A Look Inside The Extraordinary Hustle of Shark Tank’s Daymond John

Hustle Branding- Daymond John's Hustle

I have always known Daymond to possess extreme hustle, a trait I believe is essential for the success of every entrepreneur. A few years back, however, when I started doing some things with Daymond again I noticed that his hustle had even increased and I wasn’t quite sure why.

Why would someone who doesn’t need to hustle anymore increase his hustle?

While there are many different reasons why people hustle, I believe hustle is inside the DNA of every true entrepreneur. Just because you start a business does not mean you are an entrepreneur as many people try the entrepreneurial route only to realize it was not for them.

Entrepreneurs go through far more valleys than peaks and it is the hustle inside them that pushes them to never give up and never give in. That does not mean entrepreneurs don’t stop to re-gather, re-assess and re-strategize. It is well documented that Daymond did that a number of times before finally correcting his mistakes and finding his way to the other side.

While many entrepreneurs have initial hustle, I believe in order to keep the hustle the reasons why you hustle change. That is where I found the answer to these questions I was asking myself…

Why does Daymond keep hustling… & why in the world is he even hustling harder now when he clearly doesn’t have to?

Let’s look at 3 types of hustle Daymond has possessed and the type of hustle he has that keeps re-inventing his need to hustle even more today than ever before.

1) The Hustle To Secure Your Mask First

Any entrepreneur worth his or her own salt will tell you the importance of securing the mask tightly around you before securing the mask around other people. The reason is simple… you can’t help anyone if you can’t help yourself.

Back when I met Daymond 20 years ago, he didn’t even have a full set of samples. To go from that point to where he is now takes such insane hustle I can write a book about it. Luckily, I don’t have to, since he beat me to the punch and told the whole story in his first book, Display of Power which should be required reading for every entrepreneur.

While his hustle in the beginning may have been more for monetary reasons (as I believe it should have been), I believe his hustle now is for different reasons.

2) The Hustle To Be The Best of The Best

One big reason for Daymond’s hustle today is that he has a tremendous appetite to be the best of the best in the branding world.

It is important to note that this ‘shark-like appetite’ (pardon the pun) to be the best does not come from a yearning for the praise of others, but rather because it is a demand he puts on himself to constantly elevate his game.

Branding is his stomping ground, he owns it, and he hustles harder than anyone I know to learn more every day.  He has a passion to create great brands, make good brands great and make great brands even greater.

3) Hustling To Help Others

Today, I notice a huge motivator for Daymond’s hustle is how much he genuinely loves seeing other people succeed around him. Now that he has secured his mask financially so to speak, he has the opportunity to help others experience the joy of success. That is one of the traits I admire the most about him.

I remember I took a ride to Baltimore with him this summer to visit someone he was mentoring and, for a good stretch of the ride he was talking about how excited he was to be in a position to help others.

I sit in a meeting once a week with Daymond and his team (if Daymond isn’t traveling) and Daymond is so proud of the wins as he sees how it is changing lives. Not just the lives of the people in the room, but the lives of the people who each department represents. In a given meeting, one leader from one division may be talking about a win that helped 50 people. Go around the room and the numbers add up.

Daymond is making a lot of people successful, however he never takes the credit as he always gives it to the team. Yes, of course the team deserves it… but so does he.

4) Extreme Hustle= Little Sleep

I normally go to sleep around 1130 and wake up around 5am. I’ve tried to cut the hours but I can’t. Many times when reach out to Daymond, I’ll see his response in the morning and notice he sent the reply around 2 or 3 in the morning… and then I see him doing his entrepreneur roll call at 5am! (If you don’t know about his entrepreneur roll call follow him on Facebook here.)

How in the world can someone get 2-3 hours of sleep and still keep it moving without skipping a beat?

I think you know the answer to that… HUSTLE

The Wrap Up

Most entrepreneurs learn to delegate responsibilities as their businesses grow however no entrepreneur can ever delegate his or her own hustle.

Hustle, in my opinion, is the secret ingredient, “the fire” that keeps the dream going within every entrepreneur. If that fire goes out, you will never have that secret ingredient to push you through the stumbling blocks and overcome the bumps, lumps, scrapes and bruises to come out the other side.

Do you have a quick story of hustle you can share that may help someone reading this post?

Have a great day & HUSTLE HARD!

MJ

What Aspiring Startups And Music Artists Share In Common

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It continues to amaze me that most people feel comfortable in moving in the same current as others. There seems to be a relief in knowing that others are doing the same things. Maybe it’s a mentality of ‘we will all fail or succeed together’ that makes us think in that way.

In business that way of thinking can get you killed – if you are an entrepreneur.

I like to compare the similarities of contrasting business segments. Usually I do so in hopes of finding a similar thread of consistency that propels both segments into success.

Recently, I was thinking how much of a journey to success is similar between aspiring startups and music artists. Both industries seem to operate in a parallel universe where the people with the money are all challenged with investing, or may be even gambling today for a significant return in the future.

Investor vs. Record Label

In most industries there is a person or company that funds the ideas. Record labels fund artists and venture capitalists and investors fund entrepreneurs. Both have limited resources on what they can invest their money in –  which puts extreme pressure on entrepreneurs to develop cool, innovative and useful products and services that deliver significant value to a market segment.

Ideas are cheap, but having a plan, vision and a purpose become prerequisites of those that get funded vs. those who do not. The music artist and the startup have a common responsibility and reality – complete and full differentiation among its competitors. The ‘reality’ part of the equation seems to often elude both, whether it be the music artist or entrepreneur. Many aspiring music artists look in the mirror & tend to give themselves more credit than they deserve, and entrepreneurs fall in that same trap. The judge and jury is the customer and their voice can be heard loud and clear – they either support you with a purchase or they don’t. That’s ultimate metric!

{MJ wrote an article about this here}

To a certain degree, entrepreneurs have a double-sided sword they have to walk; an idea that’s far reaching and maybe too risky versus an idea that’s not innovative enough that gets lost, never to be seen. The closer the entrepreneur and investor are in understanding the realities – the better fit and probably the better outcome will be realized.

 Startups and Music Artists

Initially, the most important thing to know is the approach you will have entering a marketplace and what you want your audience to take away from you.  Kanye West positioned himself as a talented renegade type of artist while Taylor Swift has positioned her self as ‘wholesome’ and ‘Americana.’ Think of it as understanding your brand purpose and building a personality around it. Aspiring startups have the same challenge as music artists – building authenticity and value while increasing their ability to engage with their audience in a unique way.

Though it may be a lot to think about, it’s easier to get that sorted early in your brand development process than to have your target market ‘guessing’ who you are and what you have to offer.

As a music artist has to continually refine their lyrics and several other aspects to their end product, startups are no different. Peter Thiel (PayPal Founder) once said in a video, “ Starting a business is about iteration not laborious research” … he later said, “The latter is cocky and inflexible.”

Translation? Build something, put it out there, and tweak it and repeat until you have a product that is relevant and considerably differentiated from its competitors.

 The Few That Fall Between The Cracks

The very reason you love a particular music artist is the same for brands you love. Great brands don’t always have the coolest products, just like your favorite singer may not have the best voice from a technical standpoint. No matter the physical assets, the brand must communicate certain qualities that embrace the values of their marketplace. It is all about learning how to create a brand personality.

The best explanation of how to create a brand personality is from a video I watched a few years back;

 “ Build up a picture of the kind of brand you think you are. As the brand is learning what it is, It’s also learning what it is not.”

With many startups and music artists, creating a brand personality is often overlooked and usually ignored all together. As  products becoming more blurred, with regard to differentiation, there has to be value established outside of the product or service.

To learn more about this, I suggest watching a short video module I created entitled, 3 Components To designing A Brand Identity.

 The Take-Away

As we can see, startups and music artists have very similar challenges in breaking through and becoming successful. Though a valuable and innovative product or service is the price of entry in building a successful startup, I encourage you to build a soul at the core of your business that reflects the ideals and aspirations of your audience.

Stay Hungry & Hustle Hard!

Gary