Exploring the Ten Habits of Being a Successful Entrepreneur

Winning as an entrepreneur depends on embracing certain best practices.

learn more about Peter J. Burns III

By Peter J. Burns III

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The sports world is full of examples of athletes who credit their success to winning habits. They might be the first one to practice and the last to leave, for example. Or they might have a specific athletic trainer they work with in the off-season.

Personal success can also benefit from winning habits as Steven Covey illustrated in his monster best-seller, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

Related: 5 Winning Habits and How to Develop Them

The same certainly holds true in the world of entrepreneurs. Those who establish and maintain good habits will enjoy boundless success. I recently thought about the habits that have led to my success as well the success of other entrepreneurs and sought to put pen to paper. Here they are:

  • Take action: I'm sure no one is surprised that this is my opening salvo on the list, given my affection for the mantra of "Ready, Fire, Aim." Nothing gets done or goes anywhere unless one acts. Make this a daily practice, not only when it comes to starting a business, but also in your daily execution – selling to prospects, identifying partners and expanding into new markets.

  • Use Google Docs or some other file-sharing service: Gathering all material from every imaginable source and placing it all in a Google Docs folder is a successful habit. This keeps one's project(s) at "top of mind" and allows easy access to all pertinent material and info on one's project(s). This is true collaboration at its finest.

  • Wake up early: Even if you don't go to the office, assemble your thoughts in as peaceful an environment as possible over your morning coffee (or tea) and let your mind decide what your priorities should be for that day and beyond. If you can, partake in some morning sun before you go to work. Studies are increasingly showing that it can promote restful sleep later that night.

  • Prioritize: There are some tasks we are excited about and some we are not. It's human nature. That's why it is important to list them in order of priority, and go down the list in that order. It's the perfect way to make your business a priority and not let unfounded fears or ego interrupt that success.

  • Be willing to listen and learn from others: This is especially true if they have experience in your industry or an area that you want to expand into. Too often, we reside in a bubble, thinking we have all the answers. We don't. Everyone has something to offer, and we cannot remain isolated in our thinking. What's more, I recommend that with everyone you meet by chance, consider what you might learn from them. This is a great practice that will serve you well down the road.

  • Read everything related to your industry: Whether it is The Wall Street Journal, or Entrepreneur, there is something for you to take from every issue that is relevant to your business. This doesn't stop with traditional media, either. Track posts on LinkedIn and your competitors' blogs, too. Get your hands on relevant information, so you can make the best possible decision.

  • Set up calls with other entrepreneurs you respect and can learn from, even if they are not in your business: You never know when one of their successful habits might work for you and make you a more polished entrepreneur. Act like you are a reporter, and ask them what has been the secret to their success.

  • Be nice to yourself: Spoil yourself with a walk in nature, or get a deep tissue massage or maybe a leisurely brunch. You work hard. If you don't take care of your body and soul, no one else is going to do it for you. Take time to recharge your batteries. This is a great way to stay on track and take your business to the next level.

  • Bring your valued employees and contractors to you: As the pandemic has shown us, we can work remotely and execute as needed. But there is no substitute for bringing your team together every now and then. Some of the best ideas will emerge in face-to-face communications at the office, and even better, at a leisurely dinner. This also holds true for customers and clients. Create a gathering for them, and learn what makes them tick, so you can take those learnings and attract more such customers.

  • Use other people's money, if you can: What I have found, is that you will run out of your own money long before you run out of great ideas that need capital. Money is cheaper than ever if you are willing to go the unconventional route or embrace the alternative funding community. Be open to it.

Related: 8 Habits of Highly Effective Entrepreneurs

While not an exhaustive list, these habits will enhance your chance to be a successful entrepreneur.

Peter J. Burns III

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor


Peter J. Burns III, a successful serial entrepreneur, has started or helped start over 200 businesses over the last 40 years. Most recently, he started Burns Funding to help entrepreneurs secure funding and Millennial Queenmaker, a company that helps young women become successful entrepreneurs.

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