FORTUNE -- There are a lot of interesting things about John Paul DeJoria. Yes, he's the co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems, which sells hair products in more than 150,000 beauty salons in 87 countries. Many of us are familiar with his shampoo if not DeJoria himself. But few know about his other ventures. The 68-year-old DeJoria was also founder of more than a dozen other businesses, from Patrón Spirits to the House of Blues to DeJoria Diamonds. And then there's his hardscrabble life. He worked to help support his family when he was a kid, and he was even homeless twice once just as he launched John Paul Mitchell.
As the cliché goes, DeJoria has come a long way. He won't reveal many financial details, but says his worth is more than $4 billion. How did DeJoria do it? Here are edited excerpts of his story: