Daymond John Wants You to Smarten Up: 'Money Doesn't Solve Problems, It Highlights Weakness'

The 'People's Shark' takes entrepreneurs to school with his new Daymond on Demand online curriculum.
Daymond John Wants You to Smarten Up: 'Money Doesn't Solve Problems, It Highlights Weakness'
Image credit: The Shark Group

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Editorial Director
7 min read

Daymond John is so big on the power of failure that he’s added something special for subscribers to his new online course curriculum: you can fail it! The program, Daymond on Demand, isn’t just some business podcast you can half-listen to while you’re folding laundry and scrolling through Instagram at the same time. As the title suggests, it demands your attention. It asks you questions and asks you to re-watch lessons if necessary. Speaking to Entrepreneur about his new offering, John explained with a laugh, “Several professionals I know take the course and go, ‘What the hell is wrong with you, Daymond? Why did I fail?’ And then they go back and they're like, 'Yeah, okay, my weakness is in that area.'”

The program is made up of interactive videos hosted by John and a team of experts that cover all areas of business, from growth strategies to business plans to legal considerations. “One of the reasons I did this is because as you start to succeed, you go through different levels of people until you find the ones who are really who you are looking for: the right tax person or the right attorney,” John says. “And it took me maybe ten years after I started becoming successful to find the right people, so I said I'm putting them all together to learn from because I got screwed by everybody prior to this!”

The cost of the program is $1,595, which entitles you to over eight hours of content and lifetime access. Entrepreneur spoke with "The People’s Shark" about the importance of learning, failing wisely and the surprising opportunity that can be found in businesses that nobody cares about.

Related: Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch Season 3 Episode 4: 'It's the Uber of Pooper'

Invest in your brain

“A big landmine that I see a lot of entrepreneurs step on is that they don't educate themselves enough. You can end up spending way too much money than you need to if you don't know any better. Like, sometimes you'll learn that a trademark is way more valuable than a patent. I'll see someone go out there and get a patent and then they keep adjusting it and soon they're into the patent for $60,000. I've had over a hundred patents that cost me about a million dollars, and I haven't been able to defend any of my patents in FUBU yet. But you can't use the name FUBU -- and that trademark only cost me $2,500! I also see people outsourcing so much stuff that they can easily learn to do themselves, or on the flip side, I see them hiring fulltime people for $50,000 a year when they really just need to outsource some tasks to someone for $2,000 a quarter.”

Daymond's biggest pitch turnoff

“People who say, ‘This is a $50 billion dollar market, so if I only get 1 percent of the market…’ They’re talking hypothetically and running a business hypothetically. Not interested in that. I also don’t like people who think, ‘If I get a Shark and some money, all my problems are over.’ No, you have to work 10 times harder once you get an investment by somebody else. You can’t just sit back, get employees who are magically going to do your job for you. Having more employees means you’ve got to make more money in sales so you can pay more employees!”

Related: Daymond John's Best, Surprising Advice for Entrepreneurs?

Big money can highlight big problems

“As I wrote in my book The Power of Broke, people believe that money is the thing that gets you someplace, but usually money highlights your weaknesses. Meaning, if you have a poor product and you invest a bunch of money into sales efforts, it's not going to make the product better. You're just going to pay more salespeople who end up telling you, ‘I can't sell this product.’”

How to fail wisely

“Most entrepreneurs are hustlers. So, for example, they open up a business and they didn't have all of their trademarks and patents and legal structure in place and it collapses. The next business they have, the legal structure and everything correct, but they don't have their manufacturing, so it collapses. The next one, they have all of that, but they don't have distribution. You get where I'm going with this. By the tenth business, they're a life-long hustler and their business becomes a FUBU, an Apple, or whatever. They failed, learned lessons, and finally got all of the elements in place to grow. They refused to stop. They failed wisely.”

Time to bet down on the market

“The stock market has always been two steps forward, one step back. We have to go back in a minute, and guys like me are betting down on the market to make a shitload of money as I did off Blockbuster, BlackBerry and Sears. Any company that is mid-tier is being compressed. I mean, even though he's a dear friend of mine, look at GoPro. When is the last time you needed a GoPro? And look, maybe Best Buy and maybe JCPenny's and Kohls will absorb a little bit of the Sears fallout, but after a year? They're gone, man. Anything that won't disrupt your life? It's going and we don't care about it. Like Uber is going to fuck up your life and my life if it is gone, right? Instagram, I can't see the chicks anymore? I can't see what my friends are doing? That sucks. But do I really give a shit about JCPenny? I'm not a big finance guy, I'm just a simple guy. So if you're like me, you're betting down on all these properties, and you're going to have heavy cash and when it starts to hit rock bottom -- boom! -- you're going to buy more real estate, you're going to buy more stocks and keep going up.”

Related: 'Shark Tank' Investors Reveal Top 5 Tips to Make Your Business Grow

The best part of being an entrepreneur

“The best part of my life is I don't have to listen to anybody. Look, I could be a billionaire if I wanted to because so many people offer me money for funds, to be a VC. But the most valuable thing in my life is to go home at night not answering to anybody. I can just go to bed. I really respect people like Robert Herjavec, who has thousands of people working for him. I don't want to do that anymore. I don't really care about building a massive huge huge company because I'm turning 50 in a couple months and I'm cancer free and as I look ahead, I want to be able to just have fun with my family. That’s what is most important to me.”

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