for all you do. And we gotta do this again because the time went by so quickly because we're having a really great conversation. Of course, people could find me on time. - Yeah, people could find me on social media. I'm at the Sharp Damon. My name is spelled Damon, like Raymond Woodedee. And you know what, you can get my digital curriculums and all that stuff on, you know, and some good nuggets to really get what you want out of life at So if you wanna nail your pitch, go to and get some stuff. And then you can find me fighting with Kevin O'Leary every Friday night, you know, so all the best, man. Thank you so much for this time. - Oh, for sure, man. Thank you.

End episode (49:49)

Guys, if you haven't, be sure to dive into this stuff. Read his books, they're incredible. And if you haven't already, subscribe. And until next time, my friends, be legendary.


Bloopers (49:57)

Take care. - 20 in your 20s, who's gonna make it and who's not? So, you know, you treat everybody properly and respectfully and you stay in touch. And very often those relationships merge their heads years later, decades later.

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