When I was first getting started online, I was hungry to make my business work. But truth be told, I had no idea how to make it happen.
I only knew two things:
1. More than anything, I loved the freedom and the challenge that came with being an entrepreneur.
2. There was no way I could go back to my corporate job.
In other words, I was committed to making my business work, even though I had no idea how.
Fast-forward to today, 20 months after the launch of jennyshih.com.
I realize how fortunate I’ve been to create a successful, sustainable business. I love my work, my clients, my income (I hit 6 figures in 18 months), and the freedom and challenges that come with self-employment. I could easily take it all for granted if I weren’t careful. But I don’t want to do that–take it all for granted–because I know that it wasn’t easy to get here.
So what got me here, anyway, besides the all-too-obvious blogging, list-building, and marketing?
While stranded in New York City during Hurricane Sandy, I had a few technology-free days to think about that question. I also thought about the success of my closest entrepreneur friends and some of the big-names in the internet world.
What makes someone successful in the first place? What can they do to ensure their future success? What traits can others adopt to also be successful?
In pondering these questions, I uncovered five must-have success traits, and I’m excited to share them with you today.
Warning: Choosing to embody these traits eliminates any excuses for you not to be successful in your business.
5 Must-Have Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs
Here are the five must-have success traits I found when digging into the above questions.
The good news is that if you’re not living up to these standards right now, you can turn it around simply by deciding this is who you want to be and how you want to act. It’s in your hands.
Trait #1 – Showing Initiative
Initiative is essential to growing a successful business, whether you’re working with a coach or plugging away on your own. Don’t wait until someone tells you what to do or gives you permission to do something in your business. You likely know the next thing you need to do to start or grow your business, so go make it happen. You are in charge of your business, so act like it!
Success step: Look at how you’re operating in your business. Is there any area where you are waiting for someone to tell you what to do? Is there any area where you’re waiting for permission to move forward? Instead of waiting, decide what needs to happen, and go make it happen!
Trait #2 – Always Learning
From the moment you start your business until the day you close it, you must keep learning. Successful entrepreneurs are always looking for the next set of skills they need to grow their business. They don’t wait for someone to tell them what to learn. Instead, they look ahead to spot their knowledge gaps, then seek ways to close those gaps.
Success step: Take a look at where you want to go in your business. What is the next thing you need to learn to move your business forward? What training can you take to close that gap? Determine what you need to learn and how you’re going to learn it. Then go close that gap!
Trait #3 – Taking Action
There is no doubt that taking action leads to success. You can’t create a business by only thinking about it. At some point, you need to put all of that creative energy into motion. You must to take action. Successful business owners don’t just think and think and think about their business; they take action and make things happen.
Success step: Where in your business are you spending too much time thinking and not enough time implementing? Where are you trying to think your way to success? Pinpoint one area in your business where you can stop thinking and start taking action. Then go take action!
Trait #4 – Willingness to Make Mistakes
Taking action can be scary, especially when you’re trying something new. This is why successful entrepreneurs aren’t afraid to make mistakes. They realize that everything they do will not be perfect, but they don’t let that hold them back from moving forward.
Success step: Where in your business are you afraid of making a mistake? Is perfectionism holding you back? If you’ve gathered all the information you can and done your best work with what you know, then it’s time for you to just to go for it. Remember my 80-percent-is-good-enough rule to get yourself moving.
Trait #5 – Embracing Determination
There are very few people, if any, who hit the success jackpot on the first try. Most business owners will make mistakes, experience setbacks, and hit plateaus. Determination is what separates an average business owner from a successful one. Tweet that! A successful entrepreneur takes success into her own hands and pushes forward regardless of what gets in her way.
Success step: Be honest: how determined are you to be successful? Are you willing to do whatever it takes? If you’re not willing to really go for it, consider whether entrepreneurship is right for you. (It’s okay if it’s not. It’s not right for everyone.) If you’re willing to do what it takes, but you’ve been a little lax, decide that you’re ready to cultivate the determination required to be successful, then do it. This really is a choice.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Tell me…
Where do you excel among these five success traits? Where do you struggle?
What other traits have you found helpful in starting and growing your business?
We can all learn from each other, so please share your stories below. I can’t wait to hear what you’ve got!