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Advice from the Most Famous Entrepreneurs of Our Time

The key to success is belief. There are things wildly successful people do differently than the rest of the population. For starters, they’re passionate about what their ideas and businesses. They forgo a lot of things to make their dreams come true. They may not eat, sleep or see their loved ones when their businesses are first taking off but they don’t let that get to them.

They want to change the world for the better and they’re not afraid to share their ideas with anyone who will listen to them. Successful people put the customer first. They spend their money wisely because they know that it could potentially make or break their companies.

Successful people know defeat. They’ve felt heartbreak. Loss is something they can describe well. It’s not enough to make them quit, however, and that is how success is achieved.

Author, Motivational Speaker, and Entrepreneur Tony Robbins had this to say about success:

“People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Some of the most famous entrepreneurs of our time were down on their luck before they ever became successful businesspeople. They paid their dues and now serve as role models for the rest of the world. These are their stories. The candid advice shared by these exceptional men and women can help you blaze trails as a new entrepreneur and tackle obstacles, whatever they may be.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey said, “The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.” Arguably one of the most successful female entrepreneurs in the world, she climbed the ladder of success swiftly but never forgot the people who helped her achieve celebrity status. To know Winfrey is to love Winfrey.

With a net worth of $2.9 billion dollars, the actress, television/film producer, and media proprietor owes her success to the talk show circuit where she addressed everything from humanitarian issues, health, spirituality, and areas of concern for people worldwide. That doesn’t mean she didn’t experience hardship along the way. She has had her share of struggles and setbacks like any other entrepreneur.

What Winfrey did right was believe in her dreams until they became a reality. She put in the time, learned her lessons, and now reaps the rewards of a life well-lived. More importantly, she gives to others in need so that they, too, can be presented with similar opportunities.

Oprah’s Angel Network has helped establish 55 schools in 12 countries. It has raised more than $80 million dollars with every penny of proceeds going to help those in need. Education is a passion of Winfrey’s. She believes it should be accessible to everyone. That’s what makes her a fitting role model and mentor.

Steve Jobs

Perhaps the most frequently shared words of advice come from Steve Jobs, an innovator, inventor, and entrepreneur. He created a need for personal computers, made Apple a household name, and had what some people call the Midas touch. He succeeded in everything he set out to do.

“Just do what’s right,” Jobs said to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

That simple advice has become part of Jobs’ legacy. He passed away October 5th, 2011 from respiratory arrest related to a pancreas neuroendocrine tumor. Jobs left behind big shoes to fill not to mention this inspiring quote:

“We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.”

Bill Gates

Bill Gates got it right when he said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

How can you better your business if all you have is fans? Critics help point out potential problem areas so that you can address the issues accordingly. If everyone built their careers on praise alone, there would be very few wealthy entrepreneurs in the world today.

Gates, the founder of Microsoft, is a computer programmer, inventor, investor, and philanthropist. His net worth is an astronomical $76 billion. His management style has been criticized throughout the years but it has seemed to work well for him. As the richest man in America for the 20th year in a row, there’s a lot to be learned from his business approach.

That type of burning desire helped fuel his career making him the richest man in the world. Not too bad for a self-proclaimed “geek”, right?  It’s Gate’s drive that makes him so interesting to study. When asked about the future, he proclaimed, “If I’d had some set idea of a finish line, don’t you think I would have crossed it years ago?” There’s no stopping a person with that much passion.

Judy Faulkner

When you’re good, you’re good and it’s hard to stay incognito for long. Judy Faulkner of Epic Healthcare discovered this when sales skyrocketed launching her into the role of the most powerful woman in private healthcare. With over $1.7 billion in revenues last year, it’s anyone’s guess how she was able to keep her success under wraps for so long.

After declining one interview with Forbes magazine, she was asked if she set out to change health care. Her priceless reply focuses on one very important part of running a successful business, the customer. Faulkner’s response was:

“I was a programmer, I thought it was fun. I’m not sure in the beginning I felt that I’m here to save lives. Why do you come to work? For the paycheck? For something interesting to do? For customers? For the competition? For the mission? If I had to circle one reason, it’s for my customers.”

A lot can be learned from the most famous entrepreneurs of our time. Take the lessons shared here to heart and start applying the wisdom of people who have “been there and done that” to your own business practices. It could very well be the advice you need to make your endeavor equally successful.

Meredith Wood

Meredith Wood

Editor-in-Chief at Fundera
Meredith is Editor-in-Chief at Fundera. Specializing in financial advice for small business owners, Meredith is a current and past contributor to Yahoo!, Amex OPEN Forum, Fox Business, SCORE, AllBusiness and more.
Meredith Wood