9 Lessons Successful Entrepreneurs Wish They Heard Sooner
Lots of people want to be entrepreneurs, to bring their big ideas to life, to be in control of their future—it’s something they’re excited about, something they’re passionate about. They know what they want, and they’ll do what it takes to get it.
Related: 3 Pieces of Advice for First-Time Entrepreneurs
But uncovering that passion doesn’t always happen in that elusive aha moment. For a lot of people, passion is found after failing 47,000 times on projects they thought they were passionate about, or it’s in the little moments of inspiration stemming from typical daily tasks.
So how can you find your passion for entrepreneurship? We asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council what advice they would give themselves.
1. Color outside the lines.
One tip I’d give my former self is to take a step anywhere but backward. It’s OK to fail as long as you fail forward and are ready for the next steps of your plan. If you want to be great, you have to design the path to get there. Sometimes that means taking risks and coloring outside the lines.
—Rakia Reynolds, Skai Blue Media
2. Don’t doubt yourself.
You will get advice and feedback from everyone. Feedback will come from your team, clients, competitors, colleagues, family and friends. The key is that you parse all that feedback, but ultimately go with what you believe is the right choice. The only times I felt regret is when I let a naysayer overrule what I thought was a good idea.
—Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design
3. Understand your personality type.
It was only in the last couple years that I took a Myers-Briggs personality test. None of the 16 personality types is better or worse than another. For example, scoring strongly on intuition and judgment are gifts that have allowed me to assess someone’s character in the hiring process. That’s been helpful when growing a team to more than 100 employees.
—David Ciccarelli, Voices.com
4. Fail while daring greatly.
Although no one sets out to fail in business or in life, the reality is that failure happens. If you never fail, you aren’t taking enough risks. If you have a vision for a company, don’t be afraid to go boldly after it. If you fail, get back up, learn from it and try again. To paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, “If you fail, fail while daring greatly.” That’s how people change the world.
—JT Allen, myFootpath LLC
5. Build your personal brand right now.
I have been in the online marketing industry for 20 years, but it wasn’t until 2007 that I really started a brand of my own. Not only was this one of the best decisions I made for the business, it was also one that couldn’t have come soon enough. Take your expertise and passion, build a business model around that niche and become an authority within it.
—Zac Johnson, How to Start a Blog
6. Collaborate more.
Supporting others in growing their businesses has a compounding effect. Even though it might feel like you’re giving yourself away and not investing back into your business, by helping on someone else’s project, you get to invest new knowledge (and courage) into what you’re building. Collaboration gives you the opportunity to know whether your ideas are good.
—Cody McLain, SupportNinja
7. Passion doesn’t automatically equal success.
Just because you think making widgets is a great idea, and you have a passion for it, doesn’t mean other people will feel the same. You have to be willing to modify what you sell and who you sell it to. Every few years, you also need to evaluate the changing market and be willing to let go of what’s not working in your business.
—Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now
8. Put yourself out there.
It took me so long to start because I was afraid of failure and what people would say. The funny thing is that as soon as I put myself out there, those things did happen to a degree, but I didn’t care—I was finally working toward my dream.
—Brooke Bergman, Allied Business Network Inc.
9. Ask yourself what you’d be willing to pay to do.
Things you are passionate about should be easy; you can easily spend hours on it, yet feel like only minutes have gone by. If you’re willing to pay someone to allow you to do it, that’s passion. But once you found it, do you choose to do it? That’s the harder question, and in the end, it will come to economics, opportunity costs and how good you are at it.
—Andre Chandra, I Print N Mail
Related: 19 Quotes About Following Your Passion
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
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