Daymond John is affectionately known as “The People’s Shark” to millions of SharkTank viewers and his employees.
While each of the sharks has unique backgrounds and success stories, Daymond really is a unique blend of aspirational qualities that easily make him my favorite shark—not convinced?
I’ll give you my top six reasons why Daymond John earns the title of my favorite.
#1 Everybody Loves an Underdog
Daymond started his career at ten years old. That’s right after his parents divorced he got a job at TEN handing out flyers.
In high school, he was a part of a program that allowed him to alternate weeks of school and work. After he graduated, he started a van service while waiting tables at Red Lobster.
Before he was a shark, he started the FUBU brand, working from his mom’s house in Queens. It began with a simple concept, hats tied off with fishing lines were super trendy.
He capitalized on the trend by offering similar hats, hand-sewn, at half the price and made $800 in one day.
Daymond didn’t stop at the hats and began to screen print shirts, and eventually moved on to placing the FUBU logo on everything from hockey jerseys to t-shirts and sweatshirts.
In order to get some start-up financing, they mortgaged his mother’s house for the first time. They would eventually get a second mortgage to help finance the brand.
With no capital to advertise, Daymond loaned some of the apparel out to promote his products.
One of his friends, LL Cool J, wore a FUBU item in a Gap commercial. As more friends and rappers began to wear FUBU branded clothing items, the brand began to popularize, and he was left with orders he didn’t have the capital to produce.
He was turned down for 27 loans and was at the end of the line with the funds from the mortgages. His mother spent the last bit of their funds, going all-in on an ad in the NY times that got FUBU a partnership with Samsung Textiles.
This hail mary is what skyrocketed FUBU to multi-million earnings.
#2 He’s Never Lets Obstacles Get in His Way
To be the hero in a true rags to riches story is astounding enough, but there were more significant trials that Mr. John had to overcome.
He was diagnosed with dyslexia which made school an incredibly difficult experience. His father was less than understanding and would grow increasingly frustrated with Daymond’s inability to read certain words.
He could have simply given up and succumbed to the pressures around him.
Instead, knowing that he struggled with reading and writing courses, he made every effort to be the best possible student in areas he knew he could excel in, like math and science.
He analyzed his strengths and weaknesses to capitalize on skills he knew he could use to achieve more.
He didn’t stop this process once he had achieved success. In fact, if you’re on his email list – which I wholeheartedly recommend – you’ll understand that he continuously seeks opportunities for growth, even now.
In 2017, he was diagnosed with stage 2 thyroid cancer. While most in his celebrity position would have kept silent about the diagnosis, in fear that the public would think less of him, he decided to speak out about it.
He inspired millions with his willingness to stand up and fight against the disease.
He eventually had surgery to remove the nodule but will need to continue to monitor for reoccurrence.
#3 His Results are Proven
When it comes to being a shark, it’s not just about the evaluation and investing. It’s also about bringing entrepreneurs, and their companies, to the next level.
Daymond John has a proven track record of doing just that.
Since he joined the show in 2009, Mr. John has invested over 8 million dollars into SharkTank companies. In season five, Daymond invested $300,000 in Bubba’s Q BBQ, which took the company from $154,000 in sales to over 16 million, all in just three years.
The company is still in business, and you can even order their ribs online. Their full rack of ribs currently has a 5 out of 5 star ranking.
When the team from Bombas socks went on SharkTank, the general consensus amongst the sharks was that a buy-one-give-one model couldn’t be profitable.
Daymond, on the other hand, saw the potential and invested in the company. Last year they hit over 100 million in revenue, and they have donated 20 million socks to those who truly need them.
Similar to Bombas, Mission Belt donates $1 of every belt sold, which comes out to millions of dollars.
They struggled with $80,000 revenues until Mr. John invested in them in a deal brokered on SharkTank.
They’ve since taken their revenues into the multi-million dollar range.
However, my all-time favorite Daymond John Shark Tank episode is the one that featured Mo’s Bows.
Moziah Bridges, founder, came to the table asking for $50,000 in exchange for 20% equity. Daymond told Moziah not to take any offers and mentored him…for free.
He didn’t just see the value in the product. He saw the value in the person behind the product. Mo’s Bows eventually made it into Neiman Marcus stores across the country.
While I’ve never met Mr. John, I have to think that his results are due to his underdog mentality. He sees past “You can’t” and acts like he has nothing to lose.
#4 He Genuinely Cares
The movie “Horrible Bosses” exists because, in a less dramatic and definitely less amusing way, at some point in our lives, many of us have experienced the pains of loving our work while hating the people we work for. During his younger years,
Mr. John worked at a convenience store. He’s said in interviews that this experience is what taught him how to run a business.
You run a business by treating every customer and every employee like they’re a VIP.
He’s also said that it’s about genuinely listening to people, which is what we as business owners, as employees, as human beings, in general, should aspire to do each day.
This feeling of respect and value isn’t exclusively reserved for others.
Daymond has also been quoted about the importance of self-care, as well as mental health.
These types of interviews really give you insight into how he’s become so successful, but you can also feel a similar sentiment in his emails and content.
#5 He Offers a Ton of Free Resources
While we’re on the subject of emails and content, Daymond John offers a ton of free resources. Regardless of where you are in your journey, there’s a free tool he’s put together for you.
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, I suggest starting with the Shark Points Guide and the Identifying Your Target Market resources.
If you’re struggling to increase your visibility and online presence, the Social Media Marketing Guide and Email Marketing Maps will be a tremendous help.
All the resources are available on his website.
Even the process of subscribing to his email list is unique. After a few questions about where you’re currently at in your business or personal journey, you get a flurry of emails full of additional resources and opportunities to register for free trainings.
There are also a lot of free tips and tricks that you can find on his official Facebook page and by subscribing to his Youtube channel.
6: He’s Not Just a Shark – He’s a Teacher
I’ll admit, I’m obsessed with self-educational, so this point hits close to home. Not only is Daymond John the CEO of a major fashion brand and one of the most-loved sharks on SharkTank, but he’s also an incredible teacher.
Daymond John is a public speaker, mentor, and consultant. He’s done motivational and business public speaking events that span everything from Women’s Conferences to University and College events.
He’s also worked with a number of celebrities, spreading his knowledge in the areas of marketing and revenue.
Daymond is also on the board and volunteers for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, also known as NFTE.
NFTE is a global organization, and its core purpose is to teach students in low-income areas the value of entrepreneurship. Two students each year earn a $1,500 scholarship.
Aside from his works as a public speaker, he’s also written five books in his career: Display of Power, The Brand Within, The Power of Broke, Rise and Grind, and, most recently, Powershift.
Display of Power is an inspirational read on how he and three friends rose to the top. It’s a unique blend of story and road map to success.
The Brand Within, one of my personal favorites, discusses the relationship between companies and their customers. It’s a must-read for entrepreneurs, anyone selling in the online environment, coaches, consultants, and those in the sales industry.
The Power of Broke, another great read, is about turning your disadvantages – like lack of funding – into a tool for success and how to become more resourceful.
It’s fitting that Rise and Grind, Daymond’s fourth book, came after The Power of Broke in the series.
While it’s fantastic on its own, Rise and Grind combined with the motivational fuel of The Power of Broke can catapult you into actionable steps to become more productive, build better habits, and mirror his path to success.
Admittedly, I haven’t read Powershift yet, but it’s definitely at the top of my list. Released in 2020, this book has a long list of celebrity guests.
We’re talking people like Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn, fellow Shark Mark Cuban and Charlynda Scales, a veteran, business owner, and all-around Rockstar.
My top six reasons why Daymond John is my absolute favorite shark. When it comes down to it, he’s a guy who built something incredible out of nothing but resilience, hard work, and his belief that there was something greater out there.
When he made it to the top, he didn’t sit back and count his money; he found another way to make an impact.
He focused on sharing his story and teaching others what he learned along the way, what worked, what didn’t work.
All so that a whole new generation of entrepreneurs and savvy businessmen and businesswomen could take the torch.
If you don’t believe me, try listening to one of his videos on his social media pages, download some of the free resources on his website that I mentioned earlier, or download one of his books – I suggest starting with Display of Power and going in order of release, they really build on top of each other really well.
Wherever you start, I promise that you won’t be disappointed in all the knowledge you’ll absorb!