Elon Musk was one of the founders of PayPal. Since that successful start-up exit he has been working to revolutionize the way we move, both here on the ground through Tesla, and in space through SpaceX. Here are eight things we can learn from Elon Musk and the spirit of entrepreneurship that drives him:

1. How to manage risk

The rockstar entrepreneur of our time, Mr. Musk has had to put his fortune on the line more than once making him an expert on risk.

On the subject of risk, he says: “Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”

2. How to prepare for the future

With insight into the technological future through his leadership with SpaceX, Musk has the ability to tell us what’s ahead of us unlike any other entrepreneur of our time.

He says: “There’s a fundamental difference, if you look into the future, between a humanity that is a space-faring civilization, that’s out there exploring the stars … compared with one where we are forever confined to Earth until some eventual extinction event.”

3. Have solid foundations for your ideas

Elon Musk has changed the way that we exchange money online. His ideas have proven themselves not just game-changers but revolutionary. His advice is simple …

Elon Musk says of ideas: “[Physics is] a good framework for thinking … Boil things down to their fundamental truths and reason up from there.”

4. How to choose a new hire

The most successful business owners in the world will tell you there is nothing more important than hiring right and firing fast. Because hiring the right people can make or break your company, Musk stresses to look past their talent and rely on your intuition.

On hiring, Musk says: “[My biggest mistake is probably] weighing too much on someone’s talent and not someone’s personality. I think it matters whether someone has a good heart.”

5. How to persevere when things get hard

Sometimes the hardest part about being an entrepreneur is picking yourself up when you fall. Odds are, if you have started a business before or plan to in the future, not all of your ideas are going to succeed.

Musk has advice for you if you have doubts about whether you should proceed: “If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.”

6. Be ambitious

The hardest part of any journey is the first step. When it comes to ambition Musk states: “The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur.”

7. How to progress with purpose

After your first step, there’s a long climb to the top of the mountain. Keeping the right foot ahead of you is not hard, it’s how you handle a phone call three months into your project when you have to answer yet another demand from your investors asking for results.

Of making progress he says: “I came to the conclusion that we should aspire to increase the scope and scale of human consciousness in order to better understand what questions to ask. Really, the only thing that makes sense is to strive for greater collective enlightenment.”

8. Know what motivates you

Keeping your eye on the ball is key. Always remaining true to your passions and the change that you would like to see in the world is how leaders are able to separate themselves from the herd.

On his motive, Musk says: “Going from PayPal, I thought: ‘Well, what are some of the other problems that are likely to most affect the future of humanity?’ Not from the perspective, ‘What’s the best way to make money?’”

 

In his most recent venture, Zip2, Musk is taking on online education through how-to videos. By using the leadership of this trailblazer you can create something in your industry that is unparalleled. A good example of this is Mr. Checkout, which has created an innovative approach to distribution unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Apply these lessons to your own company and build something that the world couldn’t imagine.

Featured photo credit: http://www.businessinsider.com/11-elon-musk-quotes-2013-9 via businessinsider.com

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