For Black History Month, Inc. is catching up with notable Black founders who have appeared on its pages to ask, "Who inspires you?"
Daymond John lives by the mantra "rise and grind." He even wrote a book titled, Rise and Grind: Outperform, Outwork, and Outhustle Your Way to a More Successful and Rewarding Life (Currency, 2018). But the Shark Tank investor wasn't born with a relentless work ethic: He learned it from watching his mother. Even when juggling three jobs, Margot John always made time to keep her son motivated. To this day, she continues to be his number one inspiration. --As told to Graham Winfrey
Almost every side hustle my mother did I ended up doing later in life. When I was a kid, we'd go to the train station in her big Cadillac Eldorado and take people from the subway to the bus for 50 cents apiece. Later on, I had a rideshare business. Because we didn't have much money, my mother would sew my clothes. She taught me to sew when I was 10, and 10 years later I sewed a couple of hats, stood on the corner, and started a company called FUBU. There were many things I saw my mother do that I would end up emulating, not realizing that she was giving me my first entryway into those businesses.
I can think as far back as being a young, dyslexic child and her saying to me, "Do me a favor. While I'm cooking, I want you to read me the Wall Street Journal." I must have read hundreds of hours of the Wall Street Journal to my mother at 11 or 12 years old, not knowing how finance would be a significant part of my life as I grew up and became an investor.
As Covid-19 was unfolding she was the same mom, saying, "Where is there opportunity? What do you have to do with your current inventory?" I couldn't just say I was going to call all my companies. She'd say, "What are you doing internally? How are you educating yourself right now?"
She is a constant learner and always seeks information. She never settled for anything, so it was a constant education.