Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Sure, Not having the things “society” says you’re supposed to have to be successful. I don’t have a college degree or a high school diploma. I fit into the box society put me in. As a 10th grade drop out my choices were limited. No one wanted to hire me because of my background. I found myself frustrated working as a janitor for General Electric, paycheck to paycheck, struggling to keep the big mouth promises I made to family friends and bill collectors. I was getting nowhere fast! Years prior I was locked in a detention/drug rehab facility a counselor gave me a book “How to win friends and influence people”. This book opened my eyes to new possibilities, It was the beginning of a life-long personal development journey. That led me to mentors that saw more in me then I saw in myself. I started to follow World-class entrepreneurs. I attended every seminar I could find. I devoured books about and written by entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship became my way out, it became my passion, my “drug of choice”. I’ve owned many companies. Restaurants, nightclub, publishing, an entertainment company, insurance, real estate, skin care, coaching, entrepreneur training, and speaking business. So entrepreneurship is now in my blood. So, my company Build Your Empire which showcases world-class entrepreneurs and provides guidance, content, products, and services for entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs was a natural progression and a perfect fit for me.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
Really, what is most interesting is how this idea to showcase and help the next generation of entrepreneurs has now turned into a real “Movement”. A community of like-minded people supporting, encouraging, coaching, even investing in each other, it’s Amazing!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
It’s not that funny, but in the beginning, I identified 7 categories that we could really disrupt. Attempted to go after all 7 right out the gate. I and the team were all over the place, frustration, resources and time wasted. I had a mentor tell me ‘If you chase 2 rabbits you probably won’t catch either one but go after 1 and you just might catch it”. So we focused everything down to 1 category. We became crystal clear on the plan, put all hands on deck, got the right people in the right roles to execute, We crushed it! Then we moved to the next category.
What do you think makes your company stand out?
People, People, People! We have the best and brightest. When I invest in companies, I’m investing in the people first, so the team is critical. My business partner and CFO Josh Denne is an amazing, humble, relationship building machine. My 18-year-old CEO Casey Adams is the best networker, DM slider, connector, and collaborator I’ve ever met. My COO Michael Morelli is a brilliant operator, digital, social media marketer, and organizer of information. Then we have a whole crew of brilliant executers that have bought into the mission 100%. They give heart and soul to bring massive value to our community
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I can’t relate to ‘burn out’! I love what I do, I’m excited every day, I work with amazing people, I’m in a growing industry. I love the challenges. I know you can’t always pick your passion, but after years of hard work and extreme dedication, I’m so grateful to be in the position that I’m in. to be able to do what I enjoy.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Early mentors were key, I’ve had many giants in my life. Eric Worre told me one time my ego was getting out of hand. He said if ‘you forget where you come from you are on your way back” I had no interest in going back to that neighborhood, back to those associations, back to that life! I humbled myself real fast. Focused all my energy on other people and providing massive value. The organization exploded!
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
YES! In the beginning, it was all about success, which meant adding value to self. Then it became about Significance, which meant adding value to others. Now it’s about Legacy, which means leaving this world a better place than how I found it. Creating an impact that my children’s children will benefit from! Teaching entrepreneurship to the next generation, using entrepreneurship to solve social problems. Investing resources in the entrepreneurs that will create social change, this is what John Malott and the Build Your Empire brand is all about.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
I have “your past does not equal your future” tattooed on my arm. My entire young life I was told I wouldn’t amount to much. Drop out, loser, drug addict, criminal, failure, were just some of the words used to describe me. “they” were right! Until I decided that was not who I am! That my past does not equal my future.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why.
Have patience !! this will probably take longer than you think. We had to develop the team that was philosophically in alignment. This is ongoing and requires time and commitment. It took longer then I thought for other people to understand what we were building. If you have ever driven past a construction site. It can be months of just seeing the fence around the lot. You can here work being done, but can’t see what’s really going on. Then one day you drive by and have to do a double take because the steel frame is up and they are putting in the floors. A proper foundation takes time.
Failure is part of the process! Sometimes even the best ideas and plans fall flat. Thomas Edison said “ I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. The key is to move from one disappointment to the next without losing momentum. My mentor John Maxwell wrote a book “ Failing Forward”. My life has been a string of failure after failure. I would go lay in the fetal position, suck my thumb with tears in my eyes, lol then the next day brush myself off and trick my mind into going at it again. The key is not to keep repeating the same failures. I’m pretty good at failing now! lol
Ask for help! The most valuable resource on the planet is people. As go-getters sometimes we overvalue our ability to get things done and undervalue others ability. Search out mentors that have been where you are going. It’s like putting together a puzzle, sometimes a different perspective or a fresh set of eyes can make a huge difference. I’m constantly leaning on other people today. It can also give you leverage so you can work on the things you’re passionate about or have strengths in. I love collaboration and partnerships. I’m not afraid to share the wealth. Would you rather have 100% of nothing or a percentage of a thriving business?
Critics are your fuel! I used to let the naysayers slow me down. There has never been a monument constructed for a critic. Everyone has an opinion, and they are usually worth what you paid for them! In the book “Think And Grow Rich” Napoleon Hill says the #1 reason most people never accomplish what they could is because they listen to the opinions of family and friends. Think about that for a minute! The people that we love and love us the most are probably the biggest reason we don’t go out and crush it!
Everyone wants a piece! Once it starts taking shape and success is clearly in front of you. People will come out of the woodwork! Of course, a lot will have their hands out. But the bigger challenge is the “slick talkers”, the professional “jumpers” they show up to tell you how great they are and how they can take you and your vision to the next level. From social media, website, branding, leadership, sales, management, team building, scaling. There is no shortage of self-proclaimed “experts” that claim for the right amount of cash and equity they can take you to the moon. This is your vision, this is your baby. Be careful whos hands you put it in! I’ve lost millions buying into a great presentation and slick slideshows. But John, didn’t you just tell us to “ask for help”? unless you have money to burn. Most entrepreneurs have very limited resources in the beginning. We couldn’t pay a shyster even if we wanted to. It is later when the cash starts pouring in we tend to vet less. This is the time to do some serious vetting. Have people around you that will spend your money the way you would.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
This is the Entrepreneur Movement!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!