50 inspirational quotes from entrepreneurs

If you’re an entrepreneur, you know all about motivation.

There’s a fire in your belly that isn’t easily put out. Success drives you, motivates you. You’ve built your own life, and you should be proud of that.

When you get inspired, you gather the vision and strength to continue on. Combine that with perseverance and the right, strategic steps, and you’re far more likely to enjoy success sooner in life than the majority of people still slaving away at a 9-5 desk job around you.

But it’s also easy to get stuck when the to-do list gets bigger and bigger, or when failure stops your momentum for a short time. That’s why I’ve built this list of 50 inspirational entrepreneurial quotes–consider it a little nudge in the right direction. Take heed from these go-getters, self-starters, visionaries, and leaders.

50 Quotes From Entrepreneurs to Inspire Your Own Entrepreneurial Journey

1. “You don’t have to be great at something to start, but you have to start to be great at something.” – Zig Ziglar, motivational speaker, author, and salesman

2. “There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.” – Christopher Morley, American writer and journalist

3. “On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.” – Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the U.S. and primary author of the Declaration of Independence

4. “When you cease to dream, you cease to live.” – Malcolm Forbes, entrepreneur and Forbes magazine publisher

5. “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain, 19th-century novelist and satirist

6. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison, prolific inventor, businessman, and co-founder of Edison Electric Light Company (General Electric)

7. “You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.” – George Lorimer, journalist, publisher, and editor of The Saturday Evening Post

8. “Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” – Henry Ford, businessman, industry titan, and founder of Ford Motor Company

9. “There is never a bad time to start a business – unless you want to start a mediocre one.” – Gary Vaynerchuk, entrepreneur, speaker, and co-founder of VaynerMedia

10. “Hide not your talents, they for use were made,

What’s a sundial in the shade?” 

– Benjamin Franklin, U.S. Founding Father, inventor, author, politician, diplomat, and statesman

11. “Let us make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow’s reality.” – Malala Yousafzai, activist and youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate

12. “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” – Napoleon Hill, writer and author of Think and Grow Rich, one of the best-selling self-help books of all time

13. “Success is moving from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill, politician and British leader, Prime Minister who led Britain to victory during WWII

14. “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” – Seth Godin, writer, marketing thought leader, and former business executive

15. ““The cowards never started and the weak died along the way. That leaves us, ladies and gentlemen. Us.” – Phil Knight, Nike co-founder

16. “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffet, business tycoon and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

17. “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft

18. “You must do the things you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt, diplomat, activist, and First Lady to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt

19. “You are better off trying something and having it not work and learning from that than not doing anything at all.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder

20. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder

21. “Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical.” – Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO

22. “You become what you believe.” – Oprah Winfrey, talk show host, TV producer, and media mogul

23. “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” – Henry David Thoreau, 19th-century American writer, philosopher, and abolitionist

24. “You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis, British author and theologian, author of the “Narnia” series

25. “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” – John D. Rockefeller, oil industry magnate and one of the wealthiest people of all time

26. “I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.” – G.K. Chesterton, English writer, philosopher, theologian, and critic

27. “What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: Know your product better than anyone, know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.” – Dave Thomas, Wendy’s founder

28. “Chase the vision, not the money. The money will end up following you.” — Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO

29. “A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” – Michael LeBoeuf, American business author

30. “I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.” – Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance painter, inventor, sculptor, and architect

31. “We’re all working together; that’s the secret.” – Sam Walton, Wal-Mart founder

32. “If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” – Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder

33. “An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.” – Jack Welch, General Electric CEO

34. “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember, that’s where you will find success.” – Thomas J. Watson, CEO and chairman of International Business Machines (IBM)

35. “If one does not know which port to one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” – Seneca, statesman and Roman Stoic philosopher

36. “Well done is better than well said.” – Benjamin Franklin

37. “I never dreamed about success, I worked for it.” — Estee Lauder, American businesswoman and founder of Estee Lauder Cosmetics

38. “From my very first day as an entrepreneur, I’ve felt the only mission worth pursuing in business is to make people’s lives better.” – Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group

39. “What allowed me to survive is that I was always honest and I truly believed in what I did.” – Diane von Furstenberg, fashion designer known for her iconic wrap dress

40. “It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.” – Confucius, ancient Chinese philosopher

41. “Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman – not the attitude of the prospect.” – W. Clement Stone, philanthropist, businessman, and self-help book author

42. “Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.” – Thomas Edison

43. “People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed.” – Tony Robbins, life coach, entrepreneur, speaker, and self-help author

44. “Our work is the presentation of our capabilities.” – Edward Gibbon, 18th-century historian and author of The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire

45. “I’d tell men and women in their mid-twenties not to settle for a job or a profession or even a career. Seek a calling. Even if you don’t know what that means, seek it. If you’re following your calling, the fatigue will be easier to bear, the disappointments will be fuel, the highs will be like nothing you’ve ever felt.” – Phil Knight, Nike co-founder

46. “Embrace what you don’t know, especially in the beginning, because what you don’t know can become your greatest asset. It ensures that you will absolutely be doing things different from everybody else.” — Sara Blakely, American businesswoman and founder of Spanx

47. “Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember – the only taste of success some people get is to take a bite out of you.” – Zig Ziglar

48. “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” – Audre Lorde, American writer and Civil Rights activist

49. “Trying to do it all and expecting it all can be done exactly right is a recipe for disappointment. Perfection is the enemy.” – Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO

50. “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’” – Mary Anne Radmacher, American writer and artist

Julia McCoy is the CEO of Express Writers, a content creation agency, and the author of So You Think You Can Write? The Definitive Guide to Successful Online Writing, and Practical Content Strategy & Marketing. She teaches an online course at The Content Strategy & Marketing Course.