Father Knows Best
 By Victoria Collins

Has your father ever given you advice that has stuck with you? Maybe it seemed cliche at the time but you kept it in the back of your head over the years? For me, it was my father telling me that I could do anything in life. In difficult situations I always remember these words and it helps me push myself over the finish line. I was doing some reading this past week and found that a lot of entrepreneurs also have advice from their father that has impacted them. Here is a roundup of 10 entrepreneurs and the advice from their fathers. Happy Father’s Day! 

1. Jon Acuff’s Father: Surround yourself with good influences.

“This is one that sticks with me. My dad told me, “Surround yourself with people whose financial livelihood is not dependent on you.” It’s really hard for people who have a financial gain related to you to tell you the truth about how you are living.

Jon is a New York Times Best-Selling author of five books, including Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work and Never Get Stuck.

2. Michelle Ward’s Father: Trust your instincts.

“My dad told me my initial coaching site had a copy that was ‘too casual’ and had too many mentions of being Jewish. He thought it didn’t come across as professional. My best advice came from me thanking him and not changing a thing, knowing I didn’t want to work with 60 year old businessmen. I trusted that the creative peeps in their 20s-40s would resonate with my tone.”

“He apologized a few months later when I was featured in Newsweek. He said, ‘you’re obviously doing something right, so continue to not listen to me.’ We laugh about it because I knew it came from a place of love and support!”

Michelle is a career coach who helps people get out of their soul-sucking day jobs and into a self-employed life.

3. Erica Nicole’s Father: Never give up.

“The best advice I’ve received from my father was to, ‘always remain encouraged and stay the course.’ It’s a simple yet powerful notion. In life—and business—we encounter many gratifying victories and humbling defeats, but your resolve to stay relentlessly committed to your purpose is ultimately what defines you. “When you can’t change the direction of the wind — adjust your sail (H. J Brown Jr.).”

Erica is the founder and CEO of YFS Magazine, an online publication dedicated to teaching millenials how to effectively launch their own self-employed careers.

4. Kevin O’Leary’s Father: Diversify in everything.

“Diversification is the only free lunch in investing. Always be diversified, own some stocks and bonds and never more than 5% in any one of them.”

Kevin, an entrepreneur, investor, and familiar face from ABC’s Shark Tank has started and sold numerous businesses over his incredibly successful career.

5. Chris Hawker’s Father: Take pride in your work.

“When I was a teenager, maybe 13 or 14, I was helping my father with a woodworking project. When we were finished, ​he found a place on the bottom and signed his name and said to me, ‘If you put your name on something, people will think they know something about you by the quality of your work.’ This reverberated around in my head for years, leading me to put 110% into everything I do. I’m very clear that not only do people think they know something about you by your works, in fact they do.

Chris is the founder of Trident Design, a firm that works with inventors and brands to get their ideas and products funded on crowdsourcing platforms.

6. Josh Kaufman’s Father: The best way to learn is by doing.

“My dad spent his career in elementary school education, first as a sixth grade science teacher, then as a principal. He taught me the value of curiosity, exploration, and experimentation. Want to really learn how something works? You have to get your hands dirty, take things apart, pay attention, and try different approaches until you figure it out.

Josh, one of the top 100 business authors in the world, has written two international best-sellers, The Personal MBA and The First 20 Hours. He also teaches the concepts from his books in two incredible classes here on CreativeLive, The Personal MBA Bundle.

7. John Jantsch’s Father: Always provide solutions.

“Fix the problem, not the blame.” My Dad (my parents really), were all about getting things done. We had a really big family with 10 kids, and the mindset was always – what needs to be done? Okay, how do we get it done? Great mindset for entrepreneurs in my opinion.

John is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.

8. Abel James’ Father: Follow your passions no matter what.

“My dad always said, ‘follow your passions, and do what makes you happy.’ There’s no way I’d be a full-time health nut and pro musician without hearing that and taking it to heart.”

Abel is a #1 best-selling author, award-winning talk show host, speaker and entrepreneur. Check out his class on Fat Burning and Living Healthy.

9. Griffin Hammond’s Father: Be modest.

“In college, I tested into a high-IQ society, but when my dad saw me in a gaudy “MENSA” t-shirt, he told me never to wear it again. He was right—bragging doesn’t earn respect, but humility and hard work opens doors. When my dad died, I found a small box in his closet. Inside were his diploma, merit badges and a letter I’d written as a child. He’d kept his proudest accomplishments tucked away—it was modesty and empathy that endeared him to so many people.”

Griffin is an award-winning low budget filmmaker, including the recent documentary Sriracha. Join Griffin in his class on Shooting Documentary Short Films and learn how to produce a DIY documentary-style short film.

10. Sinan Kanatsiz’ Father: Always over-deliver.

“Aim for C’s or better, don’t worry about getting A’s in class.” By focusing on C’s I was actually able to pull off many B’s and some A’s. My father’s advice instilled a radical level of motivation in me to constantly deliver above and beyond what I’ve been asked to do. I think much of that is reflective in the milestones our companies have surpassed in the last two decades.

Sinan is the founder of the Internet Marketing Association and KCOMM, one of Southern California’s most prominent marketing and communications firms.

Victoria is co-founder, chief disruptor and a resident craft beer fanatic. In Victoria’s 15+ years as a consumer-focused marketer, she has led the digital and mobile marketing efforts (and other cool stuff) for several top and emerging brands. She has leveraged the latest web, mobile and social technology to increase brand awareness, user acquisition, engagement, conversions, and revenue for a variety of B2C and B2B brands. In 2011, Victoria founded the start-up, Gravy Analytics, where she developed transformative proprietary mobile marketing technology that provides unprecedented real-world location intelligence to advertisers and brands.


Victoria is co-founder, chief disruptor and a resident craft beer fanatic. In Victoria’s 15+ years as a consumer-focused marketer, she has led the digital and mobile marketing efforts (and other cool stuff) for several top and emerging brands. She has leveraged the latest web, mobile and social technology to increase brand awareness, user acquisition, engagement, conversions, and revenue for a variety of B2C and B2B brands. In 2011, Victoria founded the start-up, Gravy Analytics, where she developed transformative proprietary mobile marketing technology that provides unprecedented real-world location intelligence to advertisers and brands.

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