So much has been written about entrepreneurship, but there is one thing that most agree on: Entrepreneurs pave their own way to success.
They may not have a boss in the traditional sense. Instead, entrepreneurs are their own bosses: They must answer and “report” to themselves. This might sound ideal, but it does require a lot of focus and discipline.
"I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.”
— Jeff Bezos, founder, and CEO of Amazon
These traits include staying focused, finding excitement or “wins” in the smallest places, and accepting — and overcoming — loneliness.
Entrepreneurs need to focus on the task at hand — running a business and increasing revenues — so that they cannot be distracted by projects or possibilities that do not contribute to the bottom line.
Of course, in a world of smartphones and apps, it’s easy to be distracted by “shiny new objects.”
Sometimes these distractions can help the entrepreneur uncover a new competitor, or find a new supplier. However, the ability to focus is one of the most important traits an entrepreneur can develop. Without focus, entrepreneurs might find themselves wasting time on ideas or tasks that will never materialize into something valuable or contribute to the success of the business.
"You shouldn’t focus on why you can’t do something, which is what most people do. You should focus on why perhaps you can, and be one of the exceptions.”
— Steve Case, co-founder of AOL
Success can be measured in several ways. Increases in sales and revenues are the most obvious proof points of business success, but how can an entrepreneur stay motivated when sales have plateaued, a product or service is still in development before it can be sold, or it’s an off-season for the business at the moment?
An entrepreneur needs to find motivation and excitement in other, perhaps smaller dimensions of the business. Technology provides the ability to capture data that can measure the business’s health, or perform valuable market research that can keep an entrepreneur motivated even in downtimes.
For example, an entrepreneur might discover that visits to the website or Facebook Page may have increased, or that the cost per click in advertising may have decreased. Or, that conversations with suppliers have resulted in lower costs for supplies, which, even in a flat sales environment, could lead to higher profitability. These are definite wins, even if they aren’t an increase in sales.
"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
— Walt Disney
Business owners have a lot of responsibility, as they are usually the only person at their company doing what they are doing. As such, there are often feelings of loneliness that can set in.
Loneliness, of course, is usually not a good thing, as it can lead to such negative feelings as depression and isolation.
With the need to accomplish so much each day, there is no room in an entrepreneur’s life for loneliness.
However, in a discussion of success, it’s important to understand that such feelings might occur and to address them head-on the moment they might set in. Entrepreneurs must accept and deal with loneliness by engaging in an activity that they feel will quash it at the moment. This can mean making sales calls, working on the product, studying competitors, or diving into other business-focused tasks.
Entrepreneurship is attractive, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. To be successful, entrepreneurs need to believe in themselves, resist distractions, accept loneliness and stay motivated even when others around them might not be.
Finally, love what you do. The biggest motivation and reason for getting out of bed each day is to truly enjoy your work and believe that you are the only person in the world most suited to carry it forth. This is perhaps the best way to create feelings of happiness and to ensure success as an entrepreneur.
"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
— Steve Jobs, co-founder, former CEO, and chairman of Apple Inc.
Jake Wengroff writes about technology and financial services. A former technology reporter for CBS Radio, Jake covers such topics as security, mobility, e-commerce, and the Internet of Things.
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