While Daymond John was building his clothing line FUBU, which would evolve into a $6 billion brand, the entrepreneur was living on the tips he made waiting tables at Red Lobster.
“I was working at Red Lobster for five years as a waiter as I was running this business,” the Shark Tank star said at the iConic conference in New York City on Wednesday.
At first “it was 40 hours at Red Lobster and six hours at FUBU. Then it was 30 hours at Red Lobster and 20 hours at FUBU, because money started to come in.”
Even after FUBU started to take off, John continued waiting tables. He wouldn’t do things any differently if he could, he told the audience on Wednesday: “Don’t quit your day job.”
“Let’s say I was making an average of $40,000 a year,” he continued. “After five years, that’s $200,000 of salary.
I would have had to sell $1 million more worth of FUBU product to bring home the $200,000, but I didn’t have to do that. I just had to sacrifice time.”
Plus, keeping his day job offered security in case FUBU tanked, John said: “If it would have failed, I still wouldn’t have been owing everybody; I wouldn’t have had this huge deficit; my credit wouldn’t have been ruined for seven years.”
The idea that you have to quit your day job to become a successful entrepreneur, or that you need money to make money, “is garbage,” John continued.
Ultimately, the secret to success boils down to one thing, John said: “Work. Bust your butt. Get up before everybody, go to sleep after everybody, and bust your butt. That’s it.”