Do you want to make billions of dollars as an entrepreneur? It’s achievable, but only for the select few.
The first skill to master is learning from the mistakes and successes of others instead of taking on the tough lessons yourself. If you can empathize with these 20 billionaire entrepreneurs, you already have a leg up on the competition.
1. On failure, Henry Ford
The founder of Ford Motor Company said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” In other words, it’s perfectly fine and normal to fail, but only if you learn a lesson from it. If you don’t, then you’re living Einstein’s definition of insanity (and that does not a billionaire make).
2. On (lack of) limits, Donald Trump
“As long as you’re going to be thinking anyway, think big,” said the famous Trump. He goes big with everything he does, from reality shows to his Las Vegas hotel and casino. Don’t limit yourself.
3. On risks, Mark Zuckerberg
The biggest risk is not taking any risks…in a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” There are a lot of things to be scared about when starting a business. However, if the Facebook founder and CEO can achieve such success starting in college, that should be inspiration for any entrepreneur of any age.
4. On innovation, Larry Ellison
“When you innovate, you’ve got to be prepared for people telling you that you are nuts.” The third wealthiest man in the country doesn’t really care what people think of him because he knows his ideas are legitimate. Thinking outside the box can be what makes you your first billion.
5. On just doing it, Mark Cuban
“It’s not the dreaming, it’s the doing,” quipped one of the most outspoken of Shark Tank sharks. If you’re a total dreamer, that isn’t going to make you rich. Ideally, you should balance that dreamer/doer so you’re both innovative and dedicated.
6. On doing (again), Walt Disney
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing,” said Walt Disney. This encouragement of dreamers to get off the couch and actually do something has been going on forever. What would Disney be without action?
7. On regret, Jeff Bezos
The founder of Amazon says, “I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.” Failure can be a scary notion, but what if you succeed? Amazon was up and running for years before making a profit, so sometimes slow and steady really does win the race.
8. On moving forward, JP Morgan
“Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see farther.” The founder of JP Morgan knows that sometimes grand, long-term goals can be intimidating. Baby steps are more manageable and can help with goal setting.
9. On significance, Oprah Winfrey
“What I know for sure is that if you want to have success, you can’t make success your goal. They key is not to worry about being successful, but to instead work toward being significant–and the success will naturally follow.” For many entrepreneurs, significance is actually what they want more than success anyway. They just need Oprah to break things down.
10. On money, Warren Buffett
The financial guru says that “Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule no.1” Money isn’t everything, but it’s certainly something. If you want to get to billionaire status, it’s a lot easier to “save” money than make it all over again.
11. On vision, Li Ka-Shing
The Hong Kong business magnate says, “Vision is perhaps our greatest strength…it has kept us alive to the power and continuity of thought through the centuries, it makes us peer into the future and lends shape to the unknown.” Without vision, you can’t see to set goals or avoid unnecessary obstacles.
12. On joy, Tony Hsieh
“Have fun. The game is a lot more enjoyable when you’re trying to do more than just make money,” says the founder of Zappos. If you don’t have fun with what you do, why would anyone else?
13. On inclusivity, Richard Branson
Virgin founder Branson says, “A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.” In order to attract business and money, you need to offer up something that’s appealing.
14. On sacrifice, Stephen Saad
“In Life, you don’t get anywhere or do anything you hope to without some sort of sacrifice,” says the South African entrepreneur. There will be sacrifices, but only you can decide which are worth it and to what degree.
15. On the obviousness of passion, Nick Woodman
“I feel like in a world where we all try to figure out our place and our purpose here, your passions are one of your most obvious guides.” The founder of GoPro knows that passions double as guiding stars, and to ignore them sets you up for struggles.
16. On reading, Bill Gates
“I really had a lot of dreams when I was a kid, and I think a great deal of that grew out of the fact that I had a chance to read a lot.” The art of reading is dying, yet it’s a rich entrepreneurs best asset–and it’s enjoyable make time for it.
17. On dreams, Michael Dell
The founder of Dell computers says, “You don’t have to be a genius or a visionary or even a college graduate to be successful. You just need a framework and a dream.” However, without those two pillars, you will find it very difficult to chase success. Start with those.
18. On working hard, Isabel dos Santos
The only female billionaire in Africa says, “If you are hardworking and determined, you will make it and that’s the bottom line. I don’t believe in an easy way through.” Determination has virtually no limits, but only the entrepreneur can decide whether or not a certain amount of work is “worth it.”
19. On coming out the other side, Lakshmi Mittal
“Everyone experiences tough times, it is a measure of your determination and dedication how you deal with them and how you can come through them.” Tough times don’t stop billionaire entrepreneurs from success. However, their reaction to them can.
20. On being memorable, Sarah Blakely
The founder of Spanx says, “It’s important to be willing to make mistakes. The worst thing that can happen is you become memorable.” No billionaire got where they are without leaving a trail of mistakes in the wake (whether that included discarded control underwear or not).
There is no guarantee that you will be a success, a billionaire or both. However, by following in the wake of those who have done it, you can stack the odds in your favor. That in itself is the sign of a great entrepreneur.