Homeless To Billionaire – John Paul DeJoria

It certainly does not happen often that a homeless person can change his life circumstances so dramatically and so become a billionaire. But John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of the well-known hair care company John Paul Mitchell Systems and The Patrón Spirits Company, has done just that.

According to Wikipedia, today’s 75-year-old has a fortune of $3.1 billion US dollars!


John Paul DeJoria was born on April 13, 1944, and grew up in the slums of Los Angeles. His father was an immigrant from Italy and his mother immigrant from Greece. But even before he was two years old, his parents divorced and from then on he lived with his brother with his mother.

At an early age, his sales talent showed. Already at the age of nine, he improved his mother’s income by selling self-made Christmas cards. Later he repaired bicycles and moved from door to door to sell. He failed first down the line until he changed his strategy: He sold henceforth no more books, but education! That was well received and everyone suddenly wanted his books. So he had learned that it depends on selling the right wording.

When he was 22 years old, the mother of the two-year-old son left him and he flew out of the apartment together with his little son. Without money, the two lived in a car until a friend sheltered him. During this time, DeJoria collected empty bottles to earn a living.

On June 13, 1993, he married Eloise DeJoria. He has a total of six children and four grandchildren. DeJoria owns several properties, including Las Vegas and Austin. He donates part of his property to charity.


At first, John Paul DeJoria worked for Time magazine for a while, where he was responsible for marketing.

In 1971 he joined Redken, a manufacturer of hair care products. Here he worked as a sales representative, department, branch and national director. During this time, DeJoria gained extensive experience in the sales, marketing, and distribution of beauty products, which later benefited him greatly.

Despite his great success, he was released after about five years because his methods did not suit his superior. Subsequently, DeJoria was employed by other companies, whose sales he also increased massively. Nevertheless, he was released again.


Like all successful people, DeJoria had a fighter nature. He had visions and never let himself be diverted from his path.

In 1980, DeJoria, together with his friend Paul Mitchell, founded a hair care products company, later known as John Paul Mitchell Systems. The start-up capital of $ 700 he borrowed from his mother. A smart investment, the company makes now an annual turnover of one billion US dollars!

Of course, DeJoria had no money to advertise his hair care products at the time. He, therefore, provided the salons with these in the form of free samples. The salons did not have to pay for the items if they were not satisfied.

Used for hair care products for the first time, this strategy promptly turned John Paul Mitchell Systems into one of America’s fastest-growing companies. Unfortunately, Mitchell died shortly after the start of the company to cancer and DeJoria took over the management.


In 1989, DeJoria co-founded the tequila company “The Patrón Spirits Company” with Martin Crowley.

The Patrón Tequila is produced in Mexico in a sustainable distillery plant. Here, recycled bottles and leftover distilled water are used to fertilize the soil. Meanwhile, more than 2 million bottles of Patrón Tequilas are sold each year.


DeJoria regularly donates part of his assets for the following reason:

Although DeJoria now has so much money, he does not measure his success in dollars. It is not about money and power. In his life, he has been so depressed that he feels very grateful for his financial situation today and wants to give back that happiness.

The billionaire still remembers well how as a six-year-old boy, he donated one cent to the Salvation Army. His mother then told him, “You may be poor, but there are so many people less fortunate than you, and every little bit helps.”

“These words have always stayed with me,” says DeJoria.

His attitude prompted DeJoria to sign Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s “The Giving Pledge” in 2011, earning half of his income to improve the world. He also founded JP’s Peace Love & Happiness Foundation as a hub for charity donations that reflect the core values ​​of his businesses: Saving the environment, helping the poor and protecting animal rights!


For DeJoria, there were three rules he followed on his way to success:

Rule # 1: Be prepared for rejection

Throughout your career, you will encounter rejection. You will knock on doors, which will close on you. There will be enough people who do not like you, your business or your product. You have to pay attention – when you start your business.

You will only be successful if you knock on the door number 59 with the same enthusiasm as on door number 1. If you understand that, rejection will not make you so sad and it will help you to be resilient.

Rule # 2: Make sure your product or service is the best it can be

Always remember that you do not want to be in the product business but in the reorder business. Work hard to develop a world-class product that meets the needs of costumers. With this way of thinking, you will have a better chance of success.

Rule # 3: Doing good is good for you and your business

If your business is to stay in business, it must not just think about today’s end result.

According to DeJoria, one company needs to be committed to helping others immediately, because by helping others, you are creating future customers and inspiring the loyalty of your employees.

In addition, clients like to engage with people and businesses who spend their time helping others to save the planet or make a difference.


Everyone has their own morning routine. The one by DeJoria is rather unusual, but still worthy of imitation.

DeJoria stays in bed every morning for five minutes. So far this is nothing unusual.

Unlike many others in this situation, however, he does not think about the upcoming day with the various (unpleasant) tasks and what might happen on that day. Rather, he thinks about his life and what he can be grateful for. The well-being of his family also has room in his thoughts.

A nice morning routine that we should all think about.

Recommended Readings: Bill Gates Advice For More Success

Finally, a few words of wisdom from John Paul DeJoria to smile and maybe to imitate:

As the boss of several companies, it is important to me that all my employees feel comfortable. In my opinion, a good working atmosphere is necessary for a successful company, both on a human and on an economic basis.