They weren't always successful business people! The stars on the long-running hit ABC competition series Shark Tank get to make —or break — aspiring entrepreneurs' dreams, but they were once aspiring entrepreneurs themselves before they became millionaire investors and they even worked normal jobs!
Robert Herjavec founded Internet security software company BRAK Systems, which he sold to AT&T Canada in 2000 for $30.2 million, and Daymond John is the founder, president, and CEO of hip-hop clothing line FUBU. Kevin O'Leary co-founded the technology company SoftKey Software Products, which sold family education and entertainment software. The company changed its name to The Learning Company, and Kevin became a multimillionaire in 1999 when The Learning Company was bought by Mattel. Meanwhile, Barbara Cocoran sold her real estate company in 2001 for $66 million, and in 1990, Mark Cuban sold his company MicroSolutions for $2 million.
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Even though they're successful enough to be "shark" investors on Shark Tank, they each came from humble beginnings — which why it's easy for them to put themselves in contestants' shoes. Mark Cuban even used his celebrity status on the show to help make a major change for the show's contestants.
In the show's original contract, contestants were required to give the Shark Tank production company, Finnmax, either two percent of their profits or five percent equity in their company — whether the investors chose to invest in their companies or not, according to Inc. But in 2013, Mark refused to return to the cast until the show's lawyers removed the clause — and they obliged.
"FYI, there is no additional equity or percentage of anything taken any longer," he wrote on Facebook. "That was removed retroactively," he told a group of former contestants. "I told them I wouldn't come back this season if it wasn't."
Keep reading below to find out what the stars of Shark Tank did for their first jobs!