One of the questions I get asked the most frequently among my circle of acquaintances is: “what does it take to be a successful entrepreneur?” After being one for almost a decade now, I have developed a very good “radar” as to figure out exactly what type of people can become very successful as entrepreneurs. Certain characteristics are absolutely necessary, which is why it is not a field that everyone likes or is comfortable in. It is however, the most efficient way to reaching financial freedom, so obviously many people dream of being able to manage their own enterprise. So I wanted to take this opportunity to point out some of the most important personality traits that make a great entrepreneur by giving examples out of my real life experiences:
Are you patient?
I started INeedMotivation.com in 2002. I can honestly tell you that the website barely made any money the first year. It took forever to get a great search engine ranking and of course for me to figure out all the necessary steps to make a business successful on the internet. If I wasn’t a patient person, I would have given up within that first year, thinking “oh this will never work”. Most people that ask me about becoming an entrepreneur do not have patience in the first place. They want financial freedom, so they know that the best way to achieving that is through owning your own business. However, they want results immediately, and that is not the case 99% of the time. When you start a business, you need to have the frame of mind that this is what you want to do for the rest of your life. This particular vision will provide you with the patience that is required. Believe me, it takes time and thus tons of patience to create something of value that will stand the test of time.
Are you meticulous?
When you have a business, there are so many aspects to it, and so many factors to consider, that you need to be thorough, otherwise you will not be successful. I have seen companies make huge mistakes in their advertising with spelling and the likes, that it’s just embarrassing. Every little detail needs to be checked and double-checked. If they make such mistakes in spelling, imagine the mistakes in their accounting!! This is why a meticulous-type of person will be highly successful in an entrepreneurial environment. I grew up never knowing I would be an entrepreneur. However, I was always very methodical and meticulous in my work and in my studies, that when I entered the realm of entrepreneurship, I had what it took to make sure that every base was always carefully covered.
Are you thick-skinned?
I have to say that I was never thick skinned growing up. However, an 18 month stint as a salesperson really helped me develop one! You need a thick skin to succeed in sales, and it’s not that much different as an entrepreneur. No matter what you do, you will always have certain clients that will completely demoralize you with their assessment of your product or service. The quicker you learn not to take it personally (and it’s hard when it’s your business and your creation), the more successful you will be. You will always come across people that will criticize you, no matter how great or valuable your product or service may be. Plus, if it’s not customers, it’s the media! Once I did a radio interview about the website and what it was about. When I heard the final product, it was a negative piece on self improvement and my comments were edited and taken out of context completely. It was disappointing, but like I said, with a thick skin, you can bounce back very quickly, and that’s a needed skill in business 😉
Are you creative?
As you manage a business, you will absolutely need to innovate. What makes a success story in business is not actually reinventing the wheel, but taking a current wheel and making it better. For that, you need to be creative. For example, when I started in my industry I analyzed my competitors. I took note of what they did that made sense, and what could be done to make everything better. I certainly did not invent a new wheel, but I certainly helped in making the wheel, in this case my industry, a little better. Some of my advertising ideas, some of my promotions, and some of my pricing points ended up being duplicated by my competitors. I take it as a compliment, and it just pushes me even more to make the wheel even better! I see so many people trying to do exactly what others are already doing…this is almost like shooting yourself in the foot. Dare to be different and embrace all creative ideas that pass through your head. Sure, not all of them will be home runs, but you will at least differentiate yourself from the competition and that is a “must” in the marketplace to ensure success.
Are you flexible?
In a business, you have a business plan (hopefully!). This plan is like your “script”. This is what you should follow if everything goes as planned. However, let me tell you that business never ever goes as you anticipated. This is why you need to be ready to go “off the script” and improvise. Being open-minded and flexible comes in handy in such situations. When I started INeedMotivation.com, it was mainly for coaching purposes. I did not have the intentions of creating courses or having this blog for example. However, I was flexible enough to realize the potential in such actions and followed through. Especially in an internet business, things are always changing, so you need to be ready and willing to make changes at all times to keep up with the flow. You never know if a competitor will come up with something that may make your current product or service obsolete, so you have to be mentally prepared for such things to happen.
Are you a visionary?
When you combine my two previous points, being creative and being flexible & open-minded, you have the potential to become a visionary. This is when you are able to assess the “big picture” in your industry and dictate the pace and/or direction it undertakes. Being able to envision what the business and the industry will be like in years to come is a skill that can guarantee that you will be around for the long haul. For example, I have ideas that I have currently implemented that I knew about years ago. One thing that I can point out quickly is the latest site design. It went live on June 1st, but I have been thinking about it and tweaking it for the past 2 years. Once the cards were lined up properly and the time was right, I pulled the trigger on the change. Right now, I have ideas and projects about things that I will be doing years from now. Being able to visualize your progression over time can become an extremely valuable tool to your enterprise.
Are you adventurous?
I often compare the business world to a jungle. Perhaps it’s even more dangerous and ruthless than an actual jungle at times! To really enjoy the ride in the world of entrepreneurship, you need to be able to sustain yourself outside of your comfort zone and have a sense of adventure. I mentioned earlier how things never go as planned, so you need to be ready to face the unknown. That can be scary to some, but for the adventurous type, it’s something they can thrive on. For example, I do not know what business will be like tomorrow, next week, or next month. I can make a good prediction based on previous data, but nothing is for certain. I am not guaranteed a paycheck every two weeks like a 9 to 5 employee. My salary is based on how well the company performs. So I never really know how much I will make. To me, one of the most fun parts of being an entrepreneur is the uncertainty of it all. I know that for some it can be paralyzing, but for me, I excel in such an environment. It motivates me and it makes me enjoy every single moment of the ride, because I never know when the “script will flip” and things will change once again 🙂