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How JT McCormick Went from Broke and Homeless to CEO of an 8-Figure Business

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JT McCormick is the President and CEO Book in a Box, which is a quickly-growing startup co-founded by Tucker Max.

When Tucker was thinking about hiring JT, here’s what Tucker said about his background checks:

I’ll sum up what we found: he was even more of a baller than we thought. Everyone I talked to loved him. They told me stories about him that were so amazing they seemed made-up (for example, he put a kid through college that wasn’t his).

With traits like that, JT isn’t your average startup CEO.

He went through hell to get to where he is today…

  • Never graduated from high school
  • Lived part of his life with his dad, who was a pimp and drug dealer
  • Became a millionaire despite insane hardships like sexual abuse, homelessness, and juvenile detention centers

If you need a kick in the ass, you’ll LOVE the lessons JT shares.

You’ll learn 3 key things.

  1. What JT says made him successful (and how to build the quality in yourself)
  2. How JT would make his millions all over again if he had to
  3. Motivation tips to wake up at 4 am every day — even if you have a family or aren’t an early riser

BONUS: 6 ways I’d start an 8-figure business again from nothing

1. The 3 S’s

JT owes his success in large part to his hustle and work ethic.

H classifies his work ethic with the 3 S’s:

  • Sacrifice
  • Sleep
  • Success


No matter how good your work ethic, you need to sleep.

And even if you’re only sleeping three hours per night, those are still non-negotiable hours. You don’t want to become a zombie. 😴

With a good night’s sleep, you wake up feeling refreshed and ready go get it every day.

Here are three tips for better sleep:

  • Keep your room DARK. My bedroom is pitch-black so I can sleep better at night
  • No electronics in the bedroom. Don’t distract yourself
  • Maintain a schedule. Keep your body used to the routine of going to bed at a regular time (so you can get started with the day more easily)


People celebrate great athletes like LeBron James, Steph Curry, and Tom Brady.

But we celebrate what they do on the outside. Their 50-point games. The millions they make. How famous they are.

What isn’t talked about is the sacrifice that goes into their work ethic.

  • No one talks about the sacrifice that LeBron James makes working out every day
  • No one talks about the crazy travel schedule he has every week between NBA games
  • No one talks about the 50+ hours he spends behind his laptop studying game tape

Without the sacrifices and a good work ethic, the achievements are less likely.

To build a successful company, JT had to make sacrifices, too.

He can play a round of golf… or read books about leadership.

He can get drinks with friends… or spend time with family.

He can watch the game… or go to bed early.

There’s no right or wrong, but we ALL make sacrifices in our lives. What sacrifices are you making?

Think about what you could sacrifice to improve your life:

  • Cut down on 1 hour per week of Netflix and use it for your side hustle 💸
  • Cut back $60 on drinking (aka 2-3 nights per month) and spend it on a house cleaner ✨
  • Cut your Sunday night chill nights short and prep to dominate the work week 💪


Success means different things to everyone.

Maybe success to you is:

To apply this in your own life, first think about what success looks like to you.

Remember, it takes time — success doesn’t just happen overnight.

Defining what success means to you is the first step.

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2. How to start from scratch

If JT were to lose everything, he’s confident he could get it back.

He even says he could make millions again by starting his career over at McDonald’s! “Would you like fries with that?” 🍔

Here’s how he would climb the ranks:

  1. Months 1-3 – Make a good impression: Show up on time every single day. And no matter what tasks you’ve set, dominate them. If you’ve got to start mopping the floors, make sure they’re immaculate.
  2. Months 3-6 – Take on more responsibilities: “Can I learn fries? Can you teach me burgers?” At this stage, learn as much as you can about the business and how you can help.
  3. Months 6-9 – Take another step up: Turnaround in fast food jobs is quick, so by 6-9 months, you’ve been there longer than most. Now it’s time to ask for more responsibility… “Can I manage the checkouts? How about running the drive-thru?”

Taking steps into management:

  1. Months 9-12 – Assistant Manager: Having outlasted many of the staff, now is the time to become an assistant manager. You’ve shown in the previous nine months how quickly you can learn and how keen you are to take ownership… and now it pays off.
  2. Months 12-18 – General Manager: Now’s the time to step up and manage your own store. You know the place inside out and the people hiring for this role will know all about your work ethic and results.
  3. Months 18-24 – District Manager: “OK, can I be a district manager?” You’ve had success in one store, now you want to start running multiple locations.

What it all boils down to is simple: Working hard and doing the best job you can possibly do.

With this approach, JT could go from a minimum wage starter to an district manager in 18-24 months.

Plus, with the extra money from your day job, you can start to work on a side hustle.

Want to hear more about how J.T. went from broke to CEO of an 8-figure business? Check out the video below.

Here’s what should you take away from JT’s approach to starting over:

First, ask for what you want.

JT didn’t sit back and wait for promotions. He worked his off of and then asked for what he felt he deserved. You won’t succeed if you don’t ask.

The best way to get something is to ask for it.

Second, you’ll notice how JT talks about completing every task to the best of his abilities — no matter how mundane.

This is SUPER important if you want to grow. 💪

No matter what you’re tasked with, even if it’s super boring (and you feel above it), do your best. You can learn new things:

  • Tasked with a boring analytics report… make it the best report your boss has ever seen
  • Need to create a marketing plan? Go super in-depth and leave no stones unturned
  • Have to clean up the office kitchen? Go make it spotless

3. How to get up early and stay focused on your goal

  • “I’m not a morning person!”
  • “Ugh, I always hit snooze.”
  • “I could never wake up earlier than 7 am.”

Excuses, excuses.

JT gets up at 4 am every single day.

There are days his alarm goes off and he wants to hit snooze. But he never does.

He says it all comes down to a little perspective…

There are people in the world who are ill, people fighting wars, and people living through terrible hardships.

And when you think about the people in those situations, getting up early to work out and improve your skills doesn’t seem that hard.

I’ve experimented with getting up super early, too. And the mornings where I’m up before 5 am lead to some of my most productive days:

  • By noon, I’ve nearly got a full day of work done
  • It’s quiet and not distracting in the morning
  • I have the afternoons free to go outside, relax, and do whatever I want

If you want something bad enough, you’ll stop making excuses and get out of bed for it.

So many of you will say “I’m not a morning person.”

And you’d be right, but it’s only because you just told yourself you’re not a morning person. So that’s your mindset.

But if you stop telling yourself that you’re not a morning person and just do it, there’s nothing stopping you from getting up before 5 am every day.

JT uses his bonus early morning hours to either hit the gym or study his business craft.

Just think what could you do with an extra three hours every day before your day job:

  • Listen to a podcast or read a book to learn about your industry
  • Create a blog of your own to get your name out there
  • Finally start that side hustle that’s been on your mind for years

Learn more about where JT hopes to go in the future (and where he came from).

Please leave an iTunes review 😃

How to start an 8-figure business from scratch

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9 responses to “How JT McCormick Went from Broke and Homeless to CEO of an 8-Figure Business”

June 24, 2018 at 7:10 pm

Great interview.

Michael Gillispie
January 26, 2018 at 9:44 am

Wow, not often does a podcast recharge my cylinders but this one delivered. As an active duty Army officer that’s bootstrapped a business up to mid six figures in his “spare time” I kept singing an amen when IT mentioned sleep and sacrifice and work ethic.

Although I’ll caution about cutting out too much sleep…I got by on about 3 hours a night for my first couple of years and that adversely affected my health (which I’m still trying to recover from). You gotta have your sleep. Everything else is a distraction though.

January 12, 2018 at 10:50 pm

that’s a great list thanks for sharing..List shared by you is really good.
Keep posting such content.

kim rq
November 13, 2017 at 8:27 am

Great Article – as my own boss, working from home, and having a family – I lose track from time to time. Scheduling is key, and making those hours you spoke of – mornings are great. Quiet, peaceful, and fresh. 3 hours can feel like and entire day. And since I live overseas and am still learning the language, there is no support system to mentor or keep you on track – you need to do it yourself and own it. Do or don’t, its your choice! The little reminder to do the mundane, just as well as the 3 million dollar deal, is very hard to do, but true. I run three companies, basically by myself with a few parties handling certain tasks. Do unto others as you would have done unto you. If you want the best, give it. Can be applied everywhere! Pura vida.

Ghulam Qureshi
November 11, 2017 at 5:56 pm

Early bird catches the worm transformed to windfall dollars

Sri Siva
November 10, 2017 at 4:26 pm

great insights. If not morning person, can the same be achieved between 11 pm to 4 am?

Hansel Outler, LMT
November 9, 2017 at 4:21 am

It’s 4ish and I’m up! Time to get my day started. JT’s talk gave me a kick that was needed.

Maher Zein
November 7, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Thank you for this article, its very fruitful.

November 7, 2017 at 7:14 am

Really inspirational story! Thank you so much!

The asking part reminded me the 10% discount at Starbucks. We are usually scared about getting rejected, toughening our skin seems an important ability to train.

I’ve been following your blog and podcasts for the last month. I started changing some bad habits and tried meditation, loved it.

I didn’t recieve any notifications about updates in your blog. Is this intended to be like this?
Have a nice day!

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