Whether you’re a freelancer, independent contractor or a small business with a team of several employees, there are many ways to make a living through working for yourself.
It almost feels like anyone can run a business nowadays, with very little standing in their way. The truth is of course, a little more complicated. Starting a business is within anyone’s reach, but to truly thrive, you need the right mindset and personal traits that will help you excel in this often turbulent endeavour.
In this article, we’ll go over some of the personal qualities you need to be a successful entrepreneur.
The good news is, if you’re conscientious about it, you can cultivate these qualities in yourself even if you do not innately possess them.
When you’re just getting started, sheer motivation can be enough to fuel the fire under you. But unfortunately, 85% of small businesses fail in Australia because they do not plan for the future. They are also unable to sustain the level of determination required to create a profitable business. Unlike most full-time jobs, you may need to work longer hours initially and perform many different tasks until you can figure out what works best. Determination means powering through despite the challenges. This is something many business coaches and motivational speakers will tell you is the most important thing for hopeful entrepreneurs to implement into their routines.
Networking and marketing skills
You are now a one-person army of networkers and marketers. You have the sole job of telling your customers that you have a product or skill worth buying. There are tons of free informational sources out there to help guide you toward effectively marketing your business. But don’t forget that you are not just marketing a business, you are marketing yourself. Learn about Google and Facebook ads, basic SEO, website building, and local marketing. A small business course can also teach you effective networking strategies that can help you gain exposure and market your business successfully.
As an entrepreneur, it’s very easy to become overwhelmed with every task or project that needs your attention. Time management is an invaluable skill that is often misunderstood as ‘how to fit more into your day’. However, it is more about how to use your time wisely and not just to get the most done, but to prioritise the most important things. Entrepreneurs, more than any other profession are most at risk of burning out due to the sheer workload they must take on. But this doesn’t have to be the reality. In fact, most business advice will tell you to work smarter, not harder. If that means outsourcing, investing in software or automating specific tasks—do it. Create a plan for yourself and stick to it. Remember to include breaks into your schedule, because giving your mind a rest will do wonders for your productivity.
Being your own boss can be a wonderful thing—with no one looking over your shoulder you are free to create your own work schedule. But the downside is that you are the boss and sometimes that means putting off certain tasks for later. While procrastination is something many of us do at the best of times, if you let things slide for too long you may face problems down the line. There is a saying that a task will take up all of the time allotted to it. If you think you have three days to do something, it is going to take three days just because you are putting it off. Self-discipline is about taking ownership of your time, schedule and workload. It’s also about making a promise to yourself and following through with it.
Determination is undoubtedly key, but it’s also essential to know when it’s time to pivot and adapt to market demands. Perhaps consumers aren’t reacting to a marketing strategy as you had hoped, or the product you were set on releasing has received less than desirable feedback. These challenges are far more common than you may think and learning from them is crucial. Flexibility is about seeing these experiences not as failures, but as stepping stones to produce something extraordinary later, when the time is right.
Running a business may not be for everyone, but by cultivating the right mindset and keeping these personal traits in mind you’ll have a much higher chance of long-term success. If you want to start a business, stay determined and be flexible in every approach you take and you’ll be able to handle any challenge that comes your way.