The need to achieve something greater rarely comes from the want of something better. It comes from the need to escape your current situation.

Robert Herjavec knows this first hand. As a Croatian immigrant to Canada, he didn’t know he grew up poor, but he knew he needed to make something big of his life.

Reaching his dream of hitting $50m before he turned 50

Robert is one of the top people in the world on cybersecurity. In his first year forecast, he was projected to make $5m but he only did $400k.

It took five years to get to $6.5m, and in the next five he hit $150m.

In the beginning, he had to educate people on cyber security which took up more time than sales did. Now, he doesn’t need to educate anymore.

When the business started, he wanted to get to $50m by the time he was 50. In the fourth year, they realized they were going to get there.

No one in Canada had done this for a business of it’s type before, but it was a hollow feeling. It felt like it was impossible, but when it was there it felt like their dreams weren’t big enough. They were so small that they were attainable.

Spotting growth potential and making it happen

With Shark Tank, Robert looks for people who understand how long it takes to grow a business. It’s good to have a dream, but it has to be rooted in reality.

Growth doesn’t just happen, you’ve got to give a game plan. The opinion that matters most is your customer’s.

Robert has seen a lot of businesses who have a singular channel and aren’t maximizing it. Finding the help to maximize one channel should be a priority.

Finding the right businesses to invest in

When Robert is investing in a business, he wants to invest in people who aren’t going to call him with problems. He wants people who present options for a solution he can help with.

He’s learnt that poor people try to save money, and rich people try to buy time.

In a potential investment, he looks for operational stability first. If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

He wants a business who knows it’s revenues and cost of goods. The second thing he looks at is the demographic and sales process. Who are they selling to, and how do we get into that market.

Robert spoke at the 2015 Freedom Fast Lane Live event in Austin, Texas, which has since evolved into The Capitalism Conference.

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