Becoming a successful entrepreneur is not an easy job, but here’s an example of what to do to become one.

3 tips to become a successful entrepreneur

It all starts with an idea.

For Claudio Schlegel, an entrepreneur and IE Business School graduate, it all started with a conversation with Fernando Orta, founder and CEO of Podemos Progresar.

Orta dreamed of a new style of microfinancing, one that empowers and ignites change from the bottom up. Schlegel instantly fell in love with the project and, like any blossoming entrepreneur threw his heart and soul into the initiative.

In 2016, Schlegel’s hard work and dedication at Podemos Progresar earned him the honor of being named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year.

We had the privilege of sitting down with Schlegel to discuss the challenges he faced, and the lessons he learned along the way at Podemos Progresar.

1. Hire the right people

“We came across very valuable people without really [having] a strong HR hiring methodology,” Schlegel told us, reflecting on the importance of building a team of individuals with shared beliefs and values.

Many would consider this mere luck. But Schlegel explained that Podemos Progresar’s team members are challenged and stimulated to aid in their professional development.

Our developing program and values have allowed us to retain the right people

2. Fail often, fail fast

They say that you learn more from your failures than from your successes. Schlegel couldn’t agree more with this thought. He told us that Podemos Progresar is no stranger to slip-ups and setbacks.

As an organization, we have made a lot of mistakes because of the lack of experience and trying to validate our hypothesis

For Schlegel, it’s not merely making the mistake that’s most important. “Taking steps back to review rights and wrongs has taught us a lot,” said Schlegel, confirming that failures present an invaluable opportunity to grow.

3. Find a purpose

The purpose is what comes to define the motivation of any entrepreneur. As Schlegel put it, “first purpose, then comes the passion, and eventually the profit”.

Schlegel stressed that the driving force of any entrepreneur is their vision of what they dream to achieve. As long as you define your purpose as an entrepreneur, profit will follow in its footsteps.

“Humble in our aspirations. Gracious in our success. Resilient in our failures”

This quote, from writer Ryan Holiday, resonates deeply with both Schlegel and Orta. “Like most ventures, it all started with an idea, some planning and a lot of dreaming”, recalls Schlegel.

He tells us that Podemos Progresar has been very fortunate in the sense that they have gained a great deal of knowledge in a relatively short period of time.

“Podemos Progresar was founded 7 years ago, in early 2010,” and in this time, they have gained invaluable experience and insights into the field.

Podemos Progresar

The creation of Podemos Progresar was fueled by a desire to ignite real, long-lasting change from the ground up. “We see in this sector a big opportunity to create positive change not only for our people but also for Mexico”, reveals Schlegel.

We believe in changing people’s lives inside of our organization.

The severe inequality and the vicious cycle of poverty inspired Orta to start this organization. An organization that empowers women with limited resources to discover their potential, and take ownership

An organization that empowers women with limited resources to discover their potential, and take ownership of the change in their community.

Sharing wisdom and experience

We asked Schlegel about the advice he would give to those willing to become a successful entrepreneur. And here’s his opinion on how to start.

  1. Know why you want to start a business: Schlegel stressed the importance of asking yourself the purpose behind your idea. “It has to be something… that will outlive the person who started it”.
  2. Start small, fail fast, fail often: For entrepreneurs starting out, it’s important to discover the skills necessary for the success and overall performance of your venture. Schlegel advises us to “work day and night to develop and test those skills”. In the same breath, failure is vital for growth, especially early on.
  3. Enjoy the ride: “There will be ups and downs,” Schlegel said, reflecting on the roller coaster that is founding a start-up. Schlegel encourages us to embrace the good times and the bad times as part of the journey.

IE Business School

Schlegel referred to his experience at IE Business School as invaluable to his professional development. Calling his IMBA one of the greatest experiences of his life, Schlegel reminisced about the fantastic learning environment at IE.

The technical knowledge acquired was very important, but what I came to value the most is the environment that the school creates when selecting students and teachers.

On June 2nd and 3rd, IE Business School hosts the ‘Out of the Ordinary’ weekend at its Madrid campus. The event is designed for candidates for the International MBA program.

Students come from all over the world to discover the school, the program, and the amazing city of Madrid.

alphagamma 3 tips to become a successful entrepreneur entrepreneurship event

There’s no better way to get to know a school than by getting to know its student body. With this event, participants can engage with those who already know how the school works and can tell them about their experiences.

According to Schlegel, “the IMBA was one of the greatest experiences of my life”. “What I came to value the most is the environment that the school creates when selecting students and teachers”.

Technical knowledge is a hugely important part of your time at IE. But Schlegel explained that the support he received from fellow students and professors was decisive.

It allowed him to gain insights into what it means to be a successful entrepreneur while making invaluable connections.

And you can meet this environment in advance by attending the Out of the Ordinary weekend. Meet with the group of passionate individuals that would be your professors.

Join the event!

Discover the program for yourself in this exclusive 2-day event (register here). Explore the ideal environment it offers for anyone willing to be a successful entrepreneur.

Leave your opinion in the comments below and let us know what you think about the article!

For more business tips and opportunities, check our entrepreneurship and opportunities sections and subscribe to our weekly newsletters.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here