33 Inspiring Quotes About Achieving Your Dreams as a Startup

Leaders of companies big and small share the mindset it takes to attain success in the face of all obstacles.

True, being a startup can be exhausting, lonely, frustrating and terrifying. But it's worth every drop of blood, sweat and tears when you are pursuing your passion and turning your dream into a reality.

In an ongoing series, we pick the brains of founders and leaders about what it is like to have every decision big and small rest on their shoulders and have compiled their thoughts on what it takes to succeed on the long, sometimes crazy journey of a startup.

"In business, the only thing that is more important than the number is the person."

Daymond "The People's Shark" John.

"The reality is there's an element of risk and luck in anything that you do. But I find that with disciplined risk, you're either winning and succeeding or you're learning. And that's really the foundation to evolving and growing as a business."

Shirley Chen, founder of Narrativ

"Being an entrepreneur means one word: freedom. I have the ability to chart my own course and pursue what I'm passionate about."

Brandon Webb, former Navy SEAL and head sniper instructor

"I know that I've got to do my job better and harder than anyone in that building so that everyone there can take care of their families. And that's one of the coolest feelings for me."

Richard Rawlings, owner of Gas Monkey Garage

"The word to me is synonymous with ‘hustler.’ As an entrepreneur, you cannot be afraid to put yourself and your ideas out there and figure out how to give them life."

Lisa Barnett, co-founder and CMO of Little Spoon

"There is joy in the sheer pursuit of our potential — knowing that we are really 'going for it,' working with a sense of urgency, stretching and being fulfilled by our achievements."

Todd Johnson, entrepreneur, mentor and coach

"Most successful people reflect daily. It gives our brain a chance to pause the chaos with conscious thought of our previous actions and to hopefully derive meaning/learning from those moments! But only if you're honest with yourself!"

Mario Armstrong, serial entrepreneur


"'Fear of failure' is something that shouldn't be in your vocabulary in the military, or entrepreneurship. You need to take calculated risks and not be afraid of setbacks. And in both cases, you need the mindset that I will do whatever it takes to accomplish the mission."

Colin Wayne, Army veteran, fitness model and CEO of Redline Steel

“Entrepreneurs cross the fine line between crazy and genius.”

Greg Berry


"You have to keep positive thoughts in your head. You need to feel happy -- on your own, not as a result of someone else."

Cynthia Calamari (left), co-owner of MF3

"I want to improve the world and spend my life doing something meaningful."

Helmuts Bems, CEO and co-founder of Sonarworks

“Being an entrepreneur is following your passion and finding a profit in it. You spend 70% of your life at work, you better love what you do.”

Victoria Cairl


“An entrepreneur is someone who sees a need in the market and does something about it, rather than just sitting on the sidelines.”

Anne Reilly, Founder/CEO of Mott50



“It is about having a vision and mission that is bigger than me.”

Shazi Visram, Founder and CEO of Happy Family


"Being in the military taught me to risk it all early and to risk it all often."

Andrew Weins

"We have to slow down, particularly women who have been taught to overachieve in every single endeavor. They believe they have to be outstanding every single day at being a parent, spouse, and contributor at work. If you are trying to do that, you are going to crash and burn, and very likely not be outstanding at any of it."

Ursula Burns, former CEO and Chair of Xerox

"You need to get to a place where you can prosper at your passion. Like I have a couple of artist friends that have a real job and do their art on the side. If their art gets big, they'll do that full-time, but there's no reason to go broke in the meantime."

Monica Beets

“An entrepreneur is someone who gets shit done.”

Husband-wife team Jason Payne


"I do not have a staff of hundreds. I have a very tiny staff trained as artists and architects, and I only take on one building at any given time. I'm very protective of staying small."

Maya Lin, artist, designer, and environmentalist

"Being an entrepreneur means to be an artist of life. To be willing to take big risks, because of the deep belief in creating things that matter."

Grace Kraaijvanger, founder of The Hivery

"Unwavering belief in yourself and enthusiasm for what you’re doing. Those traits naturally create a sense of ownership that you can’t buy anywhere -- not even Jeff Bezos can sell it!"

Tristan Mermin and Jon Lawson

"Bringing your entrepreneurial vision to fruition takes a team of smart and experienced people. Find them, trust them and empower them to help you make decisions."

Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields

"You gotta succeed. If you're not succeeding, you're not recruiting anybody."

Tristan Walker, founder and CEO of Walker Company Brands

"Don't ask for permission. As a woman and an entrepreneur, you can't just take what you're offered. Go after what you want."

Natalie Ebel, co-founder of Backdrop

“An entrepreneur is someone who has the passion and courage to try something that’s never been done before.”

Jim Patterson, CEO of Eaze


“Entrepreneurship is about solving problems, not getting fixated on them.”

Harold Clarke


“Being an entrepreneur is different than starting and quickly exiting a startup. I think entrepreneurs create long-term companies and jobs.”

Chrissy Crawford Corredor, Founder and CEO of ArtStar


"When you’re an entrepreneur, you have to understand that no one is going to swoop in and save the day. You have to enjoy solving problems for your customers and for your business."

Nick Palmisciano

"To me, an entrepreneur is someone who has a goal of impacting other people by helping them solve a problem, and through that help, aims to grow and scale to help even more people."

Soraya Goddard

“As an entrepreneurs, you have a fire burning inside your belly, a vision and a dream that you will do anything and everything in your power to bring to life.”

Willie Degel


“Entrepreneurship is about the fight -- the process of getting your product and service in the hands of consumers and building a company along the way.”

Jon Snyder


"You have to do more than just your role. You have put on a lot of different hats and do a lot of different jobs that are outside of your daily tasks."

Linda Jiang

"I think the best entrepreneurs are able to create win-wins that lead to sustainable business growth and economics." 

Luke Holden, CEO of Luke's Lobster


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