You don’t lose when you fail. You lose when you give up.
Nobody knows this better than my guest on today’s episode. He’s had his irons in almost as many fires as there are fires to have irons IN…and by his own admission, far more of them have crashed and burned than have succeeded.
But through it all, he understood the same straightforward but effective methodology he advocates today: that failure is always a learning experience, and persistence and determination are the only recipe for excellence.
And given his results, it’s hard to argue.
“I was always a guy who had a lot of speed. Like whatever I set my mind to, I could get there quickly. But my aim was always off! And so what I realized is, if you’re going the wrong direction at 100 miles an hour, it’s a lot worse than if you’re going the right direction at one mile an hour.” – Dhar Mann.
Dhar was raised in the Bay Area as the son of conservative immigrant parents. Early on, he dabbled in the family business: one of the largest taxi companies in northern California.
Before long, he was turning his family revenue into investments. As early as 19 years old, Dhar started sinking money into real estate investments. Sports car, and limousine rentals. Construction companies. Medical cannabis. Chasing money by diversifying but spreading himself too thin in the process.
It wasn’t all famine over feast, though. There were ups and downs, certainly. But even in the face of having his lunch eaten, Dhar was forever hustling; always looking for the next opportunity.
Before long, he had sold his cannabis distribution business and used the nest egg to relocate to Los Angeles. Once there, Dhar set about living the flashy life of the idle rich – cars, mansions, $5K bar tabs…spending more money than he was bringing in. But he was confident there was always another opportunity. For awhile, he was right.
That is, until he wasn’t. A series of bad investments, dried-up prospects, and even a brush with the law (one that earned him hefty fines and probation for having mis-handled aspects of the dispensary business) left Dhar suddenly broke. He went from bottle service to battle scars almost overnight, crashing on his friend’s couch with hardly a dime to his name.
But a chance meeting would save his life.
Dhar ran into beauty blogger Laura G over lunch at a restaurant. They felt an immediate connection. And when Laura told Dhar that she was feeling burned out from traveling the world giving beauty and makeup seminars, Dhar felt a lightbulb go off. He asked Laura if she’d be willing to let her audience come to her rather than the inverse.
With the last $600 he had to his name, Dhar bought a webcam, and some box lights. Laura jumped in front of the lens, and they shot a tutorial. And, just like that – their partnership LiveGlam was born.
(Incidentally, it’s worth noting they also forged a life partnership in the process.)
In the years since, Dhar and Laura have gone full “couple-preneur,” growing LiveGlam from a YouTube channel into a massive beauty empire. They travel the world as evangelists for the brand, the company ships curated cosmetics collections to countless happy customers every month, and an A-list squad of icons and influencers helps to spread the love to every corner of the planet.
Dhar has had some extraordinary successes, but he knows everything there is to know about failure.
He said there have been three major failures in his life, some that he never thought he could ever recover from.
The first was the financial crisis in 2008 paired with his spending habits. The industry collapsed. Real estate was a bust. Dhar was spending money faster than he could make it at that point, and he could no longer keep up with his expensive lifestyle. He couldn’t afford the car payment on his Lamborghini (keep in mind, he was in college at this point!). He blamed the mortgage crisis, and while it definitely had something to do with it, he wasn’t taking any accountability for his actions. There were other businesses that survived the collapse, but Dhar’s tanked completely. At the time, he wasn’t willing to admit his failure.
The second failure was worse. Dhar ended up getting some criminal charges for mis-handling aspects of the dispensary business. He was one of the top sellers of medical marijuana in California. They called him the “Guru of Ganji.” His license was revoked, he went broke, and his reputation was in the dirt. He ended up accepting the charges and was put on probation for five years.
….and it keeps getting worse. The third failure was that Dhar unknowingly invested into a Ponzi scheme and was earning all his money through investment fraud. He was living that crazy fast, Hollywood lifestyle and was back on top. But then it busted. Once again, he blamed the people around him. He victimized himself instead of taking ownership, which is the worst thing you can do when it comes to dealing with failure.
Dhar took a second to think. What was the common denominator between all these failures? He realized that it was himself. He was the problem. He realized that if he didn’t seriously try to change his methods and his motivations, his outcome would never change.
Admitting that you’re the problem is tough. It’s humiliating. But if you truly are the problem, then that problem is not going to suddenly fix itself until you make personal changes.
Failure often gives us a lot of time to sit and think. We can either sit in self hatred or denial or we can take the time to reflect on our mistakes and change for the better. Dhar decided to do the latter.
After Dhar’s three major failures, his reputation was not looking too great. He said he always had an entrepreneurial mindset, but he also had an obsession of making money fast. Cutting corners didn’t seem like a big issue – until it was. He had good intentions, but was willing to sacrifice authenticity to get what he wanted.
“I had a broken moral compass,” he said.
He lost all his friends. He considered moving back home to live with his parents whose money he had spent. He went through a massive depression and would walk circles around his block, because he couldn’t sit still with the weight of his failure.
That’s when he realized that “his reputation was worth more than his money.”
He began to read books, listen to podcasts, and mediate. He completely dropped off social media. He decided that it was time to stop being superficial and flamboyant. He reinvented Dhar Mann.
“I came to the realization that external success starts with internal success. And that the only way I was gonna change my life around is if I change my thinking process.” – Dhar Mann.
Dhar spent his twenties chasing money, but it wasn’t until he started investing in himself that change began to happen. He realized that true success wasn’t going to happen to him if he continued making unwise choices.
Dhar could have given up, but he didn’t. He realized that he needed to change. He needed to straighten that moral compass and start investing in his character.
Dhar says that most of the time, we are surrounded by great opportunities. Unfortunately, we sometimes pass up those opportunities because we’re afraid we don’t have what it takes. We’re afraid of failure. That fear can keep you from accomplishing some amazing things.
Dhar was met with an opportunity that he couldn’t refuse.
He met beauty blogger Laura G over lunch at a restaurant. She told Dhar that she was feeling burned out from traveling the world giving beauty and makeup seminars. Dhar felt a lightbulb go off: What if she could promote and teach classes online? She was immediately interested.
Dhar offered to help her. He didn’t know anything about makeup. He didn’t know much about creating a website. He was on his last dollars, and when he saw a good opportunity, he reeled it in. He didn’t have everything figured out at first, but he was determined to make it work and not make the same mistakes he had made in the past.
They launched the site. They made around $100,000 in revenue in that first month.
It’s time to buy a Ferrari, right? Some Gucci bags? Nope. Dhar resisted the temptation. That was the old Dhar. His whole life he had been chasing after luxury, and it ran him into the ground. He wasn’t about to do that again. He did the opposite:
“And so, I was living in this tiny studio apartment, that you know probably about 300 square feet or so. There wasn’t even enough room for a bed and a couch, so I had the couch that I use as the bed, and I had a roommate. So we took turns sleeping – I would sleep on the floor one night, he would sleep on the bed one night.”
He decided that he was going to stay in that apartment not only until he could build a strong savings account but also until he could pay everyone back. That’s exactly what he did. Every penny he had wasted before, he returned. He changed his mindset so that he would change his habits. And it worked.
Do you find yourself sitting in failure, not knowing how you can possibly overcome it?
Maybe you made some mistakes that put you there, and maybe you need to take some responsibility for those mistakes. Maybe your mindset needs some re-centering to get you back on track.
Dhar knows all about failure and how to overcome it. This episode was truly inspiring. I feel like our stories are very similar: We both had to kill an identity. My whole life used to be shaped around winning and needing to be right and needing to look good. And when I killed that identity, that drive, everything started to turn around for me.
Dhar realized he had to kill his old identity. He changed his mindset. He didn’t spend all his money on luxury. And even when he returned to social media, he was interested in creating content that matters – content that people could emotionally connect with. No more superficial Dhar – it’s only the real Dhar now.
I really loved Dhar’s definition of greatness. It’s simply “doing what you love, every day.”
You too can bounce back from failure if you stay focused, commit to a long term solution, and pursue something you love.
Don’t be afraid to try again.