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Shark Tank Star Inspires Entrepreneurs in Northland

Updated: 08/19/2014 10:43 PM
Created: 08/19/2014 5:14 PM WDIO.com
By: Laurie Stribling
lstribling@wdio.com

Have you ever wanted business advice from a millionaire entrepreneur? Folks in the Northland had the opportunity Tuesday at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.

"I'm here to talk about the mindset of a shark and it's not going to be one of those boring dry speeches," FUBU Creator Daymond John said.

John not only created his own brand, but is also a star on ABC's hit show Shark Tank. He gave a speech during the Your Big Idea Entrepreneur Seminar at FDLTCC.

"You have to set a goal," John said. "You can't hit a target you can't see or visualize."

John's speech was full of music and jokes, but at the heart was a message of determination. John started his global brand by selling hats outside a shopping mall. That same company eventually recorded annual sales of $350 million.

"We were suppose to do $5 million in three years; we did $30 million in three months," John said.

That success came from humble beginnings.

"I was a waiter at Red Lobster at the worst possible time," John said. "I was there when they introduced cheddar bay biscuits."

"I like to hear the stories and the struggles they went through and how they overcame them," UWS student Lamont Hines said. "Just give myself some motivation to keep pushing forward."

Hines was just one aspiring entrepreneur in the crowd. Another was Wendy Ruhnke who started a business specializing in stress-relieving chairs.

"I am an inventor," Ruhnke said. "I have several inventions sitting in my basement that I've had over the years and follow through is really hard because there's a lot of barriers."

John said he knows that all too well, but his daughter quotes advice from a movie.

"My daughter always looks up at me with her beautiful eyes and says to me, 'Daddy, you have to be successful if you just keep swimming'."

At the end of John's speech, three people pitched ideas and John dished out advice.

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