There's no road map when it comes to entrepreneurship, since every company's path is different.
But you can learn a lot from the people who've come before you, who've stumbled and fallen and picked themselves back up.
We asked several highly successful entrepreneurs who spoke at the Iconic conference in Boston in September to share some of their biggest business lessons. Read on to see what the founders of brands like Sam Adams beer and SoulCycle had to say.
John Jacobs and his brother Bert failed miserably at the beginning of their company's history. They lived out of a van for five years during that time.
But according to John, failure isn't always a bad thing. "It's not failure," John told CNBC. "You either succeed or learn."
Driven by pure optimism himself, John stuck with his T-shirt business and eventually realized that it was more than just shirts — they were selling a culture of staying positive. Ultimately, the insight propelled the business to more than $100 million in sales.
Don't go into business just for the money, says Samuel Adams brewer and founder Jim Koch.
"To me, when you start a business, you should really go for the big prize, which is start a business that is going to make you happy," Koch told CNBC.
"People who aren't happy want to be rich. I'd rather be happy."
Being a great entrepreneur means putting the business first, SoulCycle co-founder Julie Rice told CNBC.
When asked to discuss one of the biggest business lessons she's learned, Rice said, "Putting your ego aside and really taking a minute to process what somebody else's idea is — even if you are sure that yours is the very best."
Before starting KIND Snacks, America's fastest-growing energy bar company, Daniel Lubetzky tried to do it all by tackling different types of food products. That was a mistake, he said.
Focus on creating one great product, Lubetzky said.
"It's having a product that is so high-quality, people come back for it," he told CNBC.
Bryn Mooser is the co-founder and CEO of RYOT, a virtual reality production studio, and a mentee of Elon Musk.
One of his biggest tips? In order to be successful in business, you can't let criticism affect you personally.
"I think you have to have an incredibly thick skin," Mooser told CNBC. "You have to be really passionate. And you have to fail a lot — and when you fail, you have to pick yourself up and learn and change and adjust. "