The Definitive Guide to Business

‘Shark Tank’ star Kevin O’Leary: There’s ‘not a chance in hell’ I will invest in your start-up if you still have a day job

"Shark Tank" star Kevin O'Leary
Photo by Tommaso Boddi
"Shark Tank" star Kevin O'Leary

In the era of the side hustle, star of ABC's "Shark Tank" and self-made millionaire Kevin O'Leary has a harsh stance on the subject. He will not, under any circumstances, invest in entrepreneurs who still have jobs elsewhere.

"I am never going to invest in you if you have a part-time job somewhere else; not a chance in hell. You have to be committed 110 percent," says O'Leary on a recent Facebook Live.

O'Leary started SoftKey Software Products from his basement with no cash, and as he grew the company, he bought up his competition. In 1999, he sold his software company to the Mattel Toy Company for $3.7 billion. He went on to launch a mutual fund, O'Leary Funds, and a primarily online wine business, Kevin O'Leary Fine Wines, among other ventures.

"I will never invest in an entrepreneur who is still in school or still working somewhere else," says O'Leary. "If you are not willing to give 110 percent of your time, why should I give you money? That will never happen. Maybe some other Shark would, but I wouldn't."

"I am never going to invest in you if you have a part-time job somewhere else; not a chance in hell. You have to be committed 110 percent." -Kevin O'Leary, "Shark Tank" star

"In business, poo poo happens, things get really tough sometimes, and you have got to be totally committed," he says. "You have got to be ready to work 25 hours a day."

O'Leary's strategy is not for everyone. His fellow star on "Shark Tank," Daymond John, has the exact opposite advice.

Amazing new set design for #SharkTank season 9. It's a whole new ballgame! Day 1

A post shared by Kevin O'Leary (@kevinolearyshark) on

John turned $40 worth of cloth into a $6 billion urban clothing brand, FUBU. And as he was building the company, he was living off his job as a waiter at Red Lobster. As FUBU started to grow, he spent more hours working on his business and less on his job as a waiter.

"I was working at Red Lobster for five years as a waiter as I was running this business," John says. At first "it was 40 hours at Red Lobster and six hours at FUBU. Then it was 30 hours at Red Lobster and 20 hours at FUBU, because money started to come in."

John's advice to entrepreneurs is to not quit their day job. Having a second source of revenue outside your entrepreneurial venture keeps you out of devastating debt if the business doesn't take off, he says.

Building a successful business while maintaining your side hustle will keep you busy, but that's the price of success, says John. "Work. Bust your butt. Get up before everybody, go to sleep after everybody, and bust your butt. That's it."

Disclaimer: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."

See also:

Wharton's No. 1 professor: "'Never give up' is bad advice. Sometimes quitting is a virtue."

What billionaire Mark Cuban learned about building a successful business from the terrible boss who fired him

The email, workout and sleep habits of highly successful billionaire Mark Cuban