Entrepreneurship is hard. If done right, it’s never easy. It takes perseverance, hard work, ingenuity, and a little luck. And even then, success is never a sure thing.
In other words, to find success, entrepreneurs need to have a certain set of skills that enable them to reach their goals and create thriving businesses. Every entrepreneur who has made it doesn’t necessarily have all of these skills, but it’s a lot more difficult to reach the top without them.
Here, we’ll cover the skills that form the foundation of success for an up-and-coming entrepreneur – the skills that make it more likely (although not guaranteed) that you’ll reach your goals.
The famous Thomas Edison quote goes like this: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” He also said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
The apostle Paul talks about perseverance as well, when he wrote that perseverance and endurance build character, and out of character comes hope.
The entrepreneurs who have achieved their dreams and ambitions did so because they endured failure. That’s ultimately what perseverance means: moving through countless failures on the path toward success. When things are difficult, or taxing, or not working as they should or as you expect, perseverance means you keep going until they do work – or until you find a better way.
No successful enterprise happened overnight. Even the most successful companies in the world – Apple, Amazon, Google – happened after many countless hours of difficulty and hardship, of running into wall after wall and somehow finding a way to climb over.
It takes great perseverance to find success, because success doesn’t want to be found. It’ll do whatever it can to avoid you, which makes trials all worth it when you capture it.
An entrepreneur knows how to persevere through hard times and rough going.
A Thirst for Learning
No entrepreneur knows everything he or she needs to know in order to succeed, just like you didn’t know everything you needed to know when you were born. You had to learn how to do everything you can do now; and to do things in the future that you can’t do now, you’ll have to learn even more.
An entrepreneur’s lessons are never finished. You’ll need the desire to learn and absorb knowledge from those who have been there before. You’ll have to find a skill you need and then obtain that skill. You’ll have to read, and listen, and watch, and do, in order to get all of the skills and know-how and abilities you’ll need to guide your business to success.
An entrepreneur who thinks he knows everything knows nothing. Success is a continual learning process that never ends.
Everyone seems to be in awe of inspiration. We go to great lengths to find it. We wait for the “right time” to strike, to get into the “right mood.” We want to work when we feel like it, when we feel the pulsing energy of motivation.
But here’s the honest truth: you can’t rely on motivation. Motivation is deceiving and ultimately unreliable. It can lead you astray and abandon you right when you need it the most. It isn’t to be trusted.
What you can trust and rely on is the opposite of motivation: discipline. Discipline is the drive to do what’s right and best at all times, even if you don’t feel like it. It is putting one foot in front of the other and doing what needs to be done regardless of your emotions or circumstances.
An athlete disciplines himself by not missing a workout, even a tough one. A soldier goes through long hours of discipline so that when the time comes to act in combat, he’ll do so by instinct. And an entrepreneur disciplines himself by creating a system and sticking to it, no matter what.
Discipline will always be there for you, if you take the time to develop it. And anyone can learn how to be disciplined. It’s a muscle that has to be exercised to get bigger and stronger. The more you discipline yourself, the easier it’ll be, because eventually that discipline will create something even more powerful: habit and routine.
Discernment means you have a sense for what is good and what isn’t. It means you can make accurate judgments on a course of action, a person, an idea, a business opportunity – anything from a small detail to a big project.
Successful entrepreneurs have discernment. It comes in handy with anything from figuring out if a business idea is viable to hiring the right people for your business. But it’s a tough skill to develop.
The best way to cultivate discernment is to gather as much data as you can. Practice being observant. Expand your mind when evaluating an idea or a concept. Talk to others frequently and listen to what they have to say. Get as much input as you can before making a decision.
Discernment doesn’t keep you from making bad decisions; it enables making good ones. It’s worth cultivating. Just know that having discernment and “going by your gut” aren’t always synonymous. You can have a gut reaction or feeling about something and ultimately be wrong because you weren’t being discerning.
In this way, discerning is an active skill – it’s something you have to consciously do and develop, and it may, at times, run against your instincts. But if you’ve honed your discerning eye, it’ll lead you to success more often than not.
Finally, every entrepreneur needs to have a long-term focus.
You’ve heard the saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” While that’s true, it’s also true that you’ll never finish that journey of a thousand miles unless you’re focused on the journey and the destination. Without that focus, that single step can lead to other steps that ultimately lead you astray.
The best entrepreneurs are able to exchange worrying over short-term things for a resolute focus on the long-term. This enables them to invest with confidence in themselves and in others because they realize it’s a long-term play, something that could pay off months or even years down the road.
They’re not fazed by short-term setbacks because they’re focused on what lies ahead. They can overcome obstacles and difficulties because they know that’ll ultimately lead to where they want to go.
Finding Skills You Need
One of the best things you can do is to find an organization that helps you cultivate and grow these skills as an entrepreneur by connecting you with resources – including other entrepreneurs.