Rise and Grind! A Shark Visits Regent University’s Executive Leadership Series

For Daymond John, CEO of FUBU and star of ABC’s two-time Emmy Award-winning business reality show, Shark Tank, it’s always time to “rise and grind.”

“I have one of those Sleep Number beds that tells me I get seven hours of sleep each night, but I think I’m up for six of them,” he told a record-breaking audience of more than 800 guests at Regent University’s Executive Leadership Series (ELS) on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

John visited campus prior to the Nov. 9th launch of the Daymond John Certificate in Entrepreneurship, led by Daymond John in collaboration with distinguished faculty from Regent’s School of Business & Leadership.

But becoming a good entrepreneur is about more than sacrificing sleep for your product, John explained. In fact, he advises against it.

“A good entrepreneur will set your house on fire and sell you a water hose,” said John. “And you have to be obsessed with it.”

Besides a passion for your product and a cunning wit, which John exuded during his Q&A-style interview with The Christian Broadcasting Network’s George Thomas, he said a good entrepreneur possess four distinctive traits: discipline, a strong “gut” feeling and a self-motivation to lead a team by example.

For John, the most important trait of a successful entrepreneur is the ability to fail.

“Failures, if you think of it, are more of a process of elimination. I learned to keep working until it was just right,” said John.

And he’s seen quite a number of failures. Approximately $6 million worth. But through his financial failures, and even the three launches and restarts of FUBU, John learned the value of mentors in the business world.

“Anyone who tells you that they’ve become a success on their own is out of their mind,” said John.

His mother, his number one mentor and living “guardian angel,” was the person for him. Not only did she tell him to think beyond the “glass ceiling” in his mind when he envisioned FUBU as a boutique, she taught him one of his most important lessons.

“She says, ‘money is a great servant, but a horrible master,'” said John. “It doesn’t buy you anything. It really doesn’t. And it doesn’t solve much. It actually creates problems.”

John empowers these lessons from his mother and teachers he’s gleaned over the years to his most important investments as he offers deals to Shark Tank candidates.

“You have to invest in people. You’re not going to create anything new in this world,” said John. “Investing in this way is amazing, it’s scary and it’s frustrating. But I learn so much from them.”

Next month’s ELS event will feature chairman of Global Media Outreach and former managing director of U.S. operations for Apple Computer, Walt Wilson. Learn more about Regent University’s Executive Leadership Series.