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5 Entrepreneurs Talk About Their Greatest Lessons From Starting Up

5 Entrepreneurs Talk About Their Greatest Lessons From Starting Up

The life of an entrepreneur is not easy. The journey to the top is slow and requires persistent hard work day in and day out. Even then, success is not guaranteed and there is a very good chance for an entrepreneur to be left without a job or income after years of relentless effort. Given these hardships, what makes entrepreneurs stick to their passion?

I talked to over a hundred entrepreneurs for my book, “How We Did It : 100 entrepreneurs share the story of their struggles and life experiences” and got the opportunity to listen to these incredible people firsthand. A popular answer from all these entrepreneurs was that they simply didn’t know any better. However, these entrepreneurs had incredible stories and experiences to share from their startup journey. Here are a few of them.

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1. Sam Tarantino, the Founder & CEO of Grooveshark

“The single greatest lesson in life I’ve learned is that anything you have can be taken from you. Who you are and what you stand for cannot. That is eternal and the root of happiness. Money, fame, status, power, people, things, all can be lost. Purpose and happiness can’t. One thing I always look back on when we faced impossible odds was that I assumed every day that tomorrow I could lose everything. When you accept that anything can be taken from you at any second, constricting fear dissolves and you operate from a place of infinite potential and ability. You suddenly have superhuman strength.”

2. Chris Grant, the owner of Grant Family Farms

“Never make the mistake of thinking you know everything about anything. Do not think you are an expert in anything. Everyday in business is a giant learning process. Do not sell yourself short by thinking you know it all, and be open to new ideas. Be aware of your competition, but don’t lose sleep over them. Like in the third grade, you need to mind your own business.”

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3. Kyle James, owner of Rather-Be-Shopping.com

“Never let somebody tell you that you can’t do something. If I had listened I would have quit a long time ago or never started to begin with. Find a niche, create a website and content that is the best resource available, helps people solve problems, and the customers will follow.”

4. Zeb Couch, owner of OffMarketFormula

“The world belongs to the meat eaters. Those who see what they want, drool at the mouth at the thought of tasting it, and aren’t afraid to get battered and beaten in order to take a bite. Behind every IPO, every company like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Roc-A-Fella there’s a meat eater who’s scraped and clawed to win. Guaranteed. If that sounds too painful, too unappealing, this life just isn’t for you.”

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5. Mike Townsend, the founder of HomeHero

“An important lesson to remember is to constantly grow your skills don’t be intimidated by things you don’t know. If you don’t know how to code, design, or raise venture capital, just jump in and try. Have the mentality that you will solve any problem that comes your way and you will attract talented people looking for a leader.”

Featured photo credit: Escape Media via entrepreneurshipdaily.com

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Anand Srinivasan

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Last Updated on November 19, 2018

How to Find a Suitable Professional Mentor

How to Find a Suitable Professional Mentor

I went through a personal experience that acted as a catalyst for an epiphany. When I got fired from a job, I learned something important about myself and where I was headed with my freelance career. I realized that the most important aspect of that one rather small job was the influence of the company owner. I realized that I wasn’t hurt that the company and I weren’t a perfect match; I was devastated by the stark fact that I needed a mentor and I had almost found one but lost her.

Suddenly, I felt like J.D., the main character in “Scrubs,” chasing Dr. Cox and trying to rip insight and wisdom from someone I respect. The realization that a recognized thought-leader and experienced entrepreneur severed ties with me felt crushing. But, I picked myself back up and thought about five ways to acquire a mentor without having the awkwardness of outright asking.

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1. Remember, a professional mentorship must be mutual.

A professional mentor must agree to engage in a mutual relationship because, as the comedy T.V. series showed us, one simply cannot force someone to tutor us. We have to prove that we are worth the time investment through persistence and dedication to the craft.

2. You have to have common interests with your mentor.

Even if a professional mentor appears at your job or school, realize that unless you and this person have common interests, you won’t find the relationship successful. I’ve been in situations where someone I respected had vastly different ideas about what was important in life or what one should spend his or her free time doing. If these things don’t line up, you may find the relationship won’t be as fruitful, even when the mentor knows a great deal about one industry.

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3. Thought-leaders will respect your passion.

One of the ways you can prove yourself worthy to a professional mentor is through your passion and your dedication. No one wants to spend time grooming and teaching another who will not take advice or put the effort in to improve. When following thought-leaders on Twitter and trying to engage with higher-ups in a work setting, realize that your actions most often speak louder than your words.

4. Before worrying if he respects you, ask if you respect him.

On the other side of the coin, you should seriously reflect on those common interests and make sure you respect your professional mentor. Just because someone holds a title, degree or office does not mean that person is trustworthy or honest. Don’t be swayed by appearances and take the time to find a suitable professional mentor.

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5. Failure is often the best way to learn

I honestly have made more mistakes than I can count. I know I’ve learned a great deal from poorly organized businesses and my own poor choices. The most important quality I’ve developed is an ability to swallow my pride and learn from my mistakes. If life knocks me down nine times, I get back up 10 times. One of the songs Megadeth wrote, “Of Mice and Men,” resonates in my mind when I pull myself up by my bootstraps and try again for a goal I’ve set: “So live your life and live it well. There’s not much left of me to tell. I just got back up each time I fell.” Hopefully, this brief post can act as a professional mentor to you in your quest to find not only a brave leader but also a trusted adviser.

Featured photo credit: morguefile via mrg.bz

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