Former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal has established himself as a successful investor: He was an early investor in Google and has since accumulated an impressive portfolio, including stakes in Apple, 24 Hour Fitness and nightclubs in Las Vegas.
He also owns 17 Auntie Anne's, a Krispy Kreme franchise and a Big Chicken restaurant in Las Vegas.
O'Neal didn't always put his money in the right places, though. When he first started investing, "I lost a lot of money in the get-rich-quick schemes," he said on CNBC's "Power Lunch" on Wednesday, while discussing his latest partnership with gig economy app Steady.
Specifically, his worst investment was in a paper company, he said: "It turned out to be a scam."
When O'Neal was younger, he fell for deals that promised big money in a short amount of time: If someone said, "give me a million and in three years, it'll be $10 million — deals like that, I would take every time. … No research, no due diligence."
Today, O'Neal has a different philosophy, inspired by Amazon's Jeff Bezos. "I heard the great Jeff Bezos say, 'If you invest in stuff that's going to change people's lives, most of the time, you'll win,'" he told CNBC.
It helps him decide which opportunities to jump on and which ones to pass up. O'Neal would rather focus on the impact a company could have, and invest in something he believes in, than pay close attention to the numbers. "I learned early that when I stopped thinking about the payouts, I'll always be successful," he said.
Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!