Elon Musk is basically the blueprint for any aspirational entrepreneur.
He is the real-life Tony Stark, a billionaire who has changed the world we live in and created a cult following in the process.
He started Paypal, then moved on to start the electric vehicle revolution and clean home power market with Tesla and now he wants to take the human race to Mars.
The man is a modern-day icon.
So, it stands to reason. If you want to be successful than you could do a lot worse than listen to Elon Musk’s life advice. He’s pretty free with it and there are thousands of quotes strewn around the internet.
We found the 10 that really resonate with us, and we hope they get you thinking as well.
All original images courtesy of Photosforclass.com.
1. Work like Hell
“If others put in 40 hours and you put in 100, you will achieve in four months what takes them a year,” Elon Musk.
It would be awesome if success came on a silver platter, without you having to put the work in. That’s probably not going to happen and Musk reckons that entrepreneurs really should put in 80-100 hours every week.
Elo Musk’s work ethic is the stuff of legend and if you want to get rich, or even become comfortable as an entrepreneur, then you should get ready to burn the midnight oil, too.
Some businesses grow organically, but most don’t. Most of them struggle, scrape and survive in the early days and become successful through the founder’s sheer force of will.
Make sure you’re up for that fight before you start your own company. It can take years, most fail and only the strong survive. Your own business can be the making of you, but some people find out they’re safer in a structured workplace.
2. Don’t be a wishful thinker
“Be rigorous in your self-analysis. There’s a difference between believing in your ideals and pursuing an unrealistic dream.” Elon Musk
Simply put, make sure there’s a market for what you’re offering and it’s prepared to pay top dollar. Don’t sink your time into a product or service that doesn’t work and make sure you keep analyzing yourself to make sure your business and your life is going in the right direction.
It’s almost an entrepreneurial disease to keep chasing losses with a particular idea. The entrepreneur, like a gambler who has lost his shirt in the casino, simply won’t give up and ends up investing way too much time in a non-starter of a business.
Failures like this can destroy you, because they become all-consuming. So really give yourself a reality check and question the very validity of your business from time to time. Because if you’re putting everything in and getting nothing out, maybe you need to look at alternatives.
3. Never give up
“I don’t ever give up. I’d have to be dead or completely incapacitated,” Elon Musk.
There were times when both Tesla and SpaceX looked dead and buried. Indeed, both have been hours from bankruptcy and only last-minute moves that included inviting the staff to become investors saved them.
Had SpaceX’s first successful mission gone the way of all the others, the company simply wouldn’t have had the money to send another rocket into orbit. It was that close.
Each and every time, Musk has dragged his companies back from the edge. He has faced dark times, he has been publicly derided by captains of industry and yet he has kept going forward thanks to his own iron willpower.
You simply can’t give up in life, is the simple message, especially if you want to be a success.
4. Take risks and do something bold
“Now is the time to take risks. Later in life, you’ll have more obligations and it becomes more difficult to take a chance. Do something bold,” Elon Musk.
This was a lecture to a group of graduate students, but it’s actually true for all of us. As we get older, wherever we are right now then the chances are we’ll have more obligations, rather than less. Like credit card debt, they tend to mount up.
So wherever you are, however old you are, then now is as good a time as you’ll ever have to take a risk and try something new.
5. Attract Great People
“A company is just a group people gathered to create a product or service. Their talent, work ethic and focus will determine the success of your company. Get great people,” Elon Musk.
Musk proved the point with Paypal. Several of his co-founders went on to form Youtube, LinkedIn and Peter Thiel has become a legendary investor.
He’s a smart guy, but there’s no way he could have made Tesla or SpaceX work without engineers and software specialists that are orders of magnitude smarter.
You don’t need to go that far. But make sure you’re working with exceptional people and that you associate with brilliant people You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
Choose good ones, raise your game and motivate each other.
6. Love what you do
“When you love what you do it just doesn’t feel like work. If you don’t love it then you’ll end up hating it,” Elon Musk.
Make sure you are absolutely obsessed with your idea.
If it’s a shiny new product then you better have unshakeable confidence that the world needs this and wants to pay for it.
If it’s a service, then really focus on what will make you better than anybody else.
Make sure you really do love it and then it won’t feel like work when you’re fixing a problem at 2am. You really will have found your passion and that will carry you through the hard times.
7. Make mistakes
“The successful company isn’t the one that didn’t make any mistakes. It’s the one that learned on their feet and found solutions. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes,” Elon Musk.
Mistakes are the fastest way to learn and if you try and step out of your comfort zone then you’re going to make them.
Analyze your mistakes, learn from them but do not, under any circumstances, fear them.
Don’t beat yourself up for weeks or months when something goes wrong. Just understand that it’s all part of the process.
8. Act despite fear
“I feel fear quite strongly, but if it is important enough then you do it in spite of fear.”
“It’s normal to feel fear. There would need to be something mentally wrong with you if you didn’t, but you have to just keep going. Numbers and fatalism can help.
“When I started Space X we worked out there was a 10% chance of it working and I would probably lose everything. But if we could move the world forward just a little and another company picked up the baton then we’d have been happy with that. Once we accepted that we could focus and everything else has been a bonus.
Accept that whatever idea you have, whatever product you’re selling, the chances are it probably won’t work. Come to terms with that, stop worrying about it and make it happen.
9. Focus on your customer
“If your customer wants you to succeed, then you probably will. Focus on giving them the very best. Be obsessive about the quality of your product,” Elon Musk.
Musk has pressed ahead in the face of criticism, personal bankruptcy and total failure. All the time, he kept his focus on groundbreaking products that are pretty much all ahead of their time.
He developed an electric car company on an almost non-existent budget by giving the customers what they wanted, and what he could afford to build, at every step of the game.
He listened to them and built the car and the infrastructure they wanted. His sales speak for themselves and he has blown the tech world away with the potential of Powerwall, Powerpack 2 and the Tesla Roof.
All of these will sell to the public in spades, including the upcoming Model 3. With SpaceX, he sold commercial space travel and deliveries to NASA and the US government.
Throughout, Musk has focused on giving the customer an incredible, breathtaking experience at the right price.
10. Take action.
“If you need inspiring words, you should not do it,” Elon Musk.
This one is kinda cold, considering the context of 10 Elon Musk inspiring quotes.
But it’s valuable nonetheless.
Everybody has an idea idly floating round their head. It’s called a dream.
The only thing that will turn your dreams into a plan and then a reality is to take action and do something, right now, which drives your business forward.
Be one of the greats, take action and don’t wait for someone to give you a pep talk.