Act, learn, repeat: Daymond John shares career lessons, business advice ahead of Fall Convocation address

John will deliver the Fall Convocation address on Friday, Sept. 29 during Family Weekend in the Schar Center at 3:30 p.m.

Daymond JohnDaymond John, founder and CEO of celebrated global lifestyle brand FUBU, star of ABC’s Shark Tank and CEO of The Shark Group consulting agency, will deliver the Fall Convocation address during Family Weekend on Friday, Sept. 29 at 3:30 p.m. in the Schar Center.

An award-winning entrepreneur and pioneer in the fashion industry with more than $6 billion in product sales, John is also the author of six best-selling books, including “Powershift,” which walks through his process of transforming any situation, closing any deal and achieving any outcome.

This address is a part of the 2023-24 Elon University Speaker Series, which has the theme of “Creating Together.”

In advance of his visit, the Elon University News Bureau reached out to John for what people can expect from his address, lessons from his career and advice for the next generation of creators.

What do you hope people take away from your talk? 

Anything is possible. Know your why. Keep investing yourself. Keep setting goals.

In your book “Powershift,” you write about “driving the change you want to see.” How can students drive change in their lives? 

You drive change by creating it, by pushing the envelope, by continuously hacking yourself.

The theme of this year’s Speaker Series is “Creating Together.” As a creator, how paramount is it to build meaningful relationships? 

It’s everything. Entrepreneurship is a team sport. The way to go beyond your own capabilities and limitations is through working with others. When I decided I would make it in or from the hip-hop industry, I couldn’t rap, sing or dance and could barely sew straight. FUBU was a result of collaborating and partnering with everyone from my co-founders to distributors and manufacturers.

What was your first business idea? What lessons did you learn from that? 

I sold pencils in elementary school. I started to learn the behavior and mentality of buyers. For example, people would pay more if I wrote their names on them or depending on how I would color them. I learned early on that you can’t think your way through everything. Sometimes you just have to act, see what happens and act again.

Act, learn, repeat. That’s entrepreneurship in a nutshell.

What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs?

Don’t do it alone. Get others on board. You will go much further with a team. Take small steps. A lot of people fail because they do too much too soon. They rent out a bakery before they sell any cookies. They spend $10,000 building a website when they could have started with a Facebook page. Work to keep your mistakes small while you’re learning and creating.

Tickets for the event as now available as admission is $15 or is free with an Elon ID. For ticket information, call (336) 278-5610 or visit