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18 inspiring lessons from the GOATS of entrepreneurship and leadership

Opinions of contributing entrepreneurs are their own.

Entrepreneurship is a wild ride, and it’s not for the faint of heart. If you’re reading this article, you were born to shake things up and make your own way. And as some of the most successful entrepreneurs in history have said, the key to success is just getting started. Here are 15 inspiring lessons from legendary entrepreneurs.

Need more than inspiration? Book a one-on-one session with the founders of some of the most successful startups like Reddit, Drybar, Nextdoor and more.

1. “Just start.” — Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup

The hardest part of any journey is the first step, so why not just take it and see where it leads? Don’t wait for the perfect moment or the perfect idea. If you don’t start, you’ll never finish.

2. “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” — Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Meta

Turn fear into your motivation. Strive for more.

3. “The biggest risk is not taking any risks.” — Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook

Taking risks is like jumping into a cold plunge – it can be uncomfortable at first. Ultimately, it will help you achieve your goals.

4. “You have to do the things you think you can’t do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady

Reach beyond our perceived limitations and strive for greatness.

Related: Sign up for a one-on-one mentoring session with a startup expert

You are capable of more than you think is possible. You are probably working on a 3/10 when realistically you could go up to an 8/10. With hard work and determination, you can break through any barrier and emerge stronger on the other side. So dream big and never give up!

5. “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over.” —Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group

You learn to take the right risks and be prepared for the occasional trip. After all, there is no better way to learn than by doing and getting back up.

6. “If you’re not stubborn, you give up on experiments too quickly. And if you’re not flexible, you’ll bang your head against the wall and see no other solution to a problem you’re trying to solve.” — Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon

Flexibility and stubbornness are both essential traits for entrepreneurs, so make sure to keep them in balance. With the right combination of courage and patience you are well on your way to success!

7. “If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” – Oprah Winfrey, media mogul

You should never give up no matter how hard the journey is.

Regardless of the challenges and obstacles that stand in your way, you can find a way to move forward. You all have the strength to carry on no matter what.

8. “I didn’t like my life, so I created my life.” — Coco Chanel, fashion icon

You can do whatever you feel like. Don’t let life just happen to you – make it happen.

9. “Fail often so you can succeed sooner.” — Tom Kelley, IDEO partner

Failure and success are interrelated. More at bats help you repeat faster and learn more. Failing often helps you get closer to success – no matter how small the success is, it’s still a step in the right direction.

10. “The way to start is to stop talking and start doing.” — Walt Disney, co-founder of the Walt Disney Company

Put Walt’s words of wisdom into action – stop talking and start doing! Success is within reach if you take the first step and learn from your mistakes along the way.

11. “In the modern business world, there’s no point being a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you make.” – David Ogilvy, advertising executive

We’ve heard this before. Spencer Rascoff preaches that all entrepreneurs should be salesmen. Able to sell your company, your product and your company vision.

12. “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” — Abraham Lincoln, former US president

Abraham Lincoln is a man who knew a thing or two about making history.

Don’t wait for life to happen to you, make it happen. It reminds us that we are all capable of creating our own destiny and that it is up to us to shape the future.

13. “Being fearless is not the absence of fear. It’s the mastery of fear. It’s about getting up one more time than you fall.” —Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post

Don’t be afraid of fear. Face it head-on.

It’s a constant struggle to get up even after life knocks us down.

14. “Your work will fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you think is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple

Let’s face it, the work is increasing a big part of our livesand the only way to make that time meaningful is to do something you really believe in.

15. “No matter what you do, you won’t stand out unless you think big and have ideas that are truly original. That’s by tapping into your own creativity, not obsessing over what everyone else is doing.” —Sophia Amoruso, founder of Nasty Gal

Making an impact requires more than following the status quo; it calls for embracing your own innovative ideas. To really stand out, you must be willing to take risks and unleash your creative potential.

The key is to focus less on what others are doing and instead strive to generate unique solutions that can make a real difference. Only then can you leave a meaningful mark on the world.

Related: Sign up for a one-on-one mentoring session with a startup expert

16. “Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it is sacred ground. There is no greater investment.” — Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”

No overnight success? Then you won’t make the headlines. It may take a while to get everything up and running and that’s okay.

Don’t be too hard on yourself.

17. “Your most dissatisfied customers are your greatest source of learning.” — Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft

From my pre-IPO time at Uber, Instawork, and Intro, I learned that your customers build your product roadmap. Listen to them.

18. “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese proverb

In life, it is best to take action as soon as possible.

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, because then it would have had time to grow and mature. However, the next best time to plant a tree is now, even though it won’t be as mature as it was 20 years ago.

The same goes for any goal or task, the sooner you start the better the outcome will be, but it’s never too late to start, and the present is always the next best time to start.

Shreya has been with australiabusinessblog.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider australiabusinessblog.com, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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