Serial entrepreneur Jeff Hoffman closed out the 2012 Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization(CEO) National Conference in Chicago on November 3rd with an inspiring message and several takeaways. Hoffman is known mostly for his role as a co-founder of Priceline.com and as CEO of ColorJar. He is not only an inspiring serial entrepreneur, he also an amazing public speaker. Students left his speech inspired and ready to act on their business ideas. Below are his inspiring words of wisdom, not only on how to act on your entrepreneurial ideas, but also on how you can impact the lives of others.
Takeaways from serial entrepreneur Jeff Hoffman:
“Hire people smarter than you”
Jeff Hoffman is not shy about telling others that he really is not that smart (or at least that he doesn’t believe he is). It is hard to believe after all of his successful ventures, but he prides himself on being able to build amazing teams and surrounding himself with smarter people. Are you surrounding yourself with people that are smarter than yourself? Don’t be intimidated. Capitalize on the opportunity to learn from others and to use their assets to help achieve your dreams.
“If you are doing something that is not taking you anywhere, why are you doing it?”
So many of us go through life stuck in a dead end job for a decade or longer, but why? There is nothing wrong working for someone else or working a low paying job as long as you have a greater goal in sight. Even if you are not ready to start your own business or pursue your dream job, you could be doing something to prepare for it. Get working on your dreams, otherwise they will remain just dreams and never become your reality.
“There is no they”
Hoffman told an inspiring story of how shortly after he sold his first company he was watching the news when they reported a story on a women’s shelter was being closed because they were behind on their payments and women were being put out on the street. As he changed the channel, he thought that “they should do something to help them.” He then realized that there was no ‘they.’ If everyone looks for someone else to do something about a situation or problem in our society, nothing will ever get done. He later took a bag full of cash and anonymously paid for their past due rent and their next year’s rent to keep the shelter open.
“Making money is not bad as long as you’re doing something bigger than yourself. Live a life of purpose.”
Not all wealthy capitalists are completely money driven. Hoffman encourages others to live a life of purpose and to not only focus on making money, but also to focus on something greater than yourself.
“Get off the couch!”
It is very hard to accomplish anything great while sitting on your couch, so get out there and start something for yourself. The great entrepreneurs and most successful people in the world are not lazy, and they spend very little time on the couch. The best thing you can do to make a difference and to make an impact on the world, while creating a better life for yourself, is to get something started now! Get off the couch!
The lessons learned from Jeff Hoffman are great, but what are you going to do to not only achieve your goals and dreams but also to change the lives of others for the better? Get off the couch and start making your dreams a reality.
*All quotes were taken from Jeff Hoffman’s keynote address during the 2012 CEO National Conference in Chicago at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place on November 3rd.
Michael Luchies is an entrepreneur at heart, avid sports fan, and supporter of entrepreneurship. Michael serves as the National Growth and Programs Manager for the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO). Michael has a B.S. from Bradley University in Entrepreneurship and has operated several internet businesses over the past decade.
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