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Four Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs

When it comes to actually putting your plan into place, the idea of who you need to be becomes just as important - if not more important - than what you need to do. Because, if you cannot actually implement the plan, it’s just a to-do list of things you wish you’d done. Fortunately, there are things that you can work on in order to develop the traits you need to create a thriving, successful business.
Blog header image, photo of a successful business woman and the blog title: Four Traits of a Successful Business Owner

Four Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs

One of the ways that I describe what I do as a business coach and consultant, is that I work at the intersection of what you need to do and who you need to be to do it. The reason I describe my approach that way is this: we can create a business strategy, a marketing plan, along with all of these amazing messages, memes, and visuals. But if you cannot work the plan, the plan does not matter. 

When it comes to actually putting the plan into place, the idea of who you need to be becomes just as important – if not more important – than what you need to do. Because, if you cannot actually implement the plan, it’s just a to-do list of things you wish you’d done. Fortunately, there are things that you can work on in order to develop the traits you need to create a thriving, successful business. 

What Is On The Minds of Business Owners Today? 

Lately I have been talking and writing a lot about what you need to do in terms of marketing, messaging, and business strategy in order to be successful in the current economy. The reason I’ve been focused on these tactical topics is that business has gotten much harder lately. It’s always hard to create and grow a small business, and then you add in our current economy, and things are harder than they were just one year ago. 

However, I was recently reminded that in addition to focusing on the tactical how-to topics, I also need to continue to talk about the importance of being who you need to be. One of these was when I recently presented at an incredible business conference just outside of Milwaukee that was presented by a group called Young Guns

Young Guns has created an amazing movement and culture for entrepreneurs and I really love the environment of their events.  I presented alongside Precious “Pitch Master” Williams, who has won 13 pitch competitions and won a pitch on Shark Tank. She presented on pitching and what you need to do to be persuasive, and how to do that. I presented on marketing and how to grow your audience and create an environment that attracts people to you. 

We each had an amazing session and both had a blast going deep and giving all sorts of information about what you need to do, and then came back on stage together for a Q&A session. And although we both gave a ton of information on what you need to be doing right now, when we did the Q&A session, nobody asked us anything about the tactical things we had taught.

Instead, every single question was about who you need to be, like how to get past imposter syndrome, how we get past our failures, how we move past anger that you’re holding onto that you know is killing you but you don’t know how to let it go. The entire room went deep into discussing who you need to be to create a successful business even though that is not what either of us had presented. 

Read, Learn, and Use Your Time Well 

Part of my morning routine is to read. Recently I’ve been re-reading Working with the Law by Raymond Holliwell, and the last chapter is about the Law of Success. The author believes that your success is tied to two things: how you use your time and what you do with your thoughts. 

It’s basically the quote from Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right.” It is one of those things that is easy to say, but much harder to do, which is why learning to guide and control your thoughts to create an outcome is something you practice. It’s not something you try once and are great at doing. It is a practice that you keep doing so that you can become better and better at doing it. 

This is why my first piece of advice is to read, absorb, and learn. It’s important to understand why what you think is so important to your success, so that you can then go do that work. 

This is where it falls apart for most people. You cannot just read, and absorb, and then do nothing with that information. Unfortunately, I watch that over and over and over again with people who attend my events, and other events where I speak. Simply being at the event is not the game-changer, it’s what you do with what you’ve learned and with who you met at the event. 

If you want to make a difference, you’re going to have to do something different than what you are currently doing, learning, and hearing. It’s ok to start slow and build as you go. You cannot build anything if you do not start. 

Holliwell’s book mentions the importance of what you do with your time and your thoughts. This does not mean that you should be working 24/7. It means that you should spend your time expanding your mind, and refilling your cup, even in your downtime. It means immersing yourself in the type of thoughts that will lift you up and pull you forward, instead of immersing yourself in the thoughts that will hold you back and keep you stuck. 

Improve Your Mental Consciousness and Energetic Vibrations

I recently did a training for my group program on the Map of Consciousness by David Hawkins. This book is an older publication, and it is not an easy read or necessarily a happy, feel-good book. It is definitely a more academic book, but what I loved about it was that he takes the Law of Attraction and goes deep into the neuroscience behind it. 

In this book, Hawkins explores the idea that we are all energy, and that we are all vibrating at a certain frequency that is actually measurable. He also explains why you are attracting what you are attracting, and how it is actually measurable. I loved that this book was not just the “woo-woo” side of the Law of Attraction, but the actual science of it. 

In the training that we did in my group program, we looked at this Map of Consciousness, which maps out each level and the predominant feeling and behavior associated with each level. You can download the chart here, and each day, ask yourself which of the levels best describes how you are feeling.

Then, look higher on the chart – even one level higher will help – and ask yourself how you could show up in that feeling instead of the one that you are defaulting to. I have been doing this each day and am really enjoying it. It’s really powerful to see the different emotional states, and the life view associated with that state. 

Work On Having a Positive Mindset

Every week I talk to a lot of entrepreneurs about their businesses. I think I speak with at least 20 business owners each week, between clients, potential clients, people who I interview for my podcast, and networking contacts. 

Some people are freaking out right now, and others are doing really great. How they are feeling does not necessarily have to do with how their business is technically doing on paper right this second. How they are feeling has more to do with how they are reacting to the current economic situation.

Some are defaulting to resistance, panic, scarcity, and fear. Others are defaulting to feeling that this is figure-out-able. The thing is, you can feel scared, nervous, or mad, you can feel the need to tighten your belt and cut out some expenses, and still know that you can figure out how to make it through any situation. 

When I was a kid, my brother and I used to watch a cartoon called Gulliver’s Travels. There was a character who was one of the Lilliputians in the show, and each week they would go on an adventure in which something terrible would happen. And each time, in the middle of the chaos, this particular character would say, “We’re doomed! We’ll never make it!”

To this day, my brother and I still say that to each other when things are happening in our lives. And while my brother and I are joking when we say that, I will absolutely promise you that if that’s how you truly feel, then you are right. You will be doomed, and will never make it. 

That’s the delineation I am watching right now. There are business owners who are saying, “Ok, this is the reality, what do I need to do to figure it out?” And there are business owners saying, “Holy crap, this is the reality!  We’re doomed! We will never make it!” 

I call my morning journaling practice Setting My Stage, because I set myself up for a more successful mindset for the day as well as for better decision making. If you read our recent blog How to Improve Decision Making In Your Business you know that being a business owner means being the Chief Decision Maker. Setting my stage also helps me make better decisions. 

If you’re not sure what to do when you sit down with your journal, here are some things I ask myself when nothing pops into my mind to dig into journaling about.:

What am I grateful for?

You cannot go wrong with this one. Some days it might be extremely difficult to find this for which you are grateful, but you can include the most basic things in life to get started, and you will probably find that your list grows rapidly.

Who do I need to forgive?

Don’t forget to include yourself, especially if you have had a hard day and are blaming yourself for something that went wrong. 

What do I need to let go of that is not serving me?

This is a BIG one for decision making and not being tied to things that aren’t working. You cannot stretch yourself if you are too busy staying tied to the thing that is holding you back. 

Where do I need to be more intentional?

Where am I letting things just happen instead of creating a solution or dictating the outcome? 

What do I want?

What is the result that I want? What do I need to do, who do I need to be, and what do I need to believe in order to create it?

Take Action, Be in Charge, and Get Results

If you’re familiar with my business, you might remember that my tagline is Be In Charge, Take Action, Get Results. And that is really what my approach is all about. 

Be in Charge means doing the work that you need to do to set yourself up for success. It’s not about being in charge of anyone but yourself. It’s about being in charge of your mindset, your decisions, your outcome. It’s about personal responsibility. 

Take Action refers to the fact that none of this matters until you actually DO something with it. Until you do something with the decisions that you make, they don’t matter. 

Get Results means any result, even if it’s not the result you wanted. When you get results, you can assess what happened so that you can go back to the beginning to make better decisions and be more intentional, so that you can take the next round of action, so that you can get the next round of results, and then repeat again and again. 

Business is harder to do right now than it’s been recently. That is an absolute fact. But you do get to decide if this is an obstacle or an opportunity. You get to decide if you are doomed or not doomed. 

All of these ideas are designed to help you create that successful mindset that is the differentiator between the people who are moving through this current economic challenge, knowing that they’ll come out ahead of the game, or the ones who are just trying to hit the same nail harder, and staying in frustration.

For more tips on how to grow your business and conquer your goals, listen to the latest podcast episode.

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Erin Marcus

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Erin Marcus is an author, speaker and communications specialist helping organizations to “Conquer the Conversation,” and creating improvement in sales, customer service and team dynamics. To bring Erin to your event or business:

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