When you see the headline “Homeless Billionaire,” it is expected for you to rub your eyes or do a double take. But make no mistake, John Paul DeJoria, possesses one of the most amazing stories in entrepreneurial history. Now on Forbes’ World’s Billionaires List, it’s hard to fathom that such a brilliant man was living on the streets at a point in time. It’s even harder to believe that homelessness affected him more than once in his life.
John Paul DeJoria is most known for his two wealth-making ventures, Paul Mitchell Systems and Patron Spirits. In 1980, Paul Mitchell and John Paul started a hair product company with a mere $700 in the bank. At the time, they literally slept in their cars and on the streets in order to sell their products door to door in Los Angeles. If that’s not dedication and hustle, then I don’t know what is. And at 65 years old now, it’s hard to believe that John Paul had to do this when he was 36 years old.
Fast forwarding through twelve years of successful growth for Paul Mitchell Systems, John Paul decided to switch gears from cleaning people up to getting them absolutely sloppy. In 1992, Patron Tequila was spawned and the rest is history. Both of these aforementioned companies now generate over $1 Billion in revenue annually.
What many people don’t know is that Mr. DeJoria does and has done far more in business than it seems. Listen to all of these companies he somehow found time to establish and/or become a preferred shareholder of along the way:
Three Star Energy
On top of all of that, to commemorate his twentieth anniversary of being homeless, he purchased a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. That could possibly be the best way to say “How do you like me now?” to the world.
The reason I am so interested in entrepreneurs such as John Paul is not just because he has paved such a successful path for himself, but because of the adversities he was able to overcome along the way. What other billionaire do you know that has come from such a dark place? What other billionaire understands where they came from and gives back to the community like he does?
I believe I have found my new role model. John Paul has arguably created the best entrepreneurial story in the history of the American economy. I’m interested to hear about what you all think of him and his story. Is he as an influence to you as he is to me?