From Rags To Riches: How One Homeless Woman Became A Millionaire

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Having grown up in a poor family, Dani Johnson had a very difficult childhood. Not only was she born to a poor family, but she was the victim of some pretty serious forms of abuse over the course of her childhood. Luckily, she wouldn’t be a victim, and did her best to get as far away as she could from her parents and the abusive home that they had created. At 21, Dani was in debt, homeless, dealing with a serious substance abuse issue, and trying to figure out whether her life was still worth living. At least, that is what she was experiencing until she managed to have the epiphany that changed her life forever.

Humble Begginings

The “rags to riches” theme is one that we all know. However, Dani Johnson’s story will have you holding back tears when you find out how she went from living in her car to being a millionaire.

Humble Begginings

Johnson was a girl born to what some would call ‘below humble’ beginnings. Originally from California, Dani struggled growing up. Her family was poor and she suffered from dyslexia – making her education very challenging. As she got older, her situation only got worse…

Waitressing

Dani’s parents also struggled terribly with substance abuse issues. Because of their addiction, they were not very good at raising their children and would often put their addiction ahead of their children.

Waitressing

Her childhood home was oppressive and she suffered abuse from her parents for a long time while growing up. At a young age, she ran away to Hawaii to get as far away from home as possible. She was working as a waitress at a cocktail bar when her past caught up with her.

Homeless

Even though Dani had made it to Hawaii safely, she struggled to make ends meet. Hawaii is known for being a very expensive place to live and her salary as a waitress (plus her tips) wasn’t enough for her to even make rent most months.

Homeless

On top of dealing with a low income, Dani had fallen into a very loose-minded lifestyle and had practically become a drifter, going from one partner to another. She couldn’t afford a home and so took to living in her car.

A History Of Violence

Due to the fact that Dani’s parents were addicts themselves, they would often abuse and neglect her as a child growing up. Despite all the emotional abuse she had faced as a child, her father would regularly beat her physically and sometimes even touched her inappropriately.

A History Of Violence

This had a terrible effect on her self-esteem and her view of the world and Dani quickly fell into the same kind of lifestyle that her parents had led, if only because it was all she knew.

Spiraling Out Of Control

The stress of running from her past was having a very negative effect on Dani’s life. The more she tried to get away from the memories of her abusive childhood, the more they seemed to haunt her.

Spiraling Out Of Control

She had started using illicit substances as a means of dealing with her pain, but that only made things worse. During this time in her life, she was sleeping around a lot and often relied on her partner for the evening for food and shelter.

Fear Of Becoming Her Parents

Dani had really been struggling to find a way to deal with her pain. By trying to outrun the issue, she found that she only kept bumping back into it more and more often.

Fear Of Becoming Her Parents

Her lifestyle had become incredibly negative, as she hated herself for doing what she did to herself, but was also trapped in this self-abusive cycle. It was really taking its toll on her psyche. She was afraid that she was becoming her parents – the last thing on Earth she wanted.

Mountain Of Debt

On top of having a low income and being homeless except for her car, Dani also had a whopping $35,000 in outstanding debts. Her immediate goal was to try and earn enough money to get herself off the street and into her own apartment.

Mountain Of Debt

After waking up from a substance-induced stupor, Dani felt lost. As she wandered around trying to figure out what to do with her life, she knew that she had to do something and quick or she would never reclaim her life.

Inspiration

After coming up with nothing in terms of a solution from her first day of trying to figure one out, Dani went to sleep in her car for another evening. When she woke up, she noticed a weight loss program that she had kept on the backseat of her car.

Inspiration

Suddenly, it dawned on her what she had to do to survive. She studied the weight loss brochure and called the manufacturer’s number. She decided that she would try selling the program to earn some extra cash…

Base Of Operations

However, after making her first phone call to the manufacturer, Dani realized that this was going to be a lot harder than she thought. She needed a physical address and a telephone – she had neither.

Base Of Operations

Thinking quickly, she picked up a phonebook and searched for an automated answering machine company. She reserved a number for herself via the company and asked a local liquor store if she could use their address for packages. They agreed and Dani had a base of operations for her business.

Marketing

Now that Dani had all the basics she needed for her business to begin its operation, she needed to focus on marketing her product. Because she didn’t have any cash to print flyers, she decided to start simply with a handwritten flyer.

Marketing

She took the flyer to the local post office and stuck it up in the entrance. After three hours, she called her voice machine thinking that she’d have no response, but things seemed to line up quite differently for the young entrepreneur…

Amazing Response

Dani wasn’t holding out much hope for the kind of response she was expecting from her first attempt. She had no real business skills and hadn’t ever gone to college – she just wanted something to give her hope again. 

Amazing Response

After three hours of waiting, she called to check her voicemail and was amazed to find out that 24 people had called to leave messages for her regarding her flyer and the weight loss program she was selling. Dani was elated!

Source Of Income

However, getting these responses was only the start of the process. In order to turn over any profit, she would have to call the people back and try to convince them to buy her product from her.

Source Of Income

After failing her first call, she did a little research and found out how to approach the subject of weight loss. After that she managed to win over all of her potential clients for the month, enabling her to deposit 40 checks in her first month – roughly $4,000!

Starting A Business

Dani was totally overwhelmed by the amazing response she had been receiving. Never in her wildest dreams had she imagined that the little business she started from the back of her car would be able to turn over such a sizeable profit in such a short space of time.

Starting A Business

While she had some momentum going for her, Dani decided that turning her start-up into a valid business would be a good idea. She moved into a 5,000 square foot office and started running her business full time.

Going It Alone

After a while of running her business successfully, Dani decided to do something that she would ultimately wind up regretting for the rest of her life.

Going It Alone

Rather than continue to sell the weight loss program she was already using, she decided that she wanted to create her own and increase her profit margin. The problem was that she had never done something like this before. Soon, her lack of experience took its toll on her business and she lost clients, staff, and money very quickly.

Tough Lesson

Realizing that she was a lot more inexperienced than she let herself originally believe, Dani basically had to pick herself up from scratch again and get her business off the ground.

Tough Lesson

Her main goal now was to get the business functioning again so that she could sell it for a profit. She decided to retrain her staff to ensure that they made the clients their priority. She needed a customer care force, not just a sales force, and pretty soon she was back on top.

Starting From Scratch – Again

Dani needed to reimagine how her business was functioning, as she had just managed to pull herself out of sheer poverty, only to find herself in a similar position of being bankrupt again and having to hustle.

Starting From Scratch – Again

She focussed her attention on how her business was operating and realized that her previous employees had been too much like salesmen. They weren’t really catering to the clients, just selling the product as quickly as possible. When Dani changed this aspect, her client list grew even more!

Selling Her Business

Once Dani had managed to get her clientele list back to what it used to resemble, she realized that she had managed to pull herself out of debt and poverty yet again.

Selling Her Business

This was an amazing feat considering how lucky she was to have made it this far in the first place. Dani decided that she wanted to sell her business, but made sure she negotiated a royalties agreement in the contract. After selling the company, she became a multimillionaire practically overnight!

Expansion

After selling her business, Dani Johnson had literally become a multimillionaire in an instant. She had left behind the years of addiction, promiscuity, and homelessness in order to establish herself as an independent businesswoman – something that she was incredibly proud of.

Expansion

However, she had acquired an appetite for success now and decided that she would continue expanding her business empire rather than hang up the towel for good. Today, Dani owns five individually successful companies and all of them bring in a substantial amount of profit for her.

Meeting Her Husband

Right at the beginning of Dani’s weight loss program business, she had put out a call for employees to help her sell the product and deal with customer relations.

Meeting Her Husband

One of the people who applied for the job was Hans – the man who would later go on to become Dani’s husband. The two were an instant match for each other and started bonding pretty early on. During the toughest times, Hans was there for Dani and kept her from doing anything irrational when she felt weakest.

Getting Married

After having managed to turn her life into a success in terms of her business, Dani realized that needed something else in her life at that point.

Getting Married

Whenever she thought about the tough times, she immediately thought of all the good Hans had done for her, keeping her from relapsing or harming herself during the most stressful points in her career. She knew that she loved him and soon afterward, the two decided to get married. They’ve since had five children and a total of eight grandchildren!

Becoming Famous

After a while, word of Dani’s incredible story had made it around the country. She was often referred to as the “homeless millionaire” and her story touched the hearts of many different people.

Becoming Famous

As she gained popularity, she garnered more fame for herself by being invited onto shows like The Oprah Show or Secret Millionaire because people were interested in her incredible story. Dani had gone from being a nobody and homeless to a celebrity businesswoman almost overnight. Her fame came naturally and was well-deserved.

Giving Back

Dani had come from poverty and had spent the majority of her early life suffering in even worse poverty as a result. She knew more than most average people how horrible it felt to be homeless and powerless over your own life.

Giving Back

So in an attempt to help others who may be in a similar position that she used to be in, she decided to start a charity that focusses on helping orphans and victims of human trafficking get shelter, food, and protection.

Homeless Hero

Dani’s story has inspired millions of people and she has gone on to make a huge success out of her life. She lives as an example that with the right mindset, you can achieve amazing things.

Homeless Hero

Her story was so touching, and the work she does for charity so good, that she was recently awarded the honorable position of being Ambassador Of The Poor – a way of saying thanks to her for accomplishing what she did and for doing good for those in need.

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