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From Greetings Cards To Billion-dollar Tequila & Beauty Empires

Here we bring you four tenacious life lessons from successful, transformational entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria

Seeking to increase your turnover during the year ahead? Then allow yourself to be inspired by the meteoric rise of the American entrepreneur, self-made billionaire and philanthropist that is John Paul DeJoria. Prior to becoming a billionaire, this conscious capitalism maverick tried his hand as an encyclopaedia salesman, and even spent time working as a janitor. His first job, at the tender age of just nine, was selling Christmas cards door-to-door, in order to help his impoverished family cover household expenses.

DeJoria almost didn’t get his first big break. It was back in 1980, when he joined forces with renowned hair stylist Paul Mitchell to create the company John Paul Mitchell Systems, that their main investor pulled the plug at the last minute, abandoning them with just $700 of borrowed money to launch their company.


As an example of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps, DeJoria had been struggling to make ends meet and living in his car at the time. Speaking in one interview for Reuters, he admitted that the company’s iconic blackand- white logo emerged because their budget was so lean that they didn’t have the funds to be able to print in colour.

Skip 40 years into the future to see that today’s John Paul Mitchell Systems is a successful haircare products and styling tools manufacturer that serves 87 countries. DeJoria sold his other flagship endeavour, Patrón Tequila, in 2018, to Bacardi for a whopping 5.1 billion dollars. Not a bad result for a man who used to regularly order a single 99-cent happy hour margarita, combine it with the free side order of chips and salsa and call it dinner.

An email or direct message is a nice way to get the ball rolling, but there’s nothing better than the bond that can be created through chatting directly, personto- person

Given his track record, we can rest assured that DeJoria knows plenty about sales and business success. And that’s why we’re bringing you four of his top tips for overcoming difficult times and keeping your business on track.


Speaking in one interview for Inc., DeJoria shockingly admitted that he doesn’t use email… Believe it or not, but he says that he doesn’t even use a computer. Yes, he might be ranked among the 400 richest Americans by Forbes and he might claim that around 10 of his companies require his personal attention at least some of the time, but he is far from a digital warrior. It’s highly likely that he’s even busier than you, so if he can avoid digital distractions during working hours, so can you.


An email or direct message is a nice way to get the ball rolling, but there’s nothing better than the bond that can be created through chatting directly, person-to-person. If you’re striving to make sales and strikes deals that last for years, prioritise personal connections and building up a relationship.

It is said that your network is a representation of your net worth. If you see yourself pursuing a life of entrepreneurship for years to come, be sure to make face time a priority, even if that doesn’t result in immediate sales. Taking the time to establish should tangible links could help set you up for a lucrative future partnership or telling introduction that leads to business success.


Speaking in a CNBC interview back in 2017, DeJoria noted: “you don’t want to be in the product business; you want to be in the reorder business”. And the data suggests that he’s spot on. According to research conducted by management consultants Bain & Company, a mere five per cent improvement in customer retention can lead to profit increases of 25 to 95 per cent.

If repeat purchases of the same product form part of your business plan, be sure to prioritise the developing of a truly world-class product, and to support your sales channels with top customer service. Customers who love the shopping experience that you provide are keen to refer your business to their friends, which can make them invaluable partners for acquiring new loyal clients.


When you find yourself facing a series of rejections, it’s easy to let your enthusiasm wane. Whether those rejections boil down to doors slammed in your face or an empty email inbox, it’s important to maintain focus and keep your chin up. Successful entrepreneurs aren’t necessarily the best salesmen or marketing execs, but they are the ones who persevere the most and rebound quickly when they’ve been downed.

Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end

According to research findings, rejection can prove detrimental to both mood and selfesteem – both of which are critical resources that entrepreneurs must do everything they can to protect. Do whatever it takes to keep your confidence up and your game in the zone.


Speaking in an interview for the Tim Ferriss Show back in 2020, DeJoria repeated a famous John Lennon quote that’s filled with hope and inspiration: “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”


This quote represent a comforting and confident outlook from someone who’s gone through many trials and tribulations, including the unexpected passing of his co-founder Paul Mitchell, who died from pancreatic cancer in 1989 at the age of just 53, leaving DeJoria to continue building the company on his own.

Entrepreneurs can easily fall into the trap of being laser-focused on the minutest details that leads to them losing sight of the bigger picture: building a business that’s personally fulfilling, provides assistance to those in need and changes the world for the better. If you find yourself falling down such a rabbit hole of narrow focus, try to resurface and reconnect to the real world, which just might help you to reset and recalibrate.

Many budding entrepreneurs don’t have extensive experience working in sales or doing business. However, if you take the entrepreneurial path, the chances are high that you’ll encounter plenty of failure and rejection getting started on your journey. Seek out ways to keep the fires of your internal motor burning and you’re sure to make progress building your own empire.