AdviceCEO Nugget

25 Entrepreneurs Share Their CEO Nugget

If you could hop into a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self? What are the biggest lessons learned since you started entrepreneurship? This is one of our favorite questions here at CBNation.

Here’s what CEOs would tell their younger business selves.

#1- Start a company now

Photo Credit: Benjamin Aronson

Now is the time to start a business. Do not wait for another time. Don't go to another startup to pick up expertise. If you want to improve your skills, don't go to a big company. There is only one way to become a truly excellent founder: fully immerse yourself in all aspects of entrepreneurship. It took me more than ten years to develop the essential abilities that make a good founder, and I wish I had started developing them earlier in my career.

Thanks to Benjamin Aronson, Finance Pond!

#2- Be a patient problem solver

Photo Credit: Will Cannon

You see, working to stress yourself out due to a problem in a business operation or a deal will get you more frustrated if you literally were unable to solve the issue or get the deal. Instead, focus on your talent and ability to creatively solve a problem, which will get you nearer to your goal. To do that, one must first need to be patient, calm, and cool (which I was not so much in my younger days). You will find better solutions when approaching them in a calm and smart fashion.

Thanks to Will Cannon, Uplead!

#3- Don't compare yourself

Photo Credit: Sebastian Schäffer

Don't fixate on what your peers are doing, do what you want to do. If there is one thing that years of being in business for myself have taught me that I wish I could have heard much earlier on in my career it is that everyone takes their own route to success. If you keep your head down, persevere and focus on what you want to accomplish, you will get there when you get there. One of the biggest problems most entrepreneurs I have mentored is that they compare themselves and their paths to others. It is something I did early on and it was and always will be a major distraction.

Thanks to Sebastian Schäffer, Blogrolling!

#4- Just start now

Photo Credit: Irina Kharina

By waiting for the perfect timing you are stalling your own progress. You don’t have to have the perfect website, the perfect office, or even the perfect product to start your entrepreneurial journey. Don’t compare yourself to others that’s what will make you stand out. Yes, you will make mistakes, you might not have all the confidence right now but you have the knowledge and experience, you are an expert in your field. You will learn more skills to propel your business to new heights.

Thanks to Irina Kharina, Tsarina Gems!

#5- Trust your intuition

Photo Credit: Charlotte Spence

I’m not saying that blindly following your instincts works – research and advice are important pieces in intelligent decision-making. However, once you’ve found out all the facts of a situation, moving in the way your gut tells you seems always to push you in the right direction, especially looking in hindsight. Even if it ends up being a colossal mistake, it pales compared to the feeling of going against what you feel is right and making one. In both cases, you choose wrong, but in the latter, you also didn’t trust yourself.

Thanks to Charlotte Spence, Mattress Nerd!

#6-  Live in the moment

Photo Credit: Jennifer Harder

It is OK to not be amazing all the time, as long as you try your best. I believe younger people are overly concerned with success and the future, which prevents them from really living in the now. I believe that as women, we are constantly scrutinizing ourselves. When you believe you have to be flawless as a mother, wife, and employee, or that you aren't good enough. It's simply impossible. My personal motto, as well as my message to others, is: give yourself a break and live in the moment because there's no use in trying to be everything to everyone.

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Thanks to Jennifer Harder, Jennifer Harder Mortgage Brokers!

#7- Look outside the box

Photo Credit: Kelli Lane

First, focus on developing new skills and exploring your interests and possibilities. Ultimately, when the right time comes, you will have the knowledge and experience. It is so valuable to look outside of the box and see your career as a long and varied journey filled with lots of opportunities and lessons. Don't get stuck on the idea of having to start a business right away or find a high-paying job. Take your time, get your hands dirty, and make sure you grow, learn, and evolve with every opportunity.

Thanks to Kelli Lane, Genexa!

#8- Don't be afraid of taking risks

Photo Credit: Ryan Stewart

I will remind my younger self to not be afraid of taking risks. Holding back will only make things harder for him. Stop those introverted excuses and learn how to sell himself to people. He needs to be serious about learning and invest in what is important. Also, he should stop working for money but begin to work for experience. It would be best for him to find someone that shares his morals and ethics. And from there, he will learn how important it is to invest in life as soon as possible.

Thanks to Ryan Stewart, Webris!

#9- Find a great mentor

Photo Credit: Jackie Appleby

Find a great mentor or coach, especially if you are a solopreneur. Having someone who can be completely objective in your corner to help you with tough decisions or who can talk you down from a bad decision and help you see situations from different angles is priceless! Many entrepreneurs think that running your own business means you can make whatever decisions you like for yourself and the company, but oftentimes you need more humility, especially when dealing with others. Coaches and mentors can help you master this untalked-about area of running a business.

Thanks to Jackie Appleby, Diligent Assistant!

#10- Learn from your mistakes

Photo Credit: Tylar Garns

We always wanted to be the best when we were younger, and we didn't want to do anything that would make us a failure. As a result, we limit the things we do. We forget that our mistakes teach us valuable lessons and provide us with rewarding experiences that we can carry with us as we grow older. We only discover we wasted half of our life because we were afraid of making mistakes after it was too late to do those things again.

Thanks to Tylar Garns, Box Out Marketing!

#11- Build on feedback

Photo Credit: Robert Colville

In any kind of business, it is necessary to test your solution and let a small portion of your target audience review it before scaling. Feedback during the early stage of a business is critical to success- test your idea on a small scale, build on what works well, tweak what shows promise, and discard what it's not working. Just about anyone can start a business, it's just a matter of consistency and always looking for feedback from your audience and improving your business offer!

Thanks to Robert Colville, The Lazy Trader!

#12- Make financial decisions carefully

Photo Credit: Parag Pallav Singh

I would say to my younger self that don't be in a hurry while making financial decisions. It results in a bad outcome. It is better to give few more minutes on a decision and analyze the pros and cons before finalizing. The next piece of advice which I would mention to past me is Don't become too much emotional about anything. If you get too much attached to the process or outcome and if the final version turns out with a different shape then you will have to face depression which is bad for both health and business.

Thanks to Parag Pallav Singh, Capital Tree!

#13- Focus on creating value

Photo Credit: Philipp Zeiske

When there's so much going on, it's easy to get caught up in perfecting the tiniest of details and drifting far away from the bigger picture. I'd remind my younger self of what sparked my entrepreneurial interest in the first place — creating value. Over the years, this one principle has been my anchor through every storm. As long as you're adding value with your words, ideas and actions, you'll always have a special place in the hearts of your most loyal customers.

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Thanks to Philipp Zeiske, Zeitholz!

#14- Test your ideas

Photo Credit: Dexter Jones

Far too many people starting out, including myself in countless projects, begin with an idea for a product or service that they think people will buy into. Then they spend a huge amount of time, sometimes years, and heaps of money in perfecting this product without ever introducing it to their potential customer base. Because of this many new products and services fail to achieve uptake by their target demographic. So, please use the lean startup method! This way you can test out concepts and ideas out on small test segments of your customer base.

Thanks to Dexter Jones, We Love Cats and Kittens!

#15- Monetize your advice

Photo Credit: Rahul Raj

You are likely the “go-to” person among your friends and colleagues for a particular type of business problem. If that is the case, consider how you can monetize that by turning that into your own business. Assuming you have a solid track record and reputation for consistently delivering impact in that realm, you are likely to make far more by selling those solutions to a variety of clients. Believe in yourself and test the waters by engaging in your ‘consulting practice’ evenings and weekends.

Thanks to Rahul Raj, 5 & Vine!

#16- Follow your passion

Photo Credit: Gerald Mumpuku

When you follow your passion in life, when you do what you enjoy, you are happier. You satisfy a desire and the decisions that you make and are not weighed down by the vision or ideas of others. Follow your passion, in every possible way, regardless of your professional qualification. Try to make friends or try to gain exposure by interacting closely with all sections of the society because every such interaction brings up a whole new experience, more than what you would learn from university, and always take every problem or challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Thanks to Gerald Mumpuku, Find Zambia Jobs!

#17- Educate yourself to market

Photo Credit: Faisal Nasim

Don't bother paying other people to do your marketing for you – you can learn to do it yourself, and better. When people's paychecks don't rely on whether the marketing goes well, they're far less likely to be motivated to give you the best that they can give. On the other hand, you can educate yourself to market, and to market well. This will not only save you money in the long run, but you can do the exact sort of marketing and branding you want without anything getting lost or changed by an outside agency.

Thanks to Faisal Nasim, Exam Papers Plus!

#18- Be confident

Photo Credit: Nathan Hughes

Know your worth at all times, just be yourself; the world is wider than you think it is, and your problems aren't as significant as you think they are. Don't worry if you don't look like most other people, or if you think you don't look like most other people. I would tell my younger self to respect yourself. Everything you do, all of your triumphs and failures are all linked to how you feel about yourself. Your decisions show how much you love yourself and how confident you are in your life.

Thanks to Nathan Hughes, Diggity Marketing!

#19- Make business agreements

Photo Credit: Michael Shen

You should put down every agreement in black and white or have a written agreement even if you are making an agreement with a friend or a family member to avoid any misunderstanding and to save your relationship with them if anything arises. This is a typical mistake for young entrepreneurs who are new in a business. They sometimes get too excited and verbally agree to start doing business without putting down what they have agreed to in written contracts.

Thanks to Michael Shen, Skill Success!

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#20- Pick the right circle

Photo Credit: Hilda Wong

Starting up a business is not something one can sustain without a strong will. It is important to be surrounded by like-minded people during this phase. I would advise you to pick the people around you carefully. These are the ones who can make or break you. Keep a strong head and eyes on the future. Find people trustworthy enough to have your back through all the thick and thin. You will surely succeed with the support.

Thanks to Hilda Wong, Content Dog!

#21- Hop onto opportunities

Photo Credit: Leonardo Gomez

One piece of advice to my younger business self would be to seize an opportunity when I see one. Fearing risks is not the best suit for an entrepreneur. It leads to the loss of many great chances. Unwavering commitment to your business will definitely open up many doors. But that doesn’t guarantee zero obstacles. One must understand how to deal with losses if at all they are incurred. Calculative risks are something to think about but missing out on opportunities will surely lead nowhere.

Thanks to Leonardo Gomez, Try Runball!

#22- Prioritize yourself

Photo Credit: Zarina Bahadur

Authority is when you permit someone else to have power over you. They can decide what you do, where you go, how you work etc. Never permit someone else to have power over you. If you have, then take it back. Only you have the power over yourself. Take it back because when you start prioritizing yourself because there will be a time when people will be waiting in line for you. So, don’t let others make decisions for you. Let your guts be the guiding force for you. Learn to hustle for your own time. Do what feels right to you.

Thanks to Zarina Bahadur, 123 Baby Box!

#23- Be confident

Photo Credit: Erin Mastopietro

If you want to be successful, you need to have confidence in yourself. You need to believe in yourself a little more every day. Don’t give up. Learn to love the person in the mirror. Accept that, no one is perfect. But, your flaws don't define you. You learn from your mistakes. Don’t be hard on yourself. Love yourself. Because when you love yourself, it is easy to be confident. Work hard for your dreams. Don’t give in to your flaws. Learn from them and continue making mistakes. Because mistakes help you grow. If you want to achieve something big, then start dreaming big.

Thanks to Erin Mastopietro, Dope Dog!

#24- Invest in the right people

Photo Credit: Adam Rowles

Look for people who want you to do better in life. Start differentiating between those who pretend to be there and those who are there for you. Don't let in those who try to find flaws in you. After all, your surroundings play a role in your success too. So invest in those who cheer you up. Be with those people who make you happy. It is not a myth that your vibe attracts your tribe. If you have positive energy, you will draw people who have the same energy as you. Invest in people who give you a boost rather than pulling you down.

Thanks to Adam Rowles, Reduce Power Bills!

#25- Be patient

Photo Credit: James Idayi

These are the words I want to tell my younger self. ‘Never rush your way to success. Build a good team that will lift you up with a high level of trust. Not all opportunities are worth it so learn to funnel in good ones and saves your time to focus on what matters most that contributes to your goals. Your roadmap to success is not built on the numbers alone but the quality of life that you built with it and how you affect the lives of others.' These are what made me what I am now.

Thanks to James Idayi, Cloudzat!

If you could hop into a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.

Ashok - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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