It seems everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. That may be because it’s so much easier to start a business nowadays. We’re also a lot braver and prepared to go it alone.
The idea of being an entrepreneur also seems dynamic and exciting. That’s perhaps one of the first thing that attracts us. We want to be our own boss. We want to be in control. But what does it actually mean and what qualities do you require to be a successful entrepreneur?
Here’s our quick take and all things entrepreneurial. Some might surprise you.
1. Be Prepared to Fail
Talk to any famous entrepreneur and they’ll gladly tell you about the times they failed.
In fact, failure is part and parcel of the learning process. As Arianna Huffington (co-founder of Huffington Post) once said: “Failure is not the opposite of success. It is the stepping stone to success.”
If you believe that, you could well have what it takes to be the next, great entrepreneur.
True entrepreneurs are not put off by failure. They are driven by something deeper than simply success. It’s their raison d'être, a way of life, not just a job or hobby.
One other thing: to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to be able to bounce back, no matter how bad things get.
2. Entrepreneurs are Highly Focused
If you are an entrepreneur, a true one that is, the likelihood is that you are not a 9 to 5 person. You’re prepared to put in the hard yards and the long hours to get where you want to be. This is a focus that is so absolute it can come at the cost of other things everyone takes for granted such as family life and friends.
You’ve got to be prepared to focus so strongly on your project that you don’t notice you’re working for little or no pay at the start, you only get 3 hours sleep a night and you think about nothing else but how to get your business off the ground. Work-life balance, that’s for other people.
Okay, this may be a slight exaggeration, but what we’re saying is that a successful entrepreneur has to be committed to the cause. And then some.
3. You’re a Jack of all Trades
Most entrepreneurs, unless they are extremely lucky, will begin with relatively small start-up capital. You won’t be able to afford a big office with lots of staff. That means you’re going to have to learn to do a lot of things yourself.
Most successful entrepreneurs are used to trying their hand at almost anything. And it’s no bad thing. According to Inc.com:
“When we take the time to learn what's out there, whether we stick to it or not, it informs our creativity, fuels our innovation, and heightens our ability to use cross-functional thinking to our advantage.”
4. Entrepreneurs Take Responsibility
You are the boss, it’s your project, you’re driving it forward. Why shouldn’t you be responsible? That’s also the only way you learn by your mistakes. Entrepreneurs tend to own their failures as well as their successes and learn when an error is made. They don’t sit around crying over the spilt milk but use it as a learning opportunity. Most of all they don’t blame the rest of the world.
5. Life Isn’t Fair
Despite all your best efforts, there will be some external forces working against you, however. That could be the availability of financing, it could be other entrepreneurs out there who are working on similar products or services and doing it better than you. The truth is the world isn’t fair and simply ticking the boxes doesn’t guarantee success.
Luck is also going to play a big role and you should embrace it wholeheartedly. As Thomas Jefferson is once quoted as saying: “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”
Finally, calling yourself an entrepreneur is easy, living up to the title is a little more complicated. The good news is that it’s never been easier to start a new business and, while you may never be the next Bill Gates, you do have a greater chance of success in today’s modern, hi-tech world.