A billionaire industry mogul, John Catsimatidis, spilled the beans on how he built his empire from scratch, all while calling out Gen Z for their TikTok fixation.
The Empire Builder
At the age of 74, John Catsimatidis is renowned for his vast empire, including real estate holdings and supermarkets throughout Manhattan. His empire spans from oil refineries to hosting his own radio show.
From Humble Beginnings to Billionaire
Despite his current status, Catsimatidis didn’t start at the top. He began with a humble job at a supermarket, where he learned the value of hard work and honest earnings.
Work Hard, Don’t Fear Failure
Catsimatidis emphasized the importance of relentless effort, saying, “If you’re working 100 hours a week, and it’s not working, you’d better work 120. You can’t win if you’re afraid of losing.”
The Early Years
Born on the Greek island of Nisyros in 1948, Catsimatidis moved to New York at the age of six months.
The Motherly Push
After graduating from Brooklyn Tech High School, his mother, Despina, pushed him to get a job at a local grocery store.
Hard Work Trumps Lounging
Catsimatidis admitted that he initially planned to laze on the couch all summer after high school, but his mother had different plans. He ended up working 70 hours a week.
Perfection Pays Off
His commitment to perfection in the supermarket, ensuring everything was set up perfectly for the next day, laid the foundation for his future success.
The Supermarket Empire Begins
This venture marked the start of his supermarket empire, which now includes iconic New York names like Gristedes and Red Apple Markets.
Remarkably, he was making a million dollars a year at the age of 24.
The Best Advice Is Hire Smarter
When asked about his best advice for aspiring businesspeople, Catsimatidis stressed the importance of hiring people who know more than you do.
He also noted the significance of a good education and maintaining a clean reputation, but he believed that the younger generation often overlooks this crucial ingredient.
The TikTok Trap
Catsimatidis laments that many youngsters today are more interested in playing TikTok than putting in hard work.
These People Are Destined to Fail
He firmly believes that the harder you work, the easier it becomes to succeed, suggesting that those working only three days a week are destined for failure.
The Real Estate Gamble
In 1976, he invested $5 million of his supermarket’s earnings into real estate when it was considered risky. This gamble paid off handsomely.
Diversification is Key
Catsimatidis expanded his business portfolio aggressively in the 1980s from grocery stores to an aviation company, “You’re not going to make it in life unless you spread it around a little bit,” He said, “That’s my advice for people going to university, no matter what you’re taking up you should have a little bit of everything.”
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