The 8 Traits Shared by the Most Successful Entrepreneurs

The 8 Traits Shared by the Most Successful Entrepreneurs
Image credit: Camdiluv | Flickr
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What separates the successful entrepreneur from the one who fails?

There may not be just one answer. However, the common theme among successful entrepreneurs is they have the right mentality to embark on the entrepreneurial journey.

What specific mentalities do successful entrepreneurs possess? Here are eight of them.

1. No respect for the status quo.

“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” - Apple, Inc.

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 the famous, ‘Think Different,’ campaign was launched. This was no coincidence. Jobs was known for not following the status quo, which is why most entrepreneurs turn to his career for inspiration. Most successful entrepreneurs strive for the freedom to do what they want and not be told that, “this is how things are done."

Related: Seth Godin on Conquering Fear to Start Your Own Business

2. Abundant thinker.

“Over the years, I have noticed that there are two kinds of thinking. One kind leads to success, joy, and fulfillment. The other leads to failure, fear, and discontent.” - Michael Hyatt

Best-selling author Michael Hyatt believes that for people to be successful they need to be abundant thinkers. Characteristics of abundant thinkers include:

  • There is more where that came from.
  • Want to share ideas, knowledge, contacts, etc.
  • Can easily build relationships through trust.
  • Embrace competition.
  • Deliver more than expected.
  • Are optimistic.
  • Think big and take risks.
  • Are confident and appreciative.

So, would you rather be generous, confident and able to make meaningful connections or stingy, pessimistic and fearful?

3. Learn as you go.

“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand, and walk, and run, and climb, and dance; one cannot fly into flying.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

As any entrepreneur will inform you, there’s a lot of trial and error involved with starting and maintaining your own business. No matter how knowledgeable you are regarding your industry, how many college degrees you have, or how much money you’ve made or lost along the way, entrepreneurs face their fair share of success and failures. That’s a part of the journey. Being able to learn, however, increases your chances of success since it will help you adapt to changes, as well as discovering what works for you and your business.

Related: How Learning-as-You-Go Is Part of the Entrepreneur's Journey

4. Live a frugal life.

I think frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out. - Jeff Bezos

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos may believe that being frugal can help with innovation, but living a frugal life is championed by many other entrepreneurs and business leaders. For example, Warren Buffett, despite having the money to purchase anything he wants, lives a modest lifestyle. Instead of toys and mansions, Buffett’s riches come from loving what he does and doing it well. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg famously drove an entry-level Acura even though he was worth more than $7 billion.

Being frugal doesn’t mean that you have to be cheap. It means not being careless with your money. Instead of taking loans out to purchase a luxury vehicle, save that money so that you can expand your business.

Related: How Entrepreneurs Can Benefit From Frugal Experiments

5. Problem solver.

"The happiest and most successful people I know don’t just love what they do, they’re obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them.” - Drew Houston

Don’t just start a business for the sake of starting a business. Successful entrepreneurs start a business because they see a real-world problem and have the drive and desire to solve that problem. Remember, as Martin Zwilling puts it perfectly in Entrepreneur, “Entrepreneurs see problems as milestones to success, not barriers.”

6. Hustler.

“Good things happen to those who hustle.” - Chuck Noll

Entrepreneurs are go-getters. They never stop. In fact, that’s how Gary Vaynerchuk launched Wine Library. According to Gary, “I was walking into any business that might be relevant to my community and passing out flyers and coupons one-by-one to gain more exposure. Nobody gave a crap or knew who we were, but I knocked on doors and made sure we got the exposure we needed.”

If you want to succeed, you have to hustle. You have to put in long hours, build a quality  product, and do whatever it takes to get your name out there.

7. Listen to others but decide for yourself.

"Most of the successful people I've known are the ones who do more listening than talking." - Bernard Baruch

While entrepreneurs are free-spirits and make their own decisions, it’s also important that you listen to what others have to say. If you aren’t listening to your customers, how do you know if they’re satisfied with you products or services? Maybe this entire time they haven’t enjoyed what you’re providing, which is why sales have been sluggish.

Whether it’s from customers, team members, colleagues or mentors, always take the time to listen to advice. However, it’s you who ultimately has to make the final decision.

8. Think like an athlete.

“I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twentysix times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” - Michael Jordan

Athletes are some of the most passionate and driven individuals on the planet. How often do you hear about the insane training regiments that athletes subject themselves to in order to play the game? How about the Olympic star who was told that they’ll never compete again, only to win a medal the next time around?

Athletes regularly defy the impossible. And so do entrepreneurs. Evan Spiegel, for example, was told that Snapchat was a “terrible idea” by a venture capitalist. Did Spiegel listen? Of course not. He marched forward and made Snapchat a hit.

As an entrepreneur, you’re going to face failure and opposition, but you’re passion and obsession with your idea will be the drive you need to find success.

Related: Failure Is the Seed of Growth and Success