Career Wisdom From Successful Founders

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Forging your own path as an entrepreneur can be a daunting prospect, but you’re not alone. Whether you are starting out with a small team, a partnership, or as a solo business founder, you are part of a community of trailblazers and innovators who can inspire you, and help you find your way.

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Career Tips From Highly Successful Founders

Even if you don’t have your own personal mentor, you can learn a lot about setting yourself up for a thriving and fulfilling career by learning from the experiences of people with proven success. Seeing how the most remarkable leaders of the business world have overcome their own doubts, challenges, and mistakes can be inspiring and reassuring to entrepreneurs of all levels.

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There is such a range of support and advice available for budding startup founders and future leaders, that it can be difficult to know where to start. It can help to have a reading list of some of the most influential and insightful biographies and guides to get an in-depth study on individual success.

However, sometimes you just need a little instant motivation to give your confidence a boost and help keep you on track. To help with this, have put together a quick-fix infographic collection of 15 short quotes from highly successful founders, along with some practical tips on how to apply this wisdom to your own business practice.

Getting started

Confidence is a major theme in the field of entrepreneurial motivation, but being confident doesn’t mean you’ve got everything worked out from the start. Far from it, in fact. If you wait until you’re ‘perfectly ready’ to launch your project, you’ll probably be waiting for a long time. The difference between someone with a good idea and an entrepreneur is that the entrepreneur does something about it.

It’s good to know your field, of course, but if you’re passionate about your idea you should just go for it, according to Ice Cream entrepreneur Jeni Britten Baue. She advises against getting bogged down in details. Sara Blakely from Spanx agrees, arguing that lack of experience can sometimes work in your favour. If you approach tasks without prejudice from previous experience, you are likely to have more fresh and innovative ideas.

Facebook founder and COO Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg encourage you to embrace opportunities as learning experiences. If you try out a variety of ideas and approach new tasks as ways to develop skills and experiences, you will have lots of potential to develop.

Setting and achieving goals

Major-league entrepreneurs are rarely one-hit-wonders. Similarly, your approach to goal setting shouldn’t involve a one-off ambition. Successful founders such as Apple’s Steve Jobs and CNN’s Ted Turner argue that you need to keep up your entrepreneurial momentum by focusing on continuing goals that challenge you to strive beyond your comfort zone, rather than dwelling on a singular success.

When it comes to actually getting the work done, you might subscribe to the results-focused wisdom of Larry Page from Google, who argues that you need to prove that you can ‘go the extra mile’ and prove that you can deliver more than others, in order to get noticed. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, on the other hand, recommends a more process-based approach, focusing on the need for flexibility in approaching challenging tasks and problem solving.

Trusting yourself

Self-confidence and growth mindset are essential tools of the entrepreneurial trade for many successful founders. Striving for perfection can be punishing business, and it’s neither healthy nor constructive to pay attention to your inner critic. Cosmetics entrepreneur Mary Kay advises against limiting yourself this way.

Elon Musk certainly knows something about self-confidence. To him, having a clear understanding of your field is key, so you should build your knowledge from a strong fundamental base. Similarly, Nova Credit’s Nicky Golimis agrees that if you focus on learning rather than ability, you won’t trip yourself up with self-doubt.

Working with people

Even the most independent entrepreneur is never really alone. You’re not just in the company of these inspiring founders and business leaders, but also the people you work with. You must never underestimate the value of building strong and supporting relationships with your team, partners, clients, and other collaborators.

Collaboration is the key to success, according to LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman. Indeed, for finance tycoon Warren Buffett, it pays to show humanity and patience in your interactions with others. Especially when dealing with conflict or a challenging negotiation, you should consider the value of your reputation, and let that inform how you treat people.

You shouldn’t be embarrassed to ask for help, especially if you understand your own needs and communicate them clearly with others, says dating app founder Lori Cheek. At the same time, it’s worth remembering that helping others will make your own success more meaningful. Dave Thomas from Wendy’s advocates the value of sharing and collaboration, and the need to support others. If the pie isn’t big enough to share, make the pie bigger.

Now that’s a motivating thought!

Career Lessons

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