Last Updated on January 10, 2022 by James McAllister

By: James McAllister


What separates a mediocre entrepreneur from a highly successful entrepreneur?

This is a question that I pondered for ages back when I was a beginner myself. What traits did successful entrepreneurs have that I didn’t? What made them so great?

The truth is, all of us are born knowing absolutely nothing about business. We aren’t born great entrepreneurs. We don’t enter the world with our head full of marketing or business knowledge.

It’s all learned. All the great marketers and entrepreneurs that you look up to started from nothing, and grew into the people they are today.

This means with enough effort, you can become great too.

But still, all of the highly successful businesspeople do have certain traits in common that have helped bring them to the levels they are at now. Here are 10 characteristics of highly successful entrepreneurs – characteristics you may wish to adopt yourself if you wish to reach the same levels they have.

1. They Are Ambitious

Many people consider themselves to be ambitious, but the people who rise to the top are the ones who are really ambitious.

Think about this – with the internet, your reach is unlimited. There is ALWAYS more work you can do. There are always new people to reach. New goals to set. New levels to achieve.

The most successful people may take time to celebrate their accomplishments and achievements, but they never bask in glory for long. They are constantly focused on the next big thing.

Forget the idea of being ‘comfortable.’ ‘Comfortable’ is a middle-class, average person’s way of thinking. Don’t delude yourself. If you want to reach the top, you need to set bigger goals than that. Then reaching those goals need to be such a huge priority, that you’ll give whatever it takes to make that happen.

Think about it. Would you rather set a goal for 10,000 visits a day on your website and reach 5,000 visits a day, or set a goal for 1,000 visits a day and achieve it?

I thought so.

2. Focused

If you want to get things done, you need to be laser-focused.

When you are your own boss, when you are the one in control of your own work hours, you have to have the focus to set tasks out and complete them. You aren’t rewarded simply for showing up.

Remember that you are in a results-oriented profession. You can take 10 hours to get something done, or you could do it an hour. You’ll get paid the same amount.

In a way this is a very good thing, because it means that the people who are focused, who are able to dedicate their attention solely to getting things done, get rewarded for their hard work.

The problem I see all around me isn’t just the fact that people do not know how to manage their time, but they take on too many tasks at once. Even I was guilty of this – it can be an unintentional side effect of being a highly ambitious big-thinker.

The problem with that approach is you end up being mediocre at everything, and no one area of your business gets the attention it needs to grow, thrive, and succeed.

Focus on something and give it your all. Build it up before throwing your attention somewhere else.

Again, if you want to get things done effectively, you need to be laser-focused.

3. Logical Thinkers

Entrepreneurs Logical Thinkers

When you set out to make money through your own business, you throw yourself out into the real world. Therefore, you must embrace reality.

In a traditional job it’s easy to ignore reality, because you get paid regardless of what’s going on with the company. You show up, you work, you get a paycheck. Boom. What more could you want, right?

Business doesn’t work that way. No amount of emotion will make you a success. This is why I absolutely hate it when I hear people echo the statement everyone’s heard at least a million times:

“Blog about something you’re passionate about. Follow your heart and the money will follow.”

That’s not always true.

Passion is great, but passion does not make you money. People make you money, and they buy products according to their needs. You could be super passionate about collecting obscure pens or something, but if the market isn’t there you’re not going to make money from it.

Think logically, and use the data you have about your audience and your market to make rational, reality-based decisions on how to build your business further.

Emotion can be used to fuel your fire, but it only works if you have a solid foundation to work with.

4. Good At Working With People

Despite the importance of being a logical thinker, you do need to be able to work with people, and connect with them on a personal, emotional level.

At the end of the day, you make money from people connecting with you. From people feeling like they know, like, and trust you.

If you’re unable to connect with the people who are consuming your content, they’re never going to end up sending you money. It’s that simple.

Not to mention, networking with other entrepreneurs in your niche is one of the greatest and quickest ways to skyrocket your growth. When you are able to leverage the hard work of other influencers, incredible things can happen extremely quickly.

The connections you build can last a lifetime and take you to incredible places. Don’t disregard the importance of them.

After all, even if you are a solopreneur, no company is built alone.

5. Unique

If you want to become a successful entrepreneur, there must be something about you and your brand that is memorable.

This is most easily accomplished by being unique in some way.

Now it doesn’t necessarily have to be your content that’s unique, although that certainly helps. It could simply be the way you present it. Or the way you brand yourself. Something.

What really matters is that you’re not just like everybody else. If you are like everybody else, you will be forgotten.

For example, I’ll use myself. I’m not exceptionally unique, but I know myself better than I know anybody else, so I’ll help prove my own point.

There are a TON of blogs on blogging, making money online, entrepreneurship, whatever.

I make myself memorable because I spare no feelings. I want you to succeed so badly that I am willing to hurt your feelings to help you out. I’m not afraid to tell you your idea won’t make you any money and you’d be a fool for pursuing it.

This upsets a lot of people, but I don’t care. Remember – you must operate in reality, or you will fail. And people do eventually come back to me and realize I was right, and they respect me for it. The fact that I don’t sugar-coat anything makes me memorable, and does wonders for winning people’s trust, as it should.

Oh, and because my students operate based in reality, they end up making more money. Some of which comes back to me in the form of additional sales or coaching. So, in this scenario, we both win!

6. They Seek More Than Money

Despite what the ‘gurus’ seem to say, there is nothing wrong with starting a blog for the sole intention of making money.

I’m not afraid to admit that money is the reason I started this site. I would not be sharing this with you right now if it were not going to make me money, either directly or indirectly.

99% of people won’t admit that, and they’re lying. Darn.


There is however, a problem with this approach. The most successful entrepreneurs seek more than just money.

Think about it. Most people won’t make it big. If money is your only concern, than you’d probably be better off going to a university and getting an engineering degree. Or climbing the corporate ladder. Something other than running your own business. You can make a ton of money in it, but it takes a long time to get to that point for most people.

On the other end of the spectrum, even if you’re making an absolute killing, the trade-off won’t be worth it if you don’t genuinely enjoy the work you are doing. There is more to life than money, after all.

I gain great satisfaction and happiness from helping people out, and knowing I’m making an impact on people’s lives. I just so happen to work in a profession that pays me for doing that.

It’s another win-win scenario.

7. They’re Great Salespeople

If you want to make money as an entrepreneur, you need to be able to sell.

I’m not just talking about selling products either. You need to be able to sell yourself, and you need to be able to sell your ideas.

Someone once told me that you are always either selling or being sold, and in a way it’s true. Your are constantly selling people something, even if it’s something intangible. Everything you do sells people an image of you. The content you put out sells your brand.

Selling is more than just getting somebody to purchase something. It’s about persuasion, influence, and getting other people to take a given action that’s in your best interest.

Give up the picture of a sleezy, manipulative salesman’ and instead think of yourself as a servant.

If you have good things to share, you benefit your audience tremendously by being able to effectively demonstrate your points.

That is why sales may just be one of the most important skills on the planet.

8. They Are Go-Getters

If you want to succeed in such a competitive profession, you’ve got to be absolutely ruthless.

You got to be a go-getter. You have to be working so hard, everybody knows you for your work ethic.

I’m not kidding. This profession is tough. It will knock you down over and over again. And only those with the work ethic to keep pushing forward even when it seems the entire world is pushing back are the only ones who are going to make it to the ‘other side.’

When you want something, you have to have the drive to go get it. You have to want it so badly, that you’re willing to give whatever it takes to get it.

9. They Treat Everything As A Business

This is perhaps the most important one, and you may have noticed that I touched on this point throughout the entire article.

This is actually what kept me from achieving success early on in my blogging career. I had a fantastic blog – but I did not have a business.

A successful blog requires more than just content and traffic. You need a system in place to profit from these visitors, or you’re never going to make any money.

Winning The Game Of Business

I have ranted about this topic many times before, so instead of doing it again, let me point you to an entire article on this subject called “Your Blog Is NOT A Business!

Read through it if you haven’t already. You need to. Don’t wait two years to figure it out like I did.

10. Your Turn

I know there are PLENTY of other traits that make up successful entrepreneurs, and I couldn’t possibly list them all here.

I left this #10 spot open for you – I want to hear what traits you believe make up a successful entrepreneur. What characteristics do they have? How can we develop these characteristics?

I look forward to hearing what you have to say!


About the author 

James McAllister

James is the owner of He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. In total, these businesses have sold hundreds of thousands of units and have touched millions of lives. Here on, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, follow him on your favorite social networks!

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  1. Hi James,

    It been long since I visit your blog. That because I just take some time off blogging.

    Since the #10 spot is left open, I have to say ACHIEVEMENT is what also differentiate successful bloggers from mediocre blogger.

    Successful blogger knows exactly the next step and the utilize it. Perhaps it why I always recommend having a mentor to my readers. I do not know the next step when I first start out and went on doing things myself which cost me lot of time.

    Thanks for the open spot.


    1. Hi Aderemi! Glad to have you back, and I hope you’ve been well.

      Achievement is a good one. Good bloggers set specific goals and have a well thought about plan and steps to take to achieve those goals.

      I was in the same boat early on, felt like I was running around in circles. Wasn’t until I focused that I got anywhere or did anything productive it seemed…

      Anyway it’s good to talk to you Aderemi and I hope to see you again soon!


  2. Hi James,

    Great post. I have heard people discuss about what makes a successful bloggers, and most of what you highlighted here are the actual recipes. There are great bloggers that I look up to as far as blogging is concern, the all check the boxes of the attributes listed here.

    Personally, I agree on the fact that successful bloggers treat the blogging activity like a business. You can’t just work on your blog two hours a week and expert to make it to the top. You need to give it equal attention just like any other business.

    I also think successful bloggers are always persistent. They don’t go back until they struck that gold. You know some years ago, I used to write on hubpages (I assume you’re familiar with this website). The rule of thumb on hubpages is that, you keep publishing until you stumble upon that one ever green post that would continually bring in the money. I think this explains the basis of persistence as far as blogging is concern.

    Thanks for sharing this with us.

    Kind Regards.


    1. Hey Augustus! Good to talk to you again.

      You make a good point on the time invested, and I would even say you need to put in MORE than a traditional business just because on the internet, you are competing with everyone in the market from all around the world. A lot different than a retail location, where you’d only be competing with the other retailers in your area… you know what I’m saying? The good news is that if you put the work in there’s a lot more profit potential as well.

      Peristence – that’s a great one. Every business will go through rough times and the weak-minded often give up. Only those with the persistence to keep pushing through will last. You know what they say… tough times never last but tough people always do!


  3. Great points James!

    All of them resonate, but the last one kind of stands out for me because most bloggers do not treat blogging as a business. For them it’s a bit of a feel good hobby. It’s a way of expressing themselves and giving them a voice. But a voice without an audience is worse than useless. And an audience that’s not being monetized represents a huge waste of effort.

    Regarding #10, I would say it would be a toss up between being hugely persistent or having lots of self belief, because you need both.

    Thanks again James – great post



    1. Thanks Kim!

      I too have noticed that and to be honest with you, I was in that boat for a while. I had the intention of making money, but I did not think of it as a business. I did not know what I was selling or to whom. I did not reinvest money back into it to grow it. It was sad, but it was a great learning experience nonetheless.

      Those are both good choices, just goes to show only the strong-willed tend to last. Even I have issues with self belief sometimes, so it looks like there’s an area I can focus on improving.

      Always nice to talk to you Kim!


  4. Hi James,

    That focus is beyond huge. Both with your blog and with your overall campaign. I went on an eBook writing tear for a while to churn out 122 but had not promoted them. Now I’m focusing fully on promoting those suckers with blog commenting and free giveaways. No more writing. Advertising time, for where my attention goes, grows. Awesome tips dude, fabulous job.



    1. Hey Ryan!

      I’ve been guilty with a lack of focus and it isn’t until you’re all over the place do you really realize how ineffective it is.

      I still can’t believe you’ve cranked out so many books so quickly. I’ve read quite a few of them and the fact that you can produce a good one in such a short time is pretty astonishing to me.

      I feel your brand is strong and that on its own is enough to sell the books… and at 99 cents a pop it’s tempting to pick up a lot of them at once.

      Keep up the good work RYan!


  5. Hey James and what a monumental post.

    Someone told me a while that I should just “be myself, as everyone else is already taken.”

    I think those words hold turn in the blogging world. You should not try to be someone else, as you are unique, there no one else like you.

    I feel we all have something to share, and someone is out there looking for what we have to say, hopefully, more than one.

    Being ambitious and focused are certainly good attributes of a successful blogger but being a people person might be the biggest and most important. You have to like people to build that personal relationship that is all so important in building success

    I agree you need to treat blogging like a business, but you also have to have some fun along the way, you have to enjoy what you do, or you won’t keep doing it.

    My number 10 would just be to write great content and promote the heck out of it. That’s how you get noticed and with that, I think, comes success.

    Thanks James for pointing out these 10 attributes


    1. Hi Rob!

      Isn’t that the truth! I think it’s important to bring ourselves out in our posts and show our personality. It helps people build a personal connection with us and makes our content more enjoyable to read as well.

      Your #10 is a good one, and sadly many do either one of those two things but the reality is you need both of them for the system to work. Great content without readers is worthless, and lots of readers with junk content won’t do you much good either.

      Great to see you here Rob and I hope to talk to you again soon!


  6. Thanks for these tips, James. I like that you don’t sugar coat reality. Very refreshing! I just popped over from Donna’s site 🙂 Gaining trust is a biggie for sales. I especially like that we should express what makes us unique so readers, potential customers will remember us. There are so many bloggers out there. It’s easy to get lost in the sea.


    1. Hey Lisa! Long time no see. Hope you’ve been doing well!

      You are right, there is so much competition these days that you have to do something to get people to remember you, you really have to stand out in some way. As Rob mentioned above I do think showcasing yourself and bringing ‘you’ out in the posts really helps with that, but sometimes you have to go out of your way to make sure people know your brand and what makes it different.

      I’m actually going to be focusing more on video marketing heading into 2016 because I think it’s such a great platform for building trust. I’m recommending other bloggers do the same in addition to the work they’re doing now on their websites.

      We’ll see how things turn out.. should be interesting!

      Good to talk to you Lisa!


  7. Hey James,

    I agree with all your 10 points, you did so much justice to it that I don’t even know what to add.

    But I think being Focused and Disciplined is a great characteristics; my mentor once told me that you’ve got to be so disciplined as to turn down some good ideas that are not aligned to your goals.

    Thanks for sharing



    1. Hi Dan! Glad to hear you agree.

      You make a good point. I used to say ‘yes’ to anything people would ask for me, and would also waste time on opportunities that wouldn’t yield great results. The bigger you get, the more you’ll have to say no to people when they ask something of you. It’s not ever anything personal, you just have to focus your time on areas that need it the most. Focus on what yields results. Focus on what matters. Your time is precious and it should never be wasted.

      “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” – Warren Buffet

      Good to talk to you Dan!


  8. Hey James McAllister, it’s been a long time since I last visited any of your blogs. Okay, I only know just one of them, that was the one I visited before we lost contacts, and buddy, you’ve got an amazing blog right here and I love the fact that it is a one-topic blog, centred around helping people make money online.

    About your blog post, you shared awesome 9 habits of highly successful bloggers and all of them really resonate with me.

    As a serious blogger who is willing to make enough money online money for himself, you will need to be extremely ambitious, focused and must be free and be willing to connect and work with people, even those that you rarely know. For instance, my new blog is run alongside another blogger from India, Gaurav Sharma and he’s currently working behind the scene, which is extremely fantastic.

    Behind every unique person is a U and U simply means You when writing the full word. Every bloggers I know who has achieved enormous online success are those who dared to be unique, found their unique voices and structured their post around their uniqueness which inevitably get people, even their blog audience to be interested in what they have to share.

    I better stop here and just had my 10th point. What will that be? It can only be consistency!

    One of the things I learned from great bloggers like Adrienne is nothing else but being consistent. Trust me, one of the top blogging mistakes I made in blogging was not being consistent at not just churning out contents but also everything as far as blogging is concerned.

    I am back now after a long break and am bent on being consistent with sharing evergreen contents, even it means sharing those once a month and promoting the hell out of them like Mr. Ryan Biddulph said above. One good thing about being consistent is that it cut across everything and when you are, you will always reap the reward.

    I shouldn’t turn this whole comment thing into a post, I better stop right here and find other pillar posts on your blog to read, share, comment on and apply the lessons shared in it.

    Warm wishes,


    1. Hi Sam! Wow, what a fantastic comment and I’m glad to hear that you agree with me on so many points.

      Consistency is a great one and you are absolutely correct. Consistent action taking leads to consistent growth. Likewise, we can expect our numbers to drop when begin getting complacent and take time off or cut corners. I have experienced this first-hand many times. Some areas of marketing are easier in this aspect, but blogging certainly isn’t one of them.

      It’s so great to talk to you again Sam, we are glad to have you back. Hope to see you here again soon!


  9. Patience and passion, I think, are some serious ingredients for blogging success. I agree that there are just too many things to list in one post. I am also tempted to say organizational skills and goals… Actually, my head is spinning so I will stop there for now. Awesome post!


    1. Hi Laria! It’s great to meet you and thank you so much for not only sharing one of my posts on Facebook, but liking the page and taking the time to comment here.

      You’re right, patience and passion are two big ones. It does take a while to get going online and those without a passionate drive for something will not hang on long enough for their hard work to bear fruit. This is why I think it’s so important for people to have a driving purpose or vision behind their work – it will help you push on when results are taking longer than expected.

      Thanks for stopping by Laria and I hope to talk to you again soon!


      1. Hey James! No problem! I will definitely be around so we’ll have plenty of time to chat about blogging (and other possibly random things). What year did you start your blog? It’s packed with useful info and I’d love to review your site on my own blog. I actually spent the entire week reading your content in my free time. Reminds me that I still have a LOT of work to do lol.


        1. That is awesome Laria! It’s a pleasure to have you here and I’m so glad to hear that you’re enjoying what I have to share.

          I started this blog in 2013, but didn’t really get super serious with it until last year. I had my attention diverted among many other projects beforehand, and none of them really got the attention they needed to thrive as a result. Focusing nearly all of my resources on this site allowed it to grow much more quickly, so I’m looking forward to the sustained growth this year as well.

          I would absolutely love for you to my review my site on your blog! I’m going to send you an email here pretty soon talking about that, alright?

          Thanks Laria!


  10. I agree with your 10 traits. The challenge is not which are the right 10, it is which are the right 10 for that person. I mean that, yes, there are some obvious traits that successful people need. For example, to sell, to negotiate, to get the best from people. I believe that the real ‘trick’ is knowing who you are, what you are good at, what you are bad at, and making that work for you. For example, if you have done enough ‘soul searching’, you might know that you do not sell well. And then you hire great salespeople. That, for me, is the trick to success.


    1. Hey Darren, thanks for stopping by and you make a really great point. Self-awareness is key and it’s important to analyze ourselves often – what we’re good at, what needs improving (or as what you point out, worth hiring for.) What needs to be focused on to aid us in specific situations and circumstances, and so on. There is no one-size-fits-all set of answers.


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