Entrepreneurial success is part of a journey, but these five qualities will encourage and aid you along the way.
By Daniel Mangena August 1, 2022
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
It’s tricky to compile a list of what makes entrepreneurs successful, mainly because their individuality often sets them apart for life as an entrepreneur.
Nevertheless, there are notable common traits among those who disregard an employee’s life and embark upon their path. We’ll look at five of them in this article, but as you can imagine, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
I ought to preface this list by saying that these traits are the qualities of a successful entrepreneur, and I don’t want to speak to the highly successful. This article is intended for those at all stages of their entrepreneurial journey. This article is designed to encourage you instead of making you feel inadequate.
If you’re someone whose yet to be launched idea or business isn’t where you want it to be or frustrated by a recent setback, do not view this as a list of things you’re lacking. Take heart because number one on the list is…
1. A willingness to fail
Being afraid to fail is a common affliction. It can be linked to upbringing, sibling rivalry, bullying or a whole range of other traumas.
At its heart, it’s about having a light shone on our perceived inadequacies. What we fear is being exposed to our peer group as fraud. Why? Because social ostracization, in our prehistoric mind, is akin to death.
We’re tribal by nature. We survived in the past by pooling resources and labor. Getting thrown out of the tribe was essentially a death sentence because survival in the wilderness on your own was nearly impossible.
We’re still wired that way.
We fear failure because, although it no longer brings literal death, we perceive the threat of “social death.” We worry we’ll be cast out because of our lack of utility and value to the tribe.
But as entrepreneurs, we have to be willing to fail. We don’t know what’s around the next corner. As recent world events have shown, nobody does. We must take our best shot and learn from what doesn’t work. Failure is a gift. Every entrepreneur is not only comfortable with that notion, but they embrace it. Entrepreneurs understand that it’s part of the journey.
Most ideas and ventures falter. If you’re failing along the way and you’re learning from these missteps, then you are doing it right!
2. Critical thinking
Like the first trait, critical thinking enables entrepreneurs to break free of herd mentalities. This is not to be confused with blind contrarianism. Instead, it is the ability to assess information and judge it on its merit before acting on it.
Thanks again to our hardwired desire to stay with a tribe; we don’t like to go against the grain. It’s easier to doubt our judgment than question the group. So, we take the path of least resistance.
Therefore, it’s so easy to wind up in a 9-5 job, being creatively unfulfilled and feeling like you’re not having an impact.
Every entrepreneur is adept at assessing information. They have an instinct for it that they trust with a clarity of vision (we’ll come to that shortly) guiding them towards their goal. Following the herd won’t usually get you where you want to be. Thinking critically and independently will.
3. Clarity of vision
A lack of connection with the outcome tends to trip most people up when embarking upon a new venture. They haven’t built enough of an emotional tie to achieving what they say they want to, so they lose a connection to it.
This manifests itself in lots of different ways.
Usually, self-sabotaging behaviors like procrastination slowly creep into our minds. This is because our subconscious fights the change our conscious wants to enact. It fears change because it represents the unknown and wants to stay near safety.
Every entrepreneur has created a clear vision for what they want to achieve. They can emotionally connect with it and pinpoint how it will feel when they reach their goals.
4. Leverage over themselves
Friedrich Nietzsche said, “He who has a strong enough why can bear almost any how.” What sets an entrepreneur apart is their utter faith and emotional connection to their desired outcome. They know that they will always be moving towards that goal regardless of setbacks.
How? Because they have enough leverage over themselves, the thought of not always progressing towards their desires is more painful than giving up. Armed with this desire, they are unstoppable. Nothing will deter them.
5. Strong communication
Every entrepreneur knows that they need others to succeed, so they seek to surround themselves with people in positions they would like to emulate.
Without good communication skills, it’s impossible to paint an accurate target for others. If you want others to understand your passion, drive and leverage, you must communicate that.
It’s so easy for things to unravel quickly as you introduce more people to a company or cause. That’s why strong communication is a quality that every entrepreneur must possess.
As I said earlier: this is only the tip of the iceberg. Beneath all that are a million different qualities, all the way down to the level of the individual. But these are certainly a good start. Some will possess these qualities naturally, but they can also be cultivated over time.
My encouragement is to take stock of where you’re at in your entrepreneurial journey and see which of the above areas could use attention. Then seek help and guidance on how to grow in those areas.
Keep going and maintain the connection with your chosen outcome. You will get there. Let us help you to achieve your goals!