Shark Tank

Robert Herjavec's success is driven by the sacrifices of his parents

According to Robert Herjavec, "You never know the situation you grow up in until you compare it to something else."

And after a long successful career, Herjavec's life couldn't be more different from where he started.

Born in the communist country of Croatia, then known as Yugoslavia, Herjavec's house had dirt floors, hay, and no running water. Yugoslavia was a great country if you were a Communist, but Herjavec's dad was ardently anti-Communism.

He was thrown in jail twenty-two times, and the final time Herjavec's father was warned that his chances had run out. He promptly gathered one suitcase, Herjavec and Herjavec's mother, before fleeing by boat to Canada.

The move took its toll on Herjavec's father. He went from being a manager in Yugoslavia to sweeping floors, and was never quite the same. Herjavec's success has always been driven by the sacrifice and hardship his parents endured. The last thing he wanted to do is squander away their hard work.

However, early on, Herjavec was unfocused. He wanted to be a detective, a vet, a race car driver. The list was always changing.

The flip-flopping stopped when Herjavec's best friend went for an interview at a computer company, a position that did not interest Herjavec at all. That was until he learned the starting salary, a whopping $30,000. Herjavec ended up landing the job himself, securing his start in the computer business.

Herjavec has undoubtedly justified the risks his parents took— and then some. His cyber-security company, The Herjavec Group, is now one of the largest technology companies in the world.

From an immigrant who came over to America on a boat, to a multi-millionaire, Herjavec knows that the road to success isn't easy. He explained: "Entrepreneurship is the great equalizer. It's not about who your parents are, it's not about your color, it's not about your sex, and it's not about your religion. Business doesn't care. Business only cares about the value that you add."

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