The goal of every entrepreneur is to be successful.
And that means being in the black, earning a profit, being loved by thousands of fans etc.
But what is it that makes an entrepreneur successful?
Today, we’ll explore the top characteristics and habits of successful entrepreneurs.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. I will earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you purchase through these links. Your support encourages me to continue blogging and help with the costs of hosting this site. Thank you!
Characteristic #1: Passion
The number 1 characteristic you should have to be a successful entrepreneur is passion.
You must really love what you’re doing. You must love your business. Because from now on, you will be spending countless hours working on this venture.
And if you decide to be a full-time entrepreneur, this venture will be your new job. Besides working on this business during your 9-to-6 work hours, you might still be thinking about it after work hours. Why? Because your entire livelihood depends on it.
When I mean ‘love’, I don’t mean loving this business for 3 minutes, a week or 5 months. I mean you truly and deeply love this venture.
You love it for years, for almost your whole life. You research without being asked to. You enjoy reading and learning more about it. You love enhancing your knowledge and honing your skills.
As the saying goes, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” If you’re passionate about this business, you aren’t really working. You’re pursuing your dream.
Your passion will be a powerful motivator that keeps you going despite the setbacks you face. It’s the answer when you ask yourself, “Why did I even start this business?”
On top of loving this venture, you also need to believe in your products and services.
Do you remember the reason why you created them in the first place?
You’ve created this product or service because you couldn’t find something like that in the market, because it solves a specific problem, because it makes your life easier etc.
Bear this in mind. This strong belief in your products and services will be another key motivator that keeps you moving forward.
Characteristic #2: Perseverance
And this brings us to the next characteristic, perseverance.
As Steve Jobs (co-founder of Apple) mentioned, “About half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
You need perseverance to be a successful entrepreneur. And this means being resilient in the face of failure and adversity, not giving up the moment you encounter an obstacle, holding on to your dream because you believe in it.
But if you’re already passionate about this business, perseverance should come naturally.
For goodness’ sake, you only live once. I’d rather die trying than not try at all. Just my two cents.
Also, here’s another quote:
Characteristic #3: Courage
An entrepreneur is someone who develops, organizes and manages a business venture. He or she must also have this willingness to take risks. As a matter of fact, the word “entrepreneur” first appeared in the French dictionary and is usually translated as “adventurer”.
Thus, you need to be a risk-taker. You shouldn’t be afraid of taking risks. You should be willing to try new ideas, explore new possibilities, experience new things, face new challenges.
Being an entrepreneur requires courage. In fact, you’re heading into uncharted territory without a guarantee of success.
For all you know, you could still be in the red after years of hard work. Just look at the fact that only 56% of startups survive to their fifth year!
But don’t let this statistic discourage you. Being courageous doesn’t mean being reckless. Of course, you shouldn’t be making unsafe or irrational decisions. You need to manage your risks: know what you shouldn’t do, know when to stop, learn from other experts in the industry.
This also means that you need to plan ahead. Set SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Track your progress and review your results. Translate your business strategy into a concrete action plan.
For example, you could take the risk of starting a business with your own funds. But you don’t have to take the risk of quitting your current job and relying solely on this new business venture. Instead, you can manage your risks: keep your full-time job which ensures your livelihood and at the same time, pursue your dream where you work on your own business after work hours.
Habit #1: Organize Your Workspace
Do you know that we spend one year of our lives looking for lost items?
Keeping your workspace clean, neat and organized is the first habit you should have. This will greatly boost productivity and efficiency.
Things that you need and use often should be within reach. Place them at a prominent spot, somewhere that you can see clearly. They need to be visible (not hidden from view) and easily accessible.
If your desk is dirty and messy, you might have a hard time finding what you need among the clutter. This will increase stress and reduce concentration. Plus, if you frequently switch between working and finding misplaced items, you will lose your focused workflow.
Start your day right with an organized workspace!
Habit #2: Organize Your Computer
Besides organizing physical items, you also need to organize things that you can’t see.
We’ll start with things on your computer.
Try not to clutter your desktop with numerous files. Group them together and put them into appropriate folders. Create subfolders if you want to categorize further. Remember to name them properly so you can tell at one glance what each folder contains.
Do delete duplicate content, unused programs, apps and files that are no longer needed.
Also, consider using a pretty wallpaper. It could be a picturesque scenery, cute puppies or even a quotation that inspires or motivates you. The point is to start your day on a happy note~
Habit #3: Organize & Automate Your Workflow
All entrepreneurs have a project management tool to organize and automate their workflow.
You need one too. Such tools help to manage your workflow by helping you plan ahead, tracking tasks from start to finish and improving team collaboration. By putting everything in one place, you can easily coordinate projects.
Try exploring and testing the different project management software (like Asana and Trello). Check out their interface and features. Or even roll it out to your team and use it for a current project. Basically, try to familiarize yourself with the software and determine whether it fits and improves your workflow.
I’m using Asana now. In fact, this blog post was published after I’ve checked off a list of tasks in Asana, from writing, editing to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Check out the Beginner’s Guide To Using Asana, Free Project Management Tool!
Habit #4: Go Paperless, Go Cloud
More and more businesses are moving to digital.
Paper documents take up space. Just think of the cabinets and folders you need to file your documents. Plus, the time and effort you need to organize these paper documents. Also, ink might fade for old documents.
On the contrary, if you move your documents to the cloud, you will be saving thousands of trees. You can scan these documents and upload them to the cloud. Such digitized documents won’t fade over time.
Cloud is where you store all types of digital data. You can then access this cloud storage from anywhere in the world, using any device. Meaning that you don’t have to carry the documents wherever you go. All you need is your phone or laptop in which you can access the cloud. This data will be safe and secure as long as you have a strong password.
Some examples include Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) and Evernote. You can upload documents that you’ll be able to access every time you log in.
Habit #5: Declutter Your Inbox
As an entrepreneur, the first thing that you do every morning will probably be checking your inbox. Answering customers’ questions, replying to business partners, discussing with your team members etc.
If all your emails appear in your inbox (without being sorted by labels or folders), you might be wasting unnecessary time reading through all of them.
Instead, if you declutter your inbox, your time will be spent more wisely. You can focus your attention on important emails first then slowly digest less important ones. This will greatly boost your productivity and reduce the stress of having too many unread emails in your inbox.
This is the secret to my zero-unread-email inbox… Priority Inbox! Check out my Gmail productivity hacks for more tips~
Habit #6: Track Your Time, Track Your Work Hours
If you’re a freelancer who is paid by hour, it’s important to keep track of the hours you spent for each project. This is to ensure that you’re compensated fairly for your effort.
Even if you’re not paid by hour, let’s say being an entrepreneur who creates products and services, it’s good to know how much time you’ve spent. This way, you can better price your products and services.
Ensure that you’re not underpaid. Hence, do charge your customers a reasonable price by taking into account the man-hours.
There are many time tracking tools that you can use (Asana even has integrations with numerous time trackers so you can track time for each Asana task). Or you can simply use Google Sheet to track the time spent on each project. I have a document that notes down all my writing and editing hours for each book (as well as the words per hour)~
If you’re an entrepreneur or freelancer, you can scale your business with tools like FreshBooks or AND.CO. Besides tracking time, these tools also help you send invoices, track payments, manage tasks and projects.
Habit #7: Track All Income & Expenses
And of course, you need to track all your profits and losses. This includes
- Profit from selling your products and services
- Expense from buying a business software
Income is quite straightforward. Any money you earned from your business is counted as income. For example, income for me includes profit from affiliate links and royalty from my books.
On the contrary, expense is less clear. Lines are blurred when you bought an item for your business and yet, it’s also for personal use.
If something is purchased solely for business, it’s definitely an expense.
But if an item is for both personal and business use (like a new computer), then you need to consider how much to put under expense. It could be half the price (where you use the item evenly for both personal and business) or it could be full price (since you initially bought this tool for your business but it’s so great that you use it for your personal life too).
Bear in mind to note down every income and expense, no matter how small they are. This could be the thirty cents royalty from a $0.99 eBook or a new file you bought to store your contracts.
Also, consider organizing this document by year and category. Or even noting down details for each specific item. Include a graph too for visual representation so you can tell at a glance how well your business is doing for the year.
Habit #8: Set Deadlines & Strictly Adhere To Them
Last but not least, set realistic deadlines and meet these deadlines every time.
When you’re setting deadlines, remember to include adequate buffer time for unexpected delays and obstacles. Make sure that the deadlines are within a reasonable time frame. Don’t over- or underestimate the amount of time needed to complete the task.
However, it’s still better to make deadlines more lenient than strict. Just like the popular business strategy of “underpromise and overdeliver”, it’s better to meet deadlines earlier than to miss deadlines.
Bear this deadline in your mind when working on the task. Or you can assign the task to a specific person and set an end date in your project management software.
For instance, you could have an editorial calendar that lists down both upcoming and published blog posts. And of course, this includes the publish date. Meaning that you should have everything ready before this expected publish date (editing, featured image, SEO meta description etc.).
Now It’s Your Turn
Entrepreneurship is an adventure. You’re essentially embarking on an arduous journey where you take risks and face new challenges every day… without a guarantee of success.
Hence, don’t jump into entrepreneurship without a solid plan, in-depth research, sufficient capital etc.
Try to cultivate these habits and half the battle is won.
What other characteristics or habits do you think will help make an entrepreneur successful?