I love quotes from people who have crushed it in the world of investing, entrepreneurship, and business.
Because they often sum up hard-earned wisdom acquired through decades of work into a pithy nugget of truth that I can quickly apply to my own life.
Here are just 10 quotes from my ever-growing list of favorites from brilliant minds in business, entrepreneurship, and investing.
1.“If you’re prepared, and you know what it takes, it’s not a risk. You just have to figure out how to get there. There is always a way to get there.”Mark Cuban
I love this quote by Mark Cuban, self-made billionaire and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, because it helps dispel the myth that entrepreneurs are crazy risk-takers.
Instead, Cuban indicates that caution and preparation are critical to removing risk.
I’ve taken this concept to heart and employed it in my own business, where I put as little capital at risk as possible and aim to earn money before I spend it (check out my income reports for proof).
Next, he says that there’s always a way to achieve your goals – you just have to figure out the path there.
Thanks to the internet age where the world’s collective knowledge is in the palm of your hand, I believe this is easier than ever (distinction: I don’t mean that success is easy, but I do believe it’s relatively easier than it was before the internet).
Hate him or love him, there’s no denying that Mark Cuban is a highly skilled businessman and that makes his advice worth considering.
You can read more business advice from Cuban in his book: “How to Win at the Sport of Business.”*
2. “The avoidance of loss is the surest way to ensure a profitable outcome.”Seth Klarman
For those who aren’t immersed in the investment world, Seth Klarman’s name might be unfamiliar.
Here’s some background.
Klarman is a portfolio manager at Baupost Group Holdings, a hedge fund with $22 billion in assets under management, with an average annual return of ~20% since its inception in 1983.
Averaging 20% return for that duration of time with that amount of assets under management is absolutely spectacular.
He wrote a now out-of-print cult classic investing book (yes those exist) called “Margin of Safety: Risk-Averse Value Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Investor.”*
Used copies typically sell for between $1,000 and $2,000.
In other words, he’s a business and investing genius.
So what is Klarman saying in this quote?
He’s advocating that in any money-making endeavor, you can radically improve your odds of success if you focus on limiting your downside as much as possible.
So many people take the opposite approach in business and in life where they spend money first, ask questions later.
This approach will always be tempting, even for lean start-up die-hards like Matt and me.
But I really believe that in both personal finance and business finance, avoiding unnecessary expenses is the first step towards profitability.
I put this Klarman quote after the Cuban quote because I really want to drive home the fact that you don’t have to put a lot of capital at risk to be an entrepreneur.
3. “When a man with a reputation for genius takes on a business with a reputation for tough operating conditions, it’s the reputation of the business that’s likely to prevail.”Charlie Munger
Charlie Munger is Warren Buffett’s investment partner and right-hand-man at Berkshire Hathaway.
He’s an investing genius who has a net worth of about $1.5 billion.
I really appreciate this quote because it shows that some types of businesses aren’t as likely to succeed as others, and that you can maximize your odds of success by choosing the right type.
And just as not all business have equal likelihood of profitability, not all businesses are equally conducive to your ideal lifestyle.
Starting a restaurant, for example, is a notoriously difficult venture with razor thin margins and high monetary investment.
If you believe in bootstrapping and spending conservatively, you won’t like this route at all.
On the other hand, starting a food blog (or any type of blog) is ideal for anyone who wants a flexible business that allows them to maximize freedom and profit.
That’s because blogs allow you to work from anywhere you want on your own schedule.
Their sky-high income potential doesn’t hurt either.
If you’re passionate about food, I recommend choosing starting a blog over starting a restaurant.
I also recommend Bluehost web hosting* to get started.
When you use my link, you receive 50% off and can get started for just $3.95 per month!
You can read more wisdom from Munger in his book, “Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger“*
4. “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”Warren Buffett
What better way to follow up a brilliant quote by Charlie Munger than with one by his business partner, Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world?
This quote from Buffett inspires us because it’s not about stocks; it’s about passive income.
In his typical fashion, Buffett captures a truth that hides in plain sight.
Quite simply, you must be making passive income to support yourself at some point in your life or will always need to clock in at a job.
Matt and I wrote extensively on passive income in our latest book “Online Business: 3 Steps to Turning Your Passion into Profit in Less Than One Year.”*
I highly recommend you check it out to read more about how you can start an online business that earns passive income.
5. “Failure is overrated.”Peter Thiel
If you’ve read this blog, you know that I love Peter Thiel’s business advice.
I think he’s brilliant and his track record as an entrepreneur (Paypal and Palantir) and investor (Facebook) speaks for itself.
In fact, I consider “Zero to One,”* Thiel’s classic book on creating world-changing businesses, required reading for any aspiring entrepreneur.
In this book and in his interviews, he emphasizes the importance of avoiding failure, which is paradoxically upheld as a virtue in Silicon Valley and other start-up cultures.
I heartily agree with this point as failure can be demoralizing and will happen naturally: you never need to seek it out.
Instead, I encourage you to read this blog and advice from business experts to learn from my mistakes and theirs, avoid them, and fast-track your success.
6. “You can be rich by having more than you need, or by needing less than you have.”Tony Robbins
Tony Robbins is an incredible individual who has achieved great financial success despite an abusive upbringing, no college education, and the odds stacked against him.
He’s written epic books on self-help, personal finance, and more, always leveraging his vast personal network to gain access to brilliant minds.
He then learns from these geniuses and explains their strategies in simpler terms for lay audiences.
I appreciate this quote from his recent book “Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom”* because Tony captures the reality that true wealth comes from life satisfaction, not ever-growing net worth.
A stellar example of this reality in action is Peter Adeney of mrmoneymustache.com.
He and his family live comfortably on ~$25,000 a year despite bringing in over $400,000 in revenue from his blog.
Do I want to maximize profit on this blog and make a killing?
But I also realize (and need to continue reminding myself) that money won’t ultimately make me happy.
7. “The problem with competition is that it takes away the requirement to set your own path, to invent your own method, to find a new way.”Seth GodinSeth Godin is a marketing genius.
He sold his first business venture to Yahoo! for $30 million, became the VP of direct marketing at Yahoo!, sold his next venture to HubPages, and has authored 17 books* and counting.
I love that Godin’s quote highlights how a competitive mindset can trap your brain in un-creative solutions to problems.
It echoes the moonshot concept championed by Google co-founder Larry Page:
“A 10 percent improvement means that you’re basically doing the same thing as everybody else, [but a] thousand-percent improvement requires rethinking problems entirely, exploring the edges of what’s technically possible, and having a lot more fun in the process.”
In short, don’t get bogged down by competitive thinking.
Just focus on how to add value to a large number of people.
8. “Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”Albert Einstein
This Einstein quote captures the importance of focus for the entrepreneur.
So many entrepreneurs (including the authors of this blog) want monetary success.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.
However, if financial success becomes your sole focus at the expense of adding value, your profit will be short-lived at best, and non-existent at worst (not to mention the personal fallout that occurs when you stop focusing on personal relationships).
But when you focus on adding immense value to a massive amount of people, success (financial and otherwise) begins to happen!
9. “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau is a 19th century author and essayist most famous for his classic “Walden,” which reads like a pre-modern version of “The 4 Hour Work Week.”*
I appreciate this quote by Thoreau because it encapsulates precisely what I’ve seen happen to wildly successful entrepreneurs, where they consistently put in the work first, then watch as the money naturally follows.
It reminds me of this quote by James Altucher: “Money is a side effect of persistence.”
You see this model in success stories like Neil Patel’s.
He describes this phenomenon in a Forbes article in which he says,
“I was absolutely crushing it with my business, but I wasn’t drawing a salary for myself or enjoying the money.
That’s when it happened. At age 21, I had achieved my goal of making my first million bucks.
It hardly registered with me. Money had begun to lose meaning. What was money, but just a bunch of numbers, invoices, payables, and accounts?”
Patel describes how he had been hustling so hard for a million dollars (all the while living fine without it) that once he received it, he hardly knew what to do with the money.
And paradoxically, this is what needs to happen in order for you to become a successful entrepreneur.
You need to hustle hard, forget about the money, focus on giving away immense value, and do all this with persistence and grit.
This will stack the odds of business success in your favor.
10. “If information were the answer, we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.”Derek Sivers
Derek Sivers is an author,* professional musician, former circus clown, and founder of the wildly successful company CD Baby.
At CD Baby’s peak, Sivers spent a maximum of 8 hours per year managing his company.
Everything else he delegated to employees.
In other words, Sivers is a business operations genius.
I love this quote because it shows how action, not information, is critical for success in our internet age.
We have the world’s information at our fingertips. We simply need to put it into practice.
These quotes help me as much as they help you.
We need constant reminders to focus on persistence and value, as well as prioritizing people over profit.
I hope these quotes inspire you in your own entrepreneurial endeavors!
What business and investing quotes help you to be a better entrepreneur and a better person?
Let me know in the comments!