Roman is somebody you might want to interact with in a big way going forward as things start to fall into place in your life and you start being able to enjoy some of the better things of life.
He is the CEO and founder of LuxuryBazaar.com and it is an online portal for luxurious high-end watches and accessories.
Before I give you some of his background, let me say hello. Hello Roman.
Roman Sharf: Hey Larry, how are you?
LW: Great. I appreciate you getting on. Roman is a very busy guy, like all high achievers.
He’s got a YouTube channel and done a zillion podcasts. What is your YouTube channel?
RS: It’s just my name, Roman Sharf.
LW: Roman was brought here to the US by his dad to chase the American dream.
He lived in a 400 square foot apartment in Brooklyn at the age of 13, and they say when Billionaire Mike Bloomberg got started, he also lived in a small apartment in New York. A lot of good things have come from those little tiny apartments.
At the age of 13, Roman was forced to start working. By the time he was 18, he pretty much worked every job you could imagine.
He decided to join the army and after leaving the army, he decided to pursue college. By the time he graduated, at the age of 26, he was the Vice President of a Fortune 500 company.
He started with a bang and at the peak of his career, he decided to walk away and follow his dream of becoming a luxury watch and accessory dealer.
Now LuxuryBazaar has become one of, if not the number one, luxury watch dealers in the USA.
Since 2005, it has generated over $118 million in sales per year through its wholesale and retail division.
Roman, thanks for carving out some time for us. How about a little background on your story? How did you fight your way up that ladder?
From Living in a Tiny Apartment to Building an Over $118M Business
RS: Thank you for that wonderful intro, Larry, I couldn’t have said it better myself.
It was a mindset that I was in at the age of 13 that kept driving me forward.
Whether it be the people I met or the jobs I felt were interesting or not interesting, I always got a little something out of every single person I met and out of every single position I may have held, whether it was delivering newspapers, working as a dishwasher, a waiter or doing roofing and construction. It didn’t really matter to me.
The driving factor was very simple. My father came to this country with $4 in his pocket.
The whole goal of my dad was to give his children a chance at the American dream, to give his children the opportunity to grow further professionally, individually, and physically, really because where we came from, which at the time was the Soviet Union, there was none of that.
There was no opportunity and everything was controlled by the government, within the communist system that they had.
At the age of 13 with my very first job, I knew I was gonna be somebody because I was now in a place where it was completely up to me and no outside source such as the government would stop any of that. And that’s the mentality I have to this day.
LW: We have people continuing to come to the United States, but here we take freedom and opportunity for granted. In fact, you see the presidential campaign, everybody’s given everything away.
People ignore the fact that we’re in a free country and you’ve got the opportunity to take charge of your life and make all of that happen for yourself.
If the government gives you anything, it’s not gonna be much.
You almost have an advantage coming as an immigrant don’t you think?
RS: Yes, but because the way our country’s set up there are social programs that are available to those that are in need.
I have nothing against social programs per se, for those that truly are in need, but there are also those that take advantage of it.
I can tell you one thing that even some of my peers or some of my father’s peers, when they came here from the very beginning they did not take advantage of the system.
My father was a proud man and still is. He always said, “I would work three jobs before I would allow the government to give me food stamps.”
That’s the kind of an example he set for me in the very beginning and as a little kid seeing that made me think that nothing in this world is free.When something is handed to you, it tends to drive your motivation down. Click To Tweet
Social programs enable people not to drive forward, not to be motivated and not to try to succeed.
LW: One thing that I’ve heard from you so far is the same thing that Mark Cuban said about starting out his career when he was a salesman, or I think he just swept up the place when he started, but he said he looked at it as an opportunity to learn.
He said “One thing I know is that people here know more than I do. I’m gonna learn everything I possibly can that they know as fast as I possibly can. I’m gonna learn about what the customers coming in the door are most interested in, and I’m gonna get inside their mind and see what I can learn about from the customers.”
I think you got to be very clear. You started off with a north star in your mind. I’m gonna be somebody; I’m going to amount to something.
And Roman, you can tell me if I’m wrong, but just starting out with that idea causes you to put more energy into what you’re doing. Would you agree with that?
The motto of Roman’s life
RS: I will agree with that. I’ll tell you one further.
A smart man once said that you always have to dream big, but you have to take small steps to get there. Do you know who said that?
LW: Who’s that?
RS: Me. I said that. That’s my motto. That’s my motto of life.
I’ve always dreamed big since the age of 13. I always dreamed of making it big.
I never had fantasies in regards to living in mansions or driving fancy yachts and the stuff that you saw on the Robin Leach Life Styles of the Rich & Famous TV show off at the time I came to America. However, in the back of my mind and in front of my mind, I always knew that no matter what it is I do, I am going to be successful at it because I’m gonna continue driving on until I am successful.
I didn't have another choice. It wasn't a choice of being successful or not being successful or being mediocrely successful. It was a question of, what I'm gonna do and when I'm gonna get there. Click To Tweet
LW: Well, you were obviously thinking and obviously evaluating options.
Why did, at 18 years old, the army appear to be your best next step?
RS: Well, because right now what you’re doing is you’re talking to probably one of the biggest American Patriots in this country.
I hate to call myself the biggest, but I’d like to think of myself as a huge Patriot of this country. I love United States of America with all my heart.
It gave me an opportunity to do what I do today. At the age of 18, it was my way of actually giving thanks to the country that took me in from a place that was so foreign.
I’m also a firm believer that, like in most countries in the world today, military training is mandatory.
I don’t necessarily think that you have to serve two years of mandatory service time like back in the Soviet Union, but I do believe that most young guys and girls out there should receive some sort of military training. (Note: Listen to Podcast Episode 31 as Roman explains the operating strategy he picked up from the army that he has applied to every area of his life to great success.)
LW: Thanks so much, Roman. Look forward to having you back again. Your story is super inspirational.
It’s one thing to hear in generalities that you can turn your life around in the United States. It’s another thing to hear from someone who has done it. So thanks so much.
RS: I look forward to being back on the show. There’s plenty of more we can discuss Larry. Thanks so much for having me.