35+ Inspirational Entrepreneur Quotes to Kickstart Your Goals
Find your spark of motivation in our list of quotes from entrepreneurs of all walks of life.
August 16, 2020
The world of entrepreneurship is filled with high hurdles, long nights, and hard-earned wins. Deciding to launch your own business is a huge risk, and it requires a lot of support, luck, and sheer grit to stick with it long enough to see it pay off.
Whether you’re considering heading into an independent career or are already running your own company, you know how important it is to seek out the wisdom of those with thriving ventures. We’ve gathered the most quotable advice from some of the world’s most successful businesspeople to guide you on your journey. Here are some of our favorite entrepreneur quotes.
Quotes on Being a Leader
No one makes it alone. Entrepreneurs need to effectively lead teams of different sizes and all kinds of people. As these quotes reinforce, leadership is a cornerstone of success.
1. “Each of us should seek such counsel, and seek to provide it to the best of our ability.” – Robert A. Burgelman on Andy Grove, Remembering Andy Grove, the Teacher
2. “Diversity, when leveraged to solve problems in new ways, is a magnificent thing.” – Tiffany Dufu, Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less
3. “We don’t make money when we sell things. We make money when we help customers make purchase decisions.” – Jeff Bezos, The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
4. “True authority and true leadership come from knowing who you are and not pretending to be anything else.” – Robert Iger, The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company
5. “One idea alone is a tactic, but if it can be executed a number of different ways, it becomes a great strategy.” – Marc Benioff, Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company—and Revolutionized an Industry
6. “Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness.” – Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends & Influence People
7. “The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow.” – Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
Quotes for Motivation
Even the best of us feel stuck at times. These entrepreneurs have battled storms of burnout, unclear visions, and feelings of aimlessness—and offer their insights to help see you through.
8. “Life is a cruel teacher. She loves to give you the test first and the lesson later.” – Daymond John, The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage
9. “If you are an entrepreneur and just starting out, you have a golden opportunity to think deeply about the influence you want to have on the world.” – Leila Janah, Give Work: Reversing Poverty One Job at a Time
10. “Developing the power within, to have the confidence to take charge in the most difficult and dangerous of situations, is the hallmark of a true professional.” – Subroto Bagchi, The Professional: Defining the New Standard of Excellence at Work
11. “To be great is to be misunderstood.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance and Other Essays
12. “You are not your circumstances. You are your possibilities.” – Oprah Winfrey, The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life's Direction and Purpose
13. “You should never start a company with the goal of getting rich. Your goal should be making something you believe in and making a company that will last.” – Steve Jobs, from Steve Jobs: A Biography by Walter Isaacson
14. “It's time to put yourself out there, because you never know what amazing things will come your way.” – Joy Deangdeelert Cho, Blog, Inc.: Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community
15. “Accept the pain of the past. Learn the lessons of the past. Embrace the nostalgic memories of the past. Then dream big dreams of the future and start chasing them!” – Pat Williams, How to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life
16. “I deeply believe that everything happens for us, not to us, and if we can take all parts of our journey—the good and the bad—with the same hunger for knowledge and willingness to dissect what worked and what didn't, then all of it will be a blessing in the end.” – Miki Agrawal, Disrupt-Her: A Manifesto for the Modern Woman
Quotes from Women Entrepreneurs
Women have made impressive strides in a variety of industries, including media, e-commerce, and STEM. These quotes reflect the distinctive hardships faced by female entrepreneurs and capture their remarkable resilience, creativity, wisdom, and strength.
17. “Don’t doubt yourself; doubt the people who doubt you.” – Jessica DiLullo Herrin, Find Your Extraordinary: Dream Bigger, Live Happier, and Achieve Success on Your Own Terms
18. “But in the midst of all that uncertainty and lack of clarity, there lies a wild beauty. A hope. Possibility. The promise of something bigger than us happening just beneath the surface that we can’t see.” – Mandy Hale, You Are Enough: Heartbreak, Healing, and Becoming Whole
19. “Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral. Pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.” – Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person
20. “I would further argue that our businesses and economy don’t just need more women in the workplace and in leadership positions and starting businesses (though we do). We need more women acting more like women.” – Sallie Krawcheck, Own It: The Power of Women at Work
21. “Life offers us this great gift of self-organization, how we can be held in the basin of shared meaning and, within that, exercise individual freedom.” – Margaret J. Wheatley, Who Do We Choose to Be? Facing Reality, Claiming Leadership, Restoring Sanity
22. “There are secret opportunities hidden inside every failure.” – Sophia Amoruso, #GIRLBOSS
23. “Real change will come when powerful women are less of an exception. It is easy to dislike senior women because there are so few.” – Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
24. “When we fully step into our power, there is no predicting the heights we can reach.” – Tiffany Pham, You Are a Mogul: How to Do the Impossible, Do It Yourself, and Do It Now
25. “Remember that the world we can see is the one that really matters, and never lose sight of that.” – Anna Akana, So Much I Want to Tell You: Letters to My Little Sister
26. “The walls of your comfort zone are lovingly decorated with your lifelong collection of favorite excuses.” – Jen Sincero, You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth
27. “Think of discomfort as currency—it's the price you pay to learn some pretty crucial things.” – Lilly Singh, How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life
28. “Never make a big decision without sleeping on it.” – Martha Stewart, The Martha Rules: 10 Essentials for Achieving Success as You Start, Build, or Manage a Business
29. “Life isn't about perfection. There is no rule book. Life has many different chapters, and every chapter deserves celebrating.” – Reese Witherspoon, Whiskey in a Teacup: What Growing Up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love, and Baking Biscuits
Quotes about Perseverance and Flexibility
It’s difficult when we’re working towards our goals but always seem to fall off track. Life as an entrepreneur presents many opportunities to learn how to be agile and readjust when things don’t go according to plan.
30. “We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.” – Arianna Huffington, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder
31. “Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.” – Robert T. Kiyosaki, Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money—That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!
32. “Insight without action is worthless. Taking action is the only path to change.” – Marie Forleo, Everything Is Figureoutable
33. “Once you figure out the question, then the answer is relatively easy.” – Elon Musk, from Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
34. “You can't fear what you haven't figured out yet, and sometimes naïveté can be the best business strategy of all.” – Jaclyn Johnson, WorkParty: How to Create & Cultivate the Career of Your Dreams
35. “When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.” – Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
36. “That combination of thought and action defines creative confidence: the ability to come up with new ideas and the courage to try them out.” – Tom Kelley, Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All
37. “If you pursue the right goal in the wrong way, you still end up in the wrong place.” – Jon Acuff, Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done
While quotes are a great way to consume bite-sized words of wisdom, many entrepreneurs have put together books and podcasts that provide more in-depth insight and guidance. Take a look at our collection of business audiobooks to see what other entrepreneurs and top business leaders have to say.