While selling hair care products, DeJoria met Paul Mitchell in 1971, and the pair launched Paul Mitchell Systems with only $700.
"It took off," says DeJoria in the movie.
His next big success came in 1989. DeJoria's friend Martin Crowley promised to bring him back some tequila from a trip to Mexico. Instead, Crowley came back with an idea, DeJoria told Fortune. He believed the world was ready for a higher end tequila product than existed at the time in the U.S.
Patron Spirits produced 1,000 cases in its first year. Today, Patron produces, "more than three million cases of distilled spirits annually that are enjoyed around the world," Dejoria says in the Barcardi press release.
It all taught the uber successful entrepreneur one very important thing about success: Don't expect it to be easy.
"Be prepared for a lot of rejection," he tells CNBC Make It, "because you are going to get it. If you are prepared for it, it's not going to hurt you as much."
Indeed, it's all about persistence, he says. "Be just as enthusiastic on door 101 if 100 have been closed in your face. Eventually you're going to do it."
DeJoria has come a long way from those days living in his car. But he believes, "success unshared is failure," so he has also committed to philanthropy. The 73-year-old pledged to give the majority of his wealth away to charity as a member of the The Giving Pledge, a charitable campaign led by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates.
"Success is not how much money you have, success is how well you do what you do," he says.
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