What’s One Thing You Would Tell Your Younger Self About Creating a Business?

When you’re in the thick of creating a business, you’re often running a mile a minute to achieve your dreams. In our hustle-focused culture, it’s often assumed that’s the way it should be.

Here, business leaders pause and reflect on what they would tell their younger selves about building a business more mindfully. Hopefully these nuggets of wisdom can inspire entrepreneurs to reach for big goals while nurturing their networks and taking care of themselves during the journey.

“Take time to find easier processes instead of just bulldozing through your work. Make sure to remind yourself: things don’t have to be as hard as they are in this moment. The processes you set you up now help build your future success. Find better, smarter ways to work.” 

-Dr. Robert Applebaum, Owner, Applebaum MD

“It’s really easy to see other founders succeeding and think they got lucky and that it’s nearly impossible for you. Most often, the truth is that they started out feeling uncertain and learned a lot and built up their skills along the way. Nothing can happen if you don’t start somewhere, and not knowing everything is completely normal. There is no perfect situation; everyone is doing their best.”

-Brandon Amoroso, Founder and CEO, electrIQ marketing

“When you’re in the weeds about something, it’s easy to get dragged down. You might think ‘I absolutely can’t be responsible for running a business.’ But if there weren’t hurdles and struggles, you wouldn’t become a stronger person during the process. I’d tell my younger self to appreciate those stepping stones as opportunities to become a more resilient and better leader.”

-Michael Fischer, Founder, Elite HRT

“Asking for help can be the trickiest part of running a business. You want to appear tough and ready for anything, but in reality, there’s strength in asking others for help when you need it. The sooner you learn to do that, the quicker your dreams will come true. Plus those connections will often prove invaluable down the road.”

-Patrick Samy, CEO, Span Health

“Slow down. There’s always this push to get your idea to market so you get credit as the first. By focusing on that, you can lose sight of the true purpose behind what you’re doing. Instead, slow down, stay aligned with your values, and focus on reaching the finish line only when your vision is fully realized. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

-Tyler Read, Founder and Senior Editor, Personal Trainer Pioneer

“You don’t know what you don’t ask. Asking questions isn’t a sign of weakness; it shows that you’re a thoughtful person who considers things on a bigger level than what meets the eye. If you’re intimidated by someone, challenge yourself to reach out and ask them a question about their success. You’ll often find that people are human and love sharing their knowledge with you. Make sure to soak in every drop of knowledge you receive.”

-Dylan Trussell, Co-Founder, Culprit Underwear

“Be a humble leader. When you lead with grace instead of pushing people, they relate to you better and are willing to pitch you new ideas. Those relationships are what build stronger teams, which in turn builds a stronger business. But it starts with you and how you interact with people. Be a leader who inspires people to show their true selves.”

-Shaun Price, Head of Customer Acquisition, MitoQ

“It can be so easy to burn yourself out when starting a business. Many people do it because they think that’s how it should be. That doesn’t mean it’s the only way or the right way to launch a business. Taking time for yourself to pause, reflect, and connect with other people makes you a better leader. Often those pauses bring creative thoughts that are even better than what you would have come up with while stuck in the weeds. Give yourself space.”

-Joel Jackson, Founder, Lifeforce

“Never regret dreaming big. There are plenty of times I wanted to give up because of the hurdles and challenges of building a business. But when I thought back to my original intention, it reminded me that my hard work would be worth it in the end. Be tenacious, remember your intention, and don’t give up just because things seem hard. Focus on what you can control, and keep pushing yourself.”

-Andrew Ferenci, CEO and Founder, Comrad Socks

“There will always be naysayers, especially for women in business. People love to drag others down because it makes them feel more powerful. Instead, focus on building yourself up and building relationships with people who believe in you. Then when you find success, return the favor and grow your network by helping new entrepreneurs achieve their dreams. There is no point in focusing on the negativity that inevitably comes from outside forces.”

-Trisha Bantigue, CEO, Queenly

“‘Being a doctor is what you do, not who you are.’ This is a tough one because when you spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, 12 years + in training, and are surrounded with all the ‘propaganda’ around what it is to ‘be a physician’ it seeps into the deepest recesses of the unconscious. However, tying my identity to being a physician proved to be dangerous very early on in my career. At some point, I nearly took my own life. It helped me realize that I had to create a career that would work for me…that would fulfill me. I shed the conditioning to realize that this is a profession, not an identity.”

-Dr. Maiysha T. Clairborne, MD, CEO, Mind ReMapping Academy

“I’d tell my younger self to believe wholeheartedly in her florist marketplace idea no matter what anyone says, but also be objective enough to take the right feedback on board. And really believe in it, as you’ll get tested more than you can possibly imagine. Rejection will come – but you definitely need to get used to it. It’s difficult at first, but just don’t let it mean anything – it’s a fact of life (and definitely business) that not everyone is going to agree with you.”

-Lana Elie, Founder and CEO, Floom