Editor’s note: WRAL TechWire’s Chantal Allam recently got the chance to talk with serial entrepreneur Jesse Lipson about his journey, what’s it is like to have a successful exit, and some lessons he learned along the way. This is the second of a two-part interview.

  • Let’s switch gears a little. You’ve also founded HQ Communities, a co-working space for startups. Is helping other startups grow a personal mission for you? And if so, why?

It is. For me, one of the most noble things you can do is to create a great job for someone, and statistics show that new companies create the most jobs in the economy. One of the things that really distinguishes the US economy from others is the willingness to take risk and start new companies and I want to do what I can to make the process of starting and running a company just a bit easier for entrepreneurs. That’s why I co-founded HQ along with Brooks Bell, Christopher Gergen, and Jason Widen.

  • What are some of the biggest lessons that you’ve learned on your journey?

There are so many, but here are a few that come to mind.

  • Know yourself: the best entrepreneurs are on a journey to try to understand themselves and become better people.
  • Discover your core values and stay true to them; core values are the things that you do even when it hurts your business to keep them (the rest are just business tactics and strategies).
  • Work hard: I’ve never met a successful person who isn’t a hard worker.
  • Stay balanced: Think about sleep, exercise, and downtime as a vital ingredient to high performance in business (not a trade off you need to make).
  • Enjoy the journey and take time to document it. When you look back, the stories, pictures and letters will be more valuable than the money.

Personal level

  • You’re a Duke grad. So you haven’t left? What is it that makes you stay here in the Triangle?
Brooks Bell photo

Brooks Bell, founder and CEO of Brooks Bell.

When people from out of town ask about how Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill are different, I say that Raleigh is like Manhattan, Durham is like Brooklyn, and Chapel Hill is like Princeton, New Jersey. They are all great places, but Raleigh is more my speed than the other two. I’ve lived in Raleigh for almost 18 years now.

  • I understand that you are married to Brooks Bell, who is also a well-known speaker and startup founder on the Triangle scene. What is it like being part of a couple where both of you are young, high-profile business leaders in the same startup hub, running separate businesses?

It’s pretty amazing. Being an entrepreneur is one of the most lonely job roles in the world. Having a partner who is also experiencing the same ups and downs as you and can understand what you’re experiencing helps get me through some of the darkest times and toughest decisions.

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