Habits of successful entrepreneurs provide a roadmap for creating your success.
Philosopher and wise man Aristotle gives you something to think about when he says,
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
You may be starting out for the first time with no experience.
You may already be successful but want more success.
Regardless of where you are, let the habits of successful entrepreneurs be your guide.
I’ve won big, and I’ve lost big.
I started my first business right out of school. I had no experience, money, or team. Despite these challenges, I built a profitable 8 figure company.
On the flip side, when I started my second company, my earlier success had me arrogant and greedy. I built a 7 figure business. But it was seven figures of losses.
Looking to fail? I’ll tell you all about the habits I developed that led me to that miserable place known as failure.
Looking to succeed? I’ll tell you all about the habits I developed that led me to sweet success.
And I’m not alone.
Billionaires. Millionaires. Ultra successful entrepreneurs.
I’m fortunate to cross paths with this group, broken bread over a great meal, and shared war stories.
Habits of successful entrepreneurs are the difference between success and failure.
The only difference between you and your favorite billionaire is your habits.
Habits, you say?
I can hear it now. Here comes the list of why you’re not good enough.
You’re going to tell me that you lack the intelligence, money, experience, and education.
Not a chance.
You have everything you need, right now, to achieve your success.
All that missing is the knowledge of how to unlock your success.
Let’s now channel your success by mastering the same habits of successful entrepreneurs.
Success Habit #1: Work Is Play And Play Is Work
When it comes to habits of successful entrepreneurs, know that work is play and play is work.
When your work is play and your play work, you’re well on your way to creating massive success.
Why is this important, you ask?
Let’s look at the Success Triangle™ below:
Billionaire John Paul Dejoria of Paul Mitchell fame is a great example.
Dejoria and his partner started Paul Mitchel with their life savings of $700. Dejoria pounded the pavement by day and slept in his car by night.
The early days for Dejoria were challenging at best, and outright miserable at worst.
In an interview, Dejoria said: “the big difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people do all the things unsuccessful people don’t want to do.”
Providing high-quality hair products to beauty salons was Dejoria’s focus and passion.
Dejoria rocked the boat by being one of the first to not use animal testing for his products.
Passion, going the extra mile and rocking the boat made all the difference for Dejoria.
When work is play and play is work, you’re able to get through the tough times to live another day.
So my dear reader, know this and know this well.
Habits of successful entrepreneurs are all about having you look to your work as play and your play as work.
Success Habit #2: Ensure You’re Not The Smartest Person In The Room
Habits of successful entrepreneurs include not being the smartest person in the room. Ever.
Building your business empire and achieving massive success is not a solo sport. It’s a team sport.
If people tell you that they’re self-made, run. Run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.
Arnold Schwarzenegger agrees. At a recent convocation, Schwarzenegger told the audience,
You can call me Arnold. Call me Schwarzenegger. You can call me ‘the Austrian Oak.’ You can call me Schwarzy. Call me Arnie. But don’t ever, ever call me the self‑made man.
To hear Arnie’s convocation speech, click on the picture above.
People are not islands unto themselves.
To build your empire, you’ll need smart people. Scratch that. You’ll need a room full of brilliant people.
True A-players seek people who are better and smarter than them.
My first company, Embanet, became a profitable 8 figure company because of the team.
When I started Embanet, I was the janitor, sales, technical support, and the board of directors. Yes, I got things done, but it took time.
Embanet’s momentum went from a crawl to a sprint when I did three things.
First, I checked my ego at the door. Second, I humbled myself. Third, I looked for people smarter than myself.
Did I still make mistakes?
Too many to count. But I was also quick to own my mistakes.
And so should you.
Not being the smartest person in the room is like the African Proverb, “If you want to fast go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
When it comes to habits of successful entrepreneurs, never be the smartest person in the room.
Success Habit #3: Take Care Of Yourself First So You Can Take Care of Others
One of the top habits of successful entrepreneurs is that they take care of themselves first.
As usual, the experts are wrong when they tell you to put the needs of others before yours.
The bottom line is the bottom line. When you’re in your zone and happy, you’re at your best for the people around you.
So how do you take care of yourself first, you ask?
For starters, it learning how to say ‘no’ and to stop wasting your time.
As a former ‘yes’ man, this is easier said than done.
Every successful person I either know, researched, or spoken with all do one or more of the following:
- Wake up early to think, read, recharge, and plan. Emails? Forget about it. Social media? Not a chance. You’re off the grid baby, and it’s all about you.
- Quiet the ‘monkey brain.’ Arnold Schwarzenegger practices TM. Tony Robbins has his ‘Hour of Power.’
- Play by your own rules. One of my personal favorites. I’d rather beg forgiveness than ask permission.
Funders and Founders has a great infographic showing habits of successful entrepreneurs.
When you look after the needs of everyone first, you zap yourself of energy, focus, and happiness.
Put yourself first, solve that massive problem, and build your empire.
You’ll thank me later.
Success Habit #4: Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs Includes The Belief That Done Is Better Than PerfectThe concept of perfection is for Hollywood. It doesn’t exist. Done is better than perfect. Always.
When it comes to habits of successful entrepreneurs, done is better than perfect.
Think of your favorite billionaire, millionaire, or ultra successful person. I guarantee you that success came from realizing that done is better than perfect.
The idea of perfection best left for a Hollywood movie. Perfection doesn’t exist. It’s a myth.
In this post here, I share nine reasons why chasing after perfection robs you of success. Read it.
- Your customers don’t care.
- You don’t exist if you don’t produce.
- Perfection eliminates momentum.
- Dreamers have a mindset of perfection. Doers achieve.
- Your reputation suffers.
- Perfection is an illusion and doesn’t exist.
- Success is a numbers game. Perfection limits you.
- Practice makes perfect.
- Time waits for nobody (yes, even you).
Know that the habits of successful entrepreneurs do not include perfection.
Success Habit #5: Have A Purpose
The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life without purpose. – Myles Munroe
Habits of successful entrepreneurs include having a purpose. Always.
I built a highly profitable 8 figure business because I knew my purpose. Always.Knowing your purpose helps you say ‘no’ to distractions and ‘yes’ to success.
But it wasn’t always like this for me. Before my purpose, I would fret, struggle, and waste time on deciding my activities.
Once I developed my ‘definiteness of purpose’ my success skyrocketed.
How did I do this, you ask?
I asked myself one simple question every time I received a request:
If I say ‘yes’ to this request, will it bring me closer to achieving my definiteness of purpose?
It’s that simple.
What’s a definiteness of purpose and how do you create one, you ask?
Check out this post here for all the details.
A purpose has you tackle the important things first and has everything else follow.
Seeing is believing. Click on the picture below for an excellent illustration and story.
While you ponder that, think about J.K. Rowling and the massive Harry Potter business empire she built.
Rowling battled years of depression, poverty, and rejection. If not for Rowling’s definiteness of purpose there would be no Harry Potter.
You can read about Rowling’s journey to success here.
Learn from the habits of successful entrepreneurs. Create your own North Star by defining your purpose.
Success Habit #6: Gratitude
Habits of successful entrepreneurs include gratitude. A lot of gratitude.
What do Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Tim Ferriss, and Paul Dejoria have in common?
Hoque reveals a habit of successful entrepreneurs that you should master. The success habit Hoque reveals is a nine letter word that starts with a ‘G.’
And by the way, when you’re done reading Hoque’s article, do yourself a favor and pick up his book. You’ll thank me later.
When it comes to success, Oprah Winfrey is no stranger. Despite the odds, Oprah has become a cultural icon.
The ‘secret sauce’ behind Oprah’s success is gratitude.
So, you ask, how do I practice gratitude every day?
Oprah gives you her ‘five to thrive’ for welcoming gratitude in your life:
- Focus on the good you have, not on what you don’t have
- Think about the one thing you’re grateful for
- Start with what you have and can do, not what you don’t have and can’t do
- Think of something that gives you one good feeling
- Read something first thing in morning for a positive frame of mind
Using the Five Minute Journal is your rocket fuel to welcome gratitude, and in turn, sweet success.
When you’re feeling down, remember the habits of successful entrepreneurs and practice gratitude.
Success Habit #7: Live Each Day As Though It’s Your Last
Habits of successful entrepreneurs include living each day as though it’s their last. And so should you.
This doesn’t mean to drop the challenging and difficult tasks, and instead, head to the beach.
Instead, it’s taking a step back and asking yourself if you enjoy what you’re doing. It’s little wonder that habits of successful entrepreneurs include viewing work as play and play as work.
All the success and money in the world means nothing if you’re not happy. And sadly, there are too many entrepreneurs in this situation.
When it comes to living your day as though it’s your last, popular media points to a Steve Jobs’ quote:
If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Jobs’ quote, as with so many other things that he did, is polarizing.
You either love the quote and agree, or hate it and disagree.
But here’s the thing. Jobs, as usual, is right on target. Life will have you both smiling and frowning.
Living each day as if it were your last is enjoying what you’re doing. All of it.
Becoming successful isn’t choosing the activities that you’d like to do or not do. It’s the opposite.
Why Successful People Are Successful
Successful people are willing to do the things that more other people aren’t. That’s why successful people are, well, successful.
So why is it that successful people do the difficult things that other’s don’t do?
It’s a great question.
Let’s digress for a moment.
Steven Spielberg and his movies are known the world over. Spielberg has the talent to make his audiences laugh, cry, and scream through his movies.
In return, Spielberg enjoys success, wealth, and fame.
Spielberg could have retired years ago. But at last check, Spielberg is working on four movies that take him through to the year 2020.
It’s no secret that producing a movie can be painful. Early mornings, late nights, and unruly actors over many months at a time is a recipe for frustration.
So why does Spielberg do this year after year?
Spielberg loves what he does, even with the difficulties and challenges. Whether Spielberg is smiling or frowning while on set, he’s in his zone and focused.
And this is where too many entrepreneurs get side tracked because they can’t focus.
Read this post here, and you’ll learn both how to stop multi-tasking and start focusing so you can get into your zone.
How To Live Each Day As Though It Were Your Last
Love what you do, and do what you love.
Habits of successful entrepreneurs, like Steven Spielberg, include this philosophy.
Living each day as if it were your last is having a mission that has you as interested as much as you are happy. When you pursue your mission, you’re focused, in your zone and working your magic.
How do you get in your zone, you ask?
Great question. Here are 11 tips that will both get you in your zone and keep you there.
- Focus on your mission first. Leave emails, social media, and other social calls for later in the day.
- Follow in the footsteps of Benjamin Franklin, Warren Buffett, and Oprah by reading an hour a day. No interruptions.
- Sleep more. (Success Habit #10)
- Finish what you start. Always.
- Forget perfection. Done is better than perfect. (Success Habit #4)
- Plan tomorrow today.
- Be accountable to others.
- Set deadlines to keep yourself accountable.
- Create goals to help you conquer your mission.
- Do one thing at a time and don’t multi-task.
- Stop doing and start being.
Learn how to focus, get into your zone, and go about each day to conquer your mission. You’ll enjoy every day, and in the process, change lives and create your success.
And when you’re focused, in your zone, and doing what you love, know that you are living each day as though it were your last.
It doesn’t get any better.
Success Habit #8: A Positive Mental Attitude
A Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) is one of the key habits of successful entrepreneurs.
Success Whisperer Napoleon Hill says it best:
Whatever the mind can conceive, it can achieve.
So how do you create a PMA you ask?
Here are your four steps to success:
- Be all in. Know that failure was not an option.
- Optimism. Every day is a new one filled with opportunity.
- Believe in yourself, no matter what.
- Know that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Your PMA will help you through the many painful and challenging days ahead. And trust me when I say that you’ll have many of these days.
Let me illustrate with a quick story.
A Story About A Positive Mental Attitude
Once upon a time, an entrepreneur launched his business with no experience, money, or team. All the entrepreneur had was his burning passion for solving a problem with his idea.
The first year of business the entrepreneur lost money. It was the same for the second year and third year.
The well-financed competition laughed at the entrepreneur. Family and friends thought the entrepreneur was crazy.
But for the entrepreneur, every day was a new day filled with opportunity. The entrepreneur had many failures, but never gave up and learned from them.
The competition, marketplace, friends, and family didn’t recognize the entrepreneur’s secret weapon. Attitude.
The entrepreneur believed in himself and knew that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
And from the entrepreneur’s positive attitude emerged success.
The entrepreneur had the last laugh when he solved a massive problem and laughed all the way to the bank.
That entrepreneur is yours truly. And my ‘secret weapon’ was my PMA that helped me build an 8 figure business.
But know this and know this well.A positive mental attitude is the difference between success and failure.
I was recently asked to write a chapter for a book PMA. Check out the book here.
Learn how myself and fifteen other ‘regular people’ found sweet success through a PMA.
If we can do it, so can you.
And while you’re at it, check out the classic Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude.
Success Habit #9: Be A Contrarian
For spectacular success, blaze your trail and do the opposite of the masses.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. – Mark Twain
For habits of successful entrepreneurs, being a contrarian is right up there.
My biggest wins in business have come from taking a contrarian position.
When I launched my first company, Embanet, I found myself in what we now call the eLearning space.
Back in the day, it was called continuing education.
If you’re old enough to remember, think back to AOL, Compuserve, Prodigy and BBS systems.
Accessing these information systems was through a dial-up modem. Remember modems?
You know, those ugly boxes that made a horrible noise when you called another computer.
I had a choice.
My choice was to either set up banks of modems to access my system or instead, use this new thing called the Internet.
I made a ‘bet the farm’ decision on the Internet.
Today, it’s a no-brainer.
But back in 1995, the so-called experts laughed at me. I called crazy for using this unproven technology that was a fad and going nowhere. You know, this thing called the Internet.
As usual, the experts were wrong.
I took a contrarian position and went against the masses.
I’m not alone.
Business Empires Built From Being Contrarian
Following the habits of successful entrepreneurs will serve you well.
Imagine you’re an unknown company in an industry dominated by large businesses. You’re competing in a space where everyone gives everything away for free.
Would you go against the crowd and start charging?
That’s what a small company called Google did with its Adwords services in 1999. Google charged advertisers to have their results show up in searches.
The search category is big business. According to this article, 78% of Google’s $36.7B revenues come from Adwords.
Today’s it’s obvious. But ‘back in the day’ it wasn’t. Google was up against Yahoo!, Altavista, and Open Text to name a few.
For a blast to the past, check out this article on all those search engines of yester years.
Here’s another question for you.
Would you let complete strangers pay you to stay in your home?
You’d likely tell me I’m nuts and that these strangers should go to a hotel.
Would you take your hard earned money in a company that did this?
If you did, you’d now have your money in a company valued at $31 Billion.
Who would have thought that there’s a market for homeowners to rent to complete strangers?
Airbnb did, and in so doing, proved the experts wrong.
This article even suggests that Airbnb will design your next home so you can share it.
Follow the habits of successful entrepreneurs and take the pass less traveled.
Success Habit #10: Your True Wealth Is Your Health
The first wealth is health. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Habits of successful entrepreneurs include health.
And when you think about it, all the success, wealth, and fame means nothing if you don’t have your health.
The holy trinity of health is exercise, sleep, and food.
Tom Corley knows a thing or two about habits of successful entrepreneurs. Corley is a best-selling author who studies the habits of both poor and rich people.
Corley shares that wealthy people are healthy. It turns out rich people exercise four days a week for at least 30 minutes. Successful people also eat less.
When it comes to food, Warren Buffett keeps it simple. In this article, Buffett shares that he eats 2,500 calories a day.
Why does Buffett eat 2,500 calories a day, you ask?
2,500 calories are Buffett’s ‘sweet’ spot. If Buffett eats more, he gains weight. If Buffett eats less, he loses weight.
Of course, we’ll overlook Buffett’s obsession with Coke and Cheetos! According to this article, most billionaires eat a rather boring but healthy diet.
David Murdock has smoothies two to three times per day. Under Armour founder, Kevin Plank, eats skinless chicken, salmon, brown rice, and broccoli. Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg limits unhealthy lunches and sticks with salads.
Wondering what your daily food intake should be? No worries. Check out this calorie calculator.
And if you’re wondering about how much water to drink, check out this water intake calculator.
Last but not least is sleep. Six to eight hours of sleep plays a large role in the habits of successful entrepreneurs.
According to this article, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg wakes up at 8 am. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos enjoys his 8 hours of sleep. And Bill Gates enjoys at least 7 hours of sleep.
Success Habit #11: Failure Is Your New BFF
Failure plays a significant role in the habits of successful entrepreneurs.
To be clear, the habits of successful entrepreneurs is not to deliberately fail. But from the ashes of failure rises wisdom, experience, and sweet success.
I’m humbled to realize that I was not ready for the success that was waiting for me when I started my first business.
It took my many failures to teach, guide, and prepare me for success. I didn’t realize it at the time, but failure was my new best friend.
Let failure become your new best friend. When it does, know that you’re in great company.
Julie Ellis writes an excellent article on entrepreneurs who failed.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos bought 100 million toys for the holiday season. One big problem. 50 million toys remained. Ouch! But this didn’t stop Bezos for turning Amazon into the massive success it is today.
If you’re a raving fan of the GoPro camera, know that Nick Woodman succeeded only after he failed. Woodman’s GoPro success comes directly from lessons learned with his failure. In Woodman’s words, “I was so afraid that GoPro was going to go away like Funbug that I would work my ass off.”
Walt Disney was living on dog food and not paying rent. Disney’s first character Oswald, a rabbit, failed. And MGM thought there was no future for a funny looking mouse otherwise known as Mickey Mouse. Failure schooled Disney on how to build an empire.
Success Habit #12: Adopt The 24-Hour Rule
Habits of successful entrepreneurs include celebrating wins and mourning losses for 24 hours. Tomorrow is a new day filled with fresh challenges and opportunities for you to conquer.
Successful entrepreneurs know this success rule, and so should you.
When I was building my 8 figure business, I racked up huge wins and even bigger losses.
Even when failure is your new BFF (see Success Habit #11), it hurts. You’re justified in wallowing in your loss. For days.
Habits of successful entrepreneurs include the 24-hour rule.
What’s the 24-hour rule, you ask?
Celebrate your wins like there’s no tomorrow. Feel the stinging pain of your losses.
Know that tomorrow is a new day and you better show up with your game face.
No exceptions. Ever.
Success Habit #13: Know The Difference Between The Important And Urgent
80% of the results come from 20% of the causes. A few things are important; most are not – Richard Koch
Habits of successful entrepreneurs include the art of focusing on the important.
So why focus on the important and ignore the urgent, you ask?
Enter Vilfredo Pareto.
Pareto was an Italian economist who noticed that 20% of the population owned 80% of the land. Pareto went on to test this observation with, well everything.
Pareto’s law, otherwise known as the 80/20 rule, says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions.
Imagine what you could do if you focused on the 20% of activities that generated 80% of your success.
Habits of successful entrepreneurs include focusing on the important 20% of activities.
Ever wonder why so many well-intentioned people never make it?
Most people focus on the 80%, otherwise known as life’s urgent matters. The 20% of activities where success is hiding is either minimized or ignored.
It never ceases to amaze me how so-called urgent matters work out for the best left to themselves. And the best part is you didn’t do a thing.
Easier said than done. I know. Check out this post to help the cause.Focus on the important matters and ignore the urgent ones. Your success and happiness will skyrocket.
Find the 20% of your customers that cause 80% of your headaches and fire them. Discover the 20% of your actions that generate 80% of your profits and forget everything else.
In this post, I share thirteen habits of successful entrepreneurs. These success habits change lives and build lasting business empires.
Realizing success isn’t only about hard work. Success is both working hard and smart.
And working smart is modeling the behavior of successful people.
Start by focusing on the habits of successful entrepreneurs that resonate with you. Stay with each success habit until you’ve mastered it.
Once you’ve mastered one success habit, move on to the next.
Rinse and repeat until you’ve mastered all thirteen habits of successful entrepreneurs.
And when you run into difficulties, and you most certainly will, remember me.
I was that kid who started his business with no experience, money, or team. Despite the odds, I build a profitable 8 figure business.
It took time, wasn’t easy, and was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
But, and this is a big but, if I can do it, so can you.
And it starts with mastering these thirteen habits of successful entrepreneurs.
So, my dear reader, what are you waiting for?
I know you can do it!
Here’s to you and your success!
Your Raving Fan,