Let’s begin with a question:
Are successful entrepreneurs born or developed?
Entrepreneurs are some of the most multi-talented and diverse people out there. A successful entrepreneur puts on many different hats at the same time – he’s a project manager, a risk-taker, an accountant, a marketer, a salesman. And that’s not all.
In many cases, he’s also a human-resource manager, a supply-chain manager, a customer-service and PR manager, and much more!
There are many different ways to define an ‘entrepreneur’, however I’d go with this one from BusinessDictionary which says:
[An entrepreneur is] someone who exercises initiative by organizing a venture to take benefit of an opportunity and, as the decision maker, decides what, how, and how much of a good or service will be produced.
A few very important keywords in there, such as ‘exercising initiative’, ‘organize a venture’, ‘taking benefit of an opportunity’, and ‘decision maker’ – all terms that aptly describe some of the qualities any successful entrepreneur.
The truth is that entrepreneurs need to have a certain set of qualities in order to be successful. These include some of the ones mentioned above, such as someone who takes initiative, takes advantage of any opportunity, and is a good decision maker.
They also need to have certain other qualities and characteristics as well which I will describe below.
1. Successful entrepreneurs are ambitious.
And how could they not be – you have to have ambition (and bucket loads of it!) in order to be a successful entrepreneur.
This means that they actively seek out problems, and have the ambition to fix them. Doing so comes to them as a habit; it is their state-of-mind. Everyone doesn’t have this ambition, and this is one quality that defines an entrepreneur.
And example of someone like this is Russell Brunson. He saw how successful a service like LeadPages had become in helping people collect more leads.
So he came up with an even more ambitious product called ClickFunnels that could not only help businesses get more leads, but also create sophisticated sales funnels to help them make more money as well.
2. Successful entrepreneurs proactively find and seek-out opportunities.
One of the thing that defines an entrepreneur is his/her ability to search for potential opportunities. Because that is what being an entrepreneur is all about: finding potential problems and opportunities, and providing real, tangible solutions to these problems.
Identifying or discovering an opportunity comes naturally to them, and it is actually a big part of being an entrepreneur in the first place.
Take a look at Sean Hammons, the creator of Clicky. While Google Analytics was the big elephant in the room, he saw that there was an opportunity to create a premium analytics service that offered real-time analytics with an easy to use interface.
Since Google Analytics (at the time), did not offer real-time analytics, this became a major selling point of Clicky and is a reason why it’s so popular today.
3. Successful entrepreneurs are focused, goal-oriented, disciplined, well-organized and meticulous.
Getting a business running from the ground-up isn’t easy, and understandably so. The fact is that a small percentage of startups go on to survive beyond the first year and become big businesses, and hence only a small number of entrepreneurs really go on and make it big.
Those who do have the discipline to follow their game-plan, and work on achieving their short-term and long-term goals and objectives. They are focused on ensuring that their businesses work.
An example of this is Shane Melaugh and Paul McCarthy of Thrive Themes. They created an entire membership from scratch with the goal of creating conversion focused WordPress themes and plugins.
Now already a couple years old, they have built up their reputation by releasing wildly successful products like Thrive Leads and Thrive Content Builder.
4. Successful entrepreneurs are hard workers who love what they do.
Successful businessmen love what they do. To them, work isn’t simply ‘work’, it’s their life! Successful entrepreneurs never look at it as their day-jobs their ‘9 to 5’s’ or ‘something that they do in the day’, their business is their life and they work extremely hard to accomplish their goals.
That doesn’t mean that they are workaholics or are married to their jobs – they set boundaries, and know how to work hard and work smart!
If you want to be inspired, read this amazing article on Elizabeth Holmes, who is the world’s youngest female self made billionaire. Her story is truly amazing.
5. Successful entrepreneurs are not afraid to take risks.
Good entrepreneurs don’t fear taking risks, they take them on head-on. They have to take risks every day – it is part of running a business. The thing though about taking risks is that successful entrepreneurs take calculated risks, not foolish ones. This means that they weigh the pros and cons, of every decision that they face, take the advantages and disadvantages of every move into consideration, look at all possible outcomes and make a calculated and informed decision taking everything into consideration.
Taking risks is part of the game, however taking calculated risks brings about a positive outcome most of the time, and when it doesn’t…
This is what Terry Kyle did when he decided to startup Traffic Planet Hosting. Web hosting in general is a highly competitive business.
Even in the Managed WordPress hosting space there are competitors with deep pockets like WP Engine and Synthesis. Yet, he took that risk and started Traffic Planet Hosting because he knew he could create a superior product.
6. Successful entrepreneurs are not afraid to make mistakes, and face failure.
In fact, they understand that it’s all a part of the game, and they use each and every failure and every mistake that they make as a learning experience. You’d be hard-pressed to find even a single entrepreneur who hasn’t made a bucketload of mistakes! The cold, hard truth is that every entrepreneur will end up making mistakes – some small and some big – and will fail numerous times.
But each of these incidents will be a learning experience for a successful entrepreneur, and each of these instances will be an opportunity of him/her to emerge better and stronger.
To quote Michael Dell: “Recognize that there will be failures, and acknowledge that there will be obstacles. But you will learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others, for there is very little learning in success.”
I learned this myself when trying to promote every shiny affiliate program I came across. Lots of time and effort was spent promoting products that had very short shelf life. That’s when I decided to become more focused and only promote high quality affiliate programs that will earn me lasting income for years.
7. Successful entrepreneurs have a knack for innovation and creativity.
Successful entrepreneurs can usually be identified by their ambition to innovate – this involves developing new ideas, methods, processes, products, services, and above all, new solutions that meet new requirements and provide more value to stakeholders.
Steve Jobs did this at Apple. Elon Musk is doing this at Tesla.
Besides, a large part of being successful in business relies upon improvement and positive change, and all good entrepreneurs have the vision to be creative and innovative in order to bring about this sort of change and improvement.
8. Successful entrepreneurs know what it takes to be successful.
They challenge themselves to learn more and do more. They understand that all businesses are affected by certain internal and external factors – some of which are out of their control or beyond their abilities.
They understand these limitations, and either build their own capacity so that they can get what they need, or work with people with different expertise and experience in order to overcome these barriers.
Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome knew he wanted to do more public speaking. So what did he do? He practiced and practiced until he became better. He forced himself to go to conferences to speak.
All this resulted in him becoming one of the most in-demand public speakers out there and you can see him as the keynote speaker at many big name conferences.
9. Successful entrepreneurs have excellent role models.
These role models are people that they aspire to be, people that they look up to, and people who provide them with inspiration and the guidance that they need to be successful.
A role-model could be anyone – such as someone from within your social circles, friends or family, or a famous personality who they look up to (Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Richard Branson, Bill Gates all come to mind here and are just a few examples).
Having a role-model, especially if he or she is your mentor too, can really take an entrepreneur to unprecedented heights of success, make him truly unstoppable!
10. Successful entrepreneurs are leaders.
That is perhaps the simplest way to put it: successful entrepreneurs are natural leaders, and possess many leadership qualities. They are good at managing all aspects of their professional and personal lives. They have the ability to make big decisions, and the right decisions.
They can provide guidance and good opinions to others. They have good communication skills. They are people-oriented, and can get a group of people to work towards the attainment of a common goal while getting the best out of them. They are respected by their peers. They are self-motivated. Successful entrpenreurs are competitive.
Above all, they put the accomplishment of their goals above everything and anything else, even if it requires them to do something that displeases them.