5 Ways to Master the Persistence That Makes a Great Entrepreneur

A good-enough idea you never give up on will look like brilliance when you succeed.
5 Ways to Master the Persistence That Makes a Great Entrepreneur
Image credit: Willie B. Thomas | Getty Images
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Building a successful business is a bit like climbing a mountain: it’s an uphill battle most of the way, but the view from the top is pretty spectacular.

Persistence is a necessary part of achieving a summit, and it’s also vital to creating your success as an entrepreneur. If you doubt the importance of persistence, ask yourself what kinds of goals people dream of. Do they yearn for the ones that are easy to accomplish or the ones that are hard work but offer huge payouts?

Anything worth attaining will require hard work over a period of time. And in order to tackle the challenges ahead, you need to become a master of persistence. I was recently reminded of this while building and getting ready to launch my Instagram analytics tool.

If you have an overwhelming desire to climb your own mountain and achieve your entrepreneurial dreams, here are 5 basic rules to help you understand and master the art of persistence.

1. If you don’t persist in your vision, someone else will.

The harsh reality is that the world is full of “could’ve beens” -- people who have wonderful ideas and aspirations, but didn’t have the stamina, desire or knowhow to make it happen. Many of them gave up too fast because it seemed too hard, too daunting or too scary. Simply put, they weren’t mentally prepared to do what it takes to succeed.

The bleak truth is, if you aren’t willing to see your dream through, someone else probably is. Someone else will succeed where you gave up. So if you are tempted to abandon your entrepreneurial goals, or if you are inclined to tell yourself that “it should be easier than this,” ask yourself the following questions:

Do you want to be the person who let your dream go or the one determined enough to see it through? Do you want to be the one wondering what could have been if you had only tried or the one who gave your all and either succeeded or failed?

Most success stories are hard won. Those who make it are the ones who are willing to embrace the challenge.

Related: Google's Eric Schmidt: To Maximize Persistence, Do This

2. Use naysayers to your advantage.

Visionaries are ahead of their time because they push boundaries and innovate change. To become successful, they must hold true to their dream and keep pursuing it even in the face of adversity.

But persisting in your dream doesn’t mean you should ignore the naysayers. You shouldn’t discount all the negative input you get, because there is value in looking at things from a new perspective. In fact, it’s to your benefit to surround yourself with people who may not always get your vision, and who will ask thoughtful questions that help you analyze and define your goals and strategies.

The trick is to find people who will be objective enough to give you a balanced perspective and help you hone your vision. Even the best ideas may require some reshaping and tweaking in order to be ultimately successful.

The bottom line is that you need to be flexible enough to incorporate change as needed, but confident enough in your dream to keep going after it.

Related: 10 Quotes on Persistence to Help You Keep Going

3. Be in it for the long haul.

Consistency fuels persistence. Showing up, day in and day out, is the single most important thing you can do to set yourself on a path to achieving your dreams and becoming the best entrepreneur you can be.

If you slack off for periods of time or seem noncommittal to your own business, you are essentially showing the world that you are giving up. If you lose your motivation, what incentive do those around you have for buying into your success?

Consistency is how you establish your reputation and show people what you are about through your actions and not just your words. It’s how you get your message out there, and how people come to believe in you and your vision. It instills accountability and demonstrates that you’re able to deliver the goods on your promises.

When you are in it for the long haul and are consistently moving forward on your stated goals, you begin to build a community around you based on trust and respect.

Related: The Entrepreneur's Secret Weapon: Persistence. (See General Grant.)

4. Embrace your creativity (without freaking people out).

A business that emphasizes creative input also fosters innovation and has better chances for disruption and long-term success. If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you must embrace your imagination.

Creative thinking means opening lines of dialogue, embracing different viewpoints and examining different ideas. It also means going beyond a repetitive approach and continually considering how to adjust or diversify. 

But most of all, creativity is bred through persistence. Those aha moments, where the sky seems to open up and you can reach out to pluck the perfect solution to a problem, don’t happen in a vacuum. They happen through persistence and pushing yourself forward.

But be aware that there can be a thin line between being a creative, out-of-the-box thinker and being an annoying, creepy oddball who seems lost in his or her own world. If you want to succeed, and get others to buy into your vision, it helps to come across as both ingenious and balanced. Be aware of how others perceive you.

Related: The 4 Daily Mistakes Killing Your Creativity

5. Nurture those “no” relationships.

We’ve all run into hardcore salespeople who simply won’t take no for an answer. They are determined to get you to yes, no matter what. On the plus side, those people are resolute in their goals. However, they are shortsighted, failing to recognize that there are times when they may need to accept a short-term no in order to nurture a long-term yes.

It’s important to not to take no personally. After all, there are different reasons why our ideas may be rejected. According to research, about 80 percent of prospects decline a proposal four times before eventually saying yes. Often a negative reply simply means “not right now” or “I need to be convinced.” Sometimes people just need time to process and think about it.

Shifting a refusal into an affirmative answer often requires you to build trust through consistency. You can do this by spending more time asking questions and listening to the responses and less time trying to impress. Persistence isn’t about ramming your sale pitch down other people’s throats.

Work on being a better communicator. Really listen to others’ input, hear their concerns and give thoughtful feedback. Be both persuasive and consistent, and you will earn people’s trust… and their sales.

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