But Johnson — business owner, author, life coach and one of the charitable millionaires featured in ABC’s reality TV hit last spring — will quickly dissuade you.
“My parents never worked. My mother and father neglected us, with the television on 24-7 while they were drinking or on cocaine, and beating the crap out of us. I had to go through some hard knocks,” says the 42-year-old Texas native, who was in town recently to promote her new book.
First Steps to Wealth (Call to Freedom Intl., 299 pages, paperback) is an intriguing manual purporting to teach downtrodden Americans the “12 Laws of Success” that helped Johnson get where she is, and how to get free of debt. It’s free for the asking, at Dani
Johnson was featured in the launch of “Secret Millionaire,” a series where some of America’s most successful, self-made millionaires leave their wealth for a week to live in a poverty-stricken area — at the end, gifting $100,000 or more of their own money to unsung community heroes they find.
It triggered a media gabfest on Johnson’s personal story, subsequently shared from Oprah’s couch.
Raised by drug-addicted, welfare-dependent parents, in a home with all manner of child abuse present, Johnson was pregnant by 17, and found herself evicted and homeless at age 21.
Astonishingly, Johnson earned her first million dollars by age 23.
Today, she’s the multimillionaire owner of Call to Freedom Intl. and other companies in marketing consulting, publishing, and life coaching. She also runs the nonprofit King’s Ransom Foundation.
“My parents groomed me to fail financially, emotionally, relationally and socially,” the mother of five writes. “It doesn’t matter what kind of a start you had. All that matters is how you finish.”
At 21, suicidal and living out of her car, she was down to $2.03 to her name, Johnson writes, when she underwent a spiritual awakening. Led to try her hand at sales, Johnson, through trial and error, perfected her sales skills to accumulate her first $1 million in two years.
Over the next decade, however, she’d go broke again many times.
“There’s three things you need to know about money: how to make it, which most people know, how to keep it, which most people don’t have a clue on, and how to turn it into your slave,” she says.
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