Why Tenacity Is One of the Most Critical but Overlooked Entrepreneurial Skills What separates the successful entrepreneurs who grow by 200% versus the ones who don't?
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
As entrepreneurs, we're passionate, volatile, growth-hungry individuals. We've broken the norm, escaped the rat race, shed our inhibitions, and eagerly look forward to a future of exceptional success.
But while our fire and risk-taking mindset were key in pushing us to take that first step towards building our brand, they're not enough to keep us going when things get tough.
The truth is, our courage often pushes us to take on new risks. When a new trend comes along, we drop everything to pursue it. We fall for shiny objects and FOMO tactics. We switch platforms rapidly, hoping the next one will improve our results.
With this mindset, we'll miss one of the most critical but overlooked entrepreneurial skills out there: tenacity.
The importance of tenacity: how I grew my agency by 200% through holding on during the hard times
Let's go back to 2015. Back then, my content agency, Express Writers, was hitting a growth plateau. Yes, we were getting around 500 daily visitors to our site, which earned us roughly $29k per month.
But to be honest, it was rough. Most months, we didn't even turn a profit. I had no idea how we were going to scale, and if we ever would.
During these months, the temptation to quit was real. Of course, I believed in content marketing. I'd seen what it had done for amazing seven and eight figure brands like HubSpot and the Content Marketing Institute. But there were shiny items like cold emails, FB ads, and 101 new marketing tactics sprouting up everywhere.
Couldn't I just try one of these, and return to content marketing if it failed?
I didn't. I tenaciously held on to what I believed in. I worked harder, created a content strategy, and put it in place. In three months, our earnings doubled. We ended the year 200% bigger than we were at the start.
The secret to this was tenacity. Oxford Dictionary describes this word as, "the quality or fact of being able to grip something firmly."
It's determination. Persistence in the face of hell and high water. Those who cultivate it will see amazing results in their daily lives as entrepreneurs.
Related: The Best Way To Get What You Want? Focus On Your Customers' Needs.
How to cultivate tenacity: four simple steps to holding on more firmly in an ever-changing world
All human beings can cultivate tenacity through consistent work and courage. Here are four steps to follow for success.
1. Make clear goals ...
It's difficult to be tenacious when you're not sure what you're holding on to. What are you trying to achieve? How soon do you want to get there? What specific steps will take you there?
To create a stronger platform to hold on tenaciously to, take time to sit down and set clear goals. Write down where you want to go and how you'll get there. Detail each step along the way. Remember to be as specific as you can.
Once you've set your goals, it'll be easier to hold on to them when things get rough.
2. … but prioritize habits over goals.
Goals are important, but they're not your No. 1 ticket to success. Always keep in mind that you're not 100% in control of your goals' success.
For instance, your goal could be to get 2,000 site visitors a day through your content. Although it's achievable, you can't control when it will happen. The longer you wait, the more discouraged you become.
A great alternative is to focus on habits instead of goals. For instance, instead of putting your mind on getting 2,000 site visitors a day, make a habit of posting a high-quality blog twice a week. Stick tenaciously to this habit, and your goal's success should follow.
Related: 12 Things Mentally Strong People Do That Nobody Else Does
3. Love what you do.
According to solopreneur and writer Dan Dowling, "(It) doesn't matter how skilled or qualified you are: Love comes first."
As human beings, we cling to what we love, whether that's a memory, a friend, or a place we find peace in. The same is true with running a business. Love what you do, and you'll find yourself holding on to it persistently.
4. Fill your life with tenacious people.
As the famous quote by Jim Rohn goes, "You're the average of the five people you spend the most time with."
Don't waste your time around complainers and people who give up and run at the smallest challenge. Surround yourself with tenacious people, and you will find yourself holding on longer than you thought you could.