Mark Bouris may have seemed like anything but a softie as the ‘you’re fired’ host of The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice.
But away from the cameras and the high-pressure world of big business, the hugely successful entrepreneur is very much a family man.
In fact, the father of four sons is now also a besotted grandfather.
‘Yes, I now have one grandson – he’s six months old,’ he says proudly. ‘He’s getting to a point now where he recognises people and smiles. I’m intending to see him this Saturday and hang out with him. Life is good.’
And when it comes to his work life, Mark has a surprising confession to make.
He still questions his business decisions on a regular basis.
‘Right now, I have this business called Yellow Brick Road, and there is a Royal Commission on,’ says Mark.
‘The regulators are changing the rules every day as to who we can lend money to, how much, what interest rate and what the requirements are.
‘It doesn’t bother me, because I know things change like this, but I’m going through it right now – uncertainty, confusion and changing of the landscape. You do question yourself: “Is something going to happen that’s going to change the way I do business and change my business model?” I don’t know the answers every time, because I don’t know what’s going to unfold in front of me. But what I do know is that these things happen, not to panic and that the last man standing wins.’
One thing Mark is clearly excited about is his latest TV venture – as host of new reality series The Mentor, which sees him ‘answering the call-out’ of struggling small business owners around the nation.
‘There are lots of heartfelt moments and confronting moments for these individuals,’ he says. ‘It’s really about people facing up to their fears and confronting those – allowing me to try and solve them with experts, and then basically doing a deal with them to see if we can rescue the business.’
Mark couldn’t help but be moved by some of the stories he heard.
‘I did become connected with them. I really do feel for the owners and Iknow their plight,’ he reflects. ‘I know the stuff they go through, because every business I’ve had has started off as a small business.’
How does the mogul relax when he’s not working? His answer may also take some by surprise.
‘I love gardening,’ he says.
‘I just like getting my hands in the soil, and I love nature. I also like to exercise. Exercise is very meditative and the garden is reality for me.’
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