When it comes to making money, going solo can be tough. For every successful entrepreneur that has managed to take their idea to market and thrive, there are thousands more that have fallen by the wayside – and often because they’ve simply given up.
Therefore, if you’re going to make it, staying driven and leaning on the experiences of others is key. After all, whether you’re just starting out and looking for some words of wisdom to help you on your way, or if you’re stuck in a rut and thinking of giving up, it’s important to put things in perspective.
So, if you’re looking for a little motivation and a few inspiring words of encouragement, then you’re in the right place. These are some of the best entrepreneur quotes to get the fires of success burning.
1. ‘“Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you’. – Timothy Ferriss
The concept of jumping in and taking action – regardless of whether you’re 100% ready or not – is a staple piece of motivational advocacy in start-up circles and forums.
‘The universe doesn't conspire against you, but it doesn't go out of its way to line up the pins, either’, presenter and The 4-Hour Workweek author Timothy Ferriss warns hesitant would-be entrepreneurs. ‘Conditions are never perfect. If it's important to you and you want to do it “eventually”, then just do it and correct the course along the way’.
2. ‘If we tried to think of a good idea, we wouldn’t have been able to think of a good idea. You just have to find the solution for a problem in your own life’. – Brian Chesky
Of course, before you can take any form of action, you need something to sell, and coming up with a business idea isn’t easy.
As Airbnb cofounder Brian Chesky warns, though, you can’t force creativity. Instead, consider problems that you – or people you know – commonly encounter, and start to think about how you could solve that problem.
Don’t worry if you’re unsure of how you’ll proceed, either. As long as you have the idea, then you can always enlist the help of others to make it a reality.
3. ‘One of the greatest skills of leadership is being unflappable. Anytime you do anything in the world; there’s going to be criticism’. – Arianna Huffington
The ability to develop a thick skin is another key characteristic that successful entrepreneurs share, and former The Huffington Post editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington – here channelling her inner Aristotle – knows this better than most.
Regardless of whether it’s friends, stakeholders, employees, colleagues or even customers, every single decision that you make and every course of action that you pursue will attract critics and naysayers. And while you shouldn’t ignore criticism – especially when it’s constructive – you shouldn’t let it sway your convictions and influence the path that you want your business to take.
4. ‘I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I've been trusted to take the game's winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life, and that's why I succeed’. – Michael Jordan
Assuaging the fear of failure is another important part of the entrepreneurial journey and a key aspect of life in general.
Here, NBA legend Michael Jordan emphasises how not just failure, but continued failure, can play a massive part in keeping you on your toes and driving success. Widely regarded as one of, if not the greatest basketball player of all time, his words prove that nobody remembers your mistakes as long as you learn from them and that it’s almost impossible to succeed if you’re not willing to run the risk of coming up short.
5. ‘If you don't ask, the answer will always be “no”. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place’. – Nora Roberts
Although it requires etiquette and diplomacy, it’s surprising how much progress you can make with your business simply by having the gall to ask for things. For instance, those craft candles you’re selling through Etsy? Why not visit some local stores and ask if they’ll be willing to stock them?
As author Nora Roberts says, the worst scenario is that you’ll get a ‘no’, and your newfound brass neck might just land you some invaluable exposure.
‘Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to ask’, confirms Lori Cheek, founder of the dating site Cheekd. ‘I have been in the news many times just by calling on the news channel and asking them about featuring my business’.
6. ‘The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work’. – Oprah Winfrey
When it comes to expectations for your business, one of the most common mistakes that wide-eyed newbies make is buying into the hype of the get-rich-quick touts or falling for the superficial Instagram posts of self-claimed lifestyle gurus.
In reality, though, there is no shortcut or secret to success, other than through sheer grit and hard work. Entertainer and entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey, who certainly amassed her considerable fortune the hard way, isn’t the only famous name to extol the virtue of the grind, either; Steve Jobs, the late cofounder and former CEO of Apple once remarked that ‘half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful is pure perseverance’.
7. ‘If you had asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse’. – Henry Ford
Vision is another important trait for entrepreneurs. After all, identifying a problem is one thing, and finding a gap in the market is another, but creating something entirely new from scratch and completely redefining how people approach things is a truly rare quality.
Try not to focus on improving something that already exists, but rather how it can be done differently. Modern digital disruptors like Google, Uber and Facebook have all proven that you can be successful by turning conventional practices on their head.
8. ‘Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune’. – Jim Rohn
Finally, perhaps the most important thing that a great entrepreneur understands is that learning is a self-discipline.
Many of the world’s most successful people have reached the top without a college education, proving that hard work, vision and a sense of creativity can be just as valuable as a degree. This is certainly the case with Virgin CEO Richard Branson, who once described life as the ‘one long university education that I never had’.
While some of these quotes may be more inspirational than others, each offers a positive and valuable insight into what breeds success. And while starting – and running – a business is not easy, there are plenty of great minds out there who have succinctly worded what you need to remember.
Remember: don’t be afraid to look for guidance in the words of others, as they can often be the catalyst that inspires you to action or the voice of reason that calms you down when you’re stressed.
And in the grand scheme of things, who knows? With your own success, your experiences could one day serve to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit in others – the mark, perhaps, that you’ve truly made it.
What other great quotes have helped you on your entrepreneurial journey? Let us know your favourites in the comments section below!