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Want to be a CEO? Start Using These Habits Of Successful Entrepreneurs

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Britt Riley

6 Dec, 2019

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We all have ideas. And sometimes they’re even good ones.

Sometimes, we have an idea for a product so innovative it’ll change the way we do things forever.

And every so often, we have ideas that are so plainly obvious it’s a wonder no one jumped on it, sooner.

Uber Eats, anyone?

Heck – you’re probably sitting on an idea for a business right now you could make big $$$ with. 

The thing is, most people don’t explore their options. And their ideas never even make it out of their own imagination.

So what is it about giants like Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos, or J.K. Rowling and Oprah – that makes them such successful entrepreneurs? People who had an idea, went for it, and became some of the most successful folks in the WORLD?

it’s not like they have magical powers that were able to bippity-boppity-boo them to success. 

The truth is much more simple (and sadly, much less magical) than you might think.

And it’s something you can totally pick up, too. Because honestly, the bulk of that crazy success? It’s a matter of mindset. At least in the beginning.

So what are the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs?

Don’t just face your fears. EMBRACE your fears.

The reason most people fail…is because of a fear of failure.

Ok, ok. So technically if you never start, you can’t fail. But you can’t succeed either. So you keep your idea in limbo, sitting on it until the “right time” comes. But the right time never comes. You have to create it.

And that’s what successful entrepreneurs know. If you’re too afraid to try something, you can’t fail. But you also can’t succeed.

But fear is scary.

But if it we break down what we’re feeling and why we’re feeling it – it becomes more manageable.

Fear (especially as it relates to business) can typically be categorized in one of three ways:

  1. Loss pain when you’re afraid to move forward out of fear you’ll lose something valuable. (Time, money, pride, etc.)
  2. Process pain when you have to learn new skills or techniques; or try something new. (adapting to evolving tactics, developing a new expertise, becoming proficient in a new software, speaking in public, etc.)
  3. Outcome pain when you worry that you may not get the outcome you really wanted (people don’t like your product, your idea isn’t picked up, you couldn’t get funding, the business failed, etc.)

Here’s the homework: 

The more you do something, the more comfortable you’ll be at it. Even failure! Start small and take baby steps. Go outside of your comfort zone. It doesn’t even have to be business related. Just something to get you used to facing a fear, and then realizing you can make it out the other side ok. 

Try a food from a different culture. Learn a quantifiable skill. Perform at an open mic night. Do what’s right for you. You just need to find ways to practice facing your fears, and realizing that things CAN and DO turn out alright. 

The goal isn’t to stop being afraid. A little fear is normal, and healthy even! The goal is just to realize that fear doesn’t have to be paralysing, and that good things can be waiting on the other end. But if you get too used to letting fear stop you, you’ll never know what could have been. 

Do the thing. Learn the stuff. Get Good.

Trying new things is scary, for sure. But it’s not the end of the world. And a lot of times, once you dive into something, it ends up being an easier transition than you think.

As kids, we try things without a second thought. Eating questionable “food”. Making friends with anyone. Playing with our parents’ makeup, and tools, and shoes.

And one of the best things kids do…?

Up and deicing on your future career, dressing up as that occupation, and then just doing it! At least, as much as a kid can.

And you know what I’m talking about.

Making a proclamation that you’re a princess and adorably barking orders at family members. Deciding you’re a doctor and carrying around your toy dr. bag giving every man, woman, baby, and pet in your house a check up.

But somewhere along the way as adults, we become more and more afraid of unashamedly learning new things and leaving our comfort zones. And then we trap ourselves into prisons we create and mindsets it can be hard to break from.

That’s why practice and self discipline are characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.

Because it’s a near certainty that whatever business you’re trying to build, you’ll need to do some things you’ve never done before.

But here’s a spoiler alert: Almost no one becomes a true “overnight success”. They spend YEARS practicing and studying to get to a point where they can attempt to get their careers off the ground.

Yeah, Zuck was only in college when he created Facebook. But think of how many hours he had to practice programming.

And then as CEO, think of how much more he must have had to learn. Practicing public speaking for presentations, pitches, and meetings. Learning how to manage employees and how to operate an entire company. Figuring out how to market his platform and keep getting new users.

All skills we’re betting a fresh-faced teenager didn’t randomly show up to college with.

Do the groundwork.

Study for a bit, even if you’re tired. Practice when you’re bored. Schedule your posts in advance if you know you won’t feel like it later. Because that’s the only way to get better.

Because self-discipline – your intrinsic motivation –  is the only thing that can really drive you forward.

Gonna write the next great American novel? Work on it every day. And then follow up with publishers.

Got an idea for a no-spill toddler cup that you just KNOW will revolutionize homes and daycares the world over? Plan it out. Find someone to create a prototype. Shop it around and pitch to investors. Consistently.

Practice and discipline might be a couple of the most important characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.

Here’s the homework:

Doing the same stuff we always do is easier than changing our routines.

Attempting to learn a new skill isn’t hard. It just takes practice. And unfortunately, forcing ourselves into new patterns IS hard. Our brains just don’t want to do it. So just being able to stay disciplined is often more important than your initial grasp at a skill itself – because you can always get better as long as you’re willing to keep practicing. 

You need to build a foundation of repetition for something to become a habit. And since that’s already hard enough, don’t go against the grain. Make it as easy as possible to incorporate into your current routine.  

Start your task at the same time every day. And do it consistently – even if it’s only for 10 minutes a day. That’s still better than nothing, and it’s an additional hour a week than if you had skipped out altogether. Set timers to remind yourself to start, and even to stop if you’re pressed for time. 

You’ll find that the more consistent you are, the more your tasks will naturally become part of your routine. And the better you get at sticking to routines, the more disciplined you’ll become in general – making it even easier to learn new skills and adopt new mindsets. 

Don’t be afraid to fail. Be pumped to pick yourself back up.

We mentioned J.K. Rowling earlier.

Her net worth is approximately one billion dollars! Whoa mamma, is it hunting season, because that’s a lotta bucks!  

But do you know how many times she failed at writing before even completing one book? And then how many times Harry Potter got rejected before a publisher finally accepted it?

A lack of automatic success does not equal failure.

Sometimes, like J.K. your perceived failure is someone else’s lack of recognition of your value. You think all those publishers who turned her down are patting themselves on the back about that now? The woman’s got a THEME PARK for goodness’ sake!

Besides, a failure is an opportunity to learn and grow. And make a BETTER product next time.

Like the Try Guys discuss in their book, The Hidden Power of Fudging Up. Where they dive into their failures and explain how they helped them grow into the successful businessmen they are now.

That’s why a major characteristic of successful entrepreneurs is knowing that it’s ok to fail. Amd acknowledging that you might, and probably will fail.

But it’s ok, because it doesn’t mean the end of the road. It just means the beginning of a new one. And maybe a new route. But the journey continues.

Here’s the homework: 

Failure…it stinks. No one wants to fail. It doesn’t feel good. And it’s sometimes embarrassing, if not damaging. 

But failure is also an opportunity for growth, and can be super constructive. So that’s the way you should look at failures. Not as reasons to give up or reasons you’re not good enough. Instead, think of any failure you might encounter as a comment card of constructive criticism on how you can do better. 

And instead of taking failures personally and using them as an excuse to give up – listen critically and fix any problems. Then come back with a solution that works and a BETTER product because of it. That just means a better chance of success next time.  

To be a successful entrepreneur…

You need to adapt a few entrepreneur habits to get you operating sufficiently and moving forward regularly.

Be Flexible and resourceful

As an entrepreneur, you’ll probably start out on your own. And as a one-person show, you’re going to have to wear a lot of hats.

Successful entrepreneurs know they sometimes need to be jacks of all trades to make things happen. So if that means learning to build a site or social media page to host their store, or familiarizing themselves with the ins and outs of their investors’ cultures to ensure they don’t offend – they’ll do it.

Successful entrepreneurs adapt, learn, grow, and change as the need arises. So that they can keep rising, too.

Try these tips: 

  • Do improv or Toastmasters
  • Find other uses for regular items
  • Set up weekly challenges (pack a lunch where every item starts with the letter T on Tuesday, take a new route to work, meet one new person a week) to incorporate spontaneity

Key takeaway: find ways to improve your critical thinkinging, creativity, and ability to jump into something new and unexpected. 

Be decisive

Decisions need to be made. Things need to be done. And dragging your feet will get you left behind, especially if you may be competing against a similar company. They act hard and they act fast. There’s no room for stagnancy in a successful entrepreneur’s arsenal.

Try these tips: 

  • Don’t take longer than five minutes to order from a menu 
  • Play word association games 
  • Avoid over-thinking big decisions 
  • Don’t get hung up on perfection
  • Go with your gut

Key takeaway: get used to making decisions and sticking with them. But you also need to learn to be confident in your choices and how to manage their outcomes. 

Be personable

Being an entrepreneur means being a leader and the head of your business. But you’ll never be able to get anywhere completely on your own – you need to have collaboration and people skills to grow relationships, form partnerships, and build your business.

Try these tips: 

  • Introduce yourself to new people at social events 
  • Look out for shared connections and opportunities to bond with acquaintances 
  • Be aware of how you communicate with people
  • Remember people’s names and facts about them that you can recall later
  • Address people personally

Key takeaway: take a genuine interest in people and build real connections with them. Ultimately, people do business with people – not corporations or entities. Maintaining good interpersonal skills are as important as business ones.

Are you a business owner? Tell us which of these characteristics of successful entrepreneurs works best for you! Or what entrepreneurial habits we didn’t mention that you swear by!

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