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
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.
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
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.
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.
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!