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I briefly talked about Daymond John’s side hustle he worked on while he had a full-time job at Red Lobster in his early 20s.
You may have heard of FUBU. It was kind of a big deal during the 90s in the hip-hop scene. But the reason why I love his story is because it’s so relatable to you and me. He was just a regular guy who got a lucky break when LL Cool J wore a FUBU hat in a Gap commercial. Within 8 years he went from a nobody, to creating one of the most recognized brands in hip-hop.
Sure, it’s easy to say he was successful and brush it off like it was relatively easy and no big deal. But as much as it may seem like an overnight success, it was anything but. Like most of us, it was hard for him to move from having a concept or an idea of what he wanted to do to taking action on it.
How many times do you hear about people saying “I thought of that before they did, I can’t believe they were so successful”. Well in most cases, it was the simple difference between action and inaction.
When he first started, he mainly thought of FUBU as a hobby and nothing more for the first couple of years. It’s kind of like how a lot of bloggers initially get started with their blogs. After those first couple of years, he wanted to take it more seriously and began to follow a strict schedule of when he would work on FUBU. This was of course simultaneously being worked on while he was holding down a full-time job at Red Lobster.
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John recounts those days saying he would wake up at 7 or 8 in the morning, sew the hats by himself, tag them, answer a few orders that came in from overnight, then package the hats and ship them. He did all of that until noon. Then, he headed over to Red Lobster at 4 in the afternoon and worked there until midnight. Most people would call it a day after working 13 hours.
But nope, he went right at it some more, making more hats and getting the orders situated until 1, 2 sometimes even 3 in the morning. The work ethic was insane. Imagine working on a blog 6 hours a day after you already put in an 8 hour work day at a restaurant. I would be freakin’ exhausted.
To support him, his mom mortgaged their house, he moved sewing machines into his mom’s home and hired seamstresses. His mom’s home literally became a factory. He would buy cheap fabric, sew 80 wool caps and sold them for $10 each. So not only did Daymond John work those long hours as if that would be enough, his mom took out a $120,000 mortgage he felt responsible to pay off for her.
And on top of that, while he was in the middle of paying it off, he decided to quit Red Lobster and pursue his FUBU side hustle full-time around 1995/1996. It’s exactly like the leap bloggers take when they’re spending days contemplating whether they should keep their day job and only do the blogging thing part-time or jump all in and really give their dreams a shot at living the life they want.
This guy poor guy (at the time, at least) faced obstacle after obstacle. He said there’s not just one tipping point for a company, but a string of them because of each new hurdle he had to overcome. Problems he encountered were growing sales, figuring out how to manufacture the product on time, growing his team, etc.
But all of that didn’t stop him. He had the grit and determination to keep on going no matter what. He even admits he had doubts thinking it wouldn’t amount to anything. He even ran out of money after the brand started to become popular. All he had left was $500.
This is literally what I read about for every blogger’s story who made it big. They had moments before they made it over the hump, where they just wanted to pack it all in and call it quits. So many times I see people encouraging their readers to not give up even if it feels like nothing’s working. Usually you’re so, so close, you just need to push a little harder.
And eventually it paid off for him. He went from sewing hats in his mom’s house in 1992 to over $350 million in annual worldwide sales in 1998.
Think about how expensive that is to pull off. It’s incredible when you think about the margins on something like this compared to a side hustle like starting a blog. Would you have to take out a $120,000 loan to start a blog? Of course not! You don’t have to wait for shipments, materials, deliveries, etc. A blog is virtually risk free compared to starting your own clothing line. The most you have to spend when you start is literally just $3.95. A sandwich in New York City costs 3 times as much.
And this doesn’t apply to just a side hustle or specifically a blog even. It can be literally anything you want to try to accomplish. For instance, learning how to invest. Not for anything, Warren Buffett is super smart and all, but one of the main reasons why hardly anyone can somewhat reciprocate the investing style he performs is because people just don’t want to put in the work.
Learning how to invest intelligently exhausted the hell out of me. It wasn’t easy I’m not gonna lie, it was far from it. There were times I got so frustrated because I didn’t understand certain terms, I wanted to quit. I was literally looking up a definition of a term every other sentence when I was reading The Essays of Warren Buffett.
It was literally the third book I ever read on investing. In hindsight, it was a terrible idea. I could only read 10 pages at a time before I tired myself out. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But when I went home for Mother’s Day this past weekend, I went up to my room and skimmed through it and realized I understood everything he was talking about. It was unreal. I hadn’t looked at that book in literally over 2 and a half years. And I understand it no problem now!
The key to being successful isn’t how quickly you grasp ideas and retain information, it’s how long you’re willing to work on the problem. The way I saw it, I was either going to learn how to invest similarly as best as I could to Warren Buffett, or I was gonna be poor the rest of my life and rely on a financial advisor who was probably gonna screw me over. I figured I could push through for a couple of years and grind it out. Because at the end of the day, what’s a couple of years when you’re 25 years old? And so far, in the first full year and the beginning of the second year after I read all the recommended books, I’ve been beating the S&P 500. I’m not trying to necessarily, I’m just trying to find the best companies to invest in, but I’m not gonna lie it feels pretty damn gratifying.
Realize if you want to learn how to invest or start a side hustle, it’s going to take a lot of work. And in the case of investing A TON of reading. But when you look at the alternative, would you rather do nothing and not have enough money for retirement? Wouldn’t you rather be doing something to create the life you want? By reading every day and learning how to invest or create a side hustle for money to use for retirement, you’re only increasing your chances you’re going to succeed.
What’s your opinion, would you be willing to put in the work necessary and do whatever it takes to learn so you can make as much money as possible for your retirement or financial freedom?
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