As an entrepreneur and someone who has worked with hundreds of other entrepreneurs over the past 9 years or so, I’ve observed certain common characteristics of successful business owners. I’ve seen these traits in the people I have worked with and in ones I have studied.
Of course, having these traits does not guarantee success in the business world. “Normal” people often share some, but thriving leaders often have many, if not all. So, what are the common characteristics these entrepreneurs have?
Entrepreneurs must have passion. For most, you really like what you do, and money is not your primary motivator. Money is an added benefit, of course, but most of you genuinely like what you do.
I’m not talking tongue-in-cheek when I say this, but I really like my career. Actually, I LOVE it. I work with some of the best clients, business owners all over the United States. I show them how to reach their retirement goals, and I show them how to make their companies more valuable. We work, learn, laugh, and cry together.
In fact, one event in particular forever marked my life. I’ll never forget when a dear client of mine called me when she found out her husband died unexpectedly. As we were crying together, I was able to tell her that we did it right. Even though they were young, we had planned for the best and the worst that could happen. This family with young children was going to be okay.
Friends, that moment created a passion in me to secure people’s financial positions in life and business. Most other entrepreneurs genuinely have a passion for their career, for their business, and for what they do, too.
Another thing I’ve noticed about entrepreneurs is you are motivated to reach very specific goals. In the early part of every year, I work with business owners on specific goals they want to accomplish that year. Many times, they’ll say things like, “I want to increase my business’s income.” Or they’ll say, “I want to increase my margin,” or pick whatever you want to say. However, a true entrepreneur has very, very specific goals.
At the beginning of this year, I was talking with one of my clients who had 17 micro-goals needed to achieve one hierarchical goal! I didn’t tell this particular client to do that, but in the case, he wanted to reach a very specific goal. So, what goals are you trying to reach?
The third thing that has struck me about entrepreneurs is your resilience. You fall and you fail, but you get up and go again. You don’t quit. No matter what comes against you, you don’t quit. I once read a statement by Eleanor Roosevelt that I’ll never forget. She said, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'”
If you’re just starting your business, friends, you’re going to get punched square in the teeth at some point in your career. It’ll knock you right on your rear end, metaphorically speaking, and you’re going to be on the ground begging for your momma to come to your rescue. Yet, if you’re a real entrepreneur, you’ll get back up.
A mentor of mine, a youth director, once told me, “Justin, one day your little rubber ducky’s gonna get run over by a speedboat.” I’ve laughed and laughed about that because he was right… my “little rubber ducky” got sunk by a speedboat. But I’m resilient. I began again.
Obviously, if you’re getting back up again and again after being knocked down, you’re not only resilient, you’re optimistic. You can focus on the end goal. For the most part, you’re pretty positive and not stuck down-in-the-dumps. You’re not like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. You’re not walking around mumbling and grumbling. Instead, you’re getting up after taking your licks and moving on knowing you can’t be stopped.
The next thing I’ve noticed about entrepreneurs is you’re creative; you find multiple ways to reach your goal(s). You’ll laugh at this illustration, but I’m going to let you into my life a little bit.
One day, when my brother and I were around 14 or 15-years-old, we acquired a 10-foot long aluminum boat. Through the woods, a couple hundred yards away from the house, we had a pond. On this particular day, my brother and I wanted to go fishing, so we took the boat to the pond, but we didn’t have a paddle. Mom thought we were crazy, but we put our brains together to come up with a solution. We didn’t have a pole long enough to push the boat around that deep water, so we ended up getting shovels. You know, we went out on that boat for the entire summer paddling around with shovels. We were creative when we didn’t have enough money to go out and buy a paddle. Not having a paddle or a trolling motor didn’t stop us. Our creativity made us productive.
Like my brother and me, most entrepreneurs I know are creative like that. You will figure out how to make things work. Even if you don’t have the money, you have vision, and you find a way to meet your goals.
Speaking of vision, many successful entrepreneurs have a kind of vision. You can see roads where others do not. You can see paths to various levels of success, and you can see how to accomplish goals that you’ve laid out for yourself or your team. More importantly, though, you have the ability to communicate that vision to your team members, your customers, and your clients. To me, that is admirable.
Lastly, I’ve noticed that as entrepreneurs, we’re willing to take risks. And we are brave doing it. Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, once tweeted, “Everyone can tell you the risk. An entrepreneur can see the reward.” I agree with him on that. Many people can tell you why something can’t be done, but the entrepreneur can tell you why it should be done and why it has to be done.
Like I said before, having many of the same characteristics as successful business owners does not guarantee success in your business. But this list does give you an idea of WHO the successful are.
NEXT STEP: Read about the 10 Essential Questions you need to ask yourself before starting your business.