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The Most Important Thing You Will Ever Sell Is Yourself— Robert Herjavec

Robert Herjavec at the “Dancing With the Stars” Season 20 Premiere Party, Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock

Robert Herjavec—the “Nice Shark” on ABC’s Shark Tank—emphasizes the importance of being yourself in all areas of life.

Book Review by Vikki Hankins|

Being yourself is more challenging than one can imagine, particularly in a world where taking on a new identity is “the thing to do.” Apps, plastic surgeons, editing software, and a host of other resources allow folks to be the person they “imagine.” With these types of jewels, it’s understandable why being yourself and not just following the latest fad is a challenge, but there is another reason for the challenge—the innate notion to please others and to be accepted or “liked” by those around us.

Robert Herjavec—the “Nice Shark” on ABC’s Shark Tank—emphasizes the importance of being yourself in all areas of life. In his book You Don’t Have to Be a Shark, he gives a host of practical, easy-to-use tips for business success and sells. Interestingly enough, being yourself, i.e., authenticity, is at the forefront of my mind as I think of his wise words for entrepreneurs, small enterprises, and salespeople.

As I write this piece on Herjavec’s book, at times you will find that my comments or opinions ease in and out of this review/editorial about him.

In writing this book, Robert Herjavec chose to share his joys, pain, disappointments, and success with his readers. For doing this, I am grateful for several reasons:

  • It inspires me completely through what to do and what not to do.
  • It’s refreshing to see someone who is successful dig down into their life and share the truth.
  • The words in this book help me remain grounded as I continue to grow as a business owner.
  • I feel as though I have someone I can relate to in areas of business, communication, determination, and humanity.

“In business you either grow fast or die slowly.”

A major point of Herjavec’s book:

“. . . Independent businesspeople . . . there is not constant, no point at which you say, ‘I guess I can back off the throttle and coast for a while.’ Well, you can’t. In business you either grow fast or die slowly.”

This portion of his book hit me like a sack of potatoes! As an entrepreneur with a small publishing enterprise, my growth has been steady, recognized, and even hit strong spikes in my target market. At such times, I am reminded of Herjavec’s words on “backing off and coasting.” Quite frankly, I can’t do that.

I’ve learned firsthand that I have to keep up with and get in front of my growth or my business will crash and burn. There is no backing off, no sitting in a lounge chair and sipping chai tea and lattes. Nope! Hitting that target market is the goal, but as you near it, you become aware of areas that need more attention and fast! Coasting goes out the window! Of course, having a strong plan and hiring the right people give you more time for vacationing and actually being able to enjoy your success, but the mind-set of “backing off and coasting” should never be adopted.

“Most of the serious risks we face in life exist not because we want to take them, but because we need to take them.”

Says Herjavec, “Taking good risks helps me build my company. Good risks are based on careful research, proper planning and expecting a potential reward that exceeds any losses if things don’t work out.”

Venturing into unfamiliar areas has been scary for me at times, but I research and pay attention to such matters as data, surveys, and the main concern of consumers that have used services other than mine. When I do these things, I gain a sense of direction about what I would otherwise consider foolish risks. When I consider all the information, data, what’s important to people, and their stories/writings, it’s at this point that I feel I am no longer taking a risk but instead am treading new ground, which can sometimes be scary and could involve taking chances/risks.

I’ve learned that complacency can be a dangerous word in business and everyday life. Opening your mind to new practices and ideals is extremely difficult, but I find that doing so is mandatory for truly understanding your true self. Through this journey of business, meeting new people, and listening to them, I am discovering so much more about myself. Simply stated, the feeling is incredible. I only wish that more people would step out of their comfort zone and discover new challenges and set new goals.

“The Most Important Thing You Will Ever Sell Is Yourself”

Herjavec’s position:

“Investments are one thing; charity is something else.”

“Good businesspeople know how to adapt to whatever situation they find themselves in . . .”

I read and actually apply what I’ve learned from people like Robert Herjavec—people who have been there and done that and are still “doing that” but on a different level. People often feel that we have to meet and talk with someone “in person” to actually learn from them, but this is not so. It goes without saying that time does not allow us to run around the world meeting all sorts of people. Instead, I pick up a book or listen to online interviews to learn from someone such as Herjvec.

His personal story that is intertwined in You Don’t Have to Be a Shark is amazing—watching his parents suffer as a result of poverty and reading about his marriage that ended in divorce, which brought him front and center stage on Dancing with the Stars, a show his mother loved.

This book is a read that anyone can learn from. When someone opens up about themselves with words of vulnerability, strength, and ultimate success, we have a valuable formula to guide us. Thanks, Herjavec!

‘You Don’t Have to Be a Shark’ is available at



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