“The Power of Broke” by Daymond John

The Power of Broke

I’ve watched a few episodes of “Shark Tank” (ABC), and I find it to be both inspiring and intimidating. We get to meet passionate entrepreneurs and we watch the often brutal scrutiny of their dreams, or rather their business plans. So I was really interested to learn more about the successful “sharks,” written by successful “shark” and FUBU CEO and founder Daymond John.

“The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage” (2016), written by Daymond John with Daniel Paisner, highlights wildly successful individuals who have a “power of broke” mindset. The mindset is simple: “When you’ve got nothing to lose, you’ve got everything to gain.” John writes, “The choice of whether to succeed – or not – is all mine.”

John’s writing is conversational and informal – you really feel as if he is talking to you in a coffee shop or bar. His advice is encouraging, down-to-earth, and passionate. I really appreciated his emphasis on how we are in control of our success or failure (it’s all in our attitude) and his commitment to setting goals – he consistently sets goals for health, family, business, relationships, and philanthropy, each with expiration dates.

John points out that the most innovative products, services, and brands happen organically, authentically, usually from the people on the streets, not in boardrooms. He identifies 5 “Shark Points” that will help us succeed:

Set a goal. Be realistic and commit to it.
Homework, do yours. Know your field. Know your competitors. Know your stuff.
Adore what you do. Love what you are doing.
Remember, you are the brand. Everything you say and do reflects your business.
Keep swimming. Always be on the looking for an opportunity.

While discussing successful founders and inventors who embody the Shark Points, John shares his personal story of growing up with a single mother who worked multiple jobs, but was there for him in high school to make sure he kept on track and out of trouble. In a way, it is a testament to dedicating parenting. From shoveling driveways to a ride-sharing business to selling clothes out of the back of a van, while coping with dyslexia, we see John’s determination to make a better life for himself, relying on hard-work and creativity in seeing a need (for clean driveways, for safe and fast transportation, for clothes that make a statement) and filling it.

Here are John’s 8 Broke Power Principles:

  1. Use all of the resources available to you to your smartest advantage, like other people’s money.
  2. Keep it real. Strive for authenticity in everything you do.
  3. Make the best use of your time, energy, actions, opportunity costs, and capital.
  4. Solve other people’s problems and you will be rewarded.
  5. Believe in yourself and your product, service, or business. People invest in people.
  6. Understand and appreciate everyone you meet on your path to success – investor, distributor, vendor, prospective buyer, and customer.
  7. Think beyond the moment.
  8. Expect success. Keep your goals in sight and in reach.

“The Power of Broke” assumes that you have found your passion, and that you need the inspiration and the tools to take it to the next level. Two entrepreneurs stood out for me: a football player who saw a need for moisture-wicking clothes for athletes and founded Under Armour (Kevin Plank); and a 9-year old who grew his passion for fashionable bow ties into a successful business (Moziah Bridges and his mother Tramica Morris). They had an idea, but not the know-how; and they were driven to succeed.

What are you passionate about? What product or service could you create that could make the world better?

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