Last summer, I was on vacation and I got a text from a good friend asking me what I thought were the top qualities or traits of successful people. He was reflecting back on a time when he himself had been more successful in his career. Since I had a little time to think, I didn’t immediately hit the reply button like I normally do, but I let the question sink in for a while and I shot him back a pretty simple answer. But the subject stayed on my mind.
Then today, I was interviewed by JP Stonestreet for his Smart Energized Entrepreneurs Podcast, which he’ll have online in the next few days. (Check out JP’s site – he’s got some great stuff there!) The closing question he asked me was similar to the one I mentioned above, so the subject had surfaced again. Here’s what I told JP successful entrepreneurs MUST have.
ENTREPRENEURS NEED 5 THINGS
- DESIRE. This is tougher than you might think. First, you must decide what you want. Envision it. This can be difficult because some of us just aren’t that creative. I once started this decision-making process with what I did NOT want and that got me pointed in the right direction.
Look at what you love to do in your life, and see if there’s a way to make money at it. Pay attention to inconveniences around you that we all just take for granted and see if you can think of a better way. The next time you think to yourself, “wouldn’t it be cool if….”, or “I could do a much better job than these guys…,” you’re probably onto something!
Once you gain that vision, you have to make sure it’s worthy of your time and that you’re willing to make sacrifices in other areas of your life to get there. What are you willing to give up to achieve this? You really have to give this some serious thought and it takes time.
Rare is the person who knows what he or she wants from a very early age and goes on to pursue it. I admire those people!
- STRATEGY. You have to put together a plan. This is where true, supportive friends and mentors come in. Once you’ve convinced yourself that you’re committed to this path, then you demonstrate that commitment to people you admire and respect and ask them for help. Because it’s rare to find a purpose-driven person, they’ll be drawn to your energy and enthusiasm and they’ll want to help. Trust me on this. It’s amazing!
You also educate yourself as much as you can to put together a relatively solid plan that makes sense from all the business angles. Internet, magazines, books, newspapers, associations, trade shows and conferences, etc. Write all this down in a business plan template. There are tons available for free online. Simpler is better, and this is only a draft so get it going. LEARN as much as you can!! Because this reduces how SCARY the next step can be!
- COURAGE. I started to call this topic RISK, but courage is what is required. In my podcast interview, JP asked me about my scariest entrepreneurial moments and in all of the businesses I’ve owned or been a partner in, it was when I finally said to myself, “ok, let’s do this”, and I knew I was all-in.
I had thought of the idea, considered it, thought about the business angles, done some research, and developed a plan. It was all over but the action. You just have to hit the GO button, and get ready for the ride! Sort of like that first time you rode the bike without the training wheels or jumped off the high dive or bungee-jumped. Scary as all hell, but you do it anyway!
(Or you don’t, and you go back to dreaming and wondering “what if?”)
- ACTION. Now that you’ve scared yourself, you tap into that fear and uncertainty and convert it into urgency and action. I find it energizing, invigorating, and exciting! We all know those people who sit around, tell a great story about what they’re going to do, share their big ideas, and then 6 months or a year later, they’re on to their next big story. They didn’t take the ACTION – they didn’t do the WORK – to get it going. So there they are, still telling stories, stuck in time, going nowhere.
Entrepreneurs are not those people. They value their time immensely and don’t waste it. They put action to their ideas and make things happen. This is why you must really like – no, LOVE – what you do, because it takes that emotional commitment, connection, and energy to really get the best out of yourself and the people around you. It ignites the passion in you and creates amazing energy.
- FOCUS. Now that you’ve come this far, you’re on your way! You’ve decided what you want, you developed a plan, you jumped off the high-dive, you’re tacking actions and doing the work, and all this gets a lot of notice. People, opportunities, investors, product-makers, job-seekers, shysters, cons – they’re all attracted by your light – by the wake you’re kicking off as you make your way. They sense opportunity because your motion naturally attracts their attention.
May I refer you back, Mr. or Ms. Entrepreneur, to Step 2!? Follow your plan! Say a kind and respectful “thanks, but no thanks” to things that don’t fit YOUR plan. This is very hard to do and you SHOULD look at opportunities along the way, but only the ones that also move your train down your tracks deserve your careful consideration. Your time is too valuable and you are committed to your path!
For my business owner subscribers and entrepreneurs, what did I miss? What else would you add to this list? Eager to hear your comments!
Until next week, thanks for reading BusinessbyDay.com.