10 Habits of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs
Updated: Jan 30, 2019
Entrepreneurship can definitely be scary. Taking a leap and starting a business can cause a lot of stress…mentally and financially. Generally, first-time business owners succeed between 10% - 30% of the time. Obviously, that means a lot of them fail. Whether due to lack of experience, understanding, resources, demand, or will power, the fact is, entrepreneurship can be really challenging. Successful entrepreneurship becomes even more difficult if it is approached as a “job”. In order to be successful, it really needs to be viewed as a lifestyle.
Recently, I decided to launch my business, Sunday Morning Marketing, LLC. While it is still in the beginning stages, I want to do my best to set myself up to be in the 10-30% as opposed to the 70-90%. I’ve read the stories of many successful entrepreneurs, and noticed that a lot of them follow similar strategies and patterns in order to make entrepreneurship not just a job, but a lifestyle.
In my life, I have started implementing these strategies, and I find that I am significantly more energized, motivated, and excited about getting my company off the ground. For anyone out there who is also thinking about starting a business or pursuing an entrepreneurial endeavor, here are 10 habits that successful entrepreneurs implement into their daily lives.
They Ignore Negativity
Business is cut-throat. If you have ever watched an episode of Shark Tank, you know how often entrepreneurs face difficulty. Business owners on the show are constantly told “This is a dog”, or “Stop while you are ahead”. If you are on the receiving end of a comment like this, it can be a devastating blow. With the challenges and difficulties that starting a business presents in and of itself, negativity and doubt coming from people you respect can be completely deflating.
PayPal, perhaps one of the most commonly used P2P money transferring platforms in the world, was voted one of the “Top 10 worst business ideas” in 1999. Today, Paypal is worth more than $105 billion. It is so important to shut out the negativity and keep driving toward your goal.
They Maintain Relationships With Mentors
Drawing on the experience of other people is critical to becoming successful in business. Successful entrepreneurs have relationships with people who have gone before them and blazed their own trails as well. There mentors can prove invaluable in navigating the daily challenges of starting a new business. They can be a voice of reason, a way to keep yourself grounded in reality. They can also bring new insight to the table to allow you to see different perspectives and look at problems from different angles. Mentors, especially mentors who believe in what you are doing, can offer industry knowledge, past experience, and answers to questions that would other-wise cost a lot of money or time to find. Mentors can also help you overcome point #1 – negativity. When doubt begins to creep in, and you begin to lose track of your course, mentors can help you reorient, and can provide encouragement, fueling you to move forward.
They Exercise Discretion
While ignoring negativity is foundational for becoming successful in entrepreneurship, a good entrepreneur also needs to understand when the negativity is warranted. Having a strong relationship with a mentor can help a lot in this area. Sometimes, a business idea or decision is just not going to work out. In these cases, putting your head down and trudging forward can just lead to smashing your head into a wall, not necessarily success.
Discretion allows an entrepreneur to be able to see when it is appropriate to push forward, and when it is better to take a step back and recalibrate. That’s not to say that taking a step back means scrapping an idea completely, but discretion will allow you to figure out what negativity or doubt is worth listening to, and adapt.
The life of an entrepreneur can change daily. Adaptability and the ability to be flexible with your growing and changing business is critical to finding success. Prioritization helps entrepreneurs keep what’s most important at the top of their to-do list. Maybe your top priorities are your kids or your marriage, or maybe just something you’re involved in, like a church or a sport’s team. Figuring out how to prioritize prevents you from unintentionally neglecting the things in your life that matter most.
They Take Time For Themselves
Along with prioritization, it is important to build time into your schedule for yourself. To focus on you and your well-being. Companies across the world are beginning to spend money on personal well-being for their employees. They recognize that if an employee is given the time to take care of themselves and to get all of the other elements of their life in order, they are far more productive at work.
As Forbes puts it, “Workplace health and well-being programs not only have a positive impact on your employees’ wellness, they can also lead to a significant increase in your team’s engagement, cohesiveness and overall productivity”.
In the same way, entrepreneurs need to take time to focus on themselves and their well-being. If you are constantly depriving yourself of sleep, not taking the time to make good, healthy meals, and not exercising, you will become fatigued, unable to focus, and unproductive. Taking time to take care of yourself is pivotal in becoming successful.
They Know How To Collaborate
Starting a business is rarely ever just a one-man or one-woman show. It takes a team of people to get an idea from the drawing board to the store shelves. Successful entrepreneurs surround themselves with talent and quickly learn to collaborate. As a visionary, it can be easy to fall into the “better to do it myself” mindset. Logically, the idea is in your head, and if you want it to come to life the right way, you better do it all yourself so your vision doesn’t get warped, right? WRONG. Collaboration and teaming up with other people is crucial. Entrepreneurs learn how to convey their ideas to others, and figure out the best ways to leverage others’ talents to bring their dreams to fruition.
If you are more creative, get a numbers person on-board. Someone to keep you grounded in financial reality and to help you develop an effective budget to prevent you from over-extending yourself in certain areas. If you are more analytical, try bringing on some creative talent to help you reimagine the possible and brainstorm ideas that never crossed your mind. Bring together a team of trustworthy people who can help you share your dream, and bring different angles to the table.
As I just mentioned, a budget is SO important for a start-up. As difficult as it is to find good talent to collaborate with, it can be even more difficult to find the dollars to work with. Stretching your dollar is imperative to finding success. You want to make sure that you are spending on necessities, not just conveniences or nice-to-have commodities. Invest the time up-front in building a dynamic budget. Build a budget that has the flexibility to change if money comes in that you aren’t expecting, or if money doesn’t come in that you were banking on. Iron out what is the most important, and what expenses are necessities. Figure out how much you will have to spend and when, and then plan your expenses so that you can afford the things you need.
By building a budget, you will prevent yourself from running into self-inflicted financial roadblocks. Too often, people just rack up crazy amounts of credit card debt, without ever really planning out what they are spending money on and why? Do you really need a full license to that software? Or will the free two-week trial work? Do you need to take that client out to dinner? Or would a coffee date work better? These are all questions that building a budget forces you to think about. And by spending the time building out the budget, you will save yourself from unnecessarily spending the money on unimportant expenses. Stretch your dollar further.
They Establish A Morning Routine
Establishing a business requires planning. Planning doesn’t need to just stop with your business though. Successful entrepreneurs plan-out their mornings to maximize their time and to take advantage of every hour that ticks on by.
Establish a routine, so that when you wake up, those 15 minutes where you are coming out of your sleepy fog are spent doing things on instinct. Don’t waste your morning walking in circles, figuring out what to wear, debating what to have for breakfast, and looking for your car keys. Go to bed at night knowing what time you will wake up, what you will do in the morning, and when you will leave for work.
Some things that I have found work best for me in a morning routine are:
Exercise – after I start a morning by going to the gym or on a run, I have an energy to go about the rest of the day. I find it’s a good way to work myself out of my sleeping fog and into the mindset to seize the day.
Eat a good breakfast – I don’t waste time eating granola bars or sugary cereal. Eggs, yogurt and fruit give me the energy to get going and focus on what I need to accomplish
Spend time in silence – Every morning I pray, reflect, and think about the blessings I have been given. I take time to remember where I started and where I am going, and I express my gratitude for the way I have been provided for.
Set goals – On my morning drives I spend time reflecting on my goals. I analyze where I am at in accomplishing certain goals, and I consider setting new goals to replace goals that I have accomplished
Read – Every morning I try and read for at least 15 minutes. This reading is NEVER work related. I read something completely unrelated to what I do to get my mind working, my spirit right, and my creative juices flowing.
They Keep Things In Perspective
Over the past several years, I have worked with countless entrepreneurs. One of the most attractive qualities I have come across in working with all of these individuals is humility. Now don’t get me wrong, humility in entrepreneurs is not always very common. But when you meet someone who is passionate about what they do, motivated to accomplish, but also humble and easy to work with, it is so easy to get onboard with them, believe in their mission, and do everything you can do to help push them further down the road to success. Humility makes collaboration fluid, encouragement readily available, and help easy to find.
They Have An Appetite For Learning…And A Willingness To Make Changes
The most successful entrepreneurs I have ever met describe themselves as learners. They are ALWAYS trying to learn. Reading, studying, and analyzing the successes of their competitors, entrepreurial thinking really focuses on learning as much as you can. In my opinion, the best entrepreneurs are sponges just absorbing as much information as they can. After all, information is power.
More importantly than the desire to learn, however, is the willingness to make changes. Knowing when to admit you are wrong can save you a world of headache. As you learn, you will find that certain things you have been doing may be adding work. If that’s the case…adapt! Figure out how to learn and apply what you learn to optimize your ideas. Make your education work for you!