What These 13 Successful Entrepreneurs Wish They Knew 5 Years Ago

Five years ago I was re-doing my last year of high school, managing a retail store full-time and performing in a play five nights a week. Suffice to say I burned out pretty quickly and in hindsight I can see why.

Hindsight is a grand thing, but we don’t all go through the same experiences, so the hindsight of others can be beneficial to us as well. These 13 successful entrepreneurs and startupers have some great stories to tell, and I thought asking what they wish they knew five years ago would be a great way to find out what advice they have that could benefit us now.

Soraya“It’s a marathon, not a sprint” – Soraya Darabi

I wish I knew five years ago what people have been telling me for decades: life, and most everything, is a marathon, not a race.

Soraya Darabi is a Co-Founder of Foodspotting and ZADY

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The 13 Biggest Failures from Successful Entrepreneurs and What They’ve Learned From Them

failure entrepreneur lessons learnt from failureOne of the great things about our focus on transparency at Buffer is that we get to help other people learn from our experiences.

We love learning from others as well, and since we got so much out of our round-up of counterintuitive advice, we wanted to find out even more about what other people have learned from experience. This time, we wanted to learn about the darkest moments of successful and famous entrepreneurs and what their lesson has been.

Without any further ado and in their own words, here are some of the biggest mistakes and lessons learned from 13 successful entrepreneurs.

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10 of the Most Counterintuitive Pieces of Advice From Famous Entrepreneurs

We all love to take advice from people who’ve previously been through the same situations as us or who are further along a similar path to us. For entrepreneurs this is particularly useful, since it’s such a difficult, unknown path to tread sometimes.

Funnily enough, some of the advice I’ve come across through reading interviews and articles from famous entrepreneurs is often counterintuitive to what I would expect them to say. I thought it would be interesting to gather some of this advice into one place, so here are ten of the most counterintuitive pieces of advice I’ve come across from famous entrepreneur.

advice from famous entrepreneurs - paul grahamPaul Graham: Don’t think big

Empirically, the way to do really big things seems to be to start with deceptively small things.

Paul Graham’s advice is something I was really surprised about at first, but it actually makes a lot of sense. No great outcome is achieved without lots of smaller steps to get there, and it’s almost certain that these smaller steps can lead to change your direction somewhat.

Empirically, it’s not just for other people that you need to start small. You need to for your own sake.

Graham points out how big companies like Facebook and Apple have come a long way from relatively small and humble beginnings. It’s hard to argue with logic like that.

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Idea to Paying Customers in 7 Weeks: How We Did It

This is the first of an ongoing series of posts called Building Buffer where we share our methods and learnings with the aim to help people and learn from others who have had similar experiences. We’d love your comments.

Rewind…

I’ve learned more in the two and a half month period since I launched Buffer than ever before. I am very excited to let you know we now have over 500 users, many of whom are active, and we are generating revenue through our paid monthly plans at a conversion rate of around 4% of people upgrading. Let’s go back to the very beginning.

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