Entrepreneurs

Shark Tank judge: Failure is as much your responsibility as success

Multimillionaire Robert Herjavec's story, that of an immigrant arriving in North America with just $20, is a perfect rags-to-riches tale.

His family fled communist Yugoslavia when he was a child in hopes of landing in America, the land of opportunity, only to be turned away. The family ultimately found refuge in Canada.

The 53-year-old serial entrepreneur told CNBC that he had trouble adjusting to his new country at age 8. Herjavec's father told him to never complain and that "'all you're owed in life is an opportunity.'"

Obstacles and rough patches are just par the course, Herjavec said.

"You're going to get knocked down. You just got to get up again and you got to keep going because at the end of the day, success is your responsibility, and so is failure," he said.

It's fine to struggle and stumble, but entrepreneurs should never give in, Herjavec said.

"Sometimes you got to go really low. Sometimes you got to hit bottom before you can bounce back up. Fundamentally, what other choice do you have? We weren't put here to wallow in our own misery," he said.

Certainly Herjavec's story proves that out. As a young man, Herjavec bounced around, dabbling in everything from field producing at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo to waiting tables before landing an unpaid internship at a computer company.

Robert Herjavec at Iconic in Seattle on April 5, 2016.
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Robert Herjavec at Iconic in Seattle on April 5, 2016.

Fast forward to 2003, when he founded the Herjavec Group, now one of the largest information technology security providers in North America, where he would make his millions.

When CNBC asked what his greatest mistakes were, Herjavec joked he's made so many that the time allotted for the interview wasn't long enough to go through them all.

"I would say that on an average day, I do 100 things wrong. I try not to make mistakes that'll kill me or the business," he said. Mistakes are just part of the process, he continued, and growing from those experiences is what really matters.

"Learn from them and then most importantly, forget about them. It doesn't matter. Whatever you did wrong yesterday, nobody cares. Don't complain because nobody cares," he said.

"Get over it. Move on. Do better. Take care of the ones you love," said Herjavec, who appeared in the 20th season of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," and took sixth place. He is now engaged to his dance partner, Kym Johnson. Herjavec is also a host of "Shark Tank."

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