5 Pieces of Advice for Entrepreneurs

June 6, 2022

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Starting a business can be very challenging, discouraging and draining. One way that entrepreneurs can motivate themselves is to surround themselves with other people who are also in the entrepreneurship realm. There will be times in your business that you feel you are about to break or that you have already broken. However, it is important to keep in mind that even the most successful business owners, including the ones interviewed in this piece, have all felt that at some point. 

Moving forward, we must redefine failure. Some ideas or projects may not fulfill your definition of ‘success’ but learning to fail forward will provide you with learning experiences and more opportunities. These successful entrepreneurs all offered to give a piece of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs. 

1. Do not Compare

“Do not compare your business and work to anyone else’s, especially in the video/photo industry. Each business has a purpose of its own and comparing yours with someone else’s will limit your creative freedom.”

-Shay Boo, co-founder of Boo Creative

Comparison is a root cause of discouragement and unrealistic desires. If you take your business and compare it to another’s, it is absolutely incomparable as only the tip of the iceberg is visible. When comparing, you don’t see the blood, sweat, and tears that went into the other business. Therefore, the unhealthy comparisons will cripple you for unnecessary reasons. 

2. Learn from your mistakes

“Always be a learner and enjoy the process of learning. This will motivate you to always be improving and it developed my creative eye.”

-McQuaid Boo, co-founder of Boo Creative

The ability to willingly be open to learning will provide you with a vast number of opportunities. Nobody is ever done learning. Do not be so set in your ways that your brand has limited growth opportunities. Many entrepreneurs must pivot at some point. Not only should we have a growth mindset, but we should also find joy in it. Seek and appreciate the creativity that is at your hands. 

3. You Need a Team

“Realize the areas you are not gifted in and be willing to let those go. Hire the right people for those roles and watch how it allows your business to flourish.”

-Joe Nelson, founder of The Window Cleaning Co. and operations manager of Pane’N the Glass Window Cleaning

This piece of advice involves the practice of humility. Businesses like Nelson’s are more likely to succeed if you can give up pride and hire people who are more skilled than you. Sometimes, we like to think that we can handle it all and prefer just doing the job ourselves so that ‘it is done right,’ however, filling the gaps of your own strengths and weaknesses will push your business towards success. 

4. Lead with Humility

“Practice humility and start thinking like your client. You are either on something or on to something.” 

-Bill Svoboda, co-founder of Close Simple 

Like the last, this piece of advice ties into leading with humility. Being a humble yet confident leader is one of the strongest characteristics to have. First, nobody wants to be under an overly prideful leader as it creates an unhealthy workplace culture. Secondly, pride will get in the way of success. There could be something bigger and better in front of you, but your pride could blind you. 

5. Go Back to Your Why

“Although you are building your business, always go back to why you are doing it. Remind yourself of your vision and mission.” 

-Margaret Stokman, CEO of The Window Box 

Maintaining a clear focus will allow you to set reachable and realistic goals. Recall the passion behind why you started this business. Stokman also mentioned how her parents always pushed her to “follow the risk.” For her, this risk was starting her own business. She said that without doing this, she most likely would not have started The Window Box. Following the risk is a necessary part of entrepreneurship, even after you have started a business. 

Be encouraged by this advice and apply it to your journey as an entrepreneur. Maintaining a growth mindset will be a catalyst for future success. Seek the impact that every business has and the story that comes with it. Behind every business is a story – a story worth being heard. No matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, it is always beneficial to seek the advice of others. Like McQuaid Boo said, “we are never done learning.” 

A look into the lives of entrepreneurs by NCU's Writing for Media class.