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Describe one mentor or role model who helped you get your first biz off the ground and why. What did they do that made a difference?

1. There Are No Stupid Questions

“My father has played an integral role in helping me start and build Fuck Cancer. The ability to ask somebody “stupid questions” should never go undervalued. When you’re breaking new ground, sometimes it’s the simplest things that you need explained.”

Yael Cohen, Fuck Cancer

2. Lead By Non-Example
“My old boss, while very successful in so many facets of life, built a business that required him to be there almost all the time. Despite his success, I could tell he wished he were able to travel more and have more life experiences. It was seeing that regret which inspired me to go out on my own, and pursue the stuff I wanted to do from the beginning.”

Sean Ogle, Location 180, LLC

3. From Tiny Task to Big Business
“My grandfather was the one who gave me camera equipment at age 14 to sell on eBay. That led me to creating an eBay business and becoming involved in startups. He may not have done it on purpose, but it certainly made a huge difference in my life.”

Ben Lang, EpicLaunch

4. Experiencing Entrepreneurship Early>
“I’d say that my martial arts instructor was one of my first inspirations and role models. She had her own martial arts school, which is way different than an online business, but seeing her live the life she wanted and pursue her dreams with dedication really helped me step into my own business life.”

Nathalie Lussier, The Website Checkup Tool

5. Thanks for the Priceless Insight
“Starting a business at 23, I may have thought I knew what I was doing, but I didn’t. There were many points in the first year that I was on the verge of imploding, absolutely positive my company was going under. At these points, I went to my father, who helped calm me down, and sat down with me to show me where and how I can improve my systems and processes. This guidance saved me.”

Justin Beegel, Infographic World, Inc.

6. That’s What Success Looks Like
“My grandpa always encouraged me to build my own business. He came out of optometry school with the opportunity to go work for someone else’s practice, but decided to open his own practice. My grandma and him were poor for three years before he was ever profitable, but after that, he made more than he ever would by working for someone else.”

Wade Foster, Zapier

7. Intreprenueurship Yields Results
“My first boss taught me to be an entrepreneur by empowering me to tackle special projects within the comfort of his established business. My experience and his trust gave me the confidence to eventually go out on my own. Now that I have the fortune to be in his shoes, I always look to pass the torch on to yo ung talent within my company.”

Christopher Kelly, NYC Conference Centers

8. Pushing My Boundaries
“My mentor forced me to explain in great detail what I wanted to create with my business, but more importantly, why I wanted to create it. We sat down and talked about my passion, my idea and whether it was the right fit for me. By exploring all aspects of the decision, he pushed me to refine my idea and get focused before I actually spent time and money developing my idea.”

Nathan Lustig, Entrustet

9. Word of Mouth Is Powerful
“One of my mentors is an entrepreneur in New York that became a client just over a year ago, as my business was getting off the ground. He liked how hard I was working for him and started referring me to many companies. In so doing, he drove a huge amount of business to my startup and allowed us to identify our niche in tech. I am so grateful to him for what he did and we have become friends. Today, I try to do what he did for me to other budding entrepreneurs.”

Zach Cutler, Cutler Group

10. Tough Love Is Admirable
“One of the mentors that helped me most gave me a lot of tough love and asked me some pretty difficult questions that I had to take a while to reflect on and answer. Sometimes it was frustrating, but it was always valuable.”

Natalie MacNeil, She Takes on the World

11. Confidence Goes a Long Way
“My first boss with Radio Disney instilled the confidence in me to help me start my first business. So made people are held back my fear. Peggy believed in me from the start — both as a seller for Disney and then as an entrepreneur.”

Dave Kerpen, Likeable Media

12. Learning First-Hand
“A dynamite money manager took me under his wing and show me all the shortcuts to getting a wealth management practice off the ground. I learned more from watching him work than I ever could have from a book or class. Young, successful, and eager to help, he was on e of the main reasons I went from an assistant to a business owner within two years.”

Derek Shanahan, Foodtree

13. Wise Advice Keeps for a Lifetime
“A great mentor told me that “If I never stepped out of my comfort zone, I would never progress.” This has been crucial to my business and personal success, especially as an entrepreneur. Shyness and apprehension will only hold you back. It’s when you venture into the unknown that you learn.”

Nicolas Gremion,

14. Support System Behind the Scenes
“My grandfather was a great role model. He listened when my head was filled with nonsense. He believed in me when no one else did. He coached me when I needed it the most. He supported me when times were the toughest. His wise advice and encouraging words helped me immeasurably.”

Brent Beshore, AdVentures

15. Practical Tips Help a Ton!
“I really benefited from a business coach who helped me to develop a more mature, refined brand. She coached me on how I should decide on a consistent professional image, which at the time meant I wore a skirt, suit jacket or cardigan, and heels every time I went to a business event. And she made me aware of how I could tone down my bubbly approach to networking so that I came across as confident and competent.”

Elizabeth Saunders, Real Life E®