60 Founders Share Their Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Founder looking up and thinking of advice to share to aspiring entrepreneurs.

One of the most impactful sources of information, motivation, and inspiration for aspiring founders, outside of launching a company of their own, can be gained from people who have dived into entrepreneurship themselves. Fortunately, these startup founders have shared their best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to launch a business of their own.

Recommended: You can also check out our list of the top startups to watch in 2024 for more inspiration!

Best Entrepreneur Advice From Startup Founders

1. Track Your Progress

  • Founders: Carlo Badini and Anand Chowdhary
  • Startup: Pabio

“Set clear goals and measure your progress towards them. Using a framework such as OKRs [Objectives and Key Results] works well, but something as simple as a to-do list on a piece of paper works too.”

2. Don’t Neglect Marketing

  • Founder: Alex Lashkov
  • Startup: Linguix

“Focus on the product, but do not forget the marketing. These things should go in parallel, or else you either will end up with a great product nobody heard of or spend resources to attract users that won't stay due to the poor quality.”

3. Strategically Take Risks

  • Founder: Greg Johnson
  • Startup: AquiPor

“Start small, but think big. Take advice but be cautious about who it's from (take it from people with a vested interest in your success or people who have already been where we are trying to go). Take intelligent risks: most people are inclined to pursue convention, so the bigger risk you take, the bigger your competitive advantage will be. But take these risks intelligently and strategically (make small bets that will provide outsized returns if they work out) and enjoy the journey.”

4. Learn From User Feedback

  • Founder: Irad Eichler
  • Startup: Circles

“Go as fast as possible to the market, get signals, talk to your users, and learn from there. You will shape your product based on what you learn rather than your initial thoughts, and you'll be better for it.”

5. An MVP Is Pivotal

  • Founders: Adrian Ferrero, Alberto Acedo
  • Startup: Biome Makers

“Launch as soon as you can (minimum viable product) and look for validation. For entrepreneurs, feedback is gold.”

6. Early Networking Builds Lifelong Connections

  • Founders: Jessica and Louella Alderson
  • Startup: So Syncd

“Focus on building your network early on. It will be so important as you grow, whether it’s sourcing talent, advice or funding, your network will be invaluable.”

7. Don't Ignore Your Idea, Pursue It

“I have found that most people already have an idea for a product or invention in their head, but 90% will not pursue it for various reasons. I encourage everyone with an idea to research its potential. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find, and if all roads point to success, do all in your power to make it happen.”

Feeling inspired? Learn how to launch your company with our guide on How to Start a Startup.

8. Success Requires Hard Work and Passion

“If you're not willing to work twice as hard as the people in your environment who work in normal day jobs, don't get started. Make sure you are 100% passionate about the problem you are trying to solve because you will spend all your time on it. And that passion is a key resource when the going gets tough (as it will) or when you have to do boring stuff that simply needs to be done (like accounting).”

9. Choose Trustworthy and Resilient Team Members

“Be really selective and careful with who you pick to work with. I have made mistakes in the past in choosing to work with people who were flaky or [untrustworthy], and it has caused me a lot of pain. Nowadays ... we are a lot more selective and look for people with good, strong character and empathy and resilience to work alongside. My co-founder is a wonderful example — she has actually climbed to the summit of Mt. Everest! That sort of feat takes a massive amount of resilience, strength of character, and courage. I know that when the going gets tough, she will have my back and won’t turn tail and run. That makes a huge difference.”

10. Never Stop Learning

  • Founder: Andrew Kwok
  • Startup: ZILIO

“A master is a beginner who has never given up. Leave your ego at the door and always be willing to learn. Sure, you might bring a lot to the table, but everyone has their own biases, traumas, and limiting beliefs. Be okay with challenging those beliefs and biases. This is how you grow as a leader and an entrepreneur. Remember, the growth of the business will never exceed the growth of its founder.”

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11. Believe In Your Idea, and Make It Happen

  • Founder: Joshua Bowlin
  • Startup: Autimely

“My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to develop an idea that you truly believe in — that you would give up everything that you have to see it come true and go make it happen. It only happens if you take the first step, so take the first step. Don't leave yourself saying, ‘I wish I would have.’ [I’ve gotten] in the habit of saying ‘I'm glad I did.’”

12. Entrepreneurship Essentials: Commitment, Perseverance, Endurance

“Entrepreneurship requires three things: commitment, perseverance, and endurance. Make sure you have enough of these things before starting your [endeavor] because it's a marathon, not a sprint.”

13. Mistakes Are Inevitable

  • Founder: Valentin Hinov
  • Startup: Thankbox

“Accept the fact that you’ll learn a lot of lessons the hard way. You can read all the advice in the world, but you’ll inevitably make mistakes that others have made before, even if you were warned about them. A lot of the startup advice I was given only made sense in retrospect after I made a lot of the core mistakes. Don’t be let down by that — it’s part of the journey.”

14. Don’t Hesitate to Seek Help

“I think entrepreneurs often feel the pressure to get everything done by themselves. I know I certainly did. But this isn’t always possible. If I could start my business again, I would have found a graphic designer first—someone who has more expertise and could help me in an area I was less familiar with. Starting small is good, as is asking questions and getting in touch with other individuals who have also started businesses to get prepared before launch. But it’s important to remember that relying on other professionals or just family and friends is helpful too.”

15. Early Market Validation Saves Time

  • Founder: Christian Käser
  • Startup: Bottle+

“Try to validate the market as early as possible to not lose time on an idea that's not worth pursuing.”

16. Make an Impact

“My advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to first embark on self-discovery to determine a thesis through self-interrogation and analysis that will solve a chronic everyday problem that hopefully will have a positive social impact.”

17. Get Feedback, But Trust Yourself

“Don't be afraid to talk about your idea with everyone. Get feedback and listen to their advice — everyone has their two cents. Try to understand the root of the comments — many people find it awkward about providing negative feedback and aren't always forthcoming with how they really feel.

That said, at the end of the day, it's your decision. You will get advice that tells you to go left one day, and other [advice] that says to go right five minutes later. You need to filter the noise. Everyone’s journey is different. Take in the data, process it, make a decision, don’t look back.”

18. Prioritize Self-Care and Work-Life Balance

  • Founder: Philipp Buschmann
  • Startup: AAZZUR

“Never forget to take care of yourself. Allowing your business to take over your life is not a good idea. Do not let it happen. Entrepreneurship is a way of life, so don't work only for the sake of working. It's easy to forget about leaving when you operate your own company, but always remember to keep work and leisure distinct.”

19. Keep Moving Forward

  • Founder: Jake Aronskind
  • Startup: Pepper

“Take the first step. You may not always know where you're going or how you'll get there. But if you just put one foot in front of the other, eventually you will look up and realize you're exactly where you're supposed to be.”

20. Success Relies on Execution

  • Founder: Benjamin Chemla
  • Startup: Shares

“Having a great idea is the tip of the iceberg, what matters the most is execution. This is where you create the difference.”

21. Seek Valuable Advisors

  • Founder: Michael Beauchamp
  • Startup: GO

“Bring in industry experts either on your team or as advisors. Don't bring on advisors unless they add real value, which is time or money. Do not bring advisors for [your] resume because investors don't care.”

22. Know Your “Why”

  • Founder: Lizia Santos
  • Startup: Citycatt

“The journey ahead is brutal. If you don't pursue something you're truly passionate about, you'll probably be tempted to give up sooner than later. Reflect on the ‘why,’ so you connect the dots of what your business is about with what you are about. After all, who the founder is has everything to do with where your business will be. Only if you're true to yourself, [will] your vision for your business be clear, and people will follow you anywhere.”

23. Passion Is Key to Success

“Think hard about how you want to spend your time. If entrepreneurship is the right choice for you, you need to make sure you're working on something you really care about. It's hard enough to build a business, and if you don't care deeply about what you're doing, you won't be able to maintain the persistence.”

24. Start Now

  • Founder: Felix Wunderlich
  • Startup: Lingoda

“If in doubt, just start. I believe that there are two great time windows in most people’s lives for starting a company: After completing college/university (or after your very first job right out of college/university) or once you become an empty nester. But I believe that the second time window might potentially be even more challenging. When you are fresh out of college/university or have just started your first job, it might still be easier to adapt to the entrepreneurial mindset and forge your own path in business. You might also feel like you have less to lose than when you would have to leave a reputable other career path.”

25. Product First, Success Follows

  • Founder(s): Katina Mountanos
  • Startup: Kosterina

“Never sacrifice the product. Make it the best it can possibly be, and everything else will fall in place.”

26. Persist. Stay Motivated. Believe.

“Stay the course. It's so easy to throw in the towel, and likely whatever business you create is going to be way more challenging to build than you think it is. But sometimes it's just about getting up each day and keeping going — maintaining your motivation — and believing in what you do.”

27. Prioritize Hiring

  • Founder(s): Tony Tran
  • Startup: Lumanu 

“Spend even more time hiring. Hiring was so hard that I did things that were easier first, like focusing on the product. Kicking the can down the road made hiring even harder. Everyone’s life would have been easier if I had focused on hiring earlier, regardless of budget or resource constraints! In any given week, I believe that at least 50% of a founder’s time should be dedicated to hiring activities: improving your employer branding, networking with prospective hires, or interviewing folks. Today’s job market is more competitive than ever, making it critical to proactively get in front of talent.”

28. Lead by Example

  • Founder(s): David S. Utley, M.D
  • Startup: Pivot

“As a leader, you have to be last in line, listen more than you speak, make sure your team is taken care of, and always put in more hours than anyone thinks is humanly possible. The buck does stop with the founder. I have filled more roles in urgent times than I ever thought possible when I first started new companies. Currently, I am running sales. Why? Because we have the need for a sales leader. I volunteered. My leadership team inspires me by doing exactly the same thing every day. My head of operations volunteered to be responsible for H.R., the coaching organization, clinical affairs, and myriad other huge roles in addition to his day job. That’s how scrappy startups succeed.”

29. Seize Opportunity

  • Founder(s): Parker Graham
  • Startup: Finotta

“It doesn't matter where you are, or where you've been, you have an opportunity to change your life right now. You just have to be willing to move one inch in that direction every day, and pretty soon you'll look up and be happy with where you are.”

30. No "Right Time" to Start

  • Founder(s): Matt Blumberg
  • Startup: Bolster

“There is no "right time" to start a business.  You have to have an inspired idea and enough of the building blocks of the product/business, then dive in!”

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31. Know the Challenges Before Committing Fully

  • Founder(s): Alex Song
  • Startup: Proxima

“Make sure you understand what you’re signing up for. It can be an amazing journey, but it’s not one that is all glitz and glam. We hear about so many amazing founder stories with such passion and excitement that we naturally become attracted to the narrative. We all say we’re good with struggling, but when things get really hard, money is short, family is feeling neglected, your body is run down, and you’re nowhere near breaking through, are you sure you’ll have the drive to keep going?”

32. Manage Stress for Long-Term Success

  • Founder(s): Ksenia Yudina
  • Startup: UNest

“My biggest piece of advice is to figure out how to manage stress. You are going to have to continue to iterate and persevere in order to succeed, and it’s imperative that you manage all the stress that comes with building a business. Otherwise, you’ll get too burnt out.”

33. Stay Curious

“Ask a million questions. Ask your friends, mentors, prospective consumers, competition, and everyone in between.”

34. Create a Strong Network

“Make a support circle for yourself. The journey of a startup is long, and it is not without ups and downs. Build a support system – family, close friends, and peer entrepreneurs – to help you through the tough times.”

35. Learn From Failure

  • Founder(s): Luís Valente   
  • Startup: iLoF

“Accept failure as part of the journey. Embrace it and make sure you (and everyone around you) are able to learn from mistakes.”

36. True Power Lies Within

  • Founder(s): Andrew Hoag    
  • Startup: Teampay

“I take this from the great Kung Fu Panda (ha) — but people go through life looking for a silver bullet or special sauce, only to realize there is none. Your superpower is something that just always exists inside of you: ‘There is no secret ingredient.”

37. Take Care of Yourself

  • Founder(s): Alisa Pospekhova    
  • Startup: Kindroot

“I would advise them to take their time and also remember to take care of themselves along the way. 

I put a lot of pressure on myself to launch by a certain day and accomplish a to-do list, which is great, but it also left me feeling quite burnt out at certain points, which wasn’t healthy for my creativity or motivation. 

Now I make sure to take time off or even simply do things that are outside of work and make me happy. You can’t take care of your business if you are depleted.”

38. Never Stop Learning

  • Founder(s): James Avery    
  • Startup: Kevel

“My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to be constantly learning. There is so much knowledge out there – whether that is podcasts, blogs, or books. The people I know that are the most successful entrepreneurs are those who are constantly consuming information and then learning how to apply this information.”

39. Passion Over Money, Resilience, Strategic Partnerships

  • Founder(s): Devon Copley    
  • Startup: Avatour

“First of all, don’t do it for the money. If your primary goal is to get rich, your risk-adjusted return will be a lot higher if you climb the ladder in finance or maybe aim for a management role at an early-growth startup that already has a lot of the risk squeezed out of it. (Like Avatour, for example; we’re hiring!)

It’s almost certainly going to be harder than you think. Be sure you’re ready to handle a long period of low or no income, along with a lot of emotional ups and downs. And if you have a spouse or significant other, make sure you have their buy-in. A failed marriage is way worse than a failed startup.  

It’s enormously helpful to have a co-founder or two along with you on your journey — you can compensate for each other’s weaknesses and keep each other’s spirits up when things get tough. But choose your co-founder very carefully. They should really be people you know well already and have worked with before. 

Discuss your medium-term needs and long-term goals — how long are you in it for? And make the roles and responsibilities clear from the start. There’s a reason why the CEO / CTO co-founder model is so common — it’s simple and sturdy.

Think carefully about whether you want to go the VC route. There is a categorical difference between the kinds of startups that are fit for venture capital money and those that aren’t. Simply, VCs only want to invest in businesses that could conceivably go public within 10 years. There are a lot of great business ideas that just don’t fit that model, and these days there are a lot of other sources of capital. Don’t assume you have to fit the VC model. Find the right funding model for the kind of company you want to run.

B2B SaaS is a beautiful business model, but you have to take care of your customers. Hire customer success early. Pay close attention to your onboarding process and your usage metrics. Learn who is getting the most value from your product and tailor it for them.”

40. Cultivate Relationships

  • Founder(s): Alex Iceman
  • Startup: Genium

“Ask for help. Have at least five mentors around you. Surround yourself with people you want to become. Have great people skills. It’s all about people and relationships.”

41. Define Your Purpose

  • Founder(s): Rachel Cossar and Neal Kaiser    
  • Startup: Virtual Sapiens

“Know why you are doing this, write it down, and refer to it often. If you are not a writer, find someone you trust, tell them, and check-in with them often.”

42. Test, Iterate, Gather Feedback

  • Founder(s): Courtney Werner    
  • Startup: KOYA

“Approach your startup as a scientist. Prioritize building a solution to your hypothesis rather than building a product and get user feedback early and often. I know it might sting for people to share negative feedback, but it will save you so much time and energy.”

43. Prioritize Problem-Solving, Not Just Solution-Building

  • Founder(s): Rachel Lauren    
  • Startup: Debbie

“Focus on the problem as intensely as you can rather than the solution. You may get lost working on the solution and never really solve the problem you intended to solve.”

44. Discover Your Purpose

  • Founder(s): Kaylin Marcotte  
  • Startup: JIGGY

“Find your ‘why’ and make it bigger than you. Come from a place of how you can have impact and build a lasting community around your brand, rather than just a product.”

45. Think Differently

  • Founder(s): Daniel Hellerman  
  • Startup: Saleo

“Don't be afraid to take a new approach to an existing problem. I look at every piece of software I evaluate as ‘what would make this different/take it to the next level.’ Lots of competitors in [the] market look at problems identically — like Apple, you should think different.”

46. Determination and Conviction Conquer All

  • Founder(s): Itay Levy  
  • Startup: Identiq

“If you really want something, nothing can stand in your way.

Ever since I was young, I’ve lived by that. When you know it’s right — you have to make it happen. When I first met my wife, I knew she was the one for me. It took 10 years to convince her, but it was worth it.

The moment I met Uri, I knew he would be my co-founder. It took me six months for him to see it too, but we’ve never looked back. Ido, my other co-founder, was the same — I knew as soon as I met him that we had to work together. It took me starting another company to make it happen, but now it has.

I’ve run marathons, and it’s the same principle — it’s all about the mindset.

That said, it’s all about having the right goal. I started one company before Identiq, and I soon realized it wasn’t right; the industry it was in was moving in a way that made me very uncomfortable regarding data privacy. I closed it down because it wasn’t right. But when it’s right, you have to make it happen.”

47. Capital Efficiency Is Key

  • Founder(s): Miriam Brafman  
  • Startup: Packlane

“Be as capital efficient as possible before taking on outside funding. It helps if you choose a high margin product or market segment.”

48. Create Your Own Reality

  • Founder(s): Prasoon Shrivastava
  • Startup: Zepth

“Someone else’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality. At times in my life, I was told that I was overly ambitious and living in a fool’s paradise, and I had to learn not to let that discourage me. With hard work and a bit of luck, you can accomplish what you set out to do.”

49. Start Early, Embrace Learning, Challenge Assumptions

“My biggest piece of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to get started as soon as they can. Entrepreneurship can take a lot of unexpected or disruptive turns, so it’s important to become well-versed in your field – and the knowledge is expansive. As someone who started his career in the tech industry but transitioned to the healthcare industry, I had a lot to learn and familiarize myself with. Although I have extensive knowledge on healthcare and delivering treatment for opioid addiction through telehealth, I still continue to research and learn more about the vast industry.

This is why I recommend having a beginner’s mindset to anything you want to tackle. The healthcare industry is always changing, so it’s critical to ask a lot of questions and conduct independent research. Even if you’ve been in the healthcare industry for a while, question your own assumptions; even if things have been done before, think of ways it can be done better; even if something appears crazy, think about how you can make it achievable.”

50. Talk to Customers

“If you are thinking about solving a problem, start with talking to your potential customers first. They will help create your first MVP [minimum viable product] and go from there. Your model will likely change five times, so don't focus too much on the economics at first. Create something people will love to use and keep using to solve their problem.”

51. Prepare for the Journey

“Know that starting your own business is a long and difficult process that will have many ups and downs. Set your expectations going in. This is going to take time, effort, and heartbreak. Be armed with a strong reason for wanting to start your business that you can fall back on when things are really tough. And warn your support system that you may need to rely on their support more than normal as you work through getting your business off the ground. If you go into it with the right attitude and expectations, managing the ups and downs will be much more bearable.”

52. Embrace Uncertainty

  • Founder(s): Art Shaikh
  • Startup: CircleIt

“It’s an incredibly tough decision to dive into something unknown, especially when it’s headfirst. Despite dreaming about the thrill of charting our own paths, not many of us are thrilled about the uncertainty that lies ahead. But if you know in your gut that you want to get your business off the ground, then push through the challenges ahead and make it happen.”

53. Identify Pain Points

  • Founder(s): Abhijeet Vijayvergiya
  • Startup: Nektar.ai

“Look for a pain that you faced as a customer, user, or community member, and let that be the motivation behind your entrepreneurial journey to solve that pain better than anybody else would as if the world comes to an end tomorrow if it isn't solved.”

54. Focus Globally

  • Founder(s): Keith Fraser
  • Startup: e-gree

“Think big. The world is changing fast and in a profound and revolutionary way. The world understands and is beginning to realize that there are a number of global issues coming down the pike over the next 100 years or so that will require a global concerted effort to meet and overcome. This includes, for example, diminishing natural resources, overpopulation, climate change. A global, connected culture is arising in part because of the understanding that these issues necessitate that we work together. Entrepreneurs should have this global focus in mind.”

55. Learn From Experience, Validate, Collaborate

  • Founder(s): Genevieve Ryan Bellaire
  • Startup: Realworld
  1. “Go work at another company first. Think about what you would do differently or what you'd replicate. There's no better way to learn than sitting front row!
  2. Over-index on customer discovery. Before we built anything, I spoke to over 1000 young adults, their parents, professors, hiring manager, career coaches, etc to determine exactly what the problem was at-scale. Those insights are still so valuable and gave me 100% confidence that this is a real problem worth solving. Validate as much as you can before you build anything.
  3. Find great people to work with. Not only will it make your business better, but it will be more fun to build.”

56. Stay Grounded

  • Founder(s): Danielle Cearbaugh
  • Startup: Wild Bloom

“Don't lose yourself in the process. Make intentional time with your family, friends, and favorite hobbies. Do things daily that ground you everyday so that you can continue to flow from a centered space instead of a space of striving. Make sure to eat, sleep and drink water even on the days that are back to back. Prioritizing your health is number one!”

57. Embrace Imperfection

  • Founder(s): Pete Bernardo
  • Startup: Punchlist

“Nothing will ever be perfect. Take at-bats and learn. Entrepreneurship is about iteration and never about knowing the answers on day one. This is true before you start and when you are in the thick of it.”

58. Follow the 33% Rule

  • Founder(s): Mir Hwang, Ryan Kim
  • Startup: GigFinesse

“There’s a ton of great advice I’ve received from people along the way, but one that comes to top of mind is following the 33% rule. The 33% rule states that One-third of your network should be people you can learn from, who once stood where you stand. One-third should be people in the same boat as you, peers who inspire you. The last third should be people who you can mentor, so you can give back to the community that nurtured you.”

59. Think Strategically

  • Founder(s): Marina Martianova
  • Startup: Seamm

“My top piece of advice for startup founders is to work on your thinking and be strategic about expansion. Also, be careful when investors tell you that they are interested in investing in your startup. Understand that politeness does not always equate to genuine interest and that they may back out in later stages. Always make sure to thoroughly evaluate and understand the potential investors and their intentions before making any decisions.”

60. Soft Skills Are Essential

  • Founder(s): Chen Amit, Oren Zeev
  • Startup: Tipalti

"I know many founders without a business degree and have found the idea that you need one to be successful is all too pervasive and untrue. Sure, it helps with anticipating certain situations like investor relations or building trust with stakeholders. Those soft skills such as leading others, reading people, and understanding motivations are essential in the startup arena, but they cannot be taught in a class.”

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