Becoming a successful entrepreneur is no easy feat.
However, just about every business owner that’s created a sustainable self-employed career, will tell you that they wouldn’t have achieved their goals, without guidance from others. They’re not afraid to ask for help, take great business advice, and adjust their strategies based on insights from those who’ve done well before them.
In fact, most accomplished entrepreneurs are successful in a large part, because they’ve made it a point to surround themselves with trusted advisors, mentors, and industry experts.
One of the most commonly cited, yet counter-intuitive pieces of advice they often give is that they don’t immediately view others in their industry as competitors when they could instead be potential partners, collaborators and sources of inspiration.
That’s why we asked these top business leaders to share their single most impactful piece of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Here’s more on the best business tips from these creative entrepreneurs.
1. Chase Jarvis, Co-Founder of CreativeLive
“Scratch your own itch.”
After becoming one of the world’s most well-known photographers at a relatively young age, Chase went on to co-found this company, CreativeLive, the world’s largest live streaming education company. He credits much of his success to following his passions and only pursuing opportunities that he’s genuinely interested in.
“Go after solving a problem that you have. Something that’s near and dear to you, not some random market opportunity. Because, when things get hard, if you’re chasing just the dollars, or a random market opportunity, you’re not going to be able to have the fortitude, the passion, to stay with it.”
2. Jon Acuff, New York Times Bestselling Author of Do Over
“Success takes hustle.”
Acuff, the New York Times Bestselling author of five books, including Do Over, set out very early on in his career, to only pursue meaningful work at all costs. For him, that meant 16 long years of being hired and fired, eventually finding his dream job, and finally launching into his own self-employed career as a writer, speaker, and brand consultant.
Accomplishing his dream of working for himself was no easy feat. It took a lot of hard work, focus, and hustle to grow his side business into something that could fully support his family. As Jon puts it, “Hustle is an act of focus, not frenzy. Hustle is about subtraction and addition. It’s not about doing more, it’s about focusing on the things you need to do, in order to move your business forward.”
3. Sophia Amoruso, Founder of Nasty Gal, Author of #GIRLBOSS
“Don’t give up, don’t take anything personally, and don’t take no for an answer.”
Since founding Nasty Gal as an eBay store in 2006, selling vintage clothing, Sophia has transformed the business into a multi-million dollar empire with their own clothing line that was named the “Fastest Growing Retailer” in 2012. Recently, the New York Times Bestseller of #GIRLBOSS has stepped out of her role as the CEO of Nasty Gal, to become the Executive Chairman and shift her focus to overseeing just the creative and brand marketing functions of the business.
Without any fashion or business experience before starting Nasty Gal, Sophia credits much of her hard-earned success to her inability to accept failure as an option. “The people who told me no, were the people who eventually told me yes,” she explains.
4. Lewis Howes, Author of the School of Greatness
“Follow your heart.”
Lewis, the New York Times Bestselling author of The School of Greatness, and host of the podcast bearing the same name, is a professional athlete turned entrepreneur. After suffering a debilitating injury on the field, Lewis’ football career was finished. Overnight, he lost his ability to do what he was passionate about, and was forced to discover a new way to live with purpose. Now, he’s a writer, speaker, and online educator that teaches entrepreneurs how to grow their online businesses.
5. Nir Eyal, Author of Hooked
“Certainty is more dangerous than ignorance.”
“It’s up to us as entrepreneurs, to see the world as it should be–not necessarily how it is. When you think you’re sure of the way things are, that’s when you get passed up and you don’t see the opportunities that real entrepreneurs envision.”
Nir, the author of the Wall Street Journal Bestseller, Hooked, has become the authority on how to build habit-forming products. After years of research and experience in the video game and advertising industries, Nir is a sought-after writer, speaker, and educator on the psychology behind what motivates consumer engagement.
6. Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist of Canva, Author of The Art of the Start 2.0
“Focus on the prototype.”
Guy, the former Chief Evangelist of Apple, is an immensely successful marketing executive, investor, and author of thirteen books including The Art of the Start 2.0. Over the years, he’s helped dozens of well-known companies take their products from concept to market dominance.
His formula for replicating startup success? Focusing only on the activities that drive positive results for your business, a topic he elaborates on in his class here on CreativeLive.
Guy shares, “If you get a prototype out and you get enough people using it, you never have to write a business plan. A prototype is where you separate the BS from the reality.”
No matter your background, skill set, or passion in life, starting and growing a successful business can be done with the right combination of hard work, determination, and seizing the opportunities that come your way.
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