6 traits that make an entrepreneur

Contributed by Noelle Fauver, marketing consultant and writer. 

Heidi Zak, Elon Musk, Oprah, Warren Buffet, Kendra Scott, Sara Blakely and Bill Gates—entrepreneurs may appear quite diverse, but they typically share a few key qualities.

What makes an entrepreneur? Let’s focus on the traits shared by most entrepreneurs—and how you can tap into these characteristics to jumpstart your own success. 

entrepreneurs

1. A passion for connection

They say it’s all about who you know. The adage couldn’t be more true than in the context of successful entrepreneurs. Whether it’s securing investment capital, marketing a concept, recruiting new talent or leaning on peers for  support and advice, having a solid network can seriously work to your benefit.

Not sure how to network? Build your professional network with resources such as these:

2. Preparedness

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in 2020, it’s that you really can’t be overprepared. While few would have realized the need for a pandemic-proof business plan before this year, it’s become quite clear that prepping for the worst really is the best thing you can do for your business.

Whether it’s related to your personal finances, business growth or world events, one characteristic many entrepreneurs share is a knack for preparedness.

No one can predict the future with total certainty, but you can be sure that your entrepreneurial ventures will go through periods of ebbing and flowing throughout the course of your career. To soften the blow of challenging times, it’s a good idea to create a plan for when disaster strikes.

Businesses that have a plan and can react with agility are much more likely to survive tumultuous times than those that do not.

3. The ability to delegate

As an entrepreneur—whether you’re just launching or already established—you probably have a lot on your plate.

From conjuring up new ideas to dazzling investors and working out logistics, there’s always something to work on. However, the burnout phenomenon is real and should be avoided at all costs if you hope to produce your best work for years to come.

One way to combat burnout? Delegate. Katie Fellenz of Trust & Will advises, “If you’re lucky enough to have a trusty team on your side, make sure you’re utilizing your resources effectively. Start by making a list of your top priorities and tasks that you’ll have to handle on your own. Then, consider your team’s strengths and weaknesses and delegate the remaining tasks accordingly. Use project management platforms and collaborative tools to stay in touch, monitor progress, and track task completion.”

4. Self-discipline

There’s no question that launching your own business comes hard work, obstacles and logistics—and most of these are left to the founder. Entrepreneurs require a lot of personal drive and discipline to be successful.

For many people, a strong sense of self-discipline is something that’s instilled at birth or early on in life, but with a little dedication and practice, you can make it one of your strongest qualities, too.

Enhance your self-discipline with these tips:

  • Make habit-forming a priority by using apps or strategies like the 21-day rule. The 21-day rule says that after 21 days of prioritizing a personal or professional goal, it becomes a habit.
  • Use project management tools like Asana, Trello, and Monday.com to track projects and monitor your progress. And don’t forget to celebrate milestones along the way!
  • Set realistic, yet challenging goals. Keeping a list of goals will help you keep your eyes on the prize and motivate you to carry on.
  • Understand your limits. Not every day will be as productive as the last, and that’s okay, burnout is real! By setting daily goals, you can break down complicated projects into more manageable tasks and preserve your motivation while you do it.
  • Make time for healthy habits like working out, meditating, taking time away from your desk, keeping up with a morning routine and staying connected with friends and family.

5. Persistence

Consider the origin stories of your favorite entrepreneurial icons. Many of them include plenty of rejection and doubt.

But with a strong sense of persistence and drive, these entrepreneurs ultimately challenged the status quo and created a new reality.

Not sure how to boost your persistence? Keep these tips in mind:

  • Continue your efforts
  • Don’t take feedback personally
  • Change your strategy
  • Stay positive
  • Take a break and start over
  • Celebrate your milestones
  • Surround yourself with optimistic thinkers

6. Unwavering creativity

From Apple and Nike to Uber and Facebook, many of the world’s most recognized brands were born from a creative idea.

Though it’s a natural skill for some, there are plenty of ways you can enhance your sense of creativity and avoid unproductive blocks when you’re feeling uninspired.

Here are some things you can do to get those creative wheels turning:

  1. Read
  2. Write
  3. Take a walk
  4. Draw or paint
  5. Spend time outdoors
  6. Unplug from your tech
  7. Talk to a friend
  8. Visit a museum, art gallery or mural
  9. Exercise
  10. Meditate

Don’t give up

Becoming an entrepreneur is rarely an easy path. With rejection, financial and logistical obstacles, it’s all too easy for aspiring entrepreneurs to give up on their dreams. By studying the stories of industry leaders and entrepreneurial icons, you can train yourself, and ultimately, pave your own way to the top.

Noelle Fauver volunteers on the board of the San Diego American Marketing Association and is a contributing editor for 365businesstips.com.  

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