John Paul Dejoria: From Homelessness to Billions

John Paul Dejoria has the ultimate rags to riches story. He started from nothing to get to where he is today and that is a first generation American entrepreneur. He is the founder of John Paul Mitchell systems and the Patron Spirits Company. However, much like every entrepreneur out there he started from the bottom of the entrepreneur chain.

Dejoria initially served in the navy and after he was let go from the navy he took on jobs as a janitor, encyclopedia salesman, and even an insurance salesman. After attaining an entry level job at Redken laboratories, he thought his troubles were behind him until he was fired. It was at this time that Dejoria hit his lowest and began living out of his cars until he met Paul Mitchell; a hairdresser. Together, they cofounded John Paul Mitchell Systems in 1980. They did this with only $700 capital in hand and today their products can be found in 87 countries.

John Paul Dejoria used bootstrapping to jumpstart his company after the initial investor dropped out at the 11th hour. Dejoria told Reuters in an interview that the reason behind their logo being black and white is that he and Paul Mitchell didn’t have enough money to print it in color.

today, 40 years later Dejoria sits with the richest people in the world such as the likes of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates as they discuss their responsibilities towards the world. His other ventures include Dejoria Diamonds, John Paul Mitchell Petcare and shares in madagscar oil Pvt Ltd.

Here are a few tips that Dejoria shares as the reason behind his success.

Focus on Recurring Customers Rather Than New Customers

In 2017 interview with CNBC Dejoria said “You don’t want to be in the product business. You want to be in the reorder business.” This is actually in line with the data provided by the research from Bain & Company. You can actually increase your profits up to 95% with an improvement of a mere 5% in customer retention.

When you have a product and you want to ensure that your customers keep coming back to you for more than you need to incorporate having a world-class product in your business plan. It is a no brainer that when your customer service has been streamlined to maximize customer satisfaction, you are generating happy customers. Happy customers hold the power to refer you further thus cultivating a bigger clientele. This can also lead to new high-profile clients, at the end of the day people tend to dismiss advertisements but word of mouth is an extremely power tool. It is up to you if you want to use this tool effectively.

Also Read: Growing Your Business in 2021: The 7 Critical Building Blocks

Emphasize Upon Forging Connections With People

Dejoria is amongst the 400 richest people in the world yet he recently told inc. in an interview that he doesn’t use computer let alone use email. He prefers the personal touch and uses a telephone and a fax machine. Dejoria has always given importance to the personal touch and its why he prefers to not use digital ways of connection at all. If he can give time to his employees despite running almost 10 businesses simultaneously then you should take a leaf out of his book and do the same with your customers.

It is always nice to send an email or a direct message but no amount of effort can reduce the rapport that comes along with the human-to-human factor. If you plan on running your company for years and increasing your customers simultaneously then you need to prioritize forging personal connections.

If you think that entrepreneurship is your future than you need to emphasize upon making face time a priority. They might not lead to an expansion but they can help you form a lucrative connection for years to come.

Photo by Charles Forerunner on Unsplash

You Will Experience a 100 No Before a Yes

It is very easy to let a series of rejections curb your enthusiasm, Dejoria’s experiences consist of more no’s than yes at the start of his career. Being an entrepreneur does entail a certain level of rejection and you need to prepare yourself for that. A successful entrepreneur isn’t someone that is the most proficient at sales and marketing. A successful entrepreneur is one who no matter the challenges always manages to overcome them and power through.

Keeping you head in the game after experiencing rejection can seem like a difficult task. However, research has found that rejection can bring down not only your mood but also affects your self-esteem. These are the resources that entrepreneurs need to protect in order to power through the bad times

Rough Times Don’t Necessarily Mean The End

Dejoria once said in an interview for the Tim Ferriss show; “In the end everything will be okay, and if it’s not okay, it’s not the end”. It is a very sanguine and motivating quote and an outlook into an entrepreneur’s life journey. Dejoria’s co-founder Paul Mitchell succumbed to pancreatic cancer and passed away at the age of 53. This left Dejoria on his own to further expand their company in 1983.

When you’re an entrepreneur it is very easy to lose sight of the ultimate big picture. This happens because one can become focused on the wrong thing. Your focus as an entrepreneur should be on building a business that is personally fulfilling. If you find yourself on the wrong side then take a break, step back and reevaluate your priorities.

Most of us aren’t MBAs or have a substantial background in business and sales; that is perfectly fine. However, the path of an entrepreneur is laden with rejections and failures once you choose to embark upon it. You need to find ways that won’t dim the light or the passion you have for this journey. Pretty soon you will see your business empire’s extensive rise just like Dejario,

You Might Also Be Interested in: Why 2021 is the Best Year for Your Business to Takeoff

Zubaida Gohar

Zubaida is a to be civil engineer and a professional athlete, she participated in the nationals thrice and won twice. She’s extremely passionate about civil rights, left wing politics and equal rights for women aka a feminist. Zubaida loves a good discussion on where this country is headed and what role we; as it’s citizens play in its betterment. Nowadays, she’s working from home on different projects and you can hit her up for an avid discussion at or follow her on IG @gohar.zubaida99