Entrepreneurs: If only I knew THIS when I was young!

October 13, 2021

Advice from entrepreneurs to their younger selves

There are undeniable appeals to the term “entrepreneur.” The internet and technology advancements have lowered the bar of entry and removed gatekeepers. A teenager can start and monetize skills with almost zero startup costs. 

According to a survey by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, almost 600 million people owned or were starting a business in 2020. The Wall Street Journal reported hundreds of billionaires in the United States made their fortune from scratch!

Successful business owners love sharing stories about what they’ve learned and the obstacles they’ve overcome. Only half of small businesses make it past five years, so it’s important to listen to the owners who are thriving. 

Here’s what 20 successful business owners wish they knew at the start of their journey

motivational quotes from successful entrepreneurs
  1. “I don’t look to jump over seven-foot bars, I look for one-foot bars I can step over.” Warren Buffett, serial entrepreneur, investor, billionaire. Make your business from a simple idea that’s easy to understand.
  2. “I know, being the odd one out can feel brutal. But, rest assured, it’s also wonderful–because your desire to do things differently isn’t uncool. In fact, it’s the exact opposite.” Kathryn Minshew, The Muse cofounder.
  3. “We’re so programmed to walk well-trodden paths. But, we live life only once. So, rather than avoiding the risk of trying, avoid the risk of not trying.” Tim Westergren, Pandora cofounder.
  4. “Stay humble and be open-minded — because you can learn something from everyone.” Dan Lok, serial entrepreneur and best-selling author.
  5. “The goal is to be able to tell a stranger what it is you do, with enthusiasm and clarity. Getting this pitch down will also clarify for yourself what your goal is – repeating it to yourself should become your mantra.” Wealthy Gorilla Staff.
  6. “Never forget that your business needs to take in more money than it spends. I know that sounds too simple, but so many people lose sight of that.” Jeff Haden, LinkedIn Influencer, best-selling author.
  7. “The most painful mistake I see people making repeatedly, particularly with their first project is striving for perfection over getting it done.” Ankur Nagpal, Teachable founder.
  8. “Always lead with Courage, Confidence and Candor. There is constant change all around us, so lean in on continuous learning, recognize patterns, connect the dots, weave a story, and build a network of supporters that will aid your journey as you move forward.” Ekta Sahasi, spikeview founder, investor.
  9. “I’d remind myself of the importance to leverage design as a decisive advantage and to not be afraid to challenge people to break down their knowledge into easily digestible, clearer statements.” Alexander Ljung, SoundCloud cofounder.
  10. “It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” Scott Belsky, Behance cofounder.
  11. “The most painful mistake I see entrepreneurs make is launching before learning.” Caroline Beaton, independent film producer.
  12. “Facts and figures are important, but it’s not the only criteria, you must present in a manner that generates expertise and confidence.” Robert Herjavec, Shark Tank member, entrepreneur.
  13. “You don’t know what you don’t know. Sometimes the quickest way to learn something is to have someone smarter than you show you how to do it. Find a way to get into rooms where you are the dumbest person in the room so you can take a page of notes and grow.” Connor Boundy, entrepreneur, investor.
  14. “A lot of really great, innovative things have happened when people just didn’t know it wasn’t supposed to be possible.” Drew Houston, Dropbox cofounder.
  15. “Choose friends wisely. You’re the average of the five people you associate with most.” Tim Ferriss, entrepreneur, best-selling author, investor.
  16. “Don’t fall in love with your business idea. Instead, fall in love with the problem you’re trying to solve for your customers, and validate your business idea early on that it is a problem worth solving.” Steli Efti, communications startup CEO.
  17. “You don’t need to have a 100-person company to develop that idea.” Larry Page, Google cofounder.
  18. “Ninety-nine percent of the things you worry about never happen. Dream more, worry less, and enjoy every day. It goes fast.” John Addison, best-selling author.
  19. “When I’m old and dying, I plan to look back on my life and say ‘wow, that was an adventure,’ not ‘wow, I sure felt safe.’” Tom Preston-Werner, Github cofounder.
  20. “Business opportunities are like buses; there’s always another one coming.” Richard Branson, serial entrepreneur, best-selling author, billionaire. You don’t have to rush, especially when you’re young. Keep your eyes and ears open, and position yourself near the bus stops!