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Before I do a podcast, I read every book, watch every documentary, I look up their charities. I listen to other interviews they’ve done. And so on.

I prepare.

But there are two types of preparation…

  1. Preparation for success
  2. Preparation for failure

John Paul DeJoria did the second one. And became a billionaire (worth 2.6 billion).

But how is this possible?  

He was broke and homeless. He lived in his car for years.

Here’s what I learned from the world’s best salesman, John Paul DeJoria, self-made billionaire, co-creator of the Paul Mitchell hairline, philanthropist and possible alien.




The average encyclopedia salesperson lasted 3 days. John lasted 3 years.

“What was your rejection rate?” I asked.

“Oh, in the beginning, probably 99%.”

But he was prepared for it. They told him up front.

They said, “Very few people make it. The ones who make it know this: You’re going to have a lot of doors closed in your face, but you must be just as enthusiastic on door #98 if door #97 was closed in front of you.”

And he took that in. His expectations equaled reality. So disappointment wasn’t part of the equation.

“Know this, it’s the rule to success in the world… be prepared for a lot of rejection. If you’re prepared for a lot of rejection, it’s not going to affect you. As I went along, I realized they were going to close the door in my face so I started having fun with it.”



Picture this, someone knocks on your door.

It’s a young, happy guy. He looks at you and says, “Hi my name is JP and I’m here with a new educational program that’s in the area. I’d just like to take a few minutes and show you guys, get your opinion on it.”

He didn’t say, “Are you interested in learning about encyclopedias?”

He reframed it.

He was positive, fun to be around. And he’d make you curious “educational program, what’s that?”

Then he adds “in the area.”

So it’s local, relevant to you.

Timeframe: just a few minutes.

“I’d like to get your opinion.” Now he’s asking for a favor. And making you feel valued. So why not, you give him a few minutes.

That’s the first “yes.”

He’d have to get several other “yes’s” throughout the conversation before you buy. And you might still say “no.” But by this point, you like him.

I have a friend who likes to buy from nice salespeople because she likes them. That’s it. Why do you think Girl Scout cookies sell? They’re delicious, but also, some part of you wants to help out the troop.

So you buy.



I hate selling.

It scares me. The only time I feel safe “selling” is when I’m recommending something I really believe in.

For example, I made a course about self-publishing because I strongly believe in owning your own content. And I’ve gone through traditional publishing and it’s far less profitable for the writer.

John started with encyclopedias because he thought about his childhood. And he knew he would’ve been better off growing up with one in the house than without.



Ok, so, the first step is “believe in what you’re selling.” Then you have to be able to express it.

John would teleport a vision from his head to whoever was listening.

I’ll give you an example.

When Paul first started selling Paul Mitchell hair products, he’d go from salon to salon. Most said “no.”

And only a few would say “yes.”

“So you go up to a hair salon and in that first five seconds, you have to get them to go from hating you to just being annoyed by you to being really curious about what you’re saying.”

“You want to know what I said to them?”


Then he turned it on.

It was like I was in the salon with him. He told me how his products could save me time and money. Then he’d put in the hairstylist’s hand.

“I open the top of the container and say, ‘Let me have your hand.’ I put a drop in your hand. Now I’ve got a captive audience. And I tell the, ‘This is the most unique conditioner ever made’ bit.”

They’re listening and paying attention. They’re learning. And since the product is in their hand, there’s a cognitive bias.

They think, “I must trust this person if I let him pour this product in the palm of my hand.”

A scared and nervous person can’t earn that trust. Which brings me to John’s biggest success…

He’s happy.

He’s ALWAYS been happy. Always.

I almost didn’t understand.

“Why were you so happy?”

“I’ve just been like that most of his life,” he said.

“But you were homeless…”

He spent his whole career trying to make everyone else happy: clients, customers, salons, distributors, manufacturers, everybody but himself.

“Did you ever think to yourself, ‘Who’s making me happy?’”

“No, it never entered my mind,” he said. “I was just content. I think the day I started John Paul Mitchell systems was the last day I’ve ever worked in my life because I loved what I did so much, I just looked forward to doing more.”

Every day, he’d wake up and try to make his company a little bit better than it was the day before.

“And when did you realize ‘Hey, this might work?’”

“Two years in business. I’ll never forget the day. We had money in the bank, $2,000 extra for Paul and I, and all of our bills were paid on time. They weren’t paid off. But they were paid on time.”

“Were you paying yourselves?”

“Only what we needed to live off”

Now it’s forty years later and he’s still putting his skills to work.

He owns Patron Tequila, John Paul Pet, Rock Mobile, Rocket, ABK Beer, Bogart Gin, Bogart Vodka, Bogart Rum…

“To name a few,” he said.

He also works with companies that are trying to help the environment. He’s building a phone. And he has a charity, JP’s Peace, Love, and Happiness Foundation.

Plus he works with the homeless.

He opened up a homeless community of shelters in Texas where people who’ve been out on the street for more than a year can come and live and work and pay rent.

It costs $90 to live there. The residents work in the community garden and have other projects that earn them income to pay their rent.

I’ll tell you one other story from the podcast.

I asked John, “So how do you exercise your creativity? Because  it’s a muscle.”

“Being on your planet…” he said.

“Wait, are you an alien?”

He laughed.

“I’m as human as you are, ok. There may be some hybrid in there, but I don’t know about that.”


“Ok, anyways, being on this planet, we get to experience everything we want, especially being in America, which is a free country. So you can go from homelessness to billionaire. You can do anything you really want to do, but the thing is to leave yourself open to the universe.”

I was listening.

And picturing his home planet of little aliens who come to Earth to make it big.

I think John is an alien. A human alien. Because he never let his worst days expand into tomorrow.

I’d like to be that kind of alien, too.