Just uttering the word “entrepreneur” is enough to get peoples hearts racing with excitement, and understandably so. It encapsulates the hopes and dreams of an entire generation hoping to break free of a job market where wages continue to shrink as competition intensifies. But is it really as simple as many authors, bloggers and other thought leaders like to make out? Well, the short answer is no. Building any type of business takes time and there are never any guarantees.
But don’t despair, there are a few key qualities shared by most successful entrepreneurs that, if they reside within you, will help you immensely. And with practice and patience, pretty much all of them can be learned.
Successful entrepreneurs are habitual self-starters. A crucial driver behind having the passion to get up early every day and get to work is a clear vision – knowing exactly where you want to go, and why. Many new entrepreneurs simply want to get rich, but in most cases this is actually a poor motivator, especially after they’ve discovered how much effort this actually requires.
Much better to aim for higher (and more specific) ideals that see you solving real problems for businesses and individuals. Do that successfully, and money will come.
Facebook and YouTube can be real productivity killers, and you are much better off shutting these and other distractions out of your daily routine as much as possible. Also, see if you can have someone in your life who keeps you accountable, if not a family member or partner, this could just be a friend who calls in every few days to check if you are meeting prior commitments (even better if these commitments been put in writing and signed by both parties).
The ability to take a calculated risk is essential to being a true entrepreneur. Along with the ability to identify new opportunities and take action, this is what will really put you in front of competitors who are stuck in a rut of “lets wait and see”. You must also be prepared to fail more than once, especially in the early days.
Always remember that most successful entrepreneurs only got to where they are today by being extraordinarily persistent in the face of failure when others simply opted out.
Know your limits
Good entrepreneurs also tend to be multi-skilled. As well as being effective leaders, they have the ability to wear a number of other hats, including marketing director, accountant and IT manager. But it’s just as important that you know where your real talents lie, focusing on them while outsourcing other tasks to external professionals Ã¢â‚¬â€œ such as a company that can process your mail deliveries, or a designer for your website.
Also, bear in mind that the entrepreneur’s life can become very lonely if you let it. To avoid burnout, most successful entrepreneurs are just as strict about penciling in time for a social life as they are about their work.
Finally, you’ve just got to be competitive! But this shouldn’t be about wanting to tear down your competition as much as it’s about having the best product or service on the market. Challenge yourself to give your very best, and you’ll find that the business comes to you, not vice-versa.
No-one can truthfully claim that it’s easy to become an entrepreneur. It takes hard work, persistence, ingenuity, and plain old courage. It’s not for everyone. But if these qualities describe you, then you just may have what it takes.
Chris Burgess is the CEO of Mailplus and has extensive experience in the courier services and business-to-business service market, having successfully franchised over 150 territories throughout Australia. Mailplus currently has franchises for sale in all major metropolitan areas