Lessons from the wolf

Jordan Belfort was jailed for securities fraud and money laundering, but he's now making millions from motivational speak, book royalties and a movie deal. 

In 1998, Jordan Belfort was indicted for securities fraud and money laundering and jailed for 22 months. He is now making a motza from the motivational speaker circuit, book royalties and a movie deal. So what has the one-time criminal learnt?

IT’S HARD to decide whether the handsome man with the strong New York accent before an audience of financial professionals is repentant about the millions of dollars he stole or cheated out of stock brokers in the late ‘80s and ‘90s.

As he speaks, you wonder whether he is using one of his well-crafted persuasive techniques on you? Whether you like or hate him – whether or not you believe a criminal should be profiting from their wrongdoing – you can’t say Jordan Belfort’s story isn’t interesting.

The convicted money launderer was speaking to 200 platform development and distribution specialists recently at the 13th annual Wraps, Platfroms & Masterfunds conference in the Hunter Valley.

His name had become well known with the imminent release of The Wolf of Wall Street, a movie based on Jordan’s life and starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role.

He’s a rapid-fire speaker, jumping from one sentence to the next like a gymnast, and it’s not hard to see how Jordan could double talk his way out of virtually anything.

He showed the first signs of entrepreneurial greatness at just eight years old when he started a local paper route. He knocked on doors, expanding his route to the point where his mother had to step in.

“Mum made me sell the paper route. I was knocking on so many doors, I didn’t want to go to school anymore,” he tells the room with a laugh. “So I sold the route and I retired for $35.”

At age 16, Jordan found himself earning big money.

“I was in New York and I went down to the local beach, which is Jones Beach,” he says. “It is a massive beach – far bigger then Bondi. It was a Sunday afternoon and there was about a million people there. I could see that it was a long walk from the sand to the concession stand so I thought, ‘Hmmm, I wonder if I had a cooler full of ice-creams, drinks and this and that I could sell them and make a profit?’”

The next day he struck a deal with the local ice cream distributor to purchase a 100-scoop barrel of ice cream for $7, then selling the ice cream for $1 a cup. He purchased a cooler and in 45 minutes of stepping onto the beach, Jordan had sold out and made a cool $100.

“The year was 1978. Back then that was a lot of money for a kid – it is a lot of money now – but back then $100 in less than an hour was just ridiculous.”

That summer, Jordan and his friends made $25,000. He used the money to put himself through college.

Read More

Share post