Earlier this year, we shared The Small Business Owner's Guide to Reddit, offering executives a glimpse into who frequently uses the social network and what kind of insights can be gained from its use. In addition to providing small-business owners a platform on which they can learn from peers and openly discuss events, Reddit hosts an ongoing question-and-answer series - called "IamA" - that allows some of the most influential celebrities, authors and inventors the opportunity to speak to an ever-expanding virtual audience.
After briefly introducing themselves and their accomplishments, participants hosting the forum follow with "AMA," which stands for "Ask Me Anything." Quick to oblige, Reddit users have been known to ask questions that are profound, invasive, impressive and sometimes just plain curious.
Though each speaker may not be directly speaking to small-business owners, there are many thoughts on these forums that can be applied to starting and running your own business. Consider five of the most inspiring pieces of advice that have come from the AMA series in the past year.
1. 'I think most people can learn a lot more than they think they can,' Elon Musk
Elon Musk has quite the impressive resume - he's currently CEO and CTO of SpaceX, CEO of Tesla Motors and co-founder of PayPal. The seasoned software engineer and product developer made headlines in early 2015 with his Falcon 9 rocket launch, prompting him to do an AMA a few days prior.
When asked how he became so intelligent, Musk explained that most people have the ability to learn quite a bit, yet sell themselves short when the going gets tough. For small-business owners in particular, taking advantage of any learning opportunity is critical as you begin to move forward with your venture. Join that extra class or go to that local seminar - you never know what useful tidbits you'll end up taking home!
2. 'Don't stay up too late, even if the book is really exciting,' Bill Gates
That being said, overworking yourself never yields the best results. One man who's worked quite a bit in his life is Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft. This particular insight came from Gates' third Reddit AMA, after a user asked which lesson he learned the hard way in life.
Gates responded by merely noting the above thought, adding that he still hadn't quite mastered it himself. Whether it's a book, project or email you're hoping to finish, staying up late to get the results you need is not the way to go. In fact, taking a few hours to sleep and really digest both your thoughts and emotions on the matter may provide you with the clarity you need to finish in the morning.
3. 'Open at your own speed, but open,' Jeff Bridges
Jeff Bridges is one of the most notable actors in Hollywood, but when he's not playing The Dude or Iron Monger, he's offering valuable advice to his fans. When asked by a user to share his greatest piece of wisdom, he encouraged readers to move at their own pace - but be sure to move.
When you put the pieces in place to start your own business, you may be tempted to move as quickly as possible. You've got a vision and you want to achieve it immediately - but moving too fast can have detrimental effects. Sometimes the best solution is to stop, reassess, and start tackling projects at a slow and even pace. This way, you can ensure everything is done thoroughly and properly.
4. 'It's important to remember to eat, catch yourself when you're getting irritable, recognize when you're feeling lonely, and not burn out when you're tired,' Robert Downey, Jr.
He may seem like he's doing pretty well for himself nowadays, but Robert Downey, Jr. worked incredibly hard to get where he is in life. Overcoming a wealth of obstacles from his personal life, Downey has become one of the most recognizable and lovable actors in Hollywood.
Downey knows a thing or two about hard work. Heed his advice when you're tackling a similar goal, such as getting your new store opened or hiring employees for your business. Recognizing when your body is not properly handling stress is critical, and it further illustrates the importance of maintaining your physical health when you're working overtime.
5. 'Do something that you're passionate about. Something that you believe in,' Ben Cohen
Heard of Ben Cohen? No? Maybe you'll recognize his name when you hear his partner's - Jerry.
That's right, Ben of Ben & Jerry's ice cream empire.
The journey began in 1978 with an idea and a passion for ice cream. Cohen stressed in the joint AMA that finding that one passion is critical for moving your business venture forward, as it gives you the drive you need to complete tasks associated with your company. Believing in your business's mission is one of the most important priorities any small-business owner should have.