Entrepreneurs seem to have all the answers.  They know what product will succeed. They know how to sell it.  They know that who they are is fully engrained in what they do. And they also know how to talk. 

Here are four of the most empowering phrases used by entrepreneurs—and entrepreneur or not—they can help you gain a more honest and confident attitude towards life:

“I Don’t Know”

What if we let the old adage of “fake it til you make it” die? 

Admitting that you “don’t know” takes courage, and it actually strengthens yourself and your company to have that level of honesty.

If you don’t know the answer to a question, admit it.  Then, immediately turn around and go find the answer. As an entrepreneur, you love to find gaps in your knowledge because it means that you can fill them.  Or, sometimes even better, it means that you can go out and find someone else who does know the answer.

It’s also important to admit that you don’t know everything, even about your own business.  Vulnerability and transparency are strengths of an entrepreneur and boss. Do all that you can, do the best that you can and if you don’t have the answer, don’t pretend that you do—go out and work for it.

You will never survive as an entrepreneur if you can’t admit when you’re wrong.  Your ego may have gotten you started, but you have to let it go (at least partially) if you want to succeed.

“What Next?”

An entrepreneur never jumps into something without a plan, and a backup plan, and a backup to the backup.  Entrepreneurs are always looking forward so that they can crush their short-term objectives and achieve their long-term vision.

Despite these strengths of organization and planning, an entrepreneur also recognizes that they’ve chose an unpredictable line of business.  You assume that there will be problems every day and you relish the opportunity to find the rainbow after the rain.  Rather than asking “why me?,” the entrepreneur asks “what next?”

You look back just long enough to identify problems and provide solutions.  You stay grounded in what you’ve learned, looking to the future, but willing to change direction when needed.  You recognize that in these moments of instant decision making, it’s better to make dumb decisions than to fall prey to indecision.      

You are always going forward—a moving target that competitors will find it hard to hit.  You have the gumption to find new investors and seek out that next round of funding because you know that growth doesn’t look back, but keeps moving forward.     

“Why Not?”

In addition to careful planning, the entrepreneur is a risk-taker.  You strategically answer the “how” of every circumstance, but you are also willing to ask “why not?”

Because you are confident in your vision, you believe in the beauty of trial and error.  If you take a risk, what’s the worst that could happen? You “fail” and find a way that doesn’t work, getting you even closer to the perfect product. 

Your confidence in your work also drives you to take risks.  You are willing to get the word out, saying who you are and what you do with conviction and without apology.  You take the necessary risks to succeed and you look at failure as an opportunity, not a crisis.


The successful entrepreneur knows when to turn her back on a bad idea, but more importantly, she knows when to take a break from the work in front of her.  You are willing to say goodbye to your work for a moment to prioritize self-care.

You get enough sleep. You exercise.  You read books. You unplug.  You take breaks.   

Even if you’re a one-woman-show, don’t let that stop you from getting away.  With diligent planning beforehand, solopreneurs and startup founders can take guilt-free vacations just like salaried employees—and you will be better for it.

You know that if you don’t wave goodbye to your work every now and then, you will burn out, and you’re not willing to sacrifice the work you love because you refuse to make time to take care of yourself.