The 17 Best Motivational Quotes for Entrepreneurs


Don’t go scrolling for the motivational quotes for entrepreneurs yet.

I need to talk to you first.

First, you should know something about me. I’m a pain in the ass. If I don’t agree with something, I’m going to tell you. Sometimes I don’t even want to tell you, but I can’t stop myself.

The contrariness just boils up inside me and I have to say what I think out loud.

Even if you’re Walt Disney.

So, if you thought you were coming here to read quotes with no additional commentary, well, this isn’t that.

Second, I can’t let you go on until you understand what I really think about Motivational Quotes in the first place.

I think they stink.

I think you shouldn’t need them. I think the minute you open your eyes in the morning you should be excited about building your business right up until you close them again at night.

But sometimes a little kick in the pants doesn’t hurt, right?

17 Great Motivational Quotes for Entrepreneurs

Here they are. 17 thought-provoking, motivational quotes for entrepreneurs.

With just a little bit of commentary from me when I think some clarification might be necessary.

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Walt Disney

This is a lovely sentiment. It’s got a really strong “Disney” feel to it, right? Magical.

Here’s what I would change. Just two tiny tweaks.

“All our dreams WILL come true, WHEN we have the courage to pursue them”.

Be definitive. Don’t let yourself weasel out on words like “can” and “if”.

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

Walt Disney (Again)

This time old Walt nailed it.

Pretty much.

I would add an addendum to this that includes “thinking”. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing” “And also, you should quit thinking”.

I mean, there’s an amount of thinking that you have to do before you start something, but don’t think for a MOMENT longer than you need to.

Just start. You can’t know the end until you’re there.

No amount of thinking will change that.

“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

Steve Martin

Ok, Steve, not really who you think of first for business advice, but this works.

Here’s what this means for us entrepreneurs who are looking to build an online business.

Every time you wonder if you should add more to your product, add it.

Every time you draft an email that you aren’t really thrilled with, delete it.

Every time you look back at work you did 6 months ago and groan about how not great it is, fix it.

That kind of constant improvement is a sign of dissatisfaction. Which brings me to…

“Dissatisfaction is a creative state.”

Bob Proctor

Do you think that some people started perfect? They showed up at the cafe with their MacBook and gel manicure and tapped a few keys and produced perfection?

Nope. Never happened. Not one single time.

In fact that’s not even a good way to start. As you’ll see as we continue through these quotes, starting messy and dissatisfied is way better.

You learn more. Your outcomes are better.

They get better because you stopped being satisfied with what you did yesterday and so you had to be creative and make it better.

Nothing wrong with starting with a good gel manicure, though.

“An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.”

Roy Ash

I like this energy. I feel like this is a very Hollywood description of an “Entrepreneur”. And I think it’s true of lots of real life entrepreneurs.

Lots just start and figure it out as they go.

However, this is not a natural inclination for all entrepreneurs. You don’t have to have that sort of, fly by the seat of your pants whimsy in order to be an entrepreneur.

You can take a more measured approach, you just have to know when “measured” is really a symptom of “I’m a scaredy pants and I don’t want to fail”.

That’s when you have to think like Thomas…

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Thomas Edison

I have a dog. She’s a Golden Doodle. She likes to go outside through her doggy door and then come right back in with whatever cool thing she can find outside.

Most of the time that’s a stick. But guess what?

Bringing a stick back in the house through the doggie door is not very easy when you don’t have thumbs.

Do you think Barkley cares what anyone thinks of her as she maneuvers that stick over and over again until she fits it and her big floppy head through the doggie door?

She doesn’t. She runs through the house triumphantly because she figured it out and now she has a STICK inside the HOUSE!

It’s almost hard to take the stick away from her and throw it back outside because she’s so proud of herself.

Be like Barkley. Singleminded on figuring out your task no matter how many tries it takes and then boldly triumphant when you accomplish it!

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

Warren Buffett

This is the quote you turn to when you are frustrated with all of the small things that you are doing that don’t seem to be producing anything.

Your business won’t take as long to grow as a tree, but the idea works.

In the early days you’re throwing down lots of seeds. They will not all grow, but some of them will.

You don’t really know which one’s will make it and which won’t, but when you look back, you’ll see there are indeed some trees.

And then you can take a quick look and assess why some grew and some didn’t. You’ll repeat what happened with the trees that grew.

“Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”

Unknown (How mysterious!)

This is very similar to the previous quote about seeing the long game, but there’s a subtle difference.

This quote hints at the fact that you can be overwhelmed at the amount of time and work that is going to go into building your business and put off building it.

Or, you can realize that no matter what, you are going to land at a random date in the future and you can have done nothing for your business.

Or you can have taken steps every day to grow it.

Whatever you choose, that time is going to pass and the steps you take daily will determine what that future looks like.

“The fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be.”

Reid Hoffman

I’m the Community Manager for Odd Noodle, our community of online entrepreneurs so I can say definitively that Reid Hoffman (co-founder of Linkedin) is 100% right.

If you’re competitive, then being around people who are working toward similar goals is going to fuel the competitive fire in you.

If you’re a little uncertain about what exactly you are doing and whether you should even be doing it, then you are going to find that being around people with similar goals helps to clear those doubts.

We learn a lot by modeling behaviors. It’s important to have people around that are going to model behaviors that are actually going to help you.

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”

Steve Jobs

This is the big secret. It’s not even really a secret because if you haven’t seen this quote before you’ve probably seen something like it.

But it seems kind of unbelievable. It can’t just be pure perseverance, can it?

Those succesful people must be smarter. Or richer. Or prettier. Or smarter.

It can’t just be that they didn’t give up when I gave up?

Can it??

(It is). (Almost all the time).

“So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.”

Caterina Fake

This quote from Caterina, the co-founder of Flickr does not contradict the previous quote about perseverance. It supplements it.

You can’t work harder and longer at the wrong things and expect to be succesful.

If you spend the next month trying to build the perfect about me page and I spend the next week creating the perfect opt in for my reader and then take the next three weeks off, I will have had a more succesful month than you.

Excellent opt-ins that captivate your audience is working on the right thing.

Working on your About Me page for longer than a day is the wrong thing.

“Fail often so you can succeed sooner.”

Tom Kelley

I don’t know who Tom Kelley is or what Ideo is, but I love this quote.

This is how you have to start looking at your business.

Just start pumping out iteration after iteration of whatever it is you’re trying to perfect until you’re happy.

Everytime you create it and you don’t love what you made, you’ve learned something new about what you DO want that outcome to be and what you DON’T want it to be.

Then when you’re happy, bask in the happiness for a couple of days and go back and start fixing it when you aren’t happy anymore.

“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

There are people whose ambitions are belittled so often that they don’t believe it when they are finally around people who make them feel that they, too, can become great.

If you are the great person that believes in the person that has been belittled, take care to not be frustrated when they don’t believe you.

It will take time to undo the belittling.

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

Winston Churchill

Do you know someone like this? They are great to be around.

What some people see as a failure, they chalk up to experience and move right along to the next thing, unphased.

If you are not this type of person yet, just pretend you are. Until you actually are.

“Take criticism seriously, but not personally.”

Hillary Clinton

One of the most difficult things to do in business is take a scathing email from an angry customer and figure out whether or not there is something useful to take from it.

Sometimes it’s not even a scathing email. Sometimes it’s just a small, nitpicky comment on something you worked really hard on and you just don’t want to hear the criticism.

Set your hurt feelings aside and use your rational brain to see if there is anything you can learn from it.

Sometimes there isn’t. But often there is.

“What good is an idea if it remains an idea? Try. Experiment. Iterate. Fail. Try again. Change the world.”

Simon Sinek

Do you see the pattern in that quote?

Try, try, try, try, try. Change the world.

What if your next “Try” was the one to change the world? (this goes back to the perservance, doesn’t it? Keep TRYING).

“Everyone is not your customer.”

Seth Godin

The first thing we teach you at Pocket Business is to define your Hero. Your Hero is the one person you are working for.

She is the one person you are trying to help.

She is a representation of a larger audience, but one thing she is not is everyone.

If you cannot narrow down from “everyone” to one person, you will have a hard time selling things.

“If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”

Zig Ziglar

I love this quote because it is very close to the four principles of business that we teach at Pocket Business.

  1. Get them to notice you.
  2. Get them to pay attention to you.
  3. Get them to trust you.
  4. Convert that trust into money.

That’s how you do business. For every business. Past, present and future. Those four principles will never change.

And Finally…

Remember why you started.


This is a good place to end our Motivational Quotes for Entrepreneur.

Why did you start? To make money, I’m sure, is part of it.

But you started to help someone, didn’t you?

You started because you do want to change the world just a little bit.

You started because you know there’s something that you can offer that will improve someone’s life.

Remember that and if you need to be reminded, come ask me.