Whether you are just starting out, or have been in business for decades, you’ve probably heard your fair share of cliché advice. From motivational posters in the office to the scrolling quotes on your Instagram feed, these anecdotal pearls of wisdom are everywhere.

We spoke to Canberra’s entrepreneurs and startups about the most clichéd advice they had received, and if it’s worth listening to.

The Bad:

  1. Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

You’ll have good days and you’ll have bad days, and if you do something long enough, rough periods are inevitable. Advice like this gives off a bad perception that in order to really achieve you have to have a burning passion for your work which is not always possible or sustainable.

“Don’t follow your passions, follow your effort” says Mark Cuban from Shark Tank.

Alternative advice: Do what keeps you learning.

Image by Mari Andrew
  1. Work smarter, not harder.

There ain’t no shortcuts or cheatcodes here. Just because you are working hard, it doesn’t mean that you are not being efficient. Do both!

  1. Just keep at it.

Speaking of clichés, what’s that famous definition of insanity? There are very few situations where keeping at it will inspire change or improvement.

  1. Go fast.

Fail fast and fail cheap is great when prototyping, but there are some things that can’t be rushed. When you are working hard to make a change and have an impact, take the time.


The Good:

  1. Think big.

When you have a strong vision, big things can happen. By thinking big and envisaging a plan for the future you can start to take actionable steps in the right direction (even if they are baby steps).

  1. Just do it!

It will never feel like the perfect time. Fear no more and give it a red-hot go.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” says Joel Anderson Wayne Gretzky.

  1. If you’re in it for the money, then this isn’t for you.

You’re in it for so much more than that. Make an impact and change the world.

  1. Find a mentor.

Advice from someone who has lived and breathed your scenario is invaluable and the right mentor will show guidance and empathy for the obstacles you face.


When pursuing a new idea or starting a new business, you’ll get all sorts advice from the people around you.

Our advice?
Get the ball rolling, connect with like-minded people and learn the lean way.

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