What are the characteristics of entrepreneurs? In this article, we're taking a look at the traits and habits of successful entrepreneurs, what they're doing differently and how you can adopt the entrepreneur mindset yourself.
On the journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur, you'll need to change how you see education and learning.
I know this because I had to go through these changes to become a successful entrepreneur myself.
To grow a successful business, you need to first grow yourself.
Learning the traits and habits of successful entrepreneurs is a vital part of getting there.
Adopting the entrepreneur mindset is what will take you from merely being self-employed to an entrepreneur living the life you always dreamt of. The entrepreneur lifestyle is so much more than just making good money.
Setting up your life for success
Many people ask me how to become a successful entrepreneur. Specifically, what they need to change in their life and what they need to learn to get there.
I usually respond by saying that to become an entrepreneur, you should start with changing your lifestyle.
Because I know the lifestyle they have just won't allow the shift to happen.
Entrepreneurship is not a job or career.
Being an entrepreneur is a lifestyle: life and work tend to become the same thing. A successful mindset about life overall helps to create a successful business.
Your life will become much more integrated with your work. What you do in your free time, will affect your ability to do important work and what you do in your work, will affect your free time just as much.
It's highly important to make the decision that you are going to become successful in all areas of life, not just in business.
Some entrepreneurs completely neglect their health when starting out, in hopes to make money. They will then have to use their money to fix their health. That is what people call ‘false economy'.
After my 10 + years of being an entrepreneur, I realized something:
If you're healthy, you'll make more money. If you're happy, you'll make more money.
Striving towards success in other areas of life will rub off on the wealth aspect of your life.
And after all, having financial success means nothing if it doesn't improve life quality.
While working hard, make sure:
- You spend time with friends and family.
- Your diet is optimized.
- You have a workout routine and daily physical activities.
- You take time for yourself and do exciting things outside of work.
But let me throw a monkey wrench into this: don't try to get the perfect balance in everything all of the time. Sometimes you just have to put more focus on your business for a while, and that's fine in small doses.
Habits of highly successful entrepreneurs
Here are some of the most important habits that a lot of successful entrepreneurs incorporate into their daily lives.
1. They are careful who they spend their time with
You will become the average of the five people you spend the most time with – so keep that in mind when choosing who to hang out with each day. This can have a tremendous impact.
2. They know how to motivate themselves
You're gonna go through more obstacles than you can count, and your ability to motivate yourself through those hard times will be directly correlated to your success.
3. They build on strengths
You should focus on identifying your strengths and passions and really build on those. Outsource (or set up a plan to outsource for when you have the finances) anything you're not good at or don't like.
4. They are good at dealing with people
As an entrepreneur, you're always going to be dealing with people. Employees, partners, clients, and investors will all bring difficult situations to you, and being able to deal with those calmly and professionally is vital.
5. They don't nitpick
Entrepreneurs are highly action-oriented and know how to control their perfectionism. While they don't get rid of the desire for perfection completely, they're not getting paralyzed by minor details.
6. They take calculated risks
It's definitely an absolute necessity to take risks in the entrepreneurship game – but they can't be foolish ones. Always calculate the risk and weigh it against the potential upside.
7. They don't multi-task
To get important work done, you need to learn how to reach deep focus. Avoiding multitasking is the best way to accomplish that. It is better to do one thing really well at a time than many things half-heartedly.
The importance of good learning habits
As an entrepreneur, you're always going to be in learning-mode.
The more you learn, the more you earn, as Buffet says.
However, the biggest dilemma in entrepreneurship is finding the fine line between over-learning and under-learning.
If your input is too high, you just won't have time for enough meaningful output. But not enough input means you won't have the skills for meaningful enough output. That's why you need to get a balance of the two.
Tips to keep your input/output in balance
- Consume what's relevant for the moment. Learn about the things you're going to be working on right now or planning to do in the coming days. Stacking up a ton of information for the future isn't very effective and may not even end up being relevant.
- Apply what you learn immediately. Keep a strict mindset about actually applying what you're learning. You can read as much as you like but without action, it will be useless to you.
- Read from the best. There's a lot of knowledge out there, and you'll find so many conflicting theories on any given topic. Try to stick to the top authors and people who have actually accomplished something – as those have a higher chance of being accurate.
- Read, contemplate, study, and repeat. Don't be afraid to reread a book or take a course twice. The initial level of understanding might not be enough for you to make it instinctual. Study and contemplate the material you're consuming so it really sinks in.
- Don't get too much input at once. If you spend 3 hours reading, you'll get too much information at once. Personally, I love reading for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening. That gives me enough time to get a golden nugget from the book, video, or podcast but not too long that I get overwhelmed or forget what I've learned.
- Consume what you enjoy. The best way to learn is by consuming material that you enjoy – this is when your brain has the highest absorption.
- Learn from different sources. Try to get input from various sources of knowledge. Watch inspirational movies, read classic books, listen to funny podcasts, and take step-by-step courses. There are benefits to each type of learning, and you'll discover what is best for you.
Adopt the entrepreneur mindset
To help you get further along your entrepreneurship journey, let me share some of the success mindsets that I've adopted during my years as an entrepreneur.
Below is a compilation of traits making up the entrepreneur mindset. These are the frameworks needed for you to become a successful entrepreneur.
1. Be more optimistic than the average person
To become an entrepreneur, you need to be more optimistic than the average individual.
It sounds obvious, but really, your level of belief in yourself and your business needs to be excessive. That demands a high level of optimism.
Let me also point out the importance of being realistic. Finding the balance between optimism and realism is a major key in actualizing your dreams.
One thing is for sure: those who are optimistic have the power to turn the seemingly impossible into reality.
2. Have a strong drive & desire
All successful entrepreneurs have an exceptional drive. The drive to move forward and get to the next level.
Many people are not happy where they are, but they are content. The secret to a happy life as an entrepreneur is to do the opposite.
Never be content, but always be happy.
Remember, entrepreneurship isn't just about winning – at least not all the time. It's about building, creating and growing, so you can set new goals and move forward.
Keep up your motivation and make sure you build a life that inspires you. If you've lost your drive, then your job is to find it again.
If you feel like you need motivation, take a break and watch some inspirational movies for entrepreneurs.
3. Ask the right questions
Having an entrepreneur mindset requires you to become good at asking important questions.
Part of that is to first figure out what the question is. Many people are asking the wrong questions. For example: “How do I make money?”
A better question and one that will drive you to action, is “How can I create enough value for people?“.
Moreover, you need to be able to ask the right people. Many times, people ask their friends or family for advice to achieve something. Even if they've never done anything similar in their lives.
Who has already accomplished what you want to do? They're the people to ask.
4. Know your strengths and weaknesses
An important part of the entrepreneur mindset is knowing what you are good at and being able to capitalize on it.
But also being aware of your weaknesses – and not building your effort around the areas where you can't produce high-quality results.
Remember, you can always recruit others to cover your weaknesses. In fact, you should outsource whatever isn't in your toolset. Delegation is one of the most important tasks as an entrepreneur.
You can't and shouldn't be an expert in every part of your business. Figure out what you like to do and where you can generate value.
5. Network, network, network
As we previously discussed, networking is of high importance for entrepreneurs.
Connecting with like-minded individuals is essential to becoming a successful entrepreneur. A strong and diverse entrepreneurial network not only improves knowledge and resources but also communication skills.
I really recommend creating a network of like-minded entrepreneurs. This was day and night for me and my success.
Maybe you can't find them where you live. Well, sometimes you've got to work a little harder to find them. That was my situation as a young entrepreneur.
The diversification of knowledge and knowing people in different industries will help you grow so much as an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs are always networking because they realize that everybody has the potential to provide value, and there's always a deal to be made.
6. Turn ideas into action
Turning an idea into reality is not an easy task for everyone.
This is why you often see action-oriented people at the top of the world. Even if they're not the smartest, they actually make things happen.
People often talk about the great ideas or plans they have, but rarely take action. Don't give ideas too much credit.
Setting up a life where the only thing that counts is action will help you turn ideas into reality.
7. Keep an open mind
While the average person may see a problem, the entrepreneurial mind sees an opportunity.
Entrepreneurs are generally very open minded and embrace change.
That's why we catch trends faster.
We live 20 years ahead.
Having an open-minded approach allows you to take advantage of changing situations in the world and be quicker to capitalize on opportunities arising from them.
8. Have mentors and role models
I can't stress this enough.
You need mentors (here are the top 50 entrepreneurs who serve as mentors for me).
Whether they are real-life mentors or from books, videos, or podcasts – they're all beneficial.
Find people who you admire and have accomplished what you want to accomplish.
Take some time out of your day to learn from them.
Tip: don't look for perfection in mentors and don't take their advice in areas where they are not performing.
Instead, be extremely open-minded to their ideas when they do know what they're talking about.
One idea is to start looking at the top 20 richest people in the world to learn from.
9. Maintain focus and resilience
Entrepreneurs are faced with some tough decisions and overall need a heck of a lot more patience in life.
Your ideas and practices may be challenged by others. They might not always give you the results you expected. The whole world might change in the blink of an eye because of a pandemic or natural disaster.
Mentally prepare for some tough setbacks.
Learn how to stay productive through difficult times, and stay on your path.
At the same time, know you'll overcome all of them eventually. Not only that, but you'll become stronger.
Staying strong and maintaining focus no matter what your emotional state is key to an entrepreneurial mindset.
Most good things only come after long hustles.
But not all people are willing to hustle, and that's why they shouldn't become an entrepreneur.
10. Be passionate about your work
Entrepreneurs are very much passion-driven.
It's difficult for us to work too long on projects we have no passion for, at least long term.
So, yeah, the old cliche that you need to love what you do, is especially true if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur.
It is passion which turns a small idea into something that is world-renowned.
You need to be completely dedicated to making your business work in order for it to succeed.
Giving it love on a daily basis.
That's gonna be difficult to do if you have no passion for it.
11. Love the grind even when it's hard
At the same time, realize right now that you can't love everything you do – at all times. Sometimes, you're gonna have to do things that you don't want. This is what we call the grind.
As Jeff Bezos says, “you must love the grind, otherwise, you will hate life – because life is the grind.”
I love that quote.
You're gonna need to put in the hours. There are myths going around right now that you can just set up a semi-passive income working a few hours per week.
Nah. I'm not saying it's not possible, because it technically is, but it isn't what you should aim for if you want to be a true entrepreneur.
It's much better to get used to the idea of hard work while not sacrificing life at the same time. Finding that balance is key.
There's enough hours in the day to do everything you need, including grinding away.
12. Learn effective time management
Having good time management is important for anyone, but it is even more important for entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs are often faced with a difficult time dilemma. There are just too many opportunities, and we want to get everything done at once.
Though, this can often lead to procrastination and miss-prioritization of what needs to be done now.
Understand what's really important in your life and business and then organize your days around that.
Time management isn't always about optimizing every little thing in your life but spending time on what's truly important. That includes family, health, and mental well-being.
Entrepreneurship isn't a race, and if you want to make it in the long run, you need some work-life balance.