Lessons from the best to inspire you to build your own business

Entrepreneurs exist in every arena, from corporate America to political circles, consumer electronics and beyond, there are lessons out there that can help you get a degree in business or just build your own business. We take a look at those that came straight from the lips of some of the greatest influencers of our time to inspire new college grads to go forth and change the world.

Words of wisdom from iconic business leaders

Richard Branson – “Failure Is One of the Secrets of Success”

It is undeniable that Richard Branson is one of the most successful and prominent business leaders in recent, if not all of, history and it shows. How else do you acquire your own personal island with extraordinary décor in nearly every room? When exploring how he got to this point, there is one constant that stands out in his career – Risk. In most profiles you’ll find references to him getting involved with plenty of business ideas from a very young age and the ultimate lesson is that he learned from the many failures that landed in his lap.

Naturally this successful business icon actively shares his wisdom with other aspiring professionals by contributing a regular column in Entrepreneur. We offer the advice straight from the source:

“Few first ventures work out. It is how a beginning entrepreneur deals with failure that sets that person apart. In fact, failure is one of the secrets to success, since some of the best ideas arise from the ashes of a shuttered business.”

Adriana Huffington – “We Don’t Have To Wait.”

Similar to many viral online trends, blogging has quickly become a necessary part of business practice for many companies, especially those focused on content marketing, but as always there comes a select few mainstream success stories that rise to the top. Adriana Huffington founded the Huffington Post in May 2005 when she decided to create a combined news and contributor site that covered a variety of topics. It quickly became the most widely read, linked to, and frequently-cited online media brands and ultimately won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2012.

With these impressive resumes, Huffington and her Post can be considered masters of change. The system was naturally built to keep up and break the most important headlines that shape our culture and teaches us that sometimes not sitting for long on a great idea can launch a prosperous future. Or in her words, “"We don’t have to wait until we move or change jobs to change our lives. Nor do we have to wait for large-scale, upstream change. We can initiate change right now. There are endless starting points."

Blake Mycoskie – “Focus on Your Passion. Nothing Else Matters.”

It truly is incredible to think that TOMS shoes is only seven years old, founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie. We’ve all heard the philosophy behind the One for One business model designed to help a person in need with every product purchased. Many of us take advantage of the simple gift of shoes while Mycoskie uses his business acumen to help others who dream of owning a pair to walk down the street with.

His motivation came from traveling to amazing destinations and his experiences with young people. He is described as “passionate about inspiring young people to help make tomorrow better, encouraging them to include giving in everything they do.” His goal is to create opportunities to see a future full of social-minded businesses and consumers to help the world economy move forward. Also described as an avid reader, and in his own right an educator, at University of Massachusetts Global we honor him for this influence as a leader and scholar-practitioner.

Steve Jobs – “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”

Yes of course Steve Jobs had to be part of the list. I believe he has a special place in almost every entrepreneur’s heart and as educators we can never forget his captivating commencement speech. Although in a simple online search you will find this statement attributed to the iconic founder of the biggest consumer electronics company in the world, it actually belonged to one of the greatest pre-Google print publications of his generation called The Whole Earth Catalog.

The quote complimented a picture of an early morning country road on the final issue of the publication. This image and these letters could have evoked many different emotions for readers as a farewell message, but to Steve Jobs it represented a wish for himself and for new graduates. It may resemble Mycoskie’s theory of living out your passion or Huffington’s motivation to not hesitate to change the world, or even taking seemingly foolish risks like Branson took in history.

Start building your own business

Whatever your inspiration, as entrepreneurs and organizational leaders, take these words of wisdom and use them to build your own business. Advancing your education can also help set you up for success, learn more by earning your bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship online.



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