Premiering on August 29, the new season of Shark Tank features five new Sharks including Jane Lu, whose online fashion empire and grasp of social media has made her an entrepreneurial powerhouse in Australia.
Lu sits alongside Sabri Suby, founder of King Kong Digital Marketing Agency and author of Sell Like Crazy; Dr. Catriona Wallace, an expert in the field of Artificial Intelligence and the Metaverse; Davie Fogarty, founder of Davie Group and 10 consumer brands including the bestselling The Oodie; and the OG Shark from Shark Tank US, Robert Herjavec.
"I've been a fan for so long it was a bit of a no-brainer," Lu told 10 Play about becoming one of the new Sharks. "Also the fact that it's more than just the show, you actually become involved with the entrepreneurs and the businesses -- you're actually changing people's lives. It's a very cool thing to be part of."
Though she admitted to being nervous when filming began, being seated next to Herjavec meant that the others were able to glean some helpful tips from the experienced Shark, including how to deal with the tension that comes from bidding against each other for potential businesses.
"I wondered if it would leave the set, but it didn't," Lu admitted. "[Herjavec] said you'll be going so hard on the show and, once you walk off, you'll be like alright, what are we having for lunch? Or, 'Actually, for your business, I have a contact I can give you!'"
Though she clearly has amassed quite the empire, Lu has proudly sported the social media handle @TheLazyCEO, which has also become the title of her podcast where she interviews entrepreneurs behind iconic brands.
"I think it's a Bill Gates quote that if you want something done efficiently, give it to a lazy person," Lu explained. "I look at my friends who are stressed and blah, blah, blah. I'm like, just organise and pre-plan better!
"If you give a lazy person something, they'll find the most efficient way of getting it done and I feel like that's the kind of person I am," she laughed.
"Also, if you love what you're doing then you don't have to work a day in your life. I genuinely love what I'm doing so much, so I don't really feel like it's work."
When someone walks into the Shark Tank, Lu is on the lookout for a great entrepreneur and a product that she can see potential in.
"The best type of business is one that is popping off organically and all you need is to refine the product, the website, and scale it up with digital marketing," she explained. "And you want someone who is a real go-getter.
"Personally, I couldn't work with someone who doesn't have a compatible personality because... I'm not just an investor, I want to be involved with the business. I need to enter into the relationship," Lu said.
But she's also in two minds about what she's looking for in the right person. The entrepreneur in her loves a bit of naiveté, "Otherwise they over-plan, they over-think and they don't do it. You want someone who just goes and does it as an entrepreneur.
"But when I have to put my investor hat on, that's a bit different. You don't know what you don't know [and] when we're talking about valuation, you're talking about the best case scenario... they don't value all the risks and the difficulties, thinking about all the businesses that are trying to do it and it's not working.
"I don't want to invest in you and have to keep giving you reality checks," Lu continued. "Sometimes you have to learn those things yourself. If someone over-values their business... you don't need me to bring you down a peg."
Lu also said her time in the Tank was a great lesson in not judging books by their covers -- or, rather, not judging a business by the initial product.
"You get to see the set as an initial reveal and sometimes I'd be like, ahhh boring! Then they start talking and I'm fighting the other Sharks for it. It comes down to a great entrepreneur and a great pitch," she added.
Lu also said that entrepreneurs out there hoping to make a deal with the Sharks, or simply hoping to get their businesses off the ground, need to get out there and do it.
"Think less, do more. My first business failed, I tried to bring it online and that took me like a month to do that. When I started Showpo, I built the website overnight and we sold our first product within the first week because I already learned what to do," she explained.
For Lu, a failure isn't necessarily a lost cause so long as you're learning and growing from the experience.
"With my first business, I lost $10,000 which was all the money I had at that time and I was so devastated. Now I look back at the cost of some of these business courses... I learned way more than any business course, and in a faster time.
"Even though I lost money, it was a worthwhile venture because it wouldn't have led me to pivot into Showpo. Get out there and do it, as long as you're learning, being agile, pivoting and changing your direction while you figure it out."
All new Shark Tank Australia premieres Tuesday, 29 August at 7.30 pm on 10 and 10 Play