It’s not often that a man well known for defrauding companies of millions of dollars, taking drugs and getting involved in other illegal activities is considered inspirational; but after The Wolf of Wall Street hit cinema screens in late 2013 we all vowed that our New Year’s resolution would definitely be to start making millions.
The Martin Scorsese film tells the true story of Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), a real man who, under the guise of his brokerage firm, Stratton Oakmont, swindled various companies out of millions of dollars. It documents his rise to success as well as the events that led to him swiftly losing his fortune in 2003 when his exploits caught up with him, landing him in prison for 22 months.
Now though, the wolf has turned his life around. He’s out of jail and pays 50% of his income back to his victims. Having travelled a long way from his lawless background, he now gives motivational speeches to budding entrepreneurs and young people starting out in their careers.
We decided it was worth getting some advice from Jordan Belfort to see what can be learnt from his mistakes and to find out more about how he transformed himself from criminal to successful business man...
The Wolf of Wall Street film was based on a book you wrote, but the story doesn’t exactly paint you in the greatest light – what made you decide to tell it?
I wrote The Wolf of Wall Street when I got out of prison, not only as a cautionary tale, but also to show that you can be at the bottom of the barrel and still come back stronger than ever before.
That’s definitely what you’ve done! What advice would you give your younger self in retrospect?
I wish I could go back in time and tell the Jordan Belfort of the early 1990s, the one in the film, that giving in to greed and corruption isn’t the way to make money.
Do you think anyone can be an entrepreneur?
Yes. It’s easy to get rich. It has to be, because the world is just too expensive. There was a time when I was making more than $50 million a year, but I paid the price for throwing my ethics into the trash.
What are your words to live by now?
A man has a lot of time to reflect on his past in prison. I believe in ethics and making money the right way.
Lastly, do you have any words of wisdom for young people hoping to emulate your success?
You can’t take advantage of people and break all the rules without paying the price.
A great final thought! Are you inspired by this advice from Jordan Belfort? If you want to take a course to help you succeed like Jordan did, have a look at the business ones we’ve got here on Hotcourses.
Jade will talk your ear off about rowing if you let her. She studied an MA and NCTJ diploma in Journalism at Brunel but her course-taking didn't stop there, having tried a number of different subjects since working here, even magic. Whether you're an expert who wants to share their knowledge, a student who's had a great experience or you just want to say hi, she'd love you to get in touch through our social media pages.