It’s not easy being a budding entrepreneur. You have to push yourself day after day, which gets harder to do when you’re not seeing results or struggling through difficult times. But, how you meet challenges is what defines you as an entrepreneur.
However, sometimes when you’re feeling down and unmotivated, you don’t want to search within yourself for inspiration. Instead, look for inspiration in the words of others who have been highly successful in their lives and business.
And with this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 25 inspirational and motivational quotes from famous entrepreneurs and notable personalities. We’ve also added our take on these quotes and what we glean from these nuggets of wisdom.
“My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long university education that I never had – everyday I’m learning something new” – Richard Branson
The takeaway: Ignore whatever your resume says and don’t let your capabilities be determined by the degrees you have or the grades you got. The best learning opportunities come from gaining life experiences.
“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot
Takeaway: I think the takeaway from this quote is pretty obvious. You’re never too old to follow your dream or to pursue a passion.
“I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.” – Zig Ziglar
Takeaway: I know so many people who work on multiple business ideas at the same time – but none ever really take off. So, if you have a business idea, stay focused on that idea only.
“Some people dream of success, while other people get up every morning and make it happen.”
Takeaway: It’s easy to dream of success. But, if you want to make that dream a reality, then you have to work hard every day to make it happen.
“The fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be.” – Reid Hoffman
Takeaway: Success rubs off – or so they say! If you surround yourself with successful people, you will pick up their habits and slip into their mindset and character.
“You can’t be successful in business without taking risks. It’s really that simple.” – Adena Friedman
Takeaway: If you’re risk-averse, then the life of an entrepreneur is not for you. Starting a business is a risk, but it’s only one of many you will take on the road to success.
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” – Steve Jobs
Takeaway: If you don’t give up, you can’t fail. You just have to keep pushing and pushing. No matter how many times you get knocked down you have to get back up, dust yourself off and keep moving forward.
“Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember – the only taste of success some people get is to take a bite out of you.” – Zig Ziglar
Takeway: Criticism is good, but only when it’s constructive. Such criticism is usually given by friends, family or associates in order to help you grow. However, some people give criticism to knock you down, not build you up. Don’t pay heed to this.
“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” – Thomas Jefferson
Takeaway: Sure, sometimes you will have some luck in business – but mostly you make your own by working hard. When you show up and put in the effort day after day, that’s when things click into place and new opportunities arise.
“In the real world, the smartest people are people who make mistakes and learn. In school, the smartest people don’t make mistakes.” – Robert Kiyosaki
Takeaway: As an aspiring entrepreneur, the willingness to try new things is what’s going to get you ahead. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; it’s the best way to learn and grow.
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” – Mark Twain
Takeaway: I love this quote. It’s one of my favorites. For me this means that you can achieve anything no matter what the odds. As long as you are up for the fight and willing to go all the rounds – the full distance.
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius
Takeaway: Building a successful business is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. To win, you don’t have to run fast, you just have to keep going at your pace.
“The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” – Vidal Sassoon
Takeaway: Success does not land in your lap, at least not for most people! If you want to build a successful business, you need to work hard to realize your dream.
“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Takeaway: Sometimes our biggest enemy is ourselves. We let our doubts and fear hold us back and stop us from reaching our true potential.
“The most dangerous poison is the feeling of achievement. The antidote is to every evening think what can be done better tomorrow.” – Ingvar Kamprad
Takeaway: You should celebrate your successes, but don’t rest on your laurels. If you do that, you lose your edge. Aspire to continuously improve both in life and business.
“If you are working on something you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” – Steve Jobs
Takeaway: Your business should not drag you down. It should inspire you. It should be your love. If you’re struggling to motivate and push yourself, then maybe you should reassess if it’s the business for you.
“When times are bad is when the real entrepreneurs emerge.” – Robert Kiyosaki
Takeaway: The entrepreneur journey is not always smooth sailing. Sometimes you hit rough patches, and during these times is when you really earn your badge as an entrepreneur.
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
Takeway: Another favorite quote of mine. You are what you think, and your reality will be shaped by those thoughts. If you think you can do something then you can. However, the opposite is also true.
“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” – Lou Holtz
Takeaway: When you run a business, you carry a lot of weight on your shoulders. But for some, this weight is too much and drags them down. To stand tall, you must cultivate a healthy business mindset.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison
Takeaway: You will fail many times on the road to success. It’s par for the course. But, don’t give up. Instead, view each failure as an opportunity to learn and grow.
“Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” – Farrah Gray
Takeaway: I think this quote is self-explanatory and lies at the heart of what drives the entrepreneurial spirit. You should remember this quote every day; it will help motivate and inspire you to get out of bed each day.
“It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow and transform.” – Roy T. Bennett
Takeaway: Every time you step outside of your comfort zone, you develop as a person, and ongoing personal development is at the core of an entrepreneur’s character.
“A big business starts small.” – Richard Branson
Takeaway: You might want your business to be the next Amazon, but remember that Amazon started in the garage of Jeff Bezos. Patience is needed to grow your business from an acorn to an oak.
“Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” – Napoleon Hill
Takeaway: Success might just be around the corner. If you give up after failing, you will never know what might have been.
“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.” – Debbie Fields
Takeaway: This last quote sums up the business mindset: These 3 sentences contain all the wisdom you need to achieve your entrepreneurial dreams.
Be Inspired and Motivated
If being an entrepreneur was easy, then everyone would do it. However, the rewards are worth the struggle. So, when you’re feeling down and out, remember that most successful people have felt the same during the course of their journey. Many of these people have also gifted us with sage words that we can take inspiration from; use those quotes for entrepreneurs to lift your spirits and mojo.