What Mom Taught Me: Advice From 8 Entrepreneurs

May 13, 2012

8:03 am

It is often said that “Mom knows best.” The sage advice that follows – shared with us by some of our favorite startup founders – lends credibility to that oft-overused statement.  Follow the advice of the moms of successful entrepreneurs, and maybe you too will see your hard work, sweat equity, and passion for what you do pay off big time.

To all the moms out there out there raising the next great thought-leaders and entrepreneurs of the world: Happy Mother’s Day!

Dylan Hamilton, CEO of Sharewhere

I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere in Iowa, so my mom wasn’t your average warm and cuddly suburban mother. She had a relatively tough life and saw many of her own dreams denied or simply fade away, but she instilled in me that I could and should have great dreams. She always taught me that I could do anything I wanted or be anything I wanted if I dreamt big and worked harder than anyone else. There are many things you simply can’t control when building a startup, your dream and the effort you apply are always in your control. Thanks Mom!

James Tamplin, CEO of Firebase

1. Keep giving it love. Even when things are rough. Keep giving unconditional love to your startup. It’ll grow up to be a decent adult someday.

2. A smile and a cheery disposition will open more doors than anything else.  I’ve earned more customers, got in front of more investors and talked my way into more parties because I smiled and treated the person like they mattered most at that moment. Genuinely.

Jenn Lim, CEO of Delivering Happiness

Momma Lim taught me to listen more, talk less.  People usually put those types in the shy/introverted category, but as an entrepreneur it helps to listen … whether it’s your employees, customers, partners. You get a sense of what people’s intentions are and how best to act/respond.  And most importantly, listening helps take ordinary relations into meaningful ones.  Thanks Momma Lim!

Alex Bard, CEO of Desk.com

Compassion.  There is a Russian saying and a state of mind that says “a giving hand is never empty,” which I learned from my mom.  The more I give to the entrepreneurial community the more it seems I get back in value.  I think we can all benefit from this kind of thinking.

Leslie Bradshaw, President, COO, Co-Founder of JESS3

Balance your checkbook and use a spreadsheet to track income and expenses. Related to finances: Don’t borrow from Peter to pay Paul.

Treat others with compassion and respect. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Be impeccable with your word.

Surround yourself with people that make you the best you can be.

Have a sense of humor and don’t sweat the small stuff – and it is all the small stuff. Related: don’t have fun at the expense of others.

Evan Burfield, regional lead of Startup DC and Founder of Synteractive

From as early as I can remember, my mother always told me I was special and meant to do great things to help people. Whenever things have gotten overwhelming and bleak in life, I remember that I was meant to persevere and push forward harder.

Our Tech Cocktail team had a few things to add too…

Jen Consalvo, COO of Tech Cocktail

My mother taught me a few important things with regard to business. First, that people who start their own companies are usually better off than the rest – even if it’s digging ditches. Second, that a little analysis is ok but you can talk yourself out of anything by analyzing too much – if you have a company you want to build, do it. Third, it’s all about people and relationships, no matter what you do, so don’t hide. Finally, she taught my sister and I that we can do anything. She firmly believed that (and still does) – thank you, mom.

Frank Gruber, CEO of Tech Cocktail

My mom taught me lots of things but there are a couple that stand out today. One thing she helped instill was a solid work ethic which is necessary when starting up, especially at the beginning as no one is going to do it for you. Aside from that she taught me to “live life to the fullest with no regrets.” I think about that a lot as an entrepreneur as I’ve had to make a lot sacrifices to do what I  love but I have no regrets as it’s the journey that is just as important as the finish line.

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Monika Jansen is a writer and editor who is happiest pounding out blog posts, newsletters, website content, and other materials. Follow her at: @monikacjansen

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