Question: What is the one best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Always Try Again
"Seven years ago, I was at a barbecue talking to a family friend --and I was in a funk. The startup I had co-founded just 9 months earlier had gone belly up. The family friend (a successful entrepreneur) gave me priceless advice that day: keep your head up and move on to the next one. He told me his first two companies had failed. He said the biggest regret you'll have is if you don't keep trying."
Just Because You Can...
"...doesn't mean you should! As entrepreneurs, we're often drawn to the new, the exciting, the latest and the greatest. And we see opportunity in almost everything, which means we have a wealth of options that we can choose to pursue. Often though, what we say "no" to defines whether we'll succeed, much more clearly than what we say "yes" to."
Where's the Money?
"My dad once told me: "Money is littered on the street, you just need to know how to pick it up." For a long time, my startups focused on getting users and funding, as oppose to earning revenue. When I finally focused on using my skills to create revenue, I realized just how easy it was. People are always willing to pay for something that they want or need, no matter the state of the economy."
Know, or Listen to Those Who Know
"We are where we are today because I've surrounded myself with generous teachers and mentors who are willing to share their knowledge and experience with me. By listening to the teachings of those who've done what you are trying to do, you'll save you a ton of time and the pain of going through some obvious mistakes. Leverage other people's knowledge wisely."
Try to Take Action
"Before I was old enough to remember, my father posted a handwritten sign in our basement that read, "You won't get stronger by just thinking about it." I read it so many times that it eventually became my motto in life and in business. Everyone aspires to be great, but you must take action to make your dreams a reality."
Leave Everything Better Than You Found It
"Growing up in the Scouts, my dad would always tell our troop that every campsite had to be left better than we found it. Now I apply that to everything in my life. When I travel, I try to find a way to make impact on the local community; when I meet a person, I try to somehow make a positive impact on them. In business, I want everything I touch to turn out better than when I found it."
You Never Fail Until You Give Up
"Many people don't try something because they are afraid of failing. Other try something and want to succeed, but give up after they don't get the result they are looking for. What you must understand is that there is no failure -- only feedback. You don't really fail until you give up. If you are still moving toward your goal, you are succeeding, even if you don't think you are. Never give up."
It's Okay to Make Mistakes
"As an entrepreneur, you're venturing into uncharted territory. That means you don't have a map, let alone directions on how to do everything right the first time. Realizing that it's okay to make mistakes as an entrepreneur was very freeing for me. It allowed me to try new things and grow in new directions, and see every experience as a learning opportunity."
"I don't remember who told me it, but it's stuck with me. The mindset can be summarized in the following quote: "Everything always ends well. So if it's not well, it's not the end." I always remember this quote whenever I have a bad day or start doubting a project I am working on. With this in mind, I know that more hard work will get me to the destination I am seeking."
Never Stop Asking for Advice
"Always keep asking people for guidance. More likely than not, people are happily willing to give you their input. Some may be good and most bad, but you always walk away with some new knowledge or insight to a particular view you didn't have before."
Always Verify Everything
"Trust, but verify. You may think you know something, but you need proof before you act like it's fact. Assuming things without verifying them is a good way for an entrepreneur to be taken advantage of. Treat your investments -- of money and time -- wisely."
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.