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Just 3 Characteristics Separate Successful Entrepreneurs From the Failures A great idea doesn't mean a whole lot in the world of business with hard work, patience and open-mindedness.

By Jeremy Ellens Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar…

You just got back from an amazing marketing conference where you learned the latest lead generation tactics using webinar marketing. You saw a speaker present with some huge numbers and results behind it, and so you decide to implement it for yourself. Things go alright, you get some leads and some sales but then you hit a plateau. You can't figure out how to get enough people to show up to your webinar.

Next month you head off to a mastermind group where a couple members share what they are doing to bring in thousands of leads a month by advertising quizzes on Facebook. Aha! You've figured out how you're going to grow your leads and sales. You go home and put the webinar marketing on hold. You try out using quizzes with Facebook, get some results but like before, you hit another plateau. You get incredible lead costs but the sales aren't rolling in like they were for other members of your group.

A couple months later, you see a course being advertised on Facebook about generating more leads by podcasting. You buy it, put your quiz funnel on hold, and setup your podcast. A few weeks later, you get a bunch of episodes published and get some pretty good feedback on the content, you even get some sales, but you still feel like you're just treading water.

Related: 7 Online Marketing Tools That Are Totally Worth the Investment

And the vicious cycle continues.

Well have you ever noticed that businesses can thrive, even while using completely different strategies? For example:

Some businesses grow through cold contacting while others succeed through word of mouth.

Some businesses increase their sales by building out a sales team while others close all their sales online through video or sales copy.

And some businesses find success generating leads and sales by advertising quizzes online while others use webinars.

The sad thing is that being successful isn't even about having the best or the latest marketing tactic. The reality is that most ideas will work, it's just about how badly you want to succeed and how much work you're willing to put in.

Related: 5 Marketing Strategies That Don't Involve Social Media

Let me share a story with you that my friend and mentor Joe Polish, shared with me when I was first getting started out.

Joe started out in the carpet cleaning business and it was failing miserably. He was dead broke and living off his credit cards and then something happened that changed the course of his future. One of his friends from high school invited him on a boating trip where his dad, a multimillionaire real estate investor would be coming along. Joe thought he might be able to pick his friend's dad's brain. So he asked him, "What business would you suggest I go into where I could make a lot of money and turn my situation around?"

So the real estate investor responded and asked, "Are there people in your industry making money?"

Joe replied, "Yes" and the real estate investor responded by saying, "Then there is nothing wrong with your business. There is something wrong with you."

After that conversation Joe buckled down and turned around his business, went on to make millions in the carpet cleaning industry and started one of the highest level masterminds in the world for direct marketers, called Genius Network.

Related: Purpose Is Created Through Hard Work

One of my favorite quotes by Thomas Edison sums this story up perfectly. "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work!"

We love to chase shiny objects and we usually hate digging in when things get hard.

About a year ago I started a lead generation software called LeadQuizzes, which has given me the opportunity to work directly with hundreds of entrepreneurs through our managed service. During that time, I've been able to spot some of the characteristic differences between those entrepreneurs and businesses that are going to be extremely successful and those that aren't.

The unsuccessful companies have these characteristics in common:

  • Their mindset is to say things like, "This strategy just doesn't work for my business"

  • They usually don't know their data and therefore have no idea where to begin making improvements and are forced to make decisions based on emotion not data.

  • They jump from one shiny idea to the next because they never truly optimize anything.

The successful companies have these characteristics in common:

  • Their mindset is to ask, "How can I make this work?" When they ask their friends for help, they aren't looking for the next shiny idea, they are looking for ideas to make what they are doing even better.

  • They are relentless with their tracking, making sure their systems all communicate, and they can scale their efforts because they know their ROI.

  • They have patience and know that their campaign probably won't be an overnight success. They put in the hard work to optimize it.

Starting and growing a business takes serious work and it takes a lot of focus and hustle.

So the next time you run into a roadblock in your business, ask yourself, is this something truly worth figuring out? Or should I go chase the next shiny idea?

Jeremy Ellens

Co-founder of LeadQuizzes

Jeremy Ellens is the co-founder of Yazamo, a Phoenix-based digital-marketing agency specializing in the health and wellness field. Yazamo helps their clients grow their email lists by over 100,000 people in one year and increase their online sales. Ellens was previously named one of the top five college entrepreneurs in the nation by Entrepreneur Magazine, after which he quit his job to pursue entrepreneurship full-time and start Yazamo.


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