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Traits to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

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Through talking with aspiring entrepreneurs on an almost-daily basis and by going through the entrepreneurial process myself, I have discovered something: There is a mystique associated with launching a business.

Simply said, many people believe that successful entrepreneurs are born with specific personality traits that others don’t have, like movie-star charisma or an unusual tolerance for risk. This just isn’t the case. Though some successful individuals may have these traits, other entrepreneurs may be shy by nature or financially conservative.


At the same time, I’ve also discovered that there are, indeed, certain behaviors and traits that can aid an entrepreneur’s success. Fortunately, most of these are learned behaviors, so you don’t have to worry about being genetically pre-disposed to an entrepreneurial life.


I’ve observed the following three elements to be key factors in achieving success.


Clarity Regarding Your Life Goals:

It’s critical to put your thoughts in writing and express them out loud. Many experts and successful business owners talk about the importance of stating our intention—what we intend to do if we want to make progress in our lives and achieve our life goals. To do this, it’s essential to truly clarify what, specifically, you want. It isn’t enough to say, “I want to be a successful entrepreneur.” Instead, you should examine what is driving this goal.

Is it:

To have financial independence?
To set your own schedule?
To work from home?
To provide a solution to a problem and help others?


You must get as focused as possible to fully understand your motivations. This will paint a picture of your “Living Dream.” Then, once you’ve stated your intention, you need to back it with concerted effort and take action.


Understanding What You Seek to Build:

Knowing and speaking your Living Dream will help you lead your life as opposed to conducting your life in an unplanned or accidental manner. Women in particular have varying motivations for becoming entrepreneurs. Some do it because they want to find an outlet for their creativity that’s lacking in their personal lives or their current work environment. Others do it to provide a more flexible lifestyle—one that gives them more time with their children. Still others do it to create wealth or to satisfy a vision.
Whatever your motivation, it’s helpful to understand it clearly in advance. The mom who wants to run a part-time business—and keep it that way—will require a different style of leadership than the mom who wants to build an international business. This understanding will help drive the way you run and grow your company.


Drive, Passion and the Will to Do Whatever It Takes:

Your background, marital status, financial status and religion are all virtually meaningless predictors of your success. Successful entrepreneurs come from every walk of life and every situation. More critical is who you are today and how you approach a challenge. Among the hundreds of entrepreneurs I’ve consulted, interviewed or read about, a few specific characteristics are universal:


  • A drive to succeed.
  • A passion for what they are doing.
  • The willingness to do whatever it takes to ensure their success.



What does that mean, specifically? On a good day, starting and running a company take an incredible amount of commitment, time, and hard work. When you add in the unexpected obstacles—tapping out your financial resources, dealing with personal problems, coping with unscrupulous partners or vendors—it can be tempting to throw in the towel.


However, if you believe fully in your idea and you are unwilling to give up, you will inevitably find solutions to whatever stands in your way. This belief and conviction that you will succeed will ensure that you continue to move forward and that you will look at problems as opportunities instead of obstacles.

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