5 Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs
The most successful entrepreneurs, from the baker who launched his own custom cake business to the bookstore manager who decided she'd be better off launching her own coaching business, tend to share nine common traits:
1. They know exactly what motivates them, and it often starts with a big loss or other major event in their lives. Chicagoan Nicole Crimaldi Emerick started Ms. Career Girl (mscareergirl.com), an advice blog for young college grads like herself, as a creative outlet. She squeezed in time for blogging by waking up at 5 a.m. before her office job at an Internet startup. She wrote about what she and her friends were experiencing in the job market: uncertainty, the importance of connections and the rising power of social media.
Then, two and a half years after starting her site, she suddenly got laid off. That's when she committed to earning a steady income from what had previously been more of a hobby. Soon afterwards, she hosted one of her biggest networking events yet in Chicago, where 80 young women paid $15 to talk about getting ahead today.
A layoff, a new baby, another major life change – successful entrepreneurs can often point to a specific motivating factor, which they return to when the going gets tough.
2. They choose entrepreneurial pursuits that line up with longstanding passions, interests and skills. Entrepreneurs thrive when their business plays off their existing skills, talents and interests – choosing a business that leverages those is the first step to success.
3. They minimize their expenses in both their professional and personal lives, while finding ways to invest in their venture. Many successful small business owners take pains to first pay off debt, shore up an emergency fund and otherwise get their finances in order before launching their venture. That way, they can focus on building it without additional financial stress.
4. They rely heavily on online communities of similarly minded people. Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets make it easy to connect with like-minded people. Instead of thinking of other people in your field like competitors, embrace them as mentors and friends. They probably have a lot to teach you.
5. They actively and shamelessly promote their brands through social media and other grass-roots marketing efforts. People can't buy from you if they don't know what you're selling. Promote yourself – and your product and service – frequently. Make sure your underlying message helps people or makes their lives easier, to keep your customers coming back for more.