(YoungBiz.com) - Oprah Winfrey. Bill Gates. These are two of the most recognizable names in America today, but they weren't born rich and famous. So was it luck that propelled them into the spotlight? Hardly.
Both found their niche at a relatively young age--Winfrey at 12, when she earned $500 for a speaking engagement at a church, and Gates at 13, when he discovered computers and programming. Both recognized the opportunities that could await them if they mined their talents--and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.
That's not the whole story, however. An epiphany doesn't necessarily translate into fame, boatloads of cash, or a fancy title and corner office. You have to have something more. But what? Check out the following qualities and see if you recognize yourself.
Success Secret #1: Self
"Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right." That quote not only sums up the self-confidence most entrepreneurs have, but it is also credited to one of the most famous inventors and entrepreneurs in American history: Henry Ford. The inventor of the modern assembly line, which is responsible for making automobiles available to the general public, Ford knew that attitude has more to do with success than just about anything else.
Success Secret #2: Persistence
Self-confidence and persistence go hand in hand. Entrepreneurs like Jayson Meyer have confidence in themselves and their goals and keep at it until their dreams become realities. Meyer is the 19-year-old CEO of Meyer Technologies in Daytona Beach, Florida, a company that started off as a bedroom operation in which he and his brother, Martin, fixed computers. It's now a company that focuses on corporate software solutions, employs two dozen people, has offices in Dayton Beach and Orlando, and is worth somewhere in the six figures.
Throughout it all, Meyer's mantra has been "never give up, no matter what." His advice to others? "The key to everything in life is staying focused and putting hard work and effort into it," he explains. "By doing that, you can accomplish and achieve anything."
Success Secret #3: Passion
Doing what you love doesn't seem like work at all. Just ask Brittany Rogers, the 20-year-old owner of Happy Horse Hotel in Springerville, Arizona. Rogers buys injured or tired racehorses and "recycles"--or retrains--them and then resells them. "My business is time for me to share with my horses, who are my best friends," Rogers says.
Success Secret #4: Constant
Rogers developed her love for horses when she was 5 and began visiting racetracks with her mother when she was about 7. Rogers began competing in rodeos and found a mentor in Newt Bunyard, a local trainer who taught her the ropes and helped her get her racehorse owner's license. She began buying horses that owners were going to send to slaughter and retraining them, refining and perfecting her methods along the way. Needless to say, none of this would have happened if she had simply said, "I love horses but don't know much about them. Oh well..."
Success Secret #5: Healthy
Competing, to many entrepreneurs, doesn't mean being better than the next guy--it means constantly improving on what they've done before. If Meyer, for instance, had been content fixing PCs for his school and teachers, he'd still be making $20 for each repair. Instead, he drives a Lexus and his company logo is attached to the elevator button that takes clients to his third-floor office.
Success Secret #6: Vision
For entrepreneurs, vision means seeing things not as they are but how you think they should be and developing a plan to get you there. "Running a business isn't a matter of looking at today or yesterday," Meyer says. "It's a matter of looking at the future." So the next time somebody labels you a dreamer, say "Thanks!"
Success Secret #7: Creativity
Creativity in the entrepreneurial sense doesn't mean that you have to be a good writer or artist. Creative thinking is the key. While there are scores of jockeys, trainers and owners in the horseracing world, there aren't many people who have thought of taking a horse meant for the slaughterhouse, retraining him, selling him, and having him win his first race back. Brittany Rogers did, though, and has had more than 23 horses successfully go through her program. And while she did her research, much of her training regimen came about by trial and error. In other words, Rogers found creative solutions.
If you checked these success secrets off one by one as you read through them, congrats! You're well on your way. If not, don't worry--even if you think you only possess one or two of these traits, there's good news. Many can be learned. So don't wait--you could be the next Oprah Winfrey or Bill Gates!