Have you ever been given a piece of advice that has stayed with you ever since? A phrase that opened your eyes and made you think, act, or see the world differently?
We have all read inspirational quotes by top CEOs and executives on business, life, and motivation. And entrepreneurs are, without a doubt, one of the best sources of great advice. But they too were once on the receiving end of a few powerful words of wisdom.
Fortunately, many successful entrepreneurs are willing to share insights to inspire us. Below is a collection of the best pieces of business advice that helped shape leaders into who they are.
1. Get into a business where you can be a big fish
2. You are who you associate with
Tim Ferris, entrepreneur and author of the best-selling book The 4-Hour Workweek, reveals how he got his best life advice from his high school wrestling coach. “You’re the average of the five people you associate with the most. I use this advice always,” said Ferris, “whether it’s choosing startups to invest in, choosing investors, sports teams to join, or people to have dinner with.”
3. Play to your strong suits
4. Only do what you truly want to do
“I was complaining that I didn’t want to give a talk that I had promised to do. They said to me, with things like talks, you usually get asked to do them a year in advance. The advice was, if you are ever invited to do something six months or more in advance, ask yourself if you would want to do this if it was next week. If it’s no, you should just decline,” said Luis von Ahn, CEO of Duolingo, in an Entrepreneur interview.
5. Don’t sell yourself short
Candice Lu, founding partner at OnPrem Solution Partners, told Business Collective about turning to her mom for advice.
“I once asked my mom how she was able to rise above the fact that she was a minority and a woman to achieve her accomplishments. She told me that it was because she never once thought about the fact that she was a minority or a woman, but that she was just the best doctor there. So basically do not negotiate with yourself, sell yourself short or compromise your approach before you even walk into a room.”
6. Don’t speak just to say something
Emily Hurd, serial entrepreneur who built Baking For Good with her own savings, shared her story with us:
“In my first job out of school, I consulted to Fortune 500 companies and felt pressured to say something to establish my presence in the room and gain credibility, but I was terrified and felt I had nothing to add,” she said.
“My boss at the time told me that the important thing was just to listen, and it’s okay not to speak up early or often. When I truly knew a subject, I wouldn’t be afraid to speak up. I think about this every time I’m new at something.”
7. Do the hard things
8. Never make an important decision while emotional
Andrés Gluski, President and CEO of The AES Corporation, revealed to Fortune, “Never make an important decision while you are feeling emotional; either too happy, surprised, or angry. Similarly, never make a big decision until you have talked it over with people you trust who are knowledgeable about the matter. Then, be decisive once you have heard them out.”
9. If you’re not constantly being told ‘no,’ you’re not pushing hard enough
Shafqat Islam, CEO of NewsCred, shared a lesson on rejection with Business Insider.
“If you’re not getting told ‘no’ enough times a day, you’re probably not doing it right or you’re probably not pushing yourself hard enough. I think that’s a good piece of advice for anybody building a company because you hear ‘no’ so many times,” he said.
“And I think that’s normal, that’s a good thing, that you’re trying to do something that’s disruptive, that’s groundbreaking, that there’s going to be naysayers.”
10. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
“When you start your own company you have to get used to learning how to do things that you don’t know how to do. You also need to learn how to take risks and be okay with not knowing what the next stage is going to bring,” told Heidi Zak, co-founder and CEO of ThirdLove, to Entrepreneur.