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Billionaire Mark Cuban says successful people aren’t afraid to go broke: ‘When you’ve got nothing to lose, you go for it’

By | Ashton Jackson |

Before becoming a billionaire, Mark Cuban slummed it in an apartment with five other guys, sleeping on the floor and using “nasty” towels taken from a Motel 6.

Those circumstances may seem pretty bleak, but they’re exactly what drove Cuban to put his all into entrepreneurship.

“When your back’s against the wall, you’re sleeping on the floor and your buddies are stepping over you to go to their job and you’re starting this company, you realize, ’OK, I’ve only got one direction,” Cuban, a star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” said during a panel at SXSW last month.

Cuban, who has an estimated net worth of $6.5 billion, referenced his “Shark Tank” co-star Daymond John’s phrase “the power of broke,” saying it’s “one of the defining elements” of any successful business owner.

“You either go, I quit [my job], I’m an entrepreneur … or I can’t do it. I can’t give up that safety,” Cuban said. “There’s no person on this planet who hasn’t had that ‘Oh my god, I got this idea’ [moment].”

Most people consult with friends and explore their idea on Google, but ultimately never follow through, Cuban said. The biggest underlying psychological reason, he added: fear of sacrificing a regular paycheck for the unknown.

In Cuban’s case, his childhood talent for salesmanship convinced him that he could successfully chart his own path as an adult. He sold trash bags door-to-door as a pre-teen, and stamps and coins as a teenager.

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