As an entrepreneur, you’ve taken a brave step. You’re going to have great moments of triumph. You’ll be celebrating every victory and high-fiving after each successful meeting.
But then there will be the bad days. Sometimes really, really bad days, when you wonder what you were thinking when you went out in the big bad world of business alone. No matter how many posts you read on how to increase the happiness in your startup, you’ll feel like a failure. Before you surrender, remember that this is completely normal.
Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first job; Thomas Edison, Isaac Newton and Einstein were considered stupid at school; J K Rowling had her Harry Potter books turned down more times than she can count; and Walt Disney was accused of lacking imagination! You don’t suck, you just have to keep going.
When things are getting you down, here are 35 productivity quotes to remind you what it takes to keep on going, no matter what. So many of our biggest heroes have suffered from risk and failure – they learnt from their mistakes, and you can too. You can do it!
Check out some of these inspirational quotes from some of the great business leaders to inspire you through the week/day/hour/next five minutes.
1. “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon
- “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest sources of learning.” – Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft
3. “The secret to successful hiring is this: look for the people who want to change the world.” – Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO
4. “Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.” – Guy Kawasaki, founder of AllTop
5. “Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” – Tony Hsieh, Zappos CE
6. “There’s nothing wrong with staying small. You can do big things with a small team.” – Jason Fried, founder of 37signals
7. “The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.” – Walt Disney, co-founder of Disney
8. “You can never be satisfied as an entrepreneur, and the basis of any successful, growing business is new clients.” – Robert Herjavec, businessman, investor, and author
9. “It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” – Scott Belsky, co-founder of Behance
10. “Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical.” – Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks
11. “If you’re not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business.” – Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s
12. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, Apple
13. “If you want to be an entrepreneur, it’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle. It defines you. Forget about vacations, about going home at 6pm – last thing at night you’ll send emails, first thing in the morning you’ll read emails, and you’ll wake up in the middle of the night. But it’s hugely rewarding as you’re fulfilling something for yourself.” – Niklas Zennstrom, co-founder Skype and Kazaa
14. “The thing most people don’t pick up when they become an entrepreneur is that it never ends. It’s 24/7.” – Robert Kiyosaki, author, motivational speaker, radio personality
15. “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company
15. “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” – Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group
17. “It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. It doesn’t matter how many times you almost get it right. No one is going to know or care about your failures, and neither should you. All you have to do is learn from them and those around you because all that matters in business is that you get it right once. Then everyone can tell you how lucky you are.” – Mark Cuban, Chairman of AXS TV, Owner of Landmark Theaters
18. “A successful entrepreneur can’t be afraid of failures or setbacks. An initial setback can be a great opportunity to take a new and more promising approach to any problem, to come back stronger than ever.” – John Roos, lawyer and ambassador for the US
19. “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, Amazon Founder and CEO
20. “Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.” – Drew Houston, Dropbox Co-Founder and CEO
21. “Fail often so that you can succeed sooner.” – Tom Kelley, Ideo Partner
22. “Everyone is an entrepreneur. The only skills you need to be an entrepreneur: an ability to fail, an ability to have ideas, to sell those ideas, to execute on those ideas, and to be persistent so even as you fail you learn and move onto the next adventure.” – James Altucher, hedge fund manager, author, podcaster
23. “User experience is everything. It always has been, but it’s undervalued and underinvested in. If you don’t know user-centered design, study it. Hire people who know it. Obsess over it. Live and breathe it. Get your whole company on board.” – Evan Williams, Co-Founder of Twitter
24. “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” – Steve Jobs, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, Apple
25. “The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.” – Nolan Bushnell, entrepreneur
26. “Don’t be cocky. Don’t be flashy. There’s always someone better than you.” – Tony Hsieh, CEO Zappos
27. “Be undeniably good. No marketing effort or social media buzzword can be a substitute for that.” – Anthony Volodkin, founder of HypeMachine
28. “We have no patent on anything we do and anything we do can be copied by anyone else. But you can’t copy the heart and the soul and the conscience of the company.” – Howard Schultz, Starbucks
29. “You shouldn’t focus on why you can’t do something, which is what most people do. You should focus on why perhaps you can, and be one of the exceptions.” – Steve Case, co-founder of AOL
30. “In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.” – David Ogilvy, co-founder of Ogilvy & Mathe
31. “As an entrepreneur, one of the biggest challenges you will face will be building your brand. The ultimate goal is to set your company and your brand apart from the crowd. If you form a strategy without doing the research, your brand will barely float – and at the speed industries move at today, brands sink fast.” – Ryan Holmes, founder and CEO of Hootsuite
32. “Part of the challenge of being an entrepreneur, if you’re going for a really huge opportunity, is trying to find problems that aren’t quite on the radar yet and try to solve those.” – Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster; first President of Facebook
33. “Timing, perseverance and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” – Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter
34. “If you just work on stuff that you like and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.” – Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook
35. “For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. “Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it and correct course along the way.” – Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Work Week