1. You set big goalsThere’s a reason the great entrepreneurs are known as visionaries. Are you able to dream big and be creative? Do you have a vision for something? The people who build an empire are the people who can dream one up because it’s that vision that will sustain you through the hard work of reaching the top. American entrepreneur Barbara Corcoran’s words of advice were “don’t you dare underestimate the power of your own instinct.” If you have a vision for something, then you also usually have it in you to achieve it.
2. You venture into the unknownMost hugely successful people are known for their trailblazing. They look for different ways of doing things and they’re not afraid to step out of their comfort zone or challenge the status quo. It’s helpful to be stubborn too, because often the people who are told they “can’t” are the ones who are determined to prove everyone wrong. With the proper mix of stubbornness, determination, and different perspective, you could create the next business empire.
3. You’re determined and persistentSteve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, was no stranger to difficulty. The key difference between those who succeeded and those that didn’t was, in his eyes, perseverance. “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” Read almost any success story and you will find a dogged determination to succeed. If you are filled with that kind of persistence then you might have what it takes.
4. You’re humbleThis may come as a surprise to some people, especially since the people at the top of their business empires don’t seem to have much to be humble about. But humility helps you learn and grow. It allows you to look at your mistakes as stepping stones instead of embarrassments. If you are humble, you are willing to fail. Only the proud refuse to fail because they are afraid of how it might look.
5. You’re not afraid of riskThere is huge risk in aiming for the sky. Mediocrity is much safer. You have to be ready to take risks for that one big payoff, or you’ll never try. And as we all know, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t’ take” (Wayne Gretzky) Entrepreneurs, being the trailblazers that they are, often head into unknown territory. There are things you won’t know and uncertainties you won’t be able to get rid of. Can you embrace the ambiguity?
6. You’re comfortable by yourself“It’s lonely at the top. Ninety-nine percent of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre…” (Tim Ferris). You will probably battle to find people who believe in your vision the way you do. You will likely find that a lot of the time you are working alone and sharing ideas with yourself. And when you reach the top, you might find it a lonely place to be. The great entrepreneurs are ones who have embarked on their own knowing that one of their biggest battles might be loneliness.
7. You get your hands dirtyIf you want all the glory without the mess then empire-building is probably not for you. As Richard Branson put it, “a big business starts small”. That means you need to do the small things before you can do the big things. Are you ready to put in the extra effort? Your company might start in a dirty storage unit that genuinely requires you to “get your hands dirty” to make it work. Or you may find that you have to do boring, tedious tasks that you would much prefer to give to someone else? Do you do the small things?
8. You are dedicated to learningThere is no shortage of information, only of people to use it. People who have made it to the top never stop learning. They read and study. They surround themselves with people who are smarter than they are. They seek out mentors and advisors – people who know them well but also know business and can push them to be greater than they are.
9. You hustle hardHustlers are the ones who put in the extra hours. They have an intense work ethic, a focus, and a strange ability to work anywhere and see possibilities everywhere. People who haven’t made it will call it luck, but the ones who made it to the top will say along with Thomas Jefferson, “I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”
10. You have a strong sense of characterYou can’t know where you are going until you know who you are. Until you can stand firm on your character, you will battle to find the courage and motivation to reach the top. A strong character and identity gives you the self-motivation to overcome the inevitable failures and criticisms. It will give you the competitive edge. Your brand is also far less likely to struggle with brand identity if it is based on your own identity. You are unique and when you are confident in that uniqueness, your business can tap into that inner strength too.
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