As CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, also the chairman of SolarCity Corp, Elon Musk is one of the most well-known people all over the world. In fact, these days it’s difficult to go a day without hearing Elon Musk’s name in the news.

Musk is an inspiration to many people, both entrepreneurs and otherwise. Regardless of what challenges he faces, Musk believes there’s a solution. For this reason, people turn to Musk for knowledge, inspiration, and tips on how to succeed as an entrepreneur.

Famous Elon Musk quotes and their meanings

We could all do with some Musk tidbits every now and then. We’ve collected some famous Elon Musk quotes along with their meanings:

1. “It’s okay to have your eggs in one basket, as long as you control what happens to that basket.” 

Do you remember SolarCity, Tesla Motors, SpaceX, Zip2, and PayPal? Well, besides being founded by Musk, one thing they have in common is bankruptcy. Reasons for this ranged from being underfunded to failure to meet financial deadlines.

Despite filing for bankruptcy, most of these are successful companies today, thanks to Musk’s determination. He chose these ventures wisely before investing his money in them. To guarantee their success, he was wise enough to maintain control over their development process.

The success of these companies is a sign of his hard work, wise decision-making, intelligence, and determination. Therefore, whether you put your eggs in one or several baskets, what matters is your level of control over them. How well do you understand yourself and the investment? When you answer this, you’ll know where your money is safe when you’re choosing where to invest.

2. “Being an entrepreneur is like eating glass and staring into the abyss of death.”

One day, a group of Draper University students visited Tesla Motors. When they met Musk, they asked what advice he could give young entrepreneurs who wanted to launch a start-up. Contrary to what you would expect, Musk emphasized how challenging it is to launch a company. This interaction gave rise to yet another of the famous Elon Musk quotes.

He explained to them that it’s a painful process. In fact, his exact words were, “being an entrepreneur is like eating glass and staring into the abyss of death.” In other words, starting a business isn’t for the faint-hearted. If you need to talk yourself into doing it, don’t bother trying at all.

The reality of working for yourself

Many people, especially those employed in offices, hate working for someone else. In fact, many of them claim that they’d prefer to be entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, succeeding in business is usually much easier said than done. To put this into perspective, about 15% of entrepreneurs succeed with their ventures. The other 75% fail and give up.

As an entrepreneur, you’ve got to deal with investors, clients, customers, and employees. While starting your own business might seem like the shortest route to gaining control over your life, it’s not. If anything, you’ll feel even more pressure when you’re answering to investors, clients, customers, and employees.

If you want to succeed, then you’ve got to develop business strategies and decide how you’ll execute them. You need to not only build the business but also make sure that it is an established, stable business. Unless you’re ready to invest blood, sweat, and tears into your business, you should remain at your 9-to-5 job.

3. “When something is not working, accept that it’s not working, or else you’ll get fixated on a bad choice.”

To understand this quote, let’s take studying for an exam as an example. You have an exam in the next few months, and you’ve set aside a month to study. If you believe you can study thoroughly for the exam in a month, this is all well and good. However, if you consciously know that you need more than one month, then you’re bound to fail.

Similarly, if you’re investing in a business with the same delusion, you’ve got to bounce out of it. You need a business with goals that you can achieve within an appropriate time limit.

For example, Musk is investing in Mars exploration and eventual colonization. But do you hear him saying they will reach there in a month? No, that would be crazy – even for Musk. It’s important to set and stick to practical goals that are achievable.

4. “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.”

How many space exploration missions can you name off the top of your head? SpaceX was probably among the first to pop into your head, right? With SpaceX, Musk ventured where no one before him had dared to go. Even when the odds were against him, that didn’t hold him back. Thanks to his determination, SpaceX is a successful space exploration company to this date. Therefore, if you believe in something, even with the odds against you, you should take a leap of faith.

5. “I think it is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary.”

Many Potterheads will tell you about J.K. Rowling’s inspiring story of rags to riches. Before Harry Potter was published, nobody knew about Rowling. She chose to be extraordinary by weaving a tale that has enthralled the world for decades, and now we know her story. You, too, can choose to be extraordinary. The only thing that’s holding you back is the ability to believe in yourself. If you can do that, there are great things that await you.

6. Just because something is different, it doesn’t mean you should do it differently. Instead, make it better.”

Many startup entrepreneurs are delusional when it comes to developing something unique. They always believe that new is automatically better. It’s obvious that if something new is not better than the existing one, then the difference doesn’t matter.

7. “If you’re trying to create a company, it’s like baking a cake. You need to have all the ingredients in the right proportion.”

If your first venture is successful right off the bat, then you’re a lucky person. Most of the time, the first venture fails. However, that’s not a bad thing. If anything, failure indicates where you went wrong and what you need to do next time. That being said, you’ve got to plan well before you invest. You need to know everything you need to make your business a success.

If it’s a task force that you need, make sure you have the right talent. If it’s marketing that you need, you’ve got to set up a robust PR and marketing team. If needed, you should outsource professional help not just in marketing but in other crucial areas of your company.  

8. “There’s a tremendous bias against taking risks. Everyone is trying to optimize their ass-covering.”

This quote is definitely one of the more memorable Elon Musk quotes. It specifically addresses people who are pursuing a career in a field they believe is safer and less of a risk than what they really want to do. For example, let’s assume you have a shot at having a great life as a physicist. However, due to fear of risk, you settle for a stable option like software engineering.

This is just a simple example, but there are many ways in which people have settled for less because of the stability it offers. The truth of the matter is that if you want to make outstanding achievements, then you’ve got to take a chance. It’s never too late for anyone. Just go for it. Chances are, you’ll appreciate the outcome. As Jim Carrey is famously known for saying, “You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

9. “I think there’s a good framework for thinking. It is physics. You know, the sort of first principles reasoning.”

At first glance, this quote might only make sense to a physicist. Nevertheless, there’s more to it. In this quote, Musk is referring to the ability to visualize something. For example, you can generate a theory or idea. Thereafter, you can determine the truth behind your theory and a way to prove it right. Given that the rules of physics are constantly evolving, the process is even more fascinating.

10. “I just want to retire before I go senile because if I don’t retire before I go senile, then I’ll do more damage than good at that point.”

It’s hard to tell if Musk will ever really retire and stop running his companies. That aside, there’s some truth behind this quote. When you’re still young, your mind tends to be sharp and capable of greatness.

Our mental faculties eventually start declining at some point, but few people realize this. Even fewer people accept it. This is partly why it’s so hard to convince an aging CEO to retire. However, when it gets to the point where staying might jeopardize the success of a company you built from the ground up, the better choice is to retire.

11. “I could either watch it happen or be a part of it.”

This quote is quite inspiring. It sheds the light on things we love. If you’ve got a business idea, and it’s something you love, you should pursue it. If you don’t, chances are that one day someone else will do what you’ve always dreamed of and succeed at it. It’s painful to be in the audience watching when you know that could have been you.

12. “Work Like Hell…”

When you start a company, you’ve got to invest all your efforts into making it successful. Regardless of which industry you operate in, there are rivals with a similar idea. Therefore, you should work twice as hard as them to capture a bigger share of the market. If they are investing 40 hours a week in their business, you should target 80 to 100 hours. This will help you achieve your goals in half the time they will take to achieve theirs.

13. “I wouldn’t say I have a lack of fear. In fact, I’d like my fear emotion to be less because it’s very distracting and fries my nervous system.”

While many successful people look like they are fearless, this isn’t actually true. They have feats, just like any other person or a business owner. However, what distinguishes them from the rest is their ability to face their fears. When running their ventures, they’re facing all sorts of risky situations. Some of these risks put their business on the verge of collapse. However, they always find the means to make it through. That’s what facing fear is all about. Acknowledging the fear but pushing forward regardless.

14. “Great companies are built on great products.”

Experience, qualification, and determination are all qualities of a successful entrepreneur. However, you’ll only succeed if your products are great. On the other hand, if you develop low-quality products, your company will not achieve the greatness you desire.

It pays to invest in creating unique and quality products. Ensure your product offers a bit more than the best product in the market. Once you are certain your product fulfills all these requirements, you can launch it.


When it comes to saving the civilization on earth, looks like Musk has it sorted out. While he’s proven to be a successful entrepreneur with his various ventures, he’s made a name for himself with his focus on saving planet earth. He started by developing electric vehicles that rely on renewable energy and don’t produce emissions. He’s also the genius behind SolarCity – one of the major power companies in the US tapping into renewable energy.

What startup founders can learn from these Elon Musk quotes

As a new business owner, these quotes can help you get through the ordeal of starting a venture from scratch. If you are uncertain about this venture, as Musk said, abandon the plan. However, if it’s something you love to do, and you need no motivation, then you should pursue it. When starting a new venture or taking over an existing one, you should plan well.

You’ve got to have all the essential elements within reach. Start by taking care of the funding – you must have enough. Thereafter, you’ll need talents to help you turn your idea into a real business and company. Most importantly, you’ll need proper marketing and PR talent. If you cannot reach the right audience, then your venture will crumble into dust sooner rather than later.

How Pressfarm can help propel your business to success

Many of Musk’s quotes address the challenges of running businesses, and with good reason. After all, on several occasions, he almost lost some of his companies due to a lack of funding. In the face of disaster or crisis, the reputation of your business is often at stake. Of course, the media will not give you a break. If anything, they will only make things worse. The good news is that by developing a powerful PR strategy, you can protect your business reputation in advance.

Let the experts build an effective PR strategy for you

By building relationships with the right media professionals, you can leverage these connections to promote your business to the right audience. Pressfarm can help you not only build connections with the right media contacts but also create quality content that will capture their attention. With a professional press release, some engaging guest posts, and an eye-catching media kit, you can earn media coverage and excite your target audience. By using your custom media lists from Pressfarm, you can partner with the right journalists, bloggers, and influencers to share your story with the world.

Pressfarm’s custom PR services are designed to help brands grow their online visibility and reach their target audiences when it matters most. With a PR package from Pressfarm, you can create a positive brand image and turn your brand into a household name among your target audience.