Unleashing the Power of Broke


In the last issue, I broke down in detail what the power of broke is. For this column I am going to tell you exactly how you can tap into this incredible power. As I said before, the power of broke is about working harder, faster, smarter, and more efficiently, so let’s take a look at one of the ways we can all be doing that — no matter where we live, who we know, or what industry or business we’re trying to disrupt. And let’s be clear: You don’t have to be a tech-visionary like my friend Gary Vaynerchuk. You don’t have to be Jeff Bezos. You don’t have to have millions of dollars in the bank or a bunch of seed money behind you. No, you just have to have the passion, ingenuity, hustle, and drive: the entrepreneurial heart.

Since my last column, The Power of Broke, has been released and become a New York Times bestseller. And as I travel the country promoting it, I keep encountering people whose lives this philosophy has affected. Many of these people had already found the power of broke on their own; I just gave it a name. And as they share their incredible stories with me and tell me how this philosophy has changed their lives, what I keep remembering time and time again is that it starts with goals. You must have goals, set them firmly, and never lose sight of them. And that brings me to my first of five SHARK Points for unleashing the power of broke:


It all comes down to knowing where you’re headed. Surely your past business experience has taught you that things rarely ever turn out as planned, so be realistic on this. Aim too high and you’re bound to be frustrated, disappointed; aim too low and you might leave some opportunities on the table, so take the time to get it right. Think what’s possible in a best-case scenario. Think what’s possible in a worst-case scenario. Think what’s in reach. Then reach a little more—but set it all down on paper. Commit to it.

These days, I’m all about writing down my goals on a piece of paper. At any given time, I’ll have about seven goals that I spend some time with about five days each week — I try to give myself two days in there where I can just relax, refresh. I’ll read over these goals at night, so they’re the last things I think about before I go to sleep. Sometimes this helps me to dream about them — that’s the idea. Then I’ll read them again in the morning, first thing—and the idea here is that I can hopefully make a small step forward in each of these areas if I set everything in motion before the rest of the day runs away from me.



In almost every business, analytics are key. Know your field, know your competitors, know your stuff. After all, if you don’t know your stuff, how can you hope to know what’s possible? How can you prepare yourself for what’s coming? So part of doing your homework means appreciating the history of your idea, your market, and your competition. “A fool can learn from his own mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” That’s a line I picked up from Mr. Magic, an old-school radio deejay from New York. The thought behind it reinforces this concept that there are no new ideas—only new ways to execute those ideas.

Homework these days means analytics. It means looking at others who’ve succeeded in the same field. But go ahead and also look at all the businesses that failed to connect with your market, and see what you can learn from their missteps. These people failed so you don’t have to. Why fail on your own dime and on your own time if you don’t have to? Say you’ve already had great success in one field and now you’re contemplating another, radically different one, you must do your homework!



Never, ever underestimate the immense power of passion. You’ve got to love, love, love what you’re doing — otherwise, why not do something else? “The only way to do great work is to do what you love.” That one’s from Steve Jobs, and it’s been repeated into the ground, but I’m repeating it here because it’s an all-important point. Own it, love it, live it…and you can find a way to make it work.

Do you love what you do? Would you do it for free? If not, then maybe you should think about doing something else. Sure, money and success can be powerful motivators, and for a lot of us our bottom line is our bottom line, but even a little guy like Moziah Bridges (the 11-year-old kid with the great bow tie business I invested on Shark Tank), knows that out of his joy in making great ties, good things will come. So what makes you happy? What are you passionate about? What’s your bow tie? Figure it out and embrace it. Once you make joy your biggest asset, you’re way ahead of the game.


I opened my book The Brand Within with: “You are what you eat. You are what you wear. You are what you drive, where you live, what you drink, how you vote, what you stand for, how you love, hate, dedicate…you with me on this?” I still feel the same way today, especially when it comes to building a business or career. With the advent and expansion of social media, branding has only become more and more crucial and omnipresent.

In my new book I tell the story of Gigi Butler, a Nashville woman who started up a cupcake business with just $33 to her name. It is a tremendous tale of the American entrepreneurial spirit and the power of broke in action. You see, Gigi has been nurturing the “Gigi” brand her entire life. At fifteen, she put her name on her first cleaning business. After that, her first band carried her name. At each step along the way, she’s worked hard to ensure that the name would stand for something genuine, something real, something of value. And people connect to that.

Because it’s all about how you carry yourself, what you put out into the world, the way you interact with your audience, your customers, the marketplace — it’s on you. So represent it faithfully.



Even when they’re asleep, sharks are slipping through the ocean, swimming, scheming, getting ready to attack—which is pretty much the approach you have to take when you’re starting out in business. You have to be relentless, nimble, moving ever forward. No matter what. And real sharks out in the ocean, if they don’t keep swimming, they die — so keep this in mind, too.

If you’re reading Jetset, chances are that you have attained a certain level of success. You have worked hard, set goals, and like many of the people I have been encountering, followed the power of broke whether you knew it or not. But the key now is to maintain that power so that you never become stagnant. And as nice as it is to chill by the beach and enjoy the fruits of your labor (which you should be doing from time to time), you can never stop swimming, scanning the vast ocean and searching for your next multimillion or (hopefully) multibillion-dollar idea.

To understand these SHARK Points more fully, check out the guide I’ve created specifically for you at: DaymondJohn.com/PowerofBroke. It’s a dynamic resource designed to help you wrap your head around this SHARK mind-set, and to guide you as you begin to tap into assets you might not even know you have.

And know this: no matter how old you are, the power of broke never leaves you. It’s not something you outgrow, outpace, or out-earn. It’s not something you can shake once you get a couple bucks in the bank. No, it gets in your DNA—and that’s a good thing, because you’ll almost certainly need to call on it throughout your career. So keep swimming.

When you want it, when you need it, you find a way to make  good things happen. – The Power of Broke by Daymond John

About The Author

An entrepreneur in every sense of the word, Daymond John has come a long way from his initial $40 budget by growing FUBU into a six-billion-dollar brand. The founder of FUBU, Presidential Ambassador of Global Entrepreneurship and co-star of ABC’s hit series Shark Tank, John is a celebrated pioneer in the fashion industry, a best-selling author, a branding guru and a highly sought-after motivational speaker. John’s track record as an award-winning entrepreneur includes receiving over 35 honors including the Brandweek Marketer of the Year, Advertising Age Marketing 1000 Award for Outstanding Ad Campaign and Ernst & Young’s New York Entrepreneur of the Year Award. His firm Shark Branding offers advice on how to effectively communicate to consumers through innovative means and connects brands with the world’s top celebrities for everything from endorsements to product extensions. John has two best-selling books, Display of Power and The Brand Within. His third book, The Power of Broke, is being released early in 2016. To learn more, visit daymondjohn.com or sharkbranding.com. For editorial consideration please contact editor@jetsetmag(dot)com.

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