Yesterday I did a post that featured eight entrepreneurs who answered the question what is the biggest business mistake you have ever made? Today I am sharing the second part of the series, with a follow up question for the same group of leaders.

In addition to the knowledge below I would like to share an inspirational video with you all. The video below was compiled by Dan Rua, the first VC to get on board with the IZEA vision and current chairman of our board of directors. Dan made this video for me when I was raising my first round of funding and I still go back to look at it every once and awhile. The video is set to Riskmaster, a song written by legendary VC Tim Draper of DFJ (also an IZEA investor).

I watched that video right before I went into my first meeting with Tim. You can see my reaction after the meeting below. A couple of weeks after that meeting I had $3 Million in the bank.

I guess my advice to first time entrepreneurs would be dream big and never give up. The bigger your idea the more resistance you will find…don’t let the naysayers bring you down.

Q: What advice would you give to a first time entrepreneur?

Tim Draper

Partner at DFJ

“For the first time entrepreneur, my advice is to believe in your convictions. Your board is for advice and counsel, not for scaring you into something safe. “Safe” decisions are death to an entrepreneur.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

CEO of Vaynermedia and Author of Crush It

“Don’t build a business around something just because it’s “hot”.  Building a great business is hard work.  I mean, work until your eyeballs bleed hard work.  If you’re not truly passionate about something and don’t absolutely love what you’re doing you’re not going to have the drive to make your business great.  Figure out what you’re passionate and build a business around it. ”

Chris Brogan

President of New Marketing Labs and Author of Trust Agents

“My advice to entrepreneurs is to always think with a shape to your business model. Can you draw the audience-content-sponsor triangle? Can you push the attention funnel into sales? Don’t just have good ideas. Have good ideas that yield value.  ”

Tony Hsieh

CEO of

“Figure out what you would be so passionate about doing that you’d be happy doing it for 10 years even if you never even made a dime. That’s what you should be doing.”

Andy Beal

Founder at and author of Radically Transparent

“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! 🙂 Seriously, if you never stretch yourself, you’ll never grow. And a big part of that is making mistakes, so you can learn from them and adapt. Don’t be reckless, but do take calculated risks.

Gal Trifon

CEO of Eyeblaster

“This may be a cliché but my advice would be to realize as soon as possible that in every area there will always be challenges and the trick is to turn them into opportunities. ”

Micah Baldwin

CEO of TakeComics

“Remember that you are not a bookkeeper, you are an entrepreneur. Hire a bookkeeper as soon as possible. Best advice I ever got.

Marcelle Turner

CEO of MindComet

“The advice I would give to a first time entrepreneur is simple: have a plan. Inspiration can happen over night, but you’ve got to have milestones, goals and measurements in place to be able to critically judge your own success, especially in the early stages.  Avoid allowing your judgment to be clouded by emotion and your personal passion by surround yourself with trusted advisers who believe in your ability to create success and will actively contribute advice and constructive criticism.

How about you? Do you have some knowledge to share with other entrepreneurs? Please drop some knowledge in the comments.

Ted Murphy

Ted Murphy

Ted Murphy is an American entrepreneur. He is currently the Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of IZEA, a technology company that provides software for influencer marketing.


  • BenSpark says:

    Have a friendly “dreamkiller” in your corner. Someone who can ground you a bit in reality and help you see the other side of the coin. My brother-in-law is my personal “dreamkiller” because he is so intelligent with business and he challenges me with each crazy idea I have and he helps me see the best way to pursue the plan. I call him a “dreamkiller” in the most loving affectionate way because even though he challenges me he still wants to see me succeed. Look for people like that.

  • Ted Murphy says:

    Hmmm. I have mixed feelings on the “dreamkiller” role. I had someone playing that role when I was developing the initial PPP. He thought I was crazy, that it would never take off. He tried to get me to focus on easier, more attainable goals. His arguments were sound and he was smart as hell, but that didn’t mean he was right.

    If you want to do something big and new there is probably going to be a mountain of reasons why “you can’t”. That is why most people don’t get the big win. They let someone or something convince them that it is unattainable.

    It’s ok to have someone challenge you, but never let anyone kill your dream.

  • Rob Streeter says:

    Don’t get caught in analysis paralysis. Launch now. Release iterative improvements all the time.

    Most “dreams” never become reality because entrepreneurs delay, wait, and over think things. Time and negativity take away from your project momentum. Capitalize on inertia and get your idea into the hands of your customers NOW!

    The difference between a “dreamer” and a “doer” is execution.

  • lennyL says:

    @Ted Murphy:
    Maybe not a Dreamkiller but the person who mixes in the oxygen with the helium so you stay a little grounded but have the ability to fly away when you need to.

  • Dear Ted, I used three of your photos to discuss why the photos talk a lot. the article Look Out Your Photos, They Talk A Lot, has published in my web
    Author Wanglili

  • Jason T says:

    You bring up a really good point. The one thing I’ve noticed in life is that if you have a really good idea and you believe in it the second you give up is the second your idea will fail. There’s a statistic that you might find interesting, as incredible as Michael Jordan was in basketball, he missed over 3000 free throw shots throughout his career. He was even denied a varsity spot on his High school team when he was a sophomore because he was too short. Did that stop Michael? I don’t think so. If you or Michael can do it, then I can do it too.

  • mogbog says:

    The only guy above that I really disagree with is Chris Brogan. He seems to be just talking about a fairly narrow set of business models and in a fairly cynical way.

    For me, the one idea that is missing is the quality of the team that you should surround yourself with: who you get advice from; who can tell you about the mechanics of the business etc. There’s so much more to starting up a business, than just having an idea.

    I’ve found the podcasts of the ‘Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders’ series at Stanford really helpful in sorting out my thoughts on start-ups

  • harish says:

    really inspiring and brilliant article.i felt like i am a ceo of the company while i was reading and it really motivates and inspires people to know more about business people challenges.the blog has wonderful articles and nice quotes.but you can make the ceo of particular company talk with you in their own words and create a post indicating what they spoke or even you can upload an video showing the interview with some ceo’s of some top can also add some interesting challenges which the ceo’s faced in their path and how they tackled to achieve success,things like those could really help young people to tackle challenges in the same way as those popular persons did.overall nice and interesting and motivating article to read and inspire young minds.really wonderful and awesome.

  • sarit says:

    Entrepreneur need to have determination and strong will power apart from finance in hand. Focus shall be very clear. One must learn to be patient and understand that big things don’t happen in a day or so. It takes planned and strategic moves to achieve the goal. Money in hand is a definite plus. It is all about cultivating the idea and living up to it. Difference between the people who succeed and those who do not, lies in the courage to stand against all the odds and think long term without getting wavered by short term failures. Entrepreneurs are not born but created by a strong need to be on top of the world.

  • AROSHOUS says:

    my advice is that think properly and build a proper plan in your mind about the business model. Good ideas are
    the sucess of business and you should polish your ideas every day then only you can sucessfully finished your each
    day for a more sucessful future of your business. Implementing a good business platform is not easy its harder one.
    Love what you do and sucess is always follows you. You have to work hard to make your businness more sucessive. If u
    have the idea about the business draw the sturcture of that and plan it how to implement in most sucessive way.
    auther aroshous ariv

  • BigB says:

    Entrepreneurship is all about learning by your own experiences. It requires lot of analysis, right ideas and hard work. And not to forgot little luck too.

    There are no hard and fast rules that you need to follow, you have to trust your own instincts. These quotes from the people may be of some help but it is your own judgment and experience that is going to help at the end of the day.

    I will say true entrepreneurs will always trust their own gut feelings rather than what others saying. And lastly I feel your experience, ideas and management skills that matter more than your education. You have to have the skills to spot the right talents and utilize them rather than having all the skills by yourself.

  • mmrao says:

    firstly an entreprenuer should not be nervous about success or failure of the venture and ready to accept the outcome in a right spirit. secondly he or she down to earth in thinking of returns as mostly the returns in initial period will be definetly below of resonable expectation..thirdly judicious utilisation of available resources is a must since they will be always meagre in the initial stages of any venture. fourthly expert handling of manpower and must be able to extract produtive work from workers. for this constant motivatio is a must.Next comes attrcting customers for the finished product by doing subdued marketing as against extensive marketing as generally belived. finally after sales service and instant response to customer requirement to maintain the customer base.

  • karthik k says:

    i really happy when i visit this blog…because this is very useful content….u know one think You bring up a really good point. The one thing I’ve noticed in life is that if you have a really good idea and you believe in it the second you give up is the second your idea will fail.Entrepreneurship is all about learning by your own experiences. It requires lot of analysis, right ideas and hard work. And not to forgot little luck too.I will say true entrepreneurs will always trust their own gut feelings rather than what others saying. And lastly I feel your experience, ideas and management skills that matter more than your education.i really appreciate your good work.

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