Entrepreneurial advice

67 Business Owners Share the Advice They’d Give to Their Younger Selves

67 Business Owners Share Entrepreneurial Advice to their Younger Self

Every entrepreneur, newbie or serial, can use valuable entrepreneurial advice when it comes to running their business or learning from other’s mistakes. Towards this, we spoke with 67 business owners, professionals, and entrepreneurs and requested them to share one key piece of entrepreneurial advice to their younger self. Read on!

1. Ben Taylor has been a serial solopreneur since 2004. His primary project these days is homeworkingclub

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

The number one piece of business advice I would give to my younger self is to follow your passion, rather than money. Far too many people try to work out where the money is and form a business around making it.

For example, I managed to make myself very unhappy providing lucrative computer support for several years, despite finding it largely thankless and draining!

If you start a business around a passion instead, it’s far easier to stay motivated, and it helps if you’re “making a difference” in some way. There are plenty of very miserable wealthy people out there, and it’s far better to aim for a sustainable business that involves doing what you enjoy.

If you don’t want to get out of bed and do it every morning, you may as well get a job instead of taking the road of entrepreneurship.”

2. Toby Townrow is the Co-Founder and Communications Director at Drone Evolution

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

1) What is the big vision for your product or service? How are you making things easier for people or what problem are you solving? Ours is “Making people safer and organizations better”.

This is the output of what we do, not the how. The how comes in the mission statement. But without a “Why”, you can easily get muddled and lose focus.

2) Where should your business focus? Find the way that people can understand your business and by keeping it down to one thing, you’ll get to your market much more quickly.

In our case, we could have looked at lots of different types of drones, lots of different products to develop and lots of different ways they could be used by clients.

In the end, we settled on one – tethered drones (they stay up in the air for hours). Once we hit on that, our business model and marketing plan suddenly became much easier to put together.

It was like we had been wading through treacle and now we were just running across an open plain. There was a running theme throughout what we were doing, and it became very easy to explain to investors and clients.

3. Esther Marie is the CEO & Founder at Virtual Assistant Internship

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Trusting your gut when working with clients is so important when first starting out. When you are just starting it’s hard to trust yourself that you know whether something is a good fit or not.

But that weird feeling you get when on an initial consultation or them not showing up and being unresponsive are all the signs you need to pay attention to! I wish I’d let clients go away before they finally disappeared, I would have lost a lot less money and time.

Know that there is a TON of work out there so there is no need to settle for being treated poorly, paid badly, or stressed all the time. Remember you chose this route for freedom and not trusting your gut and dealing with bad clients is taking a step backward.

4. James Lamb is the Managing Director at Idea Reality Ltd

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

As someone with a new product idea who wants to turn it into an exciting new business, one of the first things you think is “I must get a patent to protect my idea”.

My advice would be to think about this carefully and decide if it is right for your project. Sure, if you are a big corporate, with a budget to spend on IP, patents are a no brainer. However, as a start-up with limited funds, finances are usually very tight, so what is the best use of this money?

A great question to ask yourself is; could this money (typically $4k upwards for simple product designs) be used best for marketing or even developing the next iteration of the product rather than being used defensively.

After all, what’s the point of spending all that money when you are left with an inability to sell sufficient quantities or innovate ahead of competitors?

5. John Parkman is a US Marine veteran and digital marketing entrepreneur, and founder/CEO of Marketing Media Wizard

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Taking time off from work and enjoy being with friends and family would be the one thing I’d tell myself 20 years ago. I’ve worked 20-hour days, 7 days a week for 14 years, with 1 vacation, and speaking from experience I can say that as you get closer to your 40’s and have time to breathe you’ll look around and everyone will be gone.

Entrepreneurs want to cross the finish line so bad that they end up sacrificing it all for that moment, but as you’ll come to learn that that moment for an entrepreneur never comes because there’s always one more thing or one more company that will outperform you.

Slow down and enjoy the day, enjoy your youth and your friends and family.

6. Kraig Martin is the Commercial Director at Storage Vault

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

It’s easy to let your thirst of proving yourself control your life when you are setting up your business. It’s all so exciting and new and you’re eager to learn as much as you possibly can, and this certainly isn’t a bad thing.

What can become damaging, however, is allowing yourself to get burnt out. When you’re setting up your business, just like you’d schedule any other business task, schedule yourself some downtime.

Despite how badly you want to make sure you’re on call for every single possible business opportunity, it’s essential to give yourself a break. Even if you find that you absolutely have to work during your scheduled downtime, reschedule your relaxation it as soon as possible.

Overworking yourself can be demoralizing and you may subconsciously begin to reserve energy, putting less effort into your tasks, so you might as well kick back!

7. Lori Cheek is the Founder and CEO of Cheekd

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

I wish I’d known that building a business doesn’t make for an overnight success. I believed so much in my idea that after our launch, I thought I was going to be a billionaire by the end of the year!

Eight years into the entrepreneurial hustle, I’ve learned that entrepreneurship means being on a mission where nothing can stop you.

It will take twice as long as you’d hoped, cost exceedingly more than you’d ever budgeted and will be more challenging than anything you’ll ever try but if you give it your all and refuse to give up, you can trust it will be the ride of a lifetime.

8. Kristen Youngs is the Co-Founder of Coaching No Code Apps

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Learn as much as you can about the business you’re starting up, but make sure you put what you learn to practice right away.

When I was just starting out, I found myself endlessly reading and learning everything I could about the business I wanted to grow. My learning process became like a full-time job.

See, learning is the easy part. And yes, it’s important, but if you don’t put what you learn to practice, you’ll never find success.

9. Rafe Gomez is the co-owner of VC Inc. Marketing

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Entrepreneurs need to keep a five-letter acronym in mind as they build their businesses:  WIIFM – which stands for “what’s in it for me?”.  That’s the thought that’s going through the minds of all of your prospective customers.

If you don’t clearly and simply explain the specific WIIFM benefits/solutions that your target buyers will attain if they purchase what you’re selling, you’ll never entice them, and your sales will dwindle.

According to sales research, there are three reasons why people make a purchase:  they’re doing it because they believe that the product/service in question will make them money, save them money, or improve the quality of their lives.

If a prospective buyer is convinced that your product/service will deliver on those goals, and if they’re the specific goals that the buyer wishes to attain, then the buyer will open his/her wallet and the sale will be made.

Keeping this guideline in mind will be useful for new entrepreneurs in any industry who are seeking to create enduring and profitable relationships with their customers/clients.

10. Pulkit Gera is the Founder at Blogging Done Better

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Don’t fuss over perfection. Striving for perfection means you’re not ready to face the world and know what the people really think of your product. Doing this will distract you with small details which won’t matter in the time to come.

What matters in business is getting the product out the door, getting feedback and improving it. And perfection is a moving target. The closer you get to it the further it moves away. Draw the line somewhere and learn to say “good enough”.

Think big and big things will happen to you. Fuss over small things and you’ll spend your life thinking and living small.

11. Gene Caballero is the co-founder of GreenPal 

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

One of the challenges that startups face is that their solution is not solving a big enough problem.  If your company’s solution is not 10x better than the traditional product or service, it will be difficult to have a product-market fit and scale. Talk to strangers, family, friends, co-workers and see if they would pay for your product or service… not just see if they like it.

Another piece of advice is that you should defer from borrowing money if possible. Because doing this will force you to be metrics and ROI driven on every dollar you spend, and it will not give you the freedom to move at your own pace. It will force you to be stingy with your equity.

Tell yourself to be like a cockroach because they never die.

12. Ross Davies is the Managing Director of Strafe Creative

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Don’t undercharge.

When Strafe Creative was first starting out as a web design company, we didn’t charge anywhere near enough. This meant that we had to take on far too many projects to make ends meet, so the team was always swamped with loads of projects with tiny budgets.

The work we were producing during this period was nowhere near our best, so we raised our prices drastically and cut our workload to half. This was not a bad thing, though – the increased budget meant that we could afford to spend more time on each project, creating beautiful designs that we could really be proud of.

This, in turn, attracted more clients, generating more income and business for the agency. If you offer a genuinely good service, the clients will come – don’t feel like you have to charge less than everyone else just to entice customers. Charge what your services are worth, and if you’re any good at what you do, then the results will speak for themselves and attract new customers.

13. Dave Hermansen is the CEO at Store Coach

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Time truly is money. The one thing I would tell my younger self is to stop trying to do everything on my own just to save a little bit of money. Many simple tasks can be outsourced very inexpensively to a Virtual Assistant.

Instead of wasting time on relatively straightforward, simple tasks that anyone can do, your time is much better spent doing things that will grow your business. In the long run, you’ll make far more money by taking care of the things that only you can do.

14. Marc Andre is the founder of Vital Dollar

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

My biggest piece of advice would be to focus on solving problems for your target audience. When I was just starting my business, I was trying to figure out things like how to get traffic to my website and how to make money from that traffic. Of course, getting exposure and making money is an important part of business, but if you focus on solving problems for your customers or clients, everything else becomes a lot easier.

The first step is to really define your target audience and learn about the struggles they are facing. After that, you can work to find a solution or provide them with the information they need in order to solve this problem.

Regardless of whether you are selling a product, offering a service, or monetizing online content, you should focus on finding the best solutions for your audience.

15. Ian Wright is the founder of British Business Energy 

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Start sooner. There is never going to be the perfect time to start a business, but you have to start it if you want to be successful. And reading books and websites watching videos and listening to podcasts do not count!

You have to go and actually build something, write something, do something that concretely moves your business forward. Most days it will feel like you’re making no progress at all, but when you look back in a few years you’ll be amazed just how far you’ve come.

16. Adam Cole is the founder at Adam Cole Works, LLC

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Failure with awareness ultimately gets you everything you want. It’s no fun to fall on your face time and time again, to recognize that you are inadequate at the task at hand, and to deal with the fear of not knowing what to do. But all these failures gradually change you in ways that are hard to perceive, and after a while, you find you are the person you wanted to be.

17. Maribel P. Aleman is the Leadership & Executive Coach at Aleman & Associates

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Stay active in your network:  The referrals I got from my existing network grew my business exponentially.

Don’t re-invent the wheel every time you get new business:  Create templates, processes that you can follow and customize as needed.  Saves tons of time.

Ask for help: Don’t let pride get in the way. Ask for advice or work with a coach.  Own your weaknesses and manage them to your advantage.

Be clear on your values: Understand the boundaries that protect those values and grow your business from there.

Be Brand focused:  Dress and act the way you want to be perceived. Make sure all of your business consistently projects that brand. Don’t confuse your stakeholders with mixed messages. Craft your brand message and make it stick.

Don’t put up with charlatans: Others will want to learn how you “succeeded”. Be a mentor and share your knowledge with others and be savvy.  There is a difference between someone that wants to learn and honestly needs your mentorship and one that wants to re-purpose your hard work under their name.  Know where that line is for you.

18. Kuba Koziej is the CEO and Co-founder at Zety.com

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Quick and sharp growth feels as if you’re driving at 200 mph. Plan ahead before you take a sharp curve. The long-term perspective is important. The focus from day one should be on where you want to go; not where you are now.

You will always be busy with current tasks but prioritize so that you don’t waste a single working day. Fixing specific issues will get you to where you want to go.

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19. Elaine Queathem is the founder and CEO of Savvy Coders

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

My advice would be not to be so naïve and mistakenly trust everyone that acts like they want to help you. Many have their own agendas and a few deals I got involved in ended up going south. I learned you have to be very selective with people you affiliate with, something I wish I would have realized early on.

2O. Romy Taormina is the CEO, Founder of Psi Health Solutions, Inc., the maker of Psi Bands

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Get comfortable with discomfort. As a mom of two teenagers, I am often reminded, both in my personal and professional roles, that one must not be complacent. Just when you think you have something dialed in, things change. The only thing constant is change. So, we all need to get comfortable with discomfort in business (and life).

21. Bryce Conlan is the Founder at UPPER Creative

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Realize that there is only one type of relationship.

When I started out in business, I compartmentalized my relationships. In one column were business relationships and in another were my personal relationships. As a result of this hard divide I unknowingly treated people in the ‘business’ column differently – held them at an arms-length, avoided controversial topics, always put on a mask of perfection.

I reserved the deep, meaningful, honest topics of conversation for those in my ‘personal’ column. Now I know that all relationships are personal relationships and that the fastest way to build trust in business (trust is the key to stratospheric growth) is that you have to show up honestly, vulnerable and blur the line between business and life.

22. Thomas Enzendorfer is the CEO of American Home Energy

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

  1. Watch your cash flow, first and foremost.
  2. Make sure you have a business model that puts an emphasis on profitability over volume and size:  You need to make sure you are paying attention to how much profit you are actually turning – it seems pretty obvious, yes, but it’s surprising how many businesses overlook this.
  3. Make sure to develop a strategy and then focus on its execution.  A good idea without good execution will not yield the results you are hoping for.
  4. Learn to say ‘no’.  Opportunities will present from everywhere and everyone will have the best idea that will turn your company into the next big thing. It’s important to be able to weed through these opportunities to focus your attention on what is paramount in your business

23. Jeb Ory is the CEO and co-founder of DC-based Phone2Action

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Learn how your business operates – all of it. It’s important to understand how all facets of your business work, from the operations and development to the sales initiatives. Yes, you may be the idea guy, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t understand the technical aspects of your company’s product.

Hire smart people. The smaller the company, the more important your hire. Figure out which roles are the most crucial to your company’s success and then dedicate yourself to finding the best candidate for the job. Don’t rush to hire.

Be patient. Success doesn’t come overnight. It comes from long hours and stressful development cycles. Knee jerk reactions to problems rarely solve it in the long run.

24. Christoph Seitz is the Co-Owner of CFR Rinkens

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Focus on company culture. Thoughtful planning and execution are required to build and maintain a great company culture. Don’t ever skimp on the recruiting process. Hiring the right people based on a cultural fit and skill are critical to success.

I would much rather hire a hard worker that is a cultural fit than a highly skilled person with no cultural fit. It boils down to being able to work well with others in a team environment.

If you’re unable to collaborate, the chance of innovation and new opportunities are diminished. Spend the time and money to recruit employees who will enhance your culture.

25. Brian Gill is the CEO of Gillware Data Recovery

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Hiring the first ten employees was incredibly easy for me. I had a wide portfolio of hard-working friends from engineering school and the previous places I worked that I picked from. We also happened to all be relatively young, early in our careers, and able to jump at risky opportunities.

However, when that available talent pool was exhausted, I didn’t have the structure in place to ensure the next wave of talent was as good. So be careful with your hiring, take a lot more time, look at a lot more candidates, check a lot more references and don’t just make a hire out of desperation.

A bad hire is more painful than no hire. A mediocre hire can be the worst because someone just doing the minimum and taking up space on the org chart and payroll is preventing a good hire from being there for years.

26. Joanna Vaiou is a Search Engine Optimization Specialist at her own SEO remote company, MarketingForArchitecturalFirms.com

Entrepreneurial Advice to my younger self

If you want to change your life and live the life of YOUR dreams (and not live to fulfill someone else’s dream), don’t be afraid to risk, your life is in your hands. Take risks, you got nothing to lose but only to win: Experience and Resilience matter most. So, don’t be afraid to lose or fail.

Fail as many times as you like. But learn your lessons quickly and leave mistakes behind you at the same quick speed.

Do not focus on your weaknesses, others will do that for you pretty well.

Focus on your strengths and build yourself up first.

You are going to invest a great deal of your time on earth towards your professional life. So, make sure you do the following:

1) Find something you love so that it doesn’t feel like work

2) Make sure that it solves a real problem for other people or businesses in real life so that those who have this problem are willing to pay to have their problem solved

3) Become a Specialist in your niche

4) Offer your skills for free at the beginning, so you start building a successful portfolio

27. Garry Brownrigg is the CEO and Founder of Quicksilk

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Be flexible and open when things don’t go as planned

There are many different ways to look at a problem or challenge. When one arises, be open to exploring different scenarios, thoughts, solutions and approaches. Seek advice from people that know more than you. Most importantly, follow the path that resonates most deeply with you.

28. Amity Kapadia is the founder of Brightly

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Cure imposter syndrome by relying on your support system. Whether that’s your tribe of fellow entrepreneurs, online communities, or mentors – surround yourself with positive (and honest) people that celebrate your victories and lift you from your losses. Building your professional confidence is the best way to silence your inner critic.

29. Brandon Ballweg is the Founder/Editor of ComposeClick

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Always persevere and keep going through all the setbacks and challenges. There have been many times when I lost motivation due to a lack of concrete results but had I pushed through them faster, I would be further along than where I am now in my entrepreneurial journey.

Part of that I think is having clearly defined goals and acknowledging when you achieve something that gets you closer to those goals so that you know you’re making progress. Another is keeping in the back of your mind that if you’re persistent, the results will come. Lasting success isn’t built overnight.

30. McKinzie bean is a serial entrepreneur

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

I would have invested in outsourcing earlier. As a new entrepreneur I tried to do everything myself to save money, but the tasks took me so much longer and weren’t done as well as if I had hired a professional.

If you can outsource many administrative tasks to a freelancer for around $20 an hour. This frees up your time to allow you to focus on the core money-making activities in your business. It can be nerve-wracking to invest in a team before you have much money coming in, but it can help you grow more quickly and effectively.

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31. Rabbi Jacob Rupp is a rabbi, coach, syndicated columnist, podcast host, speaker, and business strategist

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Start from a place of love. When it comes to starting new ventures, we naturally tend to view our financial success or impact as the scorecard of our effort.  Naturally, the money and recognition are in most cases the lowest in the beginning of the venture, and our uncertainty and the effort we need to invest is the highest.

As a result, we often question ourselves and doubt ourselves.  We ask questions like “why am I even doing this?”

Create something that expresses you in a new way.  Start a podcast, blog, or YouTube channel.  Look at everything as a tool for your next adventure.  Oftentimes we have the habit of sitting back somewhat and feeling like its too late for us and life has passed us by.

It’s a huge mistake!! The experiences that we have and the wisdom we have amassed make us successful, and more important if shared, can help others who are in earlier stages of life

Why we are doing this is because we care about our product, service, or message, and it is important that we share this with the world. It has to start with the love for yourself, love for your product or service, or love of those people who will be benefitting from what you do.  If it’s about the recognition or money out of the gate, most ventures are doomed to failure.

It’s the ability to be proud of your effort, not the outcome, that will allow you to keep pushing, to humbly seek the mentorship you need, to be brave enough to spend the money or to be a creative problem solver, take risks, etc. that gets your vision off the ground.

32. Matthew Ross is the co-owner and COO of RIZKNOWS and The Slumber Yard

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

I could spend all day talking about mistakes and advice relating to business. Broadly speaking though, I’d say focus on a specific niche. I think a lot of entrepreneurs focus too much on capturing the entire market in which they operate.

Instead, it’s often easier and more fruitful to focus on a specialized or undeserved niche or segment of the market. By doing so, your product or service will have a better chance of standing out and gaining traction.

33. Stephen Hockman is the founder of Trusty Joe

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

“Invest in an accountant before you launch,” I would have told my younger self. Having a good accountant can help you find a multitude of ways to shelter your business earnings from taxes, set up a reasonable payroll, and uncover ways to maximize your retirement savings.

When I first launched my business I didn’t want to incur the extra expense of paying for an accountant and tried to do all of the financial planning and tax preparation myself.

I discovered later that I lost a lot of money over the years because I missed out on valuable saving opportunities related to tax code changes. If I were to start all over again, I would sit down with an accountant to go over my business plan and goals in order to leverage every opportunity available to me.

34. Joe Jesuele is the founder of HomeJab

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Don’t work with family members.  It may be the easy thing to do when first starting out since you need people you can trust.  But, if things don’t work out, it could end up being bad for business, and more importantly, it could hurt your family.

When searching for co-founders and early employees, always go with top quality talent over people you have a personal relationship with.  Ideally, your first hires will be people you have worked with before in a professional setting, not your friends.

It is important that you like the people you hire, but the foundation of the relationship should be a proven track record of work, not play.  Remember what The Godfather says, “It’s not personal, it’s strictly business”.

35. Gabriel Shaoolian is the Founder and Executive Director at DesignRush

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

My biggest advice harkens back to what Thomas Edison said: “Genius: One percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”

You need to be prepared for problems and learn not to be discouraged by them.

When you enter the world of entrepreneurship, it’s exciting. You have an idea you believe in, and you think it is going to help your target audience in solving necessary problems.

But most accomplished businesspeople will tell you that what makes them successful is knowing how to overcome challenges. Nobody gets to where they want to go without facing a lot of obstacles. Learn how to expect problems, deal with them and find a solution.

36. Erika is the Co-Founder and COO at Hyr

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Talk to as many people as you can about your business or idea.  Especially your customer.  I think too many entrepreneurs are scared to share their ideas for fear of someone “stealing” it. The fact is, the idea has probably already been floated by countless people.

But it is how you execute that will make the difference.  And part of that is TALKING with the person that will buy your product or service; early, and often.

Don’t build what you think they want, build what they tell you they want.  These conversations will also help you hone in on your business model, which, frankly is of utmost importance since it’s how you will make money for your business.

And you never know, one of those conversations may even lead to early-stage investment or team members.  So get out there and talk about your idea!

37. Jamey Elrod is a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded numerous businesses including Educational Outfitters and Text Request

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

As an entrepreneur, most days are filled with chaos. And let’s be real, if you’re starting a new business and things don’t get chaotic every now and again, you should probably be worried. But you also need to protect your sanity.

That’s why I encourage young entrepreneurs to proactively find peace and routine on a daily basis. By doing so, you’ll provide an anchor for yourself and your day, especially when things get crazy.

I’m an early riser, which enables me to set the tone for my day, instead of it setting the tone for me. Every morning, I enjoy a nice, quiet coffee moment with my husband — who is also one of my business partners — and then we work ourselves into our day from there.

You don’t have to be a coffee drinker, but I suggest starting each morning with a routine and by enjoying your peace before the chaos of the day sets in.

38. Dr. Gwen Smith is an author, inspirational speaker, business success and life coach.

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Before starting your new business consider the following advice: Get to know who you really are at your core. It will become important in later making sound business decisions which align with your intuition. Every major successful person has touted this as his or her primary source for success.

The next advice would be to know what is important to you. Burn out is a huge issue for many entrepreneurs because the journey at times can be arduous. Unless you really believe in what you are doing, and especially unless it aligns completely with who you are, it will become a struggle eventually, even if you make the money.

Because once you achieve the goal, you won’t find peace and profits as much. Practice keeping a positive mindset to allow you to bounce back when you fall and to continue to think clearly about profitable solutions.

Finally, sharpen your awareness so you can discern transformation in your life and business environment that allows you to be on the cusp of evolving yourself and your business and creating what’s new.

39. Elaine Mensah is the Founder & Brand Strategist at Brand Meets Creative

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

My advice to my younger self would be to spend time at the onset of my business to determine my brand’s soul. In other words, explore my true purpose, passion and the distinct value me and my business will provide.

Entrepreneurship is a tough road that will challenge you in ways you can’t even imagine.

So you need to be prepared to stand up for yourself to yourself when doubt, insecurity, and major obstacles come your way.

So, how do you go about determining your brand’s soul?

First, be honest with yourself. There are a lot of things you’re interested in and passionate about that frankly, you just may not be good at. Don’t start a business you’re not good at or knowledgeable about.

Secondly, understand and accept your strengths and weaknesses. This will allow you to make sound business decisions.

Third, check your ego at the door. Preferably, leave it out in the cold altogether. Ego is the single biggest mental obstacle to starting your business. It is what makes you rigid and unwilling to accept mistakes and correct them. It will cost you financially and, in the end, kill the soul of your business.”

40. Audrey Craig is President and CEO of GB Design House

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Stay positive! Many times you will want to throw in the towel, but it’s important to remember that in order to discover the rainbow, you must power through the storm. Also, It’s okay to have “stepping stones.”  After graduating from college, I had a couple of positions in sales and marketing.

Though those jobs didn’t necessarily lead me to become an entrepreneur, they gave me some important building blocks and tools needed to run my own business and make GB Design House a success.

41. Ash Shilkin is the president of Ivy

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Get plenty of sleep, meditate and exercise in the mornings. If I start the day with that foundation, I’m in a much better place to deal with everything life throws at me, and can ultimately do more, and handle more.

If I get little sleep and start the day by checking emails, there is a good chance anxiety levels will be higher, I will be less productive, and question why the hell I’m doing what I’m doing!

42. Matthew Arnett is the co-founder of PO8

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

I would tell the younger version of me to find the essence of your faith. When lead by faith you will continually be motived to press on to achieve long term goals. Therefore, you will never regret investingino yourself.

When you allow faith to be the overarching unifying backbone that undergirds your actions you constantly believe in what you are trying to achieve. Faith leads you back to your true north which realigns you with your passion, drive and endure so that you will not give up but rather conquer.

4 Reasons Why Your Tech Website Needs Long Tail Keywords

The basis of any SEO strategy is the active usage of keywords. And the basis for a successful SEO strategy is the use of relevant long tail keywords. The right long tail keywords in the correct volume can drive tons of traffic to your techs business’s website and dramatically increase conversions and revenue for your startup.

43. James is a co-founder at Paperlust

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

My biggest piece of advice is about picking the right people to get into business with and even then, making sure you have the legalframeworkk in place in case it all goes wrong.

Fortunately, in my case I work with my brother and we have formed a great team, but we have had a bad experience with an external partner who quickly proved to be a danger to our company.

By having the right legal structures in place, you not only protect yourselves from behavior which is detrimental to the company, but it also sets expectations about how partners should conduct themselves.

This may seem like yet another expense at a time when cash is in extremely short supply, but it could save you much more in the future.

44. Dane Kolbaba is an owner at WatchdogPestControl.com

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

To My Younger Self Right Before Starting Out Stop paying attention to everyone else’s opinions and advice. They aren’t you, they aren’t in your shoes, and they don’t have the experience you have.

Throughout your entrepreneurial journey, people will want you to listen to them and take their advice. These people will come at you with more experience, more knowledge, and even more prestige than you.

Take in what they say but make sure you don’t get talked into something you don’t want to do. You miss 100% of the shots you never take!

45. Tanya Brown is a psychic and clairvoyant intuitive business coach

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

The one piece of advice I would give my younger entrepreneur self? Mistakes are a good thing. I remember reading how Thomas Alva Edison failed 1,000 times before inventing the light bulb. First time I read that I admit I was not enthusiastic about my future failings.

But as time went on I realized with each misstep or failure I learned so much which brought me confidence and more clarity towards my goal.  So yes be prepared to fail and have the patience that you will achieve your goal.

Also bonus tip.. Know that your business will not look like it does when you first started. You cannot conceive of how your business will change and grow which is one of the most exciting parts of the process..

Enjoy the journey and as Betty Davis said in All About Eve “Buckle up as it will be a bumpy ride.

46. Nic is the ex-founder and CEO of BitWall

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Find your fans and ask them for help. Whether it was our early investors, our advisors, our loyal customers, or others that supported BitWall, a huge component of our success was that we had a lot of people on our side.

We received fantastic introductions to investors and potential customers and we were able to make a lot of noise with our product launches because we had great people supporting us.

Focus on the Problem that You Solve, Not the Product. Focusing too much on creating the perfect product in your eyes will increase the chances of failure greatly. By instead focusing on solving a real problem for people or businesses that need it, you can create sustained success.

Identify Key Macro Trends. Bitcoin was just coming onto the scene in 2013. We correctly predicted that it could make a massive impact on the world. Bitcoin’s success helped boost our efforts greatly. We even raised some of our venture funding in 2013 in Bitcoin!

47. Zachary Phillips is a life coach, public speaker, podcaster and author.

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

It is all on you.

If something has to be done, if something goes wrong, if you are not getting the results that you want, it is your fault. Blaming other people is a waste of time, and will result in continued failure.

Did the employee make a terrible error that cost you a big client? Your fault for hiring the wrong person, not providing adequate training or clarifying your intent properly.

The market takes a downward turn and sales start to dry up? Your fault for not making appropriate plans for such an event occurring. People are not buying your product?

Your fault for not matching your product with consumer needs (or for not creating that need). When you stop blaming others and start accepting complete ownership of the results, you will start to win.

48. Kimberly Ihekwoaba is a Multi-media storyteller

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

An advice that I would give to my younger self is to have undeniable faith in yourself and expect to win. After experiencing setbacks in career, where my first choice of career didn’t work out, I labeled myself as a failure. And with that mindset, everything I touched turned to a tombstone.

I would work hours, waste time running around circles and nothing to show of it. Failure is nothing more but a reroute, the compass of life is leading you to a better destination, only if you trust in the process.

The next time you look in the mirror, it doesn’t matter how many hours you study, how many times you prepare for the opportunities, if you don’t believe in that face looking at you, if you don’t expect your actions to yield desired results, then you have to get back and work on your mindset and make sure that your work is aligned to your purpose.

49. Jason Lavis is the Managing Director at Out of the Box Innovations Ltd

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

I’ve started many businesses, especially since the internet created the opportunity to take action with next to no financial outlay. Most of the failures and difficulties that I’ve experienced and seen in others come down to two main pitfalls.

Firstly are the businesses with no barrier to entry. If anyone can enter the space, you’ll have colossal competition, much of it from those who will work for little or no profit in the beginning.

With an online business, you’re up against professionals, as well as teenagers, students, stay at home moms and smart side-gig entrepreneurs from all over the world. If it’s easy, it’s probably brutal. Many of these people will game the system, give you bad reviews or even try to rip you off.

Secondly, most industries have a ‘winner takes all’ market share dynamic. A top company can destroy most of its competition. Think Amazon or Google, but then consider that this is the case in every industry.

Before entering a space, think, can I dominate this niche? Do I have the financial backing, industry experience or network that I need? If there’s no chance of being the best, you might have a permanent glass ceiling that might cause a few years of wasted energy.

50. Erik J. Olson is the Founder & CEO of Array Digital and host of the Journey to $100 Million flash briefing and daily podcast.

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Too often new entrepreneurs think that if they built it, they will come. Everyone has a product or service. Will yours really be so different that it will be the next Facebook?

Let’s get real – it’s doubtful.

Instead, focus on selling a product or service that someone will actually buy. By that I mean you actually sell it – have them sign an agreement or purchase order.  That’s the only actual way to validate your idea versus potentially wasting thousands of dollars and hours building something you *think* others want.

Now, I’m not saying to sell just anything. It has to be something that you’re fairly familiar with and you’re confident you can deliver. But defer production until after the sale occurs

51. Paige Arnof-Fenn is the founder & CEO of Mavens & Moguls

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

I started a global branding and marketing firm 17 years ago and I did not appreciate or realize that most of my business would come from public speaking and networking.

Those are 2 key skills that have helped me succeed. People do business with people they know, like and trust so you have to get out there to build your reputation online and off.

Prospective customers can come from anyone anywhere anytime so you should always be on your best behavior & make a great lasting impression. Be nice to everyone & make friends before you need them, you never know who is in or will be in a position to help! Also, beware that the people you start with are not always the ones who grow with you.

The hardest lesson I learned when I started my company is not getting rid of weak people earlier than I did in the first few years of my business.  I spent more time managing them than finding new customers.

I knew in my gut they were not up to the mark but out of loyalty to them, I let them hang around much longer than they should have.

It would have been better for everyone to let them go as soon as the signs were there.  They became more insecure and threatened as we grew which was not productive for the team.  As soon as I let them go the culture got stronger and the bar higher.

“A” team people like to be surrounded by other stars.  It is true that you should hire slowly and fire quickly.  I did not make that mistake again later on so learned it well the first time.  I wish I had known it even earlier though, but lesson learned for sure!

52. Grant Hensel is CEO of both Nonprofit Megaphone and the RoundUp App

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

When I was in college, a friend of mine and I wrote a letter to Eric Schmidt, the then CEO of Google, asking what advice he had for upcoming entrepreneurs. The takeaway he shared was that at the end of the day, it’s the people on the journey with you – colleagues, family, friends that make the biggest difference.

This reminder has stuck with me and me to be more decisive and careful in who I choose to partner and work with. This gives me the liberty to “fire” a client if they are dragging down the team.

Getting advice from Google’s CEO isn’t something you easily forget, and it made a huge impact on the type of entrepreneur I am today.

53. Noel Moran is the CEO at Prepaid Financial Services Limited (PFS)

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

I can remember that one of the greatest challenges I faced at the start was scaling a company without investment. My advice to business owners is to keep onto as much of their company as they can, for as long as they can.

Today, 95% of the company is owned by me and the staff, which is a feat in these post-recession days. We must not forget that we got through one of the toughest business eras in history and emerged as a financial services market leader. It was not easy, but it made the most sense at the time.”

54. Zondra Wilson of Blu Skin Care LLLC

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

The advice I would give my younger self is to trust your instinct? I was always worried if I was doing the right thing. I would spend countless hours trying to figure out if the decision I made was correct. In the beginning, I was so stressed.

I would listen to motivational speakers, business executives, friends and family who didn’t hesitate to tell me what they would do in my particular situation. I was so confused. I didn’t  know what to do. What I’ve learned is to go with my gut. My instinct has never let me down.

I stopped inviting people to offer information about my business and decided to pray and allow God to lead me in my decision making. That is the best thing that I ever did for my business.

55. Nicholas Christensen is the founder of Lottery Critic

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Seek out mentors. Give yourself permission to ask for advice. You’re going to quickly realize you lack the knowledge of the day-to-day operations and the nuts and bolts of forming and running a business.

A company has many moving parts and mistakes made at the beginning can be costly and create major headaches down the road.

Consult an attorney (preferably one that has experience in business law versus one who specializes in family law) whether to incorporate as a corporation, LLC, sole proprietorship, etc.

Talk to an accountant about issues regarding payroll, taxes, expenses, cash vs accrual method, etc.

Network with other entrepreneurs to listen to their startup stories – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Trust me, the knowledge you’ll gain will be time and money well spent.

Looking for a Startup Domain Name? Put it through a Radio Test!

If you’ve read some of our previous articles pertaining to picking a domain name for your tech business, then you must remember coming across the term ‘radio test’.

56. Matt Cooper is the CEO of Skillshare

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

When deciding whether or not you should join a startup or start a new venture, make sure you do it because you love the grind, not because you want to get rich. Startups are a little like being in show business — you may end up as Tom Cruise, but statistically, you are more likely to be “Guy at Bar #3”.

Your decision should be based on your love of building things and fixing problems, and because you love the journey more than the destination.

57. Dorota Shortell is the CEO of Simplexity PD

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

When starting your entrepreneurial journey and for that matter throughout your career, keep seeking out new ways to learn.  For me, this has predominantly been connecting with people whose knowledge and experience I can apply to my own business struggles.

When I was in an engineering role, I attended professional engineering networking events and now as a CEO, I’m a member of Vistage, which is a professional organization for CEOs and executives.

I have been able to learn from other businesses that are very different than my own yet share many of the same challenges. I also recommend reading books on business, entrepreneurship, psychology, and leadership.

Whenever someone mentions a book they’ve enjoyed, I add it to my master list so I can read it in the future.  Since everyone is limited on time, my approach is to listen to books during my commute to and from work.

Not only does it make the time productive, it puts me in the right frame of mind to tackle my day and I often apply what I have heard directly to my day at work.

58. Nancy Smullen, is the founder and CEO at Square360

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Don’t fear the stigma of failure. This has been said by many people in many ways, but it’s such an important piece of advice that it bears repeating. No risk=no reward. And, while risks are a necessary component of striking out on your own, that doesn’t mean that you abandon all reason. You take “calculated” risks as I like to call them.

Success lives just outside your comfort zone and doing nothing is not a path to success. So if (or should I say when) you fail, don’t let it affect your confidence. Learn from your mistakes. Pick yourself up. Trust your gut. Try again!

59. Craig Hinkley is the CEO at WhiteHat Security

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

When you are starting your career in the tech industry, just be good at what you do. If you’re a programmer, be the best programmer you could be, if you’re an entrepreneur just starting out, be the best entrepreneur you could be.

Whatever your position is, do your position with the right attitude. Remember that as a leader, you’re always a work in progress. Assess what you do well and what you don’t. Surround yourself with people with the same beliefs and philosophy.

Having a team that can support you and elevate you throughout the process will make you a much better leader and person overall. The tech industry can be extremely competitive. Remember that the best way to set yourself apart is by being positive and constructive of yourself and your team.

60. Adam Stern is the founder and CEO of Infinitely Virtual

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

expecting honesty from employees means modeling honesty.  Expecting dedicated, diligent employees means demonstrably working hard myself.

Placing a premium on clear, directed communication within the organization means communicating effectively.  Fostering a strong, vibrant culture means possessing strong ideals and executing on those ideals every day.

Part of what I learned, as an entrepreneur, was to use my limited interactions with every employee to maximum effect. You interact with people at the top of the chain a lot more than you do than at the bottom.

You have to use every interaction as an opportunity to demonstrate what’s important to you and what should be important to the company.

In life, as in business, you have to make mistakes. I don’t know that there’s a real way to jump over the mistake part. The things I did poorly in my ‘20s as a manager and the things that I did poorly in my ‘30s as an owner led me to where I am today. If you want to run a business, you must do your part in learning from your own mistakes.

61. Andrei Vasilescu is the CEO at Dontpayfull

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Get some firsthand experience before you start up

The initial fate of startup entrepreneurship is one of the most important factors to decide how a young entrepreneur will continue his or her venture. It happens quite often that new entrepreneurs quit for good after failing in succeeding at their first start up. This happens due to inexperience.

To avoid this unwanted instance, a startup entrepreneur must acquire hands on experience of the same trade as much as possible. This can be most successfully done by joining a similar type of business as an employee or apprentice.

You can truly learn practical knowledge and acquire real life experience while working with that business. Within one year you will be sufficiently equipped with practical knowledge and experience to start your own entrepreneurship and you can successfully continue your start up.

This initial practical knowledge will help you to become a leader of your trade in the future.

62. Tim Absalikov is the co-founder, and CEO of Lasting Trend

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Be smart when managing your finances – especially at the start. A lot of times, businesses will want to spend money in ways that are just not necessary at the start of their business. I’ve learned that you need to be smart with your money when starting a business, especially if you’re using your own savings and income to start the business.

Don’t buy an office if you can do the work in your garage, you don’t need it and 9 times out of 10 it’s just for show. Have your meetings in a Starbucks or a restaurant if you need to – these day’s we just video call.

The only things you should worry about when it comes to money in your business is spending it on improving your cash flow. Marketing automation is a big thing business should be using today and this doesn’t have to be expensive.

63. Gennady Litvin is an Executive Associate at Moshes Law

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Don’t let ego or pride get in the way of your success. Leave your ego and pride at the door when starting a business because there’s going to be times when you need help from certain people that you don’t want to take help from.

It’s not unheard of when someone starting a business ends up having to sleep in a car or move back in with their parents. Not everyone’s entrepreneur journey can be a smooth ride, things happen and its part of starting a business so embrace struggles.

Don’t be too embarrassed and try to save face, it’ll pass if you push through and once it does, you’ll have one heck of a story to tell. Also, do not try to fake your success to look better in the eyes of people that don’t pay your bills – that’s a recipe for disaster.

64. Alex Altuhov is the general manager at HandyKith

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Be selective when it comes to building your team. Don’t be too quick to say yes to the first person that wants to join your team. A bad team can destroy a whole company if not dealt with properly.

You want to make sure that the people who are on your team have the same end goal in mind and follows the same principles you set for your business.

You need to make sure that whoever you’re hiring will be fit for your business. A team that can’t cooperate efficiently will fail and take you down with them.

You need to put your company in the best position to succeed and that starts with making sure that the people behind your company are the right ones for it.

It’s so imperative that you get this part right because the direction your company goes starts with the people handling it.

65. Igor Gramyko is the owner of Highwater Standard

Entrepreneurial advice to my younger self:

Find a trusted mentor. is so much information out there in the world and on your phone that I believe there’s no reason to fall victim to general rookie mistakes like mismanaging your money starting out or not having a hiring process.

But down the line you’ll get to a point in your business where you need more than Google to help you run your business, you need a mentor who has been where you been and understands what and what not to do.

While I believe that humans are smart and that if one person figured it out then so can you, I also believe in not wasting time and resources with unnecessary struggles.

So, finding you a mentor, even if you have to pay for one, will be the best investment you can make.

66. Sophie Knowles is the Founder & CEO of PDF Pro

Regardless of what you’re developing, make sure you know how to market it. Even though you have amazing software, your target audience may not find you. Be excited about your idea – but do not delay thinking about marketing until you have launched and find yourself struggling. Research your high traffic keywords in advance and set yourself up to be on Page 1.

67. Dennis Bartel is the CEO of BizText

Be careful with your time, your most valuable resource, and who you give it to. Build relationships that give you a return on the time you have invested in them and that don’t take away from your vision.

By doing an audit every day or week, you can verify that you’re spending your time wisely, and change those relationships quickly with little or no return, be they with clients, employees or vendors.

Some clients will try to get all they can from you and drain your energy, time, and money.

Don’t be afraid to fire them — they will be toxic to your overall success. Also, remember you don’t have to work for everyone and take every assignment just because you are starting and need the work

That will not only devalue you but take away from your growth, discourage you, drain you and most importantly, take away from your time!

Starting a tech business? Ger .tech here!

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