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5 Lessons From an Overnight Success

These two entrepreneurs obsessed about failure. But they never stopped to think about what would happen if they succeeded.

One of the smartest things an entrepreneur can do is to learn from others who have an established record of success. Inc. asked Brittany Hodak, one of the founders of New York-based entertainment company 'ZinePak, about the most important lessons she and co-founder Kim Kaupe have learned along their impressive journey. Here's what she had to say:

Lesson #1: Always stay two steps ahead.

Being a business owner means always embracing new challenges and looking for new opportunities, even when you're on a successful path already. Don't wait for failure or obstacles to arise to begin looking for alternate opportunities. 

Lesson #2: Never be the smartest person in the room.

Focus on being a great leader instead of a great doer. Surround yourself with the best experts and employees you can find so that you're never the most knowledgeable person about anything other than the future of your company.

Lesson #3: It's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Whether it's looking for a more creative solution to a problem or going outside of ordinary communication channels to make something happen, the cliche is true: It is easier to ask for forgiveness later than get permission upfront.

Lesson #4: "No" doesn't always mean "no."

Don't take "no" to mean that you shouldn't continue to have a dialogue with someone you want to work with. Also, don't ever take "no" for an answer from someone without the authority to tell you "yes."

Lesson #5: Don't be afraid of the unknown.

Don't feel like you need to have all the answers or predict the future. Surround yourself with smart people and commit to making the best decisions you can with the information available to you at any given time.

[via Inc.