I've been very lucky; a lot of interesting things came my way. I used to be like the old Soviet Union with a rigid Five Year Plan. That worked well but I also learned to make room for surprises outside the original plan; it's a matter of finding a balance between the two.
If you love what you do, you'll be better at it than anybody and the money will follow.
Cultures that do not accept, let alone celebrate, failure, don't have the capacity to innovate. Failure is needed in order to learn and innovate, and when you've nothing to lose, the opportunities for risk-taking and creativity drastically improve.
All big businesses started out at the kitchen table or in the garage. Two thirds of the net new jobs are created by firms that employ fewer than 50 people. So SMBs are critical to economic success. They may not have easy access to capital, but this is actually a huge advantage for them. Capital constraints force them to act with immense discipline, and that's how good businesses are founded.
Nobody tells you that running a small business is a character test. People will tell you your ideas are crazy. This forces you to decide what you really believe and to stand, usually alone, behind your beliefs.
(Pippa Malmgren is a politics and policy expert who used to be Special Assistant to the President of the United States for Economic Policy on the National Economic Council and former member of the U.S. President's Working Group on Financial Markets.)