Before you twist the key to jump-start your engine to a lazy lifestyle, it's useful to think about what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. Do you even know how to become an entrepreneur? Are you working a job that pays you by the hour? If so, how do your ideas and mindset compare to an entrepreneur's ideas? What are some of the characteristics of entrepreneurship? What is the definition of an entrepreneur?
By focusing on entrepreneurship as a process, his definition opened the term to all kinds of people. Plus, it matched the one demographic fact HBS researchers already knew about entrepreneurs—they were more likely to start out poor than rich. “They see an opportunity and don’t feel constrained from pursuing it because they lack resources,” says Stevenson. “They’re used to making do without resources.” – Howard Stevenson via Inc.
Effort is mandatory. Tenacity is essential. Creativity and a little luck are good to have in order to live the lazy lifestyle you dream about… (It really is HARD WORK to create a lazy lifestyle, but it happens to entrepreneurs every day.) Never believe anybody who tells you “it’s really easy”. If it was easy, everybody would be a home-business gazillionaire, and you wouldn’t find anybody on the job at hotels or fast food joints. Right???
As you gain experience, it gets easier. Creating systems that work for you is vital. Outsourcing is another way to make it easier, but that's for later. It's vital to learn what you don't know about entrepreneurship. Here’s the big thing… When you build it right, the payoff is worth it. You’ll establish meaningful relationships with people you never could have met any other way. You’ll feel immense personal satisfaction when the folks you helped to get started succeed.
And you’ll smile, of course, since your banker, who now knows your name, is happy to get off his duff to greet you because your account balances are growing bigger every day. Life feels good…
Do you know anybody who has had success in their home-based business? Somebody is probably closer to you than you think. Find a successful entrepreneur and talk to them one-on-one about the pros and cons of owning a business. Before talking to them, you must:
- Understand they are busy, productive people with lots of demands for their time.
- Take time to learn about their business and their niche so you can ask intelligent questions when you get the chance.
- Know when an entrepreneur says no to you, it's not personal. What they usually mean is not now.
- Most entrepreneurs are more than happy to discuss the whys and hows. Listen and learn. Just don't expect them to do it for you.
- Respect their time. Ask if it's OK to follow up with them if you have a question later.
The blues man says, “You got to pay your dues”. Unless you pay somebody to do it for you (You won't learn a thing that way), you'll have to dig in and do it yourself. As the guys from Internet Business Mastery say, “Progress, not perfection.” You can always go back and fix mistakes and correct errors… Getting started is the hardest part.
Don't be put off by this. It’s all a learning experience. I’m a huge believer in “Just-in-Time” learning. In other words, work until you get stuck. Stop and find out only what you need to know. Go back to work and use what you learned. Work until you get stuck again. Repeat as necessary.
Dr. John C. Maxwell says, “You’re going to have to learn how to Fail Forward.” To survive and thrive in such a rough and tumble world, an entrepreneur must possess the ability to find the drive and persistence to get things finished. You’ll need backbone to face the inevitable adversity. Successful entrepreneurs know they're responsible for tackling any problem that surfaces in their business.
But I digress…
OK. Now that I’m back on track, let’s explore seven characteristics all successful entrepreneurs must possess, no matter what their business is. The good news is that they are skills. Anyone can learn and master entrepreneurial skills if they will do the work.
- Self-Confidence: This is the big one. It is a jungle out there. To succeed in today’s business world, self-confidence and trust in yourself is vital. Self-confidence means you believe in and trust your own powers, abilities, and instincts. All entrepreneurs understand there's always a risk of losing money on any project. You’ll need self-confidence to take calculated risks to achieve your objective.
- Opportunistic: Being an entrepreneur means trusting your hunches and acting on them. Great business ideas sometimes start as a feeling, observation, or a fleeting thought. Keep a notebook with you always. It doesn’t matter if it’s a paper notebook in your back pocket, or Evernote on your phone and PC. Enterprising individuals develop their ideas rapidly and act fast. Here’s some good news. Your risk-taking doesn't hinge on chance, as much as knowledge, sweat, and hard work.
- Careful with Money: Entrepreneurs know the value of money and pay close attention to the cost of doing business. Many successful entrepreneurs found out about earning and the value of money at a young age. They started out by earning loose change as teenagers mowing lawns, having a newspaper route, babysitting for neighbors, etc. You need to master money management skills. There are many reputable places on the Internet to find this information. Here’s one from Entrepreneur.com (an excellent resource); http://www.entrepreneur.com/money/moneymanagement/article78994.html
- A Knack for Business: To one extent or another, entrepreneurs have intuition. They have an idea about what product or service is going to ‘click’ for their customers. This ability does not involve rocket science or E.S.P. Deliberate observation and an understanding of what is going on in his market are more important. A skillful entrepreneur is always on the hunt for fresh ideas and new ways to serve other people in order to earn money.
- Competitive: The business arena is a very competitive place. Entrepreneurs must be persistent enough to go after their goals despite having many competitors. You must learn how to stay in front of your competitors. You can usher in new ideas, find complimentary products and services for your niche, or explore a different angle to expand your business.
- Honest, with a Good Work Ethic: Honesty is not the best policy… it’s the only policy! The business world may be unmerciful, but the most successful entrepreneurs make certain every business deal has integrity. The gold standard of thriving entrepreneurs is a great personal work ethic. Honesty is the foundation for good business practices, a fantabulous customer reputation, and beneficial relations with industry peers.
- Last, but not least, Successful Entrepreneurs Acknowledge the Value of Breaking Loose from the Daily Grind Occasionally. Persistence and hard work are crucial values to have. A successful entrepreneur knows when it’s time to kick back and take a break from all the demands of business. It’s a question of balancing your business and family life. Enjoy some quality time with your family. Everybody needs a bit of rest and relaxation. It's equally critical to recharge your mind and body before diving back into your challenging (and sometimes nerve-racking) home-based business, as it is to meet your next deadline. So take a break dude…
These are seven of the most important characteristics of an entrepreneur. Naturally, there are more characteristics every successful entrepreneur must have. They are not confined to the ones named here. Having these characteristics isn't a guarantee that someone will become wealthy, but with these characteristics as a foundation, an entrepreneur has many of the right ingredients for success.
All you need to do is to determine the right mix of these characteristics. You’ll need excellent timing, perhaps a little of luck and, of course, trust in yourself.
So, do you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur? Go over these characteristics and values and mull it over. Do you have the basic skills of a successful entrepreneur? Of course you do if you’re willing to do the work.