Dani Johnson is one of our favorite rags to riches story. She was pregnant at 17, excommunicated by her church, broke and homeless at 21, and a millionaire at 23. Johnson’s story is the one of hope, survival, and triumph. Even more exciting is that she is a born again spirit filled Christian who also uses some of her business seminars to minister.
Johnson, the international speaker, author, and radio talk show host is well known for her financial and business training as well as motivational and self help products. She has appeared in several major TV shows which includes the ABC’s Secret Millionaire. Together with her husband and partner, they currently operate 5 companies. To sample Johnson’s work, snag your free copy of her ebook available on her website DaniJohnson.com.
The following is a podcast interview with Jaime Tardy of eventualmillioanares.com. Johnson reveals some of the ups and downs on her journey:
JAIME TARDY: So first I have to get started with your story because everybody needs to hear it that hasn’t. So how did you even start and how did you go from homeless to being a millionaire?
DANI JOHNSON: Well, I grew up on welfare in a home that had intense violence and I was exposed to things that honestly no child, Jaime, should ever see. Extreme drug abuse happened on a daily basis which brought in physical, emotional, mental, verbal and sexual abuse and I wasn’t the most confident person. I made lots of mistakes early on. In fact, ended up pregnant at 17 out of wedlock. Had all kinds of judgment and major criticism and even almost excommunication. In fact, my parents would not talk to me after that which was so hilarious because the lifestyle they led, what right do they have to judge?
So anyway, 17 I ended up pregnant. At 19, I got introduced to the whole concept of becoming an entrepreneur and I honestly didn’t get started because I thought I could succeed. I got started because I knew I could fail. I was told my whole life up to that point that I was nothing but a failure and I could never do anything right and after listening in, kind of like what you’re doing right now, there was a panel, I got invited to some symposium by my boyfriend at the time and there were four millionaires that were talking and after I heard them speak about how they started in business and obviously the kind of income that they had generated, I just sat there and I thought to myself, “Man, if I’m the dumbest person in the room, which I know that I am, and it takes me 20 years to figure this out and to learn how to do what they do, and if I fail their income by 90 percent, then I would do better in business for myself than I ever would staying at my job that I had at the mall.”
So it did not take me 20 years but the first 6 months that I was in business, I did fail miserably and I mean I failed miserable and I failed until I met two young men who happened to have been at that same exact symposium and yet they were making money and I was not. I knew it wasn’t just because of my gender and I knew it wasn’t just because I didn’t have a college education. In fact, I’m a high school dropout. But I began to ask questions which is one of the things I want to talk to you guys about today. I began to ask questions and they pointed me in a direction where I could go to a training seminar and after that seminar, I had been to six of them in a six-month period, and I made $50,000 with the same industry.
Everything was exactly the same but I started to make some money and then made some other dumb choices. Met and married a guy at one of those training seminars and within seven days I was married to him. At 21, I got married for the first time and he, within a few months, left with everything. I was left with $2.03 to my name, a $35,000 debt, completely homeless, 50 pounds overweight and we’re coming up right now to that time. December 1 I was evicted from my house and I was completely homeless December 1990. So I am coming up on 21 years ago that I was homeless.
So after 30 days of just licking my wounds and blaming my ex husband and blaming the people that I had been in business with and blaming my parents for the horrible childhood that they had raised us kids in, I finally got tired of my situation. I got sick to my stomach about who I had become and had to make a change in my life and on December 26 I started another business from the trunk of my car and a payphone booth and my first four days managed to generate $2,000 in income and profit for myself. That means I generated $4,000 worth of sales and then the next month, still working part time because I had gotten a job as a cocktail waitress in the month of December, made $6,500 and my income just continued to skyrocket from there.
Made a quarter of a million dollars my first year, made a million by the end of my second year and today I’m a multimillionaire. We have five companies. I’m a bestselling author, an international speaker. We have sold out crowds wherever it is that I go whether it’s London, Australia, the Caribbean, United States, Canada. We sell out wherever it is that we go and we don’t share the stage with anybody else. We don’t have a panel of speakers. I’m the only speaker for three solid days. I’ve been a business coach for 20 years. I’m a radio talk show host. My show airs every Wednesday and Sunday live. It airs out of Florida on Heartbeat Radio and we also stream it live on my webpage.
Today I’m passionately married to my husband, Hans. We are also business partners. We’ve been together 20 years. He was 18 when we first got together and had zero business experience. He’s a multimillionaire as well. We have five kids and a fourth grandbaby on the way.
JT: So what did you do within two years to be able to radically increase your income so much? I talk to people every day and people email me going well I’m trying and I’m trying to either get a side business going up, I’m trying to get something going up and it’s just not working for them.
DJ: I understand completely where people are coming from. When they are kind of trying to get something off the ground and struggling in the beginning. The main thing that I can tell you is that I focused on one thing and what I focused on was who could I help to succeed with my product line and I actually licensed a product from a manufacturer. So I didn’t invent something. So often times it’s about find another timely idea that somebody else has already invented or somebody else is already marketing it and market it. Really what I have found in my 22 years, well I don’t want to even say what I am. It’s almost been, yeah, anyway 23 years of business, including the first business failure, I have focused on what can I do to help other people get what they want.
Often times and we see this all the time in business, gosh there’s so much that I could tell you right now. I wish we had more time. The reality is that we don’t and I love seeing people start in business and succeed greatly because if someone like me can succeed, anybody can. So I really focused on who could I help succeed with our product and the product was completely insignificant. It could have been widgets but really what it’s about is service and how I went from that so broken, desperate, homeless person who had no confidence and believed in nothing who trusted nobody who didn’t think I could succeed at anything, what I focused on was my clients or the prospect actually.
I focused on the prospect and I focused on honing my communication skills to be so advanced that we could build trust even though I didn’t even have product itself in my hand. I worked on the skill of developing trust and what I call today the core rapport methodology that really set up the relationship between me and the prospect to where they wanted to do business with me and they didn’t know I was homeless. They didn’t know I didn’t have an office. They didn’t know I was a complete failure that very first day starting out, that second day, that fourth day, even that first month. They didn’t know my personal situation. I just literally focused on diving my life into their lives and how could I serve them in a way they want to pay me to help them do what they wanted to get done.
If the business world today adapted to a couple of key things, they would be dynamically more successful than they are today and I know this because I have clients that range from engineering firms to telecommunication companies to people who market a weight loss product from their house. It all boils down to the same thing – people are people no matter where we go. People love to be served. They love to be catered to. They love to feel special and honored and when you do that with the general public, you stand out so very different than everybody else they are doing business with and they will pay more money to do business with you when you have learned to hone in on those core rapport skills that we teach at DaniJohnson.com.
Get a complementary book at: danijohnson.com
See more of the interview at: eventualmillionaire.com
Dani Johnson a Christian Sister Who Went from Homeless to Millionaire