Advice on how to be a successful entrepreneur


Being an entrepreneur is a long and winding road – which is why it’s so important to harvest the right support networks to keep yourself healthy and motivated when the going gets tough.

By hosting the leading business podcast Secret Leaders, Dan Murray–Serter has spent over 200 hours speaking with the entrepreneurial community’s best and brightest, cultivating a platform which allows founders to share the highs and lows of running a business.

Launched in 2017, and currently wrapping up their third season, Secret Leaders has featured interviews with the likes of Jo Malone CBE, Rankin, and Baroness Martha Lane Fox.

In honour of the concluding third season, Dan shares the wisdom he has learned from listening to the world’s leading industry trailblazers thus far.

Surround yourself with supportive people

Don’t do yourself a disservice by working with people who don’t want to see you or the business and idea grow. Make sure you are surrounding yourself with those who’ll lift you up, but will also call you out on bad and unproductive behaviour.

It’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to getting your business off the ground. Dr Ali Parsa of Babylon Health talked about this when we had him on, touching on the importance of finding investors who shared values and a vision with him.

“I learned that you have to be very careful with your investors because we had a lot of incredibly good investors but we had one or two horrible ones and it wasn’t that they were bad human beings, it was just that they were ex-bankers who had no idea about taking risks and doing something big.

“They made all the wrong choices and, as a result, they destroyed the business.”

Lean into the chaos

Being an entrepreneur is very chaotic and means that you’re often on the move – and while it’s important to take care of yourself and take it slow when you need to, the reality is that very often your life will be going at an extremely fast pace.

Even though this causes hardships, it’s important to treasure the excitement, innovative spirit and creativity it can bring as a part of the entrepreneurial process. In fact, it can sometimes aid your business. In season one, we spoke to Michael Acton-Smith, who founded the leading mindfulness and meditation app Calm.

He wouldn’t have been able to do that had he not needed to explore mindfulness and meditation due to his hectic experiences with founding and leading Moshi Monsters – there’s method in the madness.

Keep evolving

Getting your business off the ground is only the beginning of your idea. To survive you must keep evolving and improving on everything. When we had Alice Bentinck from Entrepreneur First on the show, she said: “I think the moment you feel successful, you’ve probably lost it.

“Building a start-up is a constant battle against not dying and the minute you get to a steady state you’ve got to make that choice about whether you want to break it to make something bigger.” If your idea doesn’t keep up with the industry and innovative climate of the times, it won’t be able to make it – so make sure you stand out.

Never forget your mission

As our second season guest Nick Wheeler of Charles Tyrwhitt said: “Be really clear about what you do and stick to the knitting.”

Regardless of how big or small your business may be, every little action should be worth the time and energy you’re putting into it. It should ultimately be a piece in the greater mission’s puzzle – so make sure to stay focused and keep your eye on the prize.

Know when to call it a day

Being a successful entrepreneur sometimes means letting go of your baby and moving on to your next great project. Entrepreneurs can make strides across a number of different industries. They change their ideas and ways of working as they evolve – which may sometimes mean needing to give up their first project.

It may be difficult to part ways, but you have to trust your skillset to carry you forward into the future – who knows what you have yet to innovate? When we interviewed Jo Malone, while it was obviously upsetting for her to have left her own first brand, she is now making amazing strides in the cosmetics and perfume industry with Jo Loves, and has created the first ever perfume brush.