Looking for entrepreneurial inspiration? Ready to stop procrastinating? It’s so easy to get sucked into procrastination mode when your Instagram feed is clogged up with teacup pigs and tiny dogs wearing tiny sweaters—incredibly cute, but not very motivational. Here’s a simple life-hack: fill your go-to time-wasting spaces (like Instagram) with inspiration from successful entrepreneurs instead!
To get you started, we curated this list of 15 entrepreneurs whose Instagram accounts are the real deal. These guys, gals and groups are proven success stories and they share their wisdom on Instagram to help you kickstart your business. Read on to see what we love about them.
1. Everette Taylor
Who he is: CEO of ET Enterprises. Strong proponent of millennials, women and people of color creating their own success, rather than fitting into the established mold.
Find him at: everette on Instagram
Why follow him: To see photos of the speaking events he’s at and where he’ll be next.
Everette Taylor is the CEO of ET Enterprises, the umbrella under which his multiple million-dollar companies operate, including Millisense, Popsocial and Growth Hackers. A former high school dropout who overcame homelessness as a teen, Everette built his first business at 19 and sold it two years later and not even a decade after that, he’s been named one of Forbes 30 under 30 in marketing and advertising.
When we asked Everette how he uses Instagram to support his business, he replied, “It’s an amazing customer acquisition channel. On the personal side, I’m able to promote my products and businesses organically to my growing audience as well as earn money as an ambassador and influencer for brands. I use that money to put towards my businesses or new products.”
Everette Taylor’s Instagram is full of photos of him at speaking events and screenshots of articles featuring him. Following him is the quickest way to read his latest interviews and see what he’s up to.
Everette’s not shy about discussing his past. He’s not full of himself, either. The advice he’d give his younger entrepreneurial self is to “optimize for happiness, rather than success. Money and success mean nothing if you’re not happy or lack peace of mind. Self care is essential. You can still grind and be productive without burning yourself out.”
2. Peter Voogd
Who he is: Founder of Game Changers Academy. Believer in escaping the rat race and living life on your own terms.
Find him at: peterjvoogd on Instagram
Why follow him: For bite-size snippets of advice that’ll get you in the right mindset.
Peter Voogd founded Game Changers Academy, a mastermind community that provides entrepreneurs with tools and services like coaching, monthly mastery calls that connect members with him via video chat to discuss business and lifestyle development strategies, and access to a proven step-by-step system for growing profits. When Peter speaks about business, he knows what he’s talking about—in his short career (he’s only 30!) he’s built multiple million-dollar businesses and published two books on entrepreneurship, Massive Success and Six Figures.
When we asked Peter for a tip he’d give an entrepreneur starting a new business, he emphasized the importance of keeping things simple.
“In order to really thrive in entrepreneurship and business, you must learn to shift from complexity to simplicity. When you get rid of all the noise in your head and focus on the few activities that matter most you’ll gain a new sense of awareness and motivation,” he said.
“Most of the things you do in your business don’t accelerate growth—they just ‘maintain’ at best. Don’t try to be great at fifty things. Be obsessed about the few things that can really move your business forward. You’re a lot more productive when you’re doing your highest value activities in uninterrupted blocks of time.”
Peter sums up his Instagram strategy as “The main objective is to position our brand as the leading authority for millennials and young entrepreneurs. The goal of my Instagram is to do three things: 1) inspire and motivate to think and act bigger, 2) educate and challenge people to think different and 3) entertain and make people laugh.” We can confirm that he excels in all three.
3. Marie Forleo
Who she is: CEO of MarieTV. Believer in putting all of yourself into everything you do.
Find her at: marieforleo on Instagram
Why follow her: To see new episodes of MarieTV as soon as they’re up, a daily dose of motivation and to get a peek into Marie’s day-to-day life, whether that’s making pasta from scratch, soaking up the sun on the beach or spending cozy nights on the couch with her dog.
Marie Forleo tells it how it is because she knows that’s what you need to hear on your journey to reaching your full potential. No fluff, no ego strokes. Her Instagram is rich with inspirational quotes and announcements of new episodes of MarieTV, her weekly show full of life wisdom and strategic discussion around building successful businesses and fulfilled lives. And it’s all washed in soft pastels and beautiful design, which we love.
Marie’s not one of those “gurus” with no real experience. An experienced entrepreneur and online marketing expert herself, she turned her efforts to educating others in her field with her blog, her book Make Every Man Want You, and her two online courses, B School and The Copy Cure.
On Marie’s website, she tells readers what drove her to launch her socially conscious digital empire: “I wanted to know, what exactly is it that makes people genuinely happy, successful and creatively fulfilled? Why do some people struggle while others find a way to thrive, often despite the most challenging circumstances?”
“I believe you must bring your whole self to the table if you want to thrive in today’s world. That includes your unique set of gifts, your personality, your sense of humor and most importantly, your heart. I believe that whether you run your own business or not, a creative and entrepreneurial approach is critical to fully blossom in the modern world and to experience the happiness and fulfillment you deserve.”
4. Gary Vaynerchuck
Who he is: CEO of VaynerMedia and VaynerSports. Not afraid to drop expletives when he has to get his point across.
Find him at: garyvee on Instagram
Why follow him: To get hit with truth bombs exactly when you need them.
Gary Vaynerchuk, who can be found on Instagram as @garyvee, is a prolific investor who’s supported Venmo, Twitter, Facebook and other big-name companies in their startup days.
How’d he get to this point? First, by growing his family’s wine business from $3 million in revenue to $60 million through a rebranding process, starting a weekly webcast to build a community and educate viewers about wine. Today, he’s still at the cutting edge of marketing, sharing his knowledge with the world through his podcast, The GaryVee Audio Experience.
His profile feels edgy, modern and full of brutally honest advice for marketing in the social media era. One standout quote you’ll see in multiple posts of his is this: “If your voice in your head is mean to you, remember that someone manipulated that voice and instilled it in you. Kill that fake voice and find yours. I love you, now love yourself.”
Besides his undeniable selfie game, follow Gary for sharp humor, no-nonsense advice, and loads of video content.
5. Harvard Business Review
Who they are: The official magazine of Harvard Business School. Committed to making practical workplace relationship advice easy to access.
Find them at: harvard_business_review on Instagram
Why follow them: For thought-provoking content about leadership and life in the workplace.
For the official magazine of a business school within one of the most prestigious universities in the world, Harvard Business Review’s Instagram is, in a word, colorful. Here you’ll find bold text against bright backgrounds, cleverly manipulated photography and eye-catching illustrations.
Many of Harvard Business Review’s Instagram posts link to the magazine’s articles. Others are simply conversation-starters. One thing all of Harvard Business Review’s posts have in common is that they’ll make you think… not just about your job, but about what your day-to-day actions mean in the larger context of your career and your relationships with others.
Many of Harvard Business Review’s posts are concise management tips. A few examples of these tips are:
- “To finally start that big project, start small”
- “Get more sleep, starting tonight”
- “Keep your network small and meaningful”
- “Encourage your team to call out narcissistic behavior”
Who he is: Victor Hathaway. Believer in taking as many tiny steps as necessary to chase big dreams.
Find him at: 6amsuccess on Instagram
Why follow him: For succinct motivational quotes that hold you accountable for your success or lack of it.
6amsuccess’ goal is to wake you up to your inherent capacity of making your dreams reality. Every week, 6amsuccess motivates 20 million people.
Some of the coaches and motivators on our list aim to inspire followers from across industries. Not Victor Hathaway, founder of 6amsuccess. Based in Silicon Valley, his niche is inspiring business owners and creators primarily in the tech space. His aesthetic: aspirational lifestyle photography with alternatingly inspirational or humorous text overlaid in white block text, meme-style.
Each post communicates directly to his specific audience. It’s not subtle, but it’s not supposed to be. It’s also not very wordy—Victor keeps it focused and simple by limiting each post’s text to a hashtag or call to action, letting the images speak for themselves and really communicate his philosophy of constantly pushing yourself forward and not letting yourself become discouraged by failure.
You’ll see succinct, accountability-focused quotes like “I didn’t come this far to only come this far,” “If you can’t stop thinking about it, don’t stop working for it,” and “When you’re about to quit, remember why you started.” Follow 6amsuccess for an instant boost of motivation.
7. Natalie Franke
Who she is: Founder of the Rising Tide Society. Builds stronger businesses through connection, rather than competition.
Find her at: nataliefranke on Instagram
Why follow her: To see the latest in the #communityovercompetition movement and learn about your mindset through her self reflection-provoking posts.
In a previous life, Natalie Franke was a wedding photographer. Now, she’s a brain tumor survivor, an entrepreneurship coach and founder of the Rising Tide Society, a worldwide network that brings creative entrepreneurs together for monthly meetups.
On Natalie’s profile, you’ll see pastel colorscapes awash in soft lighting (her experience as a photographer definitely comes through) alongside quirky script style fonts and minimal illustrations connected to direct conversations with her followers about their businesses and brands. Between these conversations you’ll find occasional glimpses into her life chronicling her personal health struggles. Natalie isn’t afraid to get real and raw on Instagram because if you want to build a successful brand, you need to be willing to get raw about the personal struggles you’re facing.
Natalie explains her approach to entrepreneurship as “I believe we all have the opportunity to step outside of the box and become exactly who we are called to be.” She continues, “as human beings we are wired to connect with one another. Our brains are equipped with empathy and powered by a desire to thrive not merely as an individual, but as a family, as a species.”
“In May 2015, I founded the Rising Tide Society and took a simple idea from launch to exponential growth in less than six months, and to 100K members in a year and a half. We challenged the status quo, where everyone was out for themselves, and reframed the state of mind in the creative industry.”
8. Shane Feldman
Who he is: Founder and CEO of Count Me In. Focused on personal resilience, advocacy and inspiring teens to act as agents for positive change.
Find him at: shane_feldman on Instagram
Why follow him: To maximize your brand’s impact by reimagining it as a social movement.
Shane Feldman builds movements. He does this by working with business leaders to transform their brands into vibrant, action-oriented social movements. Check out his Instagram to see him speaking at Count Me In events, selfies and documentation of people doing good in the world.
Shane’s no stranger to making a difference. Because of his own experience with bullying, he founded the teen mentoring program Count Me In. Through Count Me In, he coaches teens who struggle with confidence and self-esteem to set goals, avoid burnout and become internally motivated to pursue and find their own success.
When we asked Shane about the biggest fear he thinks entrepreneurs should overcome, he told us “Fear of self-care. I know that may sound ridiculous but I work with so many entrepreneurs, managers and business owners who think that success means they need to work themselves into overdrive 50, 70, 80+ hours a week. They are terrified that if they take a moment for themselves, it will look like they aren’t ‘committed’ to their brand. So many people have bought into the lie that you need to hustle 24/7 to ‘make it’ … checking your texts, emails and Slacks into the night, only eating power snacks throughout the day, and ignoring weekend altogether.”
He went on to say, “Self-care isn’t selfish. In fact, it’s absolutely critical to success. This is true for anyone, but in particular entrepreneurs who don’t have an old-school 9-to-5 position that you clock out of at the end of a shift. Practicing self-care ensures your mental health and mental clarity stays tuned up.”
9. Amber Lilyestrom
Who she is: Brand strategist, business coach and creator of the Ignite Your Soul Summit. For her, big leaps, rebirth and transformation are the keys to branding success.
Find her at: amberlilyestrom on Instagram
Why follow her: To see her latest content as soon as it drops.
She’s an author. She’s a branding strategist. She’s a podcaster. She’s a business coach. If you can say anything about Amber Lilyestrom, you could she’s a master of multitasking.
When we spoke to Amber, she shared her secret to balancing everything she does. “Get help, don’t try to go it alone. People who aspire to begin their own businesses tend to naturally be self-sufficient and highly ambitious. While these are admirable qualities, they also tend to make people feel like they have to do everything themselves—that they should have all the answers, be all things to all people—which will lead them straight to burnout and frustration.”
She went on to advise, “Find others who have gone before you to help guide the way and shorten your learning curve, enlist the help of others whose area of genius is where one of your weaker points may be. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to ask for support & help from the people who are offering it. Saying yes to them could be the decision that takes that great big vision of yours from a dream of the future, to a reality in the present.”
She’s totally killing it at everything she does. Amber’s all about empowering women to launch and build successful businesses, and you’ll feel her passion for building others up radiate from her photos. Nestled between photos of her enjoying life with her family, you’ll find inspirational quotes that speak to her philosophy on life and engaging conversation-starters for her community.
She told us her social media strategy is to “Consistently show up as myself. It can be easy to put on the filters, to sell the story of a perfect life and business—but that’s not what people need, nor really desire. People are craving REAL, people need TRUTH, and your followers want to see what it looks like to show up 100% authentically—even on the days we least want to.”
10. Melyssa Griffin
Who she is: Creator of the Pursuit with Purpose podcast. Brings fun and focus on a positive mindset to helping entrepreneurs build their businesses.
Find her at: melyssa_griffin on Instagram
Why follow her: To grow your business and online impact through her educational products.
Melyssa Griffin recognized the importance of approaching entrepreneurship with the right perspective. She’s a mindset coach, building her brand around nurturing this specific business skill.
On her website, Melyssa Griffin discusses her approach to business coaching as “I believe you have an inherent, baby I was born with this power to build an online business that creates profit, brings you joy, and changes people’s lives. Trust me. I’ll show you how to do it. I believe you have a Big Fat Goal you’ve kept hidden in the back of your mind for far too long. I’m here to help you bring it to life in an unstoppable way.”
Talking a bit more about how her approach to life meshes with her approach to building online businesses, she adds “I believe you deserve happiness, respect, and love. And I’m determined to give you the tools to create those feelings in every crevice and cranny of your existence.”
As a business strategist, she offers online courses, free downloadable resources and podcasts. On her Instagram, we get a glimpse into her daily life, having fun and spending time with her corgi (we adore Monja). Her profile is one that’ll put your mind at ease as you learn more about how she can help you reach your full potential. She gets into the day-to-day challenges online entrepreneurs often face, like having a tv on in the background while they’re working to fend off loneliness and breaking out of destructive thought patterns like success = worthy of love.
11. Sir Richard Branson
Who he is: Founder of the Virgin Group. Also known as Dr. Yes, his business philosophy includes a focus on socially conscious actions.
Find him at: richardbranson on Instagram
Why follow him: To see what life’s like for a business magnate, adventurer and philanthropist who’s been in the game for close to 50 years.
Sir Richard Branson’s Instagram documents one adventure after another, showing him kayaking, bicycling and even swimming with sharks.
The adventure pics aren’t just for show, though. Between documenting exotic landscapes, event highlights and heart-warming family content, we get a taste of the philosophy behind Sir Richard’s celebrated business acumen. Not all of the quotes Branson features on his Instagram come directly from him. He also posts inspirational quotes from figures like Dorothy Parker and Mahatma Gandhi. A few of the quotes that sum it up include:
- “It’s amazing what doors can open if you reach out to people with a smile”
- “There’s nothing more important than family, and that’s how it should be”
- “If we can change business for good, we should also make an effort to change the world for the better”
- …and the brief yet powerful “Be in the moment.”
Although his profile isn’t coaching-focused like many of the others on our list, it offers a different kind of motivation: a look at what life can be like once you make it as an entrepreneur. Follow him to see where your dedication to building your business can take you… like using your resources to lift others up.
12. Justin Dry
Who he is: CEO of Vinomofo. Realist who’s willing to grind hard for success because he’s been there, done that and knows it works.
Find him at: justindry on Instagram
Why follow him: To see where he’s speaking, where he’ll be next, and the latest news from Vinomofo.
Justin Dry, co-founded and joint CEO of Vinomofo, calls his story an “uncorked success.” He cites Sir Richard Branson as one of his inspirations and in the spirit of continuing the chain of inspiration, uses his Instagram profile to inspire others. Justin’s profile is full of motivational thoughts, pictures of his dog and family and naturally, plenty of wine.
“Nobody cares, work harder” is one of the quotes you’ll see on his Instagram, but that’s the kind of real talk that got Justin Dry to where he is now. Another is “entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”
Today, Justin Dry does more than lead Vinomofo. He inspires other entrepreneurs by speaking at business development events like Yeah Nah Summit 2018 and the Bayside Business Breakfast. Between events like this, he’s an active blogger on Medium, publishing concise pieces about the tools entrepreneurs need for success like patience, focus and a willingness to take risks even when they make you scared or uncomfortable.
That willingness to face discomfort can be found in other quotes Justin Dry posts to his Instagram, like “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future” and “the pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”
13. Instagram for Business
Who they are: The group behind Instagram Stories for businesses. Driver of distraction-free marketing opportunities for companies on Instagram.
Find them at: instagramforbusiness
Why follow them: For in-depth looks at the innovative businesses they feature.
We can’t do a roundup of the best Instagrams for entrepreneurs to follow without including Instagram for Business. This is where you’ll see stories and write-ups featuring entrepreneurs who are changing their industries in big, fun, highly visual ways.
Visually, you can expect Instagram for Business to up the saturation with lots of bright, bold colors, clever photography, and a whole lot of honest-to-goodness talent because Instagram for Business is all about highlighting the splashes independent entrepreneurs are making. On their website, they tell entrepreneurs how they can use Instagram for Business to connect with their audiences more effectively.
“People look to stories for inspiration,” Instagram for Business writes. “Find out how you can use stories to form new connections.” They also describe where their service fits into larger marketing campaigns: “Many of our direct response advertisers have seen success with performance objectives like sales and conversions. Consider using and testing Instagram Stories ads as a full funnel solution.”
Along with these descriptions, you’ll find tangible, tactical advice for using Instagram for Business, like how to add stories to Facebook campaigns and how to optimize your business’ stories. A lot of the content here is from Curated by Facebook, a project by Facebook to showcase individual Instagram creators. In each showcase, you’ll meet the creators as individuals and see their work.
14. Amy Landino
Who she is: Host of AmyTV and co-founder of aftermarq. Starts her success with getting into the right mindset by taking small steps for personal productivity.
Find her at: schmittastic on Instagram
Why follow her: To connect directly with Amy through the engaging questions she asks her followers.
Author of Vlog Like a Boss and host of AmyTV on Youtube, Amy Landino is a motivational speaker who found success on YouTube. On AmyTV, she gives advice for professional and personal success, like how to manage your time efficiently, how to always look put together, roundups of her favorite productivity apps and book recommendations for followers looking for more motivation.
When we asked Amy for the tips she gives entrepreneurs launching new businesses, she said, “Do not romanticize your product. Work hard on it. Believe in it. But when the market tells you it’s not the right thing, stay focused on getting them the right solution rather than trying to force something that’s not going to work.”
“However, if you’re about to give up on something because you think the product isn’t right, check your marketing. You could just be doing a crap job of telling the story for why it matters and any amazing product will suffer without great brand awareness.”
She also cautions new entrepreneurs that “Entrepreneurship isn’t a get rich quick path and some new entrepreneurs I’ve encountered have a weird sense of entitlement when it comes to what they do and how they should get paid. It’s going to be tougher than you think in the first few years and you need to be willing to put in the work and for less money (a lot of times, FREE).”
“But the experience and the hustle of making things happen will get the right entrepreneurs where they need to be to make this an experience to last a lifetime. And if we’re reaching for an amazing lifetime, the journey should be just as important as the payoff. Otherwise, you’re in the wrong gig.”
Amy travels widely and uses her profile to showcase her travels. They’re part of her larger aesthetic: showing that you can have it all and achieve what you really want out of life if you plan smartly and focus on self-improvement, which fits right into her motivational messaging. She also views Instagram as the ideal conversation platform. “Because a lot of my content happens on YouTube, Instagram is a perfect place for me to continue the conversation with my community.”
15. Startup Creative
Who they are: A quarterly magazine that features entrepreneurs from around the world founded by Kaylene Langford. Shows featured freelancers and entrepreneurs in a raw, realistic way that breaks down how they became successful.
Find them at: startupcreative on Instagram
Why follow them: For business development advice that’s focused on you.
“Chase your stars fool, life is short.” For straightforward, refreshingly blunt business advice, follow StartUp Creative, founded by Kaylene Langford. StartUp Creative pushes you to craft your own success.
Other pieces of advice you’ll find on StartUp Creative’s Instagram are: “Can you accept the notion that once you change your internal state, you don’t need the external world to provide you with a reason to feel joy, gratitude, appreciation, or any other elevated emotion?” and “Your potential is endless. Go do what you were created to do.”
Providing this advice in the forms of podcasts, blog posts, and online courses and even poetry, StartUp Creative’s focus is on helping entrepreneurs really work out how they can make themselves successful through knowing themselves better as people.
Entrepreneurs who would rather work at their own pace instead of participating in StartUp Creative’s courses can take up their official ebook at their leisure. Those on a budget—or really, anybody who wants to build a more efficient, profitable business—can take advantage of StartUp Creative’s free resources like its guide to building profitable websites and its business plan template.
On their Instagram, you’ll find inspiring quotes, minimalist spaces and spotlights on entrepreneurs from around the world.
Find the inspiration that resonates with you
As you scroll through our list, which of these entrepreneurs’ stories particularly resonate with you? Give yourself time to find an entrepreneurial role model whose work really inspires you, because that’s the inspiration that’ll set you up for your next success.