Kevin O’Leary is a Canadian Businessman, Author, and TV personality best known for being an investor at the “Shark Tank.” He rose from a modest background until he got to become a multi-millionaire and magnate thanks to his many business ventures.
He was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is half of Lebanese Descent and half Irish Descent. He started his first business with the 10k dollars that his mother lent him when he was young that he used to create an educational software called SoftKey. His mother was a skilled investor; she invested one-third of her capital in various funds that returned a high yield to Kevin after her death.
Kevin wanted to study photography at first, but his stepfather advised him to pursue a business career instead. This fact brought him to graduate in Environmental Studies and psychology in 1997 and later in 1980 an MBA in Entrepreneurship.
Career and Struggle
After a short internship in marketing between the two degrees, Kevin worked as a television producer after which, together with two former MBA friends of him, cofounded Special Event Television (SET), an independent television production company. He later sold his share in the company for $25.000 that reinvested into his next business venture SoftKey in 1986. It was a company that published and distributed CD-ROM based personal computer software for Windows and Macintosh.
SoftKey grew more and more during the next years until in 1995 it acquired “The Learning Company” for $606 million. Eventually, The Learning Company was acquired by Mattel in 1999 for US $4.2 billion that was one of the worst business acquisitions ever made.
He later participated in many business ventures and projects. For example, he became an investor in StorageNow Holdings, a Canadian developer of climate-controlled storage facilities in 2003. In January 2007 Kevin went for the race of conservative leadership he eventually dropped out of the race in April 2007. Instead in 2008 cofounded O’Leary Funds Inc., a mutual fund company focused on global yield investing.
In 2009 he started participating in the TV show “Shark Tank” where he got his nickname of “Mr. Wonderful.” His business preference as an investor is notably to take a percentage of the future revenues of the business funded, rather than taking a share in the company.
O’Leary has been a successful man also as an author, in fact in 2011 he released his book Cold Hard Truth: On Business, Money & Life, where he shows his view on entrepreneurship, money, and life. To date, he is interested in politics and trade amongst countries, promoting his ideas and opinions on how things should be managed.
5 Tips to Succeed from Kevin O’Leary
Tip #1: Don’t do everything by yourself
Learn to delegate your tasks to other people that can do them better than you. As an entrepreneur, it’s impossible that you can do everything by yourself. If you think about it, every organization, by its definition is something that has an organization. Don’t use your time for the things other people can do as that’s what you hired them for.
Tip #2: Always be at your best
“Whatever you do somebody can do it better, you gotta bring your A-game every single day.” He says that every individual is unique only concerning their passion and their ability to execute and meet targets. Whenever you lose that ability, you’re out of the game (in the realm of capitalism he says). Executional skills are what matter to succeed much more than a vision and an idea.
Tip #3: Enjoy the Process
Being an entrepreneur is a daunting task itself already; that’s why you might get caught up into a spiral of performance only instead of enjoyment. Remember to have fun along the way and enjoy the process itself that will bring you towards your goal; otherwise, it’s very likely to suffer from psychological burnout apart from highly lowering the chances of success.
Tip #4: Work for Yourself
If you want control over your destiny, you have to work for yourself, he says. That’s the truth as in life you either work for somebody or you work for yourself. “There’s nothing better to wake up in the morning and do whatever you like. It’s about Freedom.” Nothing against being an employee but being an entrepreneur is much better than being an employee, according to Kevin O’Leary. Don’t do it for the money, do it for the Freedom that becoming successful will give you.
Tip #5: Focus on what matters
With the enormous distractions of social media, people are wasting their time into things that do not bring money to them since, after all, that’s what you have to fight for on this planet to support both you and your family. If what matters is not given the importance that deserves, then failure is almost inevitable because of the law of cause-effect.
Kevin O’Leary’s Best Quotes
I’m not trying to make friends; I’m trying to make money.
Money tears families apart for lack of, and for too much. It’s a very powerful force, and you have to understand it and respect it.
“If You Want to Control Your Own Destiny, Work For Yourself!”
“I actually argue that what matters the most is execution skills.”
“Vision is easy; Execution is hard.”
3 Lessons from Kevin O’Leary we can learn from his story
Lesson 1: Do It for the Freedom
You have to be driven to reach your goals by something beyond money. In his case, Kevin did it for the Freedom that would come out after the tremendous initial efforts of building the business.
Lesson 2: Be rational in business but follow your gut
When you create a business, your focus should be in your business first, and you can’t let your emotions get in the way between you and business success. You have to serve your customers (or shareholders) first as they are what will bring their business on. Nepotism is what kills business more than ever as; usually, the best employee is not often your best friend or relative. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t listen to your gut anyway, as successful entrepreneurs have high self-awareness. You have
Lesson 3: Diversify your Businesses
As we can see from how he acted during his business years, he first became successful in one business (SoftKey) but then expanded into other areas once he had enough resources and success gotten with his previous ones.
He refuses to spend his money on Starbucks coffee, and he would fire any of his interns drinking it he would fire them.
He closes every big deal at the same table with the same pen
He has one of the most valuable wine collections in the world and has his own wine line.
He claims to have been to every beach on the planet
He is a guitar player and photographer
He doesn’t intend to give his children any of his money
Many of the investment lessons he got came from his mother, including the practice to save 1/3 of his money.
He is one of the most fierce entrepreneurs out there, a real shark we could say that has really had a business mindset. He might seem ruthless and very cynical in his behavior, but as an entrepreneur and investor, you can’t get caught up too much in emotions.