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Advice from the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs

We know that young entrepreneurs like you are bright, energetic, and driven. We know that you are college-bound and high-achieving, with dreams of changing the world.  

We also know that sometimes even the most driven and energetic young entrepreneurs need extra motivation now and then. Staying focused every single day can test the strongest among us. That’s why we’ve compiled advice from your most successful predecessors. Think of this as a collection of advice from your mentors – some of whom happen to be world-renowned millionaires or billionaires! Let their words guide and motivate you during those times when the thought of running your business seems more like a chore and less like your life’s calling. 

Richard Branson, billionaire entrepreneur, and business magnate: 
“My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long University education that I never had – every day I’m learning something new.” 

Steve Jobs, co-founder and former chairman and CEO of Apple: 
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” 

Cassy Ho, founder of Blogilates: 
“Do not focus on numbers. Focus on doing what you do best. It’s about building a community who want to visit your site every day because you create value and offer expertise.” 

Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay cosmetics: 
“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.” 

Gretta Rose van Riel, Founder of Hey Influencers: 
“Start as small as you can. When I started SkinnyMe Tea, I had $24 in the bank, and I was entirely self-funded. If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product; you’ve launched too late.” 

Bill Gates, software developer, investor, author, and philanthropist: 
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” 

Seth Godin, found of Skidoo: 
“The only thing worse than starting something and failing… is not starting something.” 

Brian Chesky, co-founder of AirBnB: 
“If we tried to think of a good idea, we wouldn’t have been able to think of a good idea. You just have to find the solution for a problem in your own life.” 

Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich”: 
“If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.” 

Warren Buffet, business magnate and chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway: 
“I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars — I look for 1-foot bars that I can step over.” 

Jessica Herrin, founder and CEO of Stella & Dot: 
“You have to see failure as the beginning and the middle, but never entertain it as an end.” 

Arianna Huffington, president and editor in chief The Huffington Post Media Group: 
“Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me.” 

Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and CEO of Chobani: 
“Some days you’re smiling and thinking you’re going to make this thing rock. Then the next day a pipe breaks and your costs look too high. You have to learn to keep your eyes on an ultimate goal. If you lose sight of that goal, you have to get out.” 

Mark Twain, American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer: 
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” 

Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg L.P. and former mayor of New York City: 
“Don’t be afraid to assert yourself, have confidence in your abilities, and don’t let the bastards get you down.” 

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX: 
“If something is important enough, or you believe something is important enough, even if you are scared, you will keep going.” 

Malcolm Forbes, entrepreneur: 
“When you cease to dream you cease to live.” 

Debbi Fields, founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies: 
“The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.” 

Cathy Hughes, entrepreneur, radio and television personality, and business executive: 
“[Don’t] let anyone convince you that your dream, your vision to be an entrepreneur, is something that you shouldn’t do. What often happens is that people who are well-meaning, who really care for us, are afraid for us and talk us out of it.” 

Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter: 
“Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.” 

Madam C.J. Walker, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political and social activist: 
“There is no royal flower-strewn path to success. And if there is, I have not found it, for whatever success I have attained has been the result of much hard work and many sleepless nights.” 

Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr: 
“So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.” 

Drew Houston, co-founder and CEO of Dropbox: 
“Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.” 

Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s: 
“What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone, know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.” 

Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam Records: 
“You just have to pay attention to what people need and what has not been done.” 

Sheila Lirio Marcelo, founder of Care.com: 
“My advice is to focus on the importance of forging a long-term relationship, whether with colleagues, partners, or customers. It is often easy to get caught up in short-term decisions.” 

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos: 
“Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” 

Hopefully, you found some inspiration in these quotes. Everyone listed here has been exactly where you are now. Let that motivate you on those days when you need it most. And remember that you’re not alone! 

The Kantner Foundation offers college scholarships to young Florida entrepreneurs. Ready to learn more? Click here to see if you are eligible! 

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