By Michael Gruen, a blockchain, DeFi, CPG, SoMe Tech, and entertainment industry entrepreneur. At only 22, Michael has millions worth of BTC.

Smiling entrepreneurs huddling together in creative office


Entrepreneurship is one of the most fulfilling — and also one of the most difficult — things someone can accomplish. There’s something incredibly satisfying about blazing your own trail and building something that didn’t exist before. 

Building and leading your own business can also feel like trial by fire. There are endless articles and lists of tips and advice about when and how to work, but one of the most basic ways to boost your success isn’t about what you do — it’s about who you surround yourself with. 

To build success faster, surround yourself with good people. 

Mentorship Matters 

Talk to any seasoned business leader and they’ll tell you how they wish when they were just starting out, they had someone to advise and guide them. Then take that advice and go get a mentor — or two or three.

Successfully running a business requires you to wear many different hats and master a wide range of skills that as a young entrepreneur you’ve only just begun to develop. This is why having a mentor can put you on the fast track. More experienced business leaders can help you bring your skills up to par faster and keep your sanity as you swap out those different hats throughout each day.

Where do you find good mentors? A few suggestions:

Utilize alumni networks. These networks are highly valuable. They offer alumni the opportunity to not only stay in contact but to continue to learn from one another long after leaving the school.

Attend conferences. Choose talks and panels featuring the kind of leaders you aspire to be. Take advantage of mixers and social hours to make authentic connections with people who can help you hone your leadership skills.

Connect on LinkedIn. Just as with conferences, if you reach out to a potential mentor on LinkedIn, make sure you’re connecting with them in a meaningful way. Mentorship isn’t about name-dropping and showing off who you know — it’s about establishing a level of communication that will enable you to mature and grow your business. 

Build An Excellent Team 

To be the best, surround yourself with the best. As you spend time learning how to improve your leadership skills, put them into action by building a team that can power your company to the next level…and beyond.

Building a great team takes time and lots of trial and error. A few things to consider as you put in place the key players in your business: 

Don’t micromanage. Your business is your baby, and it’s only natural to want to be involved in everything. This isn’t how you find the best people, however. Micromanage mediocre employees and they’ll sit back and let you do it. Micromanage excellent team members and they’ll get frustrated and go elsewhere. Delegating is the best way to determine who really shines. 

Look for people with character. Skills can be taught. Character can’t. You can train each employee and sharpen their skills, but you can’t inject someone with values that are similar to your own. Honesty, integrity, initiative and ownership are key values to look for in team members that will help your company succeed. 

Use the company culture as a guide. Employees can be trained in specific systems and tasks, but similar to hiring people with values that align with your own, it’s essential to build a team that fits well with your company’s overall culture. It can be helpful to give each employee a behavioral analysis to ensure that they’re a good fit from day one. 

As a budding business leader, time is money and every minute matters. Are you spending your time surrounded by people who offer valuable insight, help you build your skills, who really care about your company and clients and who are an integral part of propelling it forward? If not, it’s time to rethink and create a new strategy. Whether it’s networking and learning in your downtime or moving mountains at work, the best way to create success is to surround yourself with the absolute best.

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Roland Millaner