Many of the greatest figures in history have been entrepreneurs. Names like Edison, Jobs, Gates, and Winfrey are symbolistic of the entrepreneurial spirit to never give up and achieve the impossible. The road to financial success can be intimidating for new entrepreneurs.
Each entrepreneur starts out with a dream and an idea to get there. These innovators recognize the road ahead will include long nights, years of little to no profit, and their own psyche imploring them to give up. Here’s how the legends worked their way to the top and how you can find your own path to success.
1. Entrepreneurs Are Not Afraid To Fail
“I knew that if i failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.” – Jeff Bezos
Failure is the name of the game in entrepreneurship. After all, anything worth doing will push you to your breaking point. Going the entrepreneurial path is a risk that most choose to avoid. Entrepreneurs risk financial security and may be forced to live on a budget for many years before their vision takes off.
To start a company from the ground-up, an entrepreneur will likely need to obtain funding by going into debt or through family and friends. When Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in 1993 through a $300,000 investment from his parents, he warned them the failure rate of the company would be around 70 percent.
The legendary entrepreneur has remarked numerous times about the importance of failure. Even as the most valuable company in human history, Amazon has racked up several failures.
The Amazon Fire Phone was a $170 million flop for the e-commerce giant in 2014. Amazon also invested a combined $110 million in Pets.com and Kozmo.com only to see the two web companies go under shortly after.
After Amazon Wallet failed in 2014, Bezos wrote to shareholders in his annual letter that “[Amazon] is the best place in the world to fail… failure and invention are inseperable twins.” Through each bout of failure and disappointment, Bezos never thought about giving up on his dream. As the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos would be nothing without failure.
2. Entrepreneurs Never Stop Learning
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Ben Franklin
Ben Franklin’s entrepreneurial career is largely overshadowed by his decades spent in politics and position as a key founding father. As one of fifteen children, Franklin knew nothing would be given to him. With only two years of schooling under his belt, the statesman sought his fortune in Charlestown, South Carolina.
In 1731, the young entrepreneur entered a co-partnership with Thomas Whitmarsh. The duo published the South Carolina Gazette under a six-year agreement in which Whitmarsh would not be able to purchase materials from anyone other than Franklin and could not work for another printing service during that time.
The agreement is widely believed to be the first American franchise. Franklin’s quest for knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit meant that he always challenged the status quo and always sought to innovate.
Franklin is credited for inventing the lightning rod, bifocals, and the urinary catheter among other popular commonplace items. The legendary American never patented any of his inventions due to a belief that everyone should be able to benefit from scientific progress.
3. Entrepreneurs Aren’t Afraid To Ask For Help
“A small amount of time invested on your part to share your expertise can open up a new world for someone else.” – Mark Zuckerberg
Before he became the youngest self-made billionaire ever by founding Facebook, one of the most important cultural innovations in human history, Mark Zuckerberg was just a college kid trying to find his place in the world. In a recent interview, Zuckerberg explained that Apple founder Steve Jobs was instrumental in Zuckerberg’s early entrepreneurial years. Jobs provided key advice on how Zuckerberg could build a team that was as focused as the young Harvard dropout.
When Facebook started to experience growing pains in its early days, Jobs advised the Facebook founder to take a trip to a temple in India to find what the future of the company would be. Jobs had visited the same temple in the early years of Apple when he struggled to find the company’s identity. Zuckerberg traveled through India for a month and learned how Indian culture was centered around social connectivity.
As Zuckerberg would later state, “[That trip] reinforced to me the importance of what we were doing, and that is something I will always remember.” Mentors are an important part of the entrepreneurial process. It’s never too early to network with industry veterans and soak-up their wisdom.
It’s Time To Hit The Ground Running
The cliche “the journey of a thousand miles starts with one step” still rings true. Entrepreneurs are not born successful, they persevere through countless failures, live on a dime, and aren’t afraid to ask for help. New entrepreneurs do not need to have everything planned out, but they should be ready to hit the ground running.