'Shark Tank': Kevin O'Leary Reveals the 1 Thing He Would Tell His Younger Self – Listen Up, Millennials
Kevin O’Leary of ABC’s Shark Tank has established himself as a business mogul. Now investing in aspiring entrepreneurs on the ABC hit reality show, O’Leary never sugarcoats his opinions despite his “Mr. Wonderful” moniker if he sees a company about to fail.
Always reaching for success, the Shark Tank star shared one piece of advice he wish he would’ve known in his earlier days.
Kevin O’Leary’s motivation for becoming an entrepreneur
In a 2017 interview, O’Leary revealed his first job was at a mall ice cream store when he was a teenager. His excitement regarding his employment soon faded when he was asked to scrape gum off the floor by his boss. When O’Leary refused, he was fired.
“I was hired as a scooper not a scraper,” O’Leary recalled telling the boss, according to CNBC. “I went home, and explained what happened to my mother. She said, ‘That was a bad mistake.’”
The Shark Tank star’s mom then offered him some advice that helped shape his future.
“’There’s two types of people in the world,’” O’Leary remembered his mother telling him. “‘Those that own the store and those that scrape the s*it off the floor, and you have to decide which one you are.’”
From then on, O’Leary became determined to be his own boss.
‘Shark Tank’ star believes in starting young
Now an uber successful industry icon, O’Leary was recently asked if he would give his younger self any words of wisdom.
“I would tell myself to start earlier,” he told Ivey Business Review in 2020. “I wish I had done more earlier on. The younger you are, the more you should try because the minute you get married and you have kids, you have responsibilities and mortgages, it gets harder and harder.”
The Shark Tank investor believes getting an early jump on your goals will pay off later down the line.
“It’s better to take chances early, just get out, maybe spend a year working for somebody and then do your own thing,” O’Leary recommended. “Not everybody’s going to pursue entrepreneurship, maybe about a third of the class will. Many will go on to illustrious careers as bankers, lawyers, and engineers working for somebody else. But if you have it in you to be an entrepreneur, don’t wait, get going, there is nothing like it!”
Mr. Wonderful knows what he’s worth
With the success of his business portfolio and Shark Tank investments, O’Leary is well aware of the value he can bring to a startup company.
“I don’t consider myself an ordinary investor anymore,”he told ThoughtEconomics in December 2017. “I don’t care what the last round was valued at. This may sound arrogant, and perhaps it is, but I’m Mr. Wonderful. What I can do for businesses is remarkable, I have a huge team that supports social media, I can open doors for entrepreneurs that have been shut to them for years.”
Putting his money and reputation on the line when investing in entrepreneurs, O’Leary always wants to ensure that it’s worth the risk.
“The first thing for me is, how can I help that person?” Mr. Wonderful shared. “I have 44 companies in my portfolio, and with every single one, I’m constantly thinking – how can I help them? How can I make a difference? If I can’t add any value, there’s no point putting any money to work, but when I get behind it and put my name to it, I want it to be successful.”
ABC’s Shark Tank airs on Friday nights.
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