One of the most rewarding career paths you can choose is entrepreneurship. Charting your own course in life is extremely satisfying. You can take a lot of pride in what you do and how you impact others.
As Confucius said, "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."
Some of the world’s most celebrated and admired people chose the entrepreneurial path and have led lives we all admire. People like Oprah Winfrey, Jack Ma, and Walt Disney took a chance on their entrepreneurial dreams and succeeded. These entrepreneurs are renowned today.
However, being an entrepreneur can also feel like the hardest, most thankless job out there, especially when starting out. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey full of naysayers, doubters. and many other pitfalls.
So, while paving your own path is exciting and a great adventure, you need to cultivate thick skin and some important personal traits to succeed.
5 Key Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs
Here are five key character traits successful entrepreneurs exhibit you should cultivate to achieve your own entrepreneurial success:
1 - Courage
According to a Harvard Business School paper, venture-capital-backed entrepreneurs have approximately 30% chance of succeeding. Those are pretty low odds, to say the least, and indicate the hard challenges most entrepreneurs face. You will need great courage to still leap into entrepreneurship with odds like these floating around.
Without courage, you are likely to opt to remain within the “safe” confines of your comfort zone—possibly for the rest of your productive life. Without courage, you are likely to keep trudging through a job that doesn’t fulfill you or that you absolutely hate than risk failing in entrepreneurship. Without courage, you are likely to keep plowing through a passion-crushing, soul-wrenching job and go home every evening feeling like a looser or like your life is wasting away, wondering what is the point of it all?
It’s absolutely true that your entrepreneurial effort can fail, and that can force you to start over again from scratch. However, it’s also possible that you can fail in that “safe” job you are banking on. Many people are laid off from “safe” jobs every day for different reason. Others see the “safe” companies they work in fold. You are not guaranteed that safe job will always be available to you.
There is always a risk in everything we do in life. Things can go wrong, so why not try and fail (if that’s what’s going to happen) at something you actually love than keep trying to please others (at your own expense) and fail at what you hate or have zero passion doing now, let alone for the rest of your life? At least you'll have enjoyed it while it lasted.
Besides, is it really worth it in the end to have worked so hard and succeeded at something that ultimately didn’t fulfill you? It sucks to fail at something you were trying so hard to make work, but you can turn any situation into a positive, learning experience if you have the courage and determination to ultimately succeed in life.
According to the Harvard Business School paper mention above, of those venture-backed entrepreneurs that previously failed approximately 20% will succeed on their next attempt. Recent studies from the BLS find that within the first 10 years, 65% of businesses fail, which means 35% of businesses are still in business after 10 years.
Be courageous and go for your dreams.
2 - Belief
You have got to believe that you can achieve it otherwise no one will believe you can do it. Have faith in yourself and in others. Believe that what you set out to do will work out. Have faith the powers of the universe are on your side.
Call things you’d like to see as though they already are even though you have not seen them yet. It sounds cheesy, but somehow it works. The most successful people believed and had unshakable faith they would make it. And look what happened—they made it! They achieved their dreams.
There is power in positive thinking and positive belief, so cultivate strong faith that good things will happen. Faith builds confidence to pursue your dreams and it gives you the strength to endure and overcome any challenges you inevitably encounter along the way.
Faith allows you to let go of worrying about things you can’t control and believe in other people. It motivates others to support you and your dream.
Keep in mind faith is not hope. As Jim Carrey said, “Hope is a beggar. Hope walks through the fire, faith leaps over it.”
Be a man or woman of faith, not hope.
3 - Effort
All the faith and belief in the world won’t help you until you rise up and actually start working, putting effort towards what you want to become your reality. This requires great self-drive and strategy. After all, faith without works is dead.
Step up and make SMART moves. This entails Specific (simple, sensible, significant), Measurable (meaningful, motivating), Achievable (attainable), Relevant (reasonable, realistic, results-based) and Time-bound action steps that lead to success.
4 - Discipline
Stay disciplined as an entrepreneur. Successful entrepreneurs are highly disciplined, which is how they manage to do so much in their personal and professional lives very well.
Disciplined people stay the course. They keep their schedules and routines, attend meetings, fulfill deadlines, and do all they can to meet their goals and objectives in a timely and reliable manner.
That allows them to consistently work towards their goals, avoid distractions, and achieve success.
5 - Communication
Don’t shy away from articulating your ideas, plans, goals, intentions, missions, and visions, especially on things you know are worth pursuing. All successful entrepreneurs came out of their shell.
Only when you communicate effectively what you need and present ideas clearly to the right people can you bring onboard those who will help you achieve it.
Proper communication can motive, inspire, and uplift. It will help you build thriving relationships and partnerships that contribute to success.
So, be a good communicator and a doer, not just a dreamer. This is what will make the difference.