The life of an entrepreneur is often beset with obstacles. Every founder, no matter how successful they are now had a moment when they weren’t sure that they were heading in the right direction. During these times, they focus on the well-intentioned pieces of advice from people they look up to, have found success or are just a supportive figure in their life.
We asked 10 entrepreneurs to share with us the advice they have received that means the most to them. Read on for the words that helped them pursue their goals and focus on what is important to them.
Name: Brit Morin
Company: Brit + Co
Advice: Make your passion into a career and don’t let anyone bring you down for trying to do something good for the world.
Read more about Morin: This Founder Shares the Secret to How to Make Your Business Last
Name: Luis von Ahn
Advice: 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.
Read more about von Ahn: Why This Founder Says the Worst Advice He Ever Got Was to Listen to His Users
Name: Merrill Stubbs
Advice: I was in a job with horrible boss, and one of my best friends sat me down and said, “You don’t want to be doing this, you need to go to cooking school, that’s what you want to do, you just need to do it.” Once she said that, I made the decision to do it.
Read more about Stubbs: The Life-Changing Book That Helps This Entrepreneur Think Big
Name: Heidi Zak
Advice: 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.
Name: Tim Chen
Influence: One CEO told me that your opportunity is set up like a graph. On one axis, it’s what you do, and the other axis who you tell. If I think about some of the career mistakes I made at my last company, it was really not doing enough telling about my accomplishments.
Read more about Chen: Nerdwallet’s Founder Shares the Worst Advice He Ever Got
Name: Harper Reed
Company: Modest (now PayPal)
Advice: Manage politics by your outbox. Look at your outbox and see who you are emailing. Usually who you are emailing is related to who is supporting you. If you’re not emailing people, then they are probably not supporting you.
Read more about Reed: This Entrepreneur Shares the Most Important Factor of His Success
Name: Jennie Ripps
Company: Owl’s Brew
Advice: Seek out mentors and advisors. I found in building a business that relationships are so important. By having mentors and advisors, you have the ability to ask questions of people who know more than you. By asking questions you can avoid time-consuming and expensive errors. And sometimes mentors and advisors surprise you by opening your mind up to things that are completely unexpected.
Read more about Ripps: The One Thing This Entrepreneur Does Each Day to Stay Productive
Name: Scott Harrison
Company: Charity: Water
Advice: Put integrity at the core of everything you do. So much more important than what you do is how you do it. For Charity: Water, that means sticking to our promise of radical transparency and using 100 percent of public donations to directly fund water projects in the field.
Read more about Harrison: Everyone Can Adopt This Founder’s One-Step Productivity Advice
Name: Chris Wanstrath
Advice: Someone once told me that usually when people are arguing, they argue about the what and the why.
For example, if there is a team that wants to make a website blue and a team that wants to make it green, they might argue forever about which one is better, but they are never going to agree on the color if they don’t agree on the goal.
Read more about Wanstrath: This Founder Believes He Found the Answer for Burnout
Name: David Bladow
Advice: There was a period of time where I didn’t have control over things, and I felt bad about the things that were happening. I was talking to one of our investors, and she said “when you stop acting like an asshole, you’ll stop feeling like an asshole.” Basically when you are ready to take full accountability of things that are going on, you’re going to stop feeling like you’re in a position to feel like an asshole all the time. It stuck with me because it was basically control the things that you can control.
Read more about Bladow: This Founder Has 3 Simple Tips to Achieve Maximum Productivity