Entrepreneurship is not for the faint hearted, it is tough, it’s lonely, it’s risky. not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. I was having a discussion with friends of mine – entrepreneurs, about this topic, a question came up, are entrepreneurs made or born?
Entrepreneurship starts early, in some cases during childhood, it is a process. Certain traits and characteristics cut out those destined to be entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship is like a bug, it bites, and once bitten there is no antidote. According to Merriam Webster Dictionary an Entrepreneur is, “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise” Entrepreneurs have these characteristics.
“You may wonder whether entrepreneur simply means “a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money” or whether it carries an additional connotation of far-sightedness and innovation……” Merriam Webster goes on to explain that ‘it can go in either direction.’
It’s not automatic that you will be a successful entrepreneur, the road to entrepreneurship is littered with bones of those who failed to see their grandiose plans come to fruition.
Being a successful entrepreneur has a price, you have to take a risk. Joseph Todd Lonsdale, popularly known as Joe Lonsdale,- the founding partner of Formation 8, a top performing private fund, has this to say about entrepreneurship:
“Entrepreneurship is in large part about building something from nothing, which means creating a cause.” – Do you have an entrepreneurial cause? Read on to know if you do.
You have passion in what you do
Passion is the fuel that keeps entrepreneurs moving forward, when the desire to work, is long gone and all you have left is willpower, when you have no money and the bills are piled up, Passion will keep you energized and moving forward.
If you have an idea that consumes you, if time stops every time you are working on this idea when nothing else matters except this vision, you have passion.
Merriam Webster dictionary defines passion as an “an intense, driving, or overmastering feeling of conviction, a strong liking or desire for, or devotion to some activity, object or concept”
All entrepreneurs who have ever succeeded at anything had a strong conviction or desire to change or transform, create or offer some service that would help alleviate a problem.
Nita Mukesh Ambani the wife of the richest man in Asia, chairman of Reliance industries Mukesh Ambani, said this: “my father’s own view was more than entrepreneurship it was really a passion to build an institution in India”
Do you have a passion to build something, build anything then you have an entrepreneurial spirit.
You are a problem solver
Successful Entrepreneurs start out as problem solvers, when irked by a problem, they do not seat back and wail, they worry about finding a solution, and never rest until they do.
Jeff Bezos the richest man in the world, founder of Amazon dreamt of creating a virtual bookstore that could offer millions of titles to millions of readers all over the world. He solved the problem consolidating the world’s book readership under one roof.
Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba desired to create a platform, a simple listings site where Chinese manufacturers and suppliers would connect with overseas companies. The flagship website Alibaba has since morphed into a world marketplace, connecting buyers and sellers from all over the world.
Most successful entrepreneurs who started at the bottom of the rung. Millions of other entrepreneurs from all over the world, saw problems, thought and offered solutions, and in so doing so grew multi million businesses.
Peter Drucker, the famous management guru, author of -The Effective Executive – wrote “Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.”
If you constantly seek innovative ways to solve problems, you are an entrepreneur in the making.
You have excellent communication skills
Effective communication skills are a prerequisite to good salesmanship, when you know how to articulate and present your business ideas, product, or service, you will succeed as an entrepreneur.
Excellent communication is not all about talking, it’s about listening. Active listening, it’s about empathy, asking questions, creating rapport and building trust. It’s about clarity of speech and correct articulation of ideas.
Good communicators know how to read body language and give feedback. They respond appropriately.
Communication is a skill that must be learned. Oprah Winfrey, Martin Luther King Jnr, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela were all great communicators who knew how to articulate and express their passions.
You do not need to be like them, but you need to learn from them. Your good communication skills are a sign that you will succeed as an entrepreneur.
You don’t leave a job half done
Working Hard is not all about sweating, it’s about getting the job done. Do you have a habit of not leaving your workstation until the job is done?
If you find yourself working on a project long after everybody else has gone to bed, if you love waking up at ungodly hours to get the job done, if you are always burning the midnight oil you have an entrepreneurial spirit.
Giving everything you’ve got to get a job done is sacrifice, Successful entrepreneurs sacrifice everything: sleep, comfort, they sacrifice their social lives and are so consumed by what they do they never seem to have time for anything else.
You do not mind being alone
You’ve heard many successful people utter this statement, “it’s lonely at the top.” This loneliness does not start when they succeed, it starts when they join the ranks of Entrepreneurship.
Because you leave in your head, pursue a vision that only you can see, follow a dream that no one else has, you start losing friends along the way, family members may fail to buy into your dream. Colleagues, friends and family, will abandon you during critical times when you need them most.
If you do not mind loneliness and find nothing wrong with having yourself as company to yourself. If you can go for days without craving for social interactions, then you have the mettle of an entrepreneur.
“I realized that the journey of entrepreneurship can be a lonely one. Not everyone wants to behave in or support your vision, and every entrepreneur faces this moment of truth, It’s hard to walk away but harder to persevere. Naveen Tiwari, Indian entrepreneur, founder and CEO of InMobi enterprise – a marketers’ platform.
You constantly acquire new knowledge
An unquenchable hunger for knowledge, a desire to know more about what you are passionate about, a deep thirst to acquire new skills and techniques, these are what sets successful entrepreneurs apart.
Soichiro Honda, the founder of Honda Motor Corporation didn’t care much for academic credentials, but he recognized the most important aspect of education, – constant learning, “I don’t give a damn for the diploma. What I want is the knowledge,”
If you have an attitude of continuous learning and love to research for new information and ideas about your area of expertise, you have what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.
You stay ‘hungry’
Staying hungry is not about food. It’s about following through your vision, metamorphosing with the business as it grows, reaching for new heights.
Entrepreneurs who stay hungry do not get stuck with yesterday’s successes, they aggressively pursue new goals, they adjust their vision to encompass new horizons.
If you have a hunger to go after new opportunities while acknowledging recent successes, you have what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur.
You do not mind delayed gratification
Let’s face it, the entrepreneur’s lifestyle is one of continuous sacrifices, you will sacrifice your comfort, and luxuries. The business will come first and everything else second.
Successful entrepreneurs Keep off buying a new car even when they can afford it. They focus on building the business instead, they invest to increase their net worth, successful entrepreneurs understand the power of waiting.
Your ability to wait and not rush out and buy that dream car, or that luxurious home or an expensive suit or pair of shoes. until you can absolutely afford it, is an entrepreneurial quality.
You pay yourself first
Do you pay all your bills, take care of your financial obligations to others first before saving the what remains? You got the saving formula wrong.
Paying yourself first is about setting aside a percentage of your income before paying any other bill to save and invest. It might be in a retirement plan or a savings account.
Entrepreneurs who have succeeded know what it means to pay yourself first. If you are committed to honoring this important wealth creation principle, you will succeed as an entrepreneur.
You do not mind a frugal lifestyle
Warren Buffet the third richest man in the world lives in the same house he bought in 1958, eats the same food he’s eaten his entire life, does not drive luxury cars and keeps the same habits he had before he became a billionaire.
You may not live a frugal life like Warren Buffet’s, but most successful entrepreneurs, live modest lifestyles. They focus on saving the bulk of their income and investing.
Do you resist the temptation to ‘upgrade; your lifestyle every time your income increases? Do you instead increase your savings and invest more in income generating assets? You are on the right path for successful entrepreneurship.
You make a budget and follow it through
A budget is like a rail guide that directs your financial activities towards a certain goal. It spells out how much money you should spend, and where to spend it,
A budget keeps your focus fixed on financial goals. All successful entrepreneurs have embraced the power of making and following through a budget.
A business that doesn’t make a budget doesn’t have long to live, it will die. The ability to make a budget and stick to it is an important trait that marks you out as a successful entrepreneur.
You have a high self esteem
Harvey Mackay a syndicated columnist, a businessman, writes, “Like it or not, life is a series of competitions, you may be competing for a grade, a spot on a team, a job. Or the largest account in town. The higher your self-esteem is, the better you get along with yourself, with others and the more you’ll accomplish.”
Entrepreneurs who succeed, have to battle and win against low self-esteem. Your self-esteem will make you knock on doors you wouldn’t ordinarily knock on. It will help you walk in circles you wouldn’t naturally walk in.
Do you have high self-esteem, a positive outlook on life about yourself? That is your ticket to succeeding as an entrepreneur.
You don’t blame others for your mistakes
We all make mistakes, but most people find it easier to shift blame. When you acknowledge your errors, and are willing to work on making things right you develop a sense of responsibility. Responsibility is what sets successful entrepreneurs apart from the crowd.
If you do not blame the society, your environment, your school teacher or your rich uncle for why you aren’t successful; If you take stock of your circumstances and honestly acknowledge your own shortcomings you are destined for successful entrepreneurship.
You have a role model
Role models or mentors will help you to find the right direction in life, Successful entrepreneurial role models have achieved a certain measure of success despite their circumstances.
A role model inspires you to do greater things to become what you would ordinarily not have become. They push you to reach beyond yourself and achieve the impossible.
If you have a role model somebody to look up to in business, somebody to emulate they will help direct you on the right path of entrepreneurship.
You have street ‘smarts’
Merriam Webster dictionary defines Street ‘smarts’ or streetwise as,” possessing the skills and attitudes necessary to survive in a difficult or dangerous situation or environment.”
A street smart person is one who is quick to analyze a situation and quickly makes the right judgment before things get out of hand. You do not need to have been born or raised in a city to be street smart, in as much as cities offer good learning opportunities for survival tactics.
Streetwise knowledge is particularly important when it comes to the art of deal making. If you do not understand the intricacies of deals, you will be fried.
You are relentless
If you have a strong desire to succeed, and are committed to doing what it takes to succeed, then you are relentless. Tim Grover has written a book about mental toughness, it’s about letting nothing stop you from reaching your goals. The book’s title is ‘Relentless.’
If you find yourself so committed to your life’s purpose that nothing and no one can dissuade you from doing what you’ve got to do, then you have the relentless spirit, and you will succeed as an Entrepreneur.
- You work out
Your body is all you have. taking care of your body physically and nutritionally is very important. Successful entrepreneurs work on their physical fitness. Being physically fit keeps you energized and focused on the tasks at hand.
Do you have a work out regime? When you work out you not only become stronger and healthier, your brain grows. This means that you can face the challenges of life head on and emerge victorious. Morning workouts are like energy boosters they help you to face each new day with cheer.
If you have a workout regime, you have discovered the secret known to many successful entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship is a rewarding experience to everyone who succeeds. But the freedom to be your own boss, to dictate your own terms, to live the lifestyle of your choice, comes with a price.
You must develop these traits and others to succeed as an entrepreneur.