We’ve already shared the worst advice 5 founders received for their growing business and who those founders go to for advice. Now, we’re giving you the inside scoop on how exactly these founders process advice. Read their answers below to find out how you should be taking advice from others.
CEO and Co-Founder of Ellevest
I’m a writer. I write things down – the analog way – then revisit and sift through them over time. Certain pieces of advice keep finding their way to the top; these are the golden ones. Sift through the advice you get and make sure you’re confident in the motivations of the person who gave it to you… My advice for others? Exercise, even when you “don’t have time”… Don’t make key decisions when you’re feeling any negative emotion (or maybe even any positive emotion)… When you start to think it’s time to fire someone, it’s time to fire that someone; it doesn’t get better.
I take lots of walks up Kearny Street outside Hustle’s office in San Francisco. For some reason, the bustle of Chinatown allows my mind to process ideas and come up with solutions. But keep in mind that the brain is an error-driven learning machine. You can’t get better without making mistakes.
Co-founder, Before Alpha
If there were an order of operations, I would rank them as such:
1. Can this person’s advice directly impact my outcome?
2. Has this person dealt with this specific problem?
3. Has this person dealt with a similar situation?
4. Is this person thoughtful?
5. Is this person successful? In my eyes?
But take my advice: Don’t take advice from others. Seriously. To make strategic and tactical decisions, you have to fully integrate them into your experiences, environment, and business. Foolheartedly following anyone’s template, without personalizing it to you, will at best get you a false sense of accomplishment and at worst betray what you believe in.
Never expect someone to make the decision for you, and NEVER confuse them as accountable to your actions. As the CEO/founder, you are ridiculously in charge… which is a great thing. Don't pass the buck. Keep in mind that mistakes are part of life and the journey of an entrepreneur. So stay humble, take risks, don't ever compromise on your values, and learn from your mistakes.
Co-Founder and CEO, Wootric
I process advice by writing out best case, worst case, and middle-of-the-road scenarios and building the good-old decision matrix helps me digest all the inputs I receive. I also work with a business coach (Shane Metcalf) who is great at helping me align all the advice with my knowledge of the business and my instincts. I cannot recommend an executive or business coach enough. The right coach will bring out the best decisions from you, and will help you survive with grace the mistakes you’ll inevitably make.
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