How to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

Starting and running your own business isn’t easy; in fact, it can be downright maddening. But what you get back in satisfaction, pride, and — if you’re good — earnings can more than make up for the time and energy that you’ll invest in your business.

But jumping into entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone; it takes a number of very specific characteristics and a willingness to work really hard. It’s not for everyone, but there’s no doubt that succeeding as an entrepreneur is one of the most fulfilling things you can do in the business world.

With that said, here are five things you’ll need to be successful in starting your own business.


Possibly more than anything else, you’ll need a healthy amount of resilience. Starting and running your own business is hard, and there are going to be times when it’s not any fun at all. There will be money problems, difficulty finding clients, really tough decisions, and myriad other things that will add to your stress level.

But if you know how to manage your stress, work under pressure, and bounce back from failure, you can be very successful in running your own business. Not sure if you’re resilient or how to become a more resilient person? Check out these articles from Psychology Today to learn more.


This almost goes without saying, but it’s an important one to think about. Successful entrepreneurs are highly motivated people, and they don’t give up easily. This is tied into resilience, but a lot of it has to do with motivation, the ability to keep yourself moving forward, and a strong desire for success.

Your measure of success doesn’t have to be the same as everyone else’s, though—sure, your main motivation could be to make a lot of money, but it could be something else. Maybe it’s to help people with a common problem in their lives, or to see more of the world, or to use a unique skill on a daily basis. Whatever motivates you, find it and stay focused on it.


You might be surprised to find out that you’ll need some creativity even if your business isn’t a typically “creative” one. No matter what product or service you’re selling, if you aren’t able to think creatively about how to reach potential customers, increase sales, and get as much possible out of your time and effort, you won’t be reaching your full potential.

Fortunately, you can cultivate creativity by practicing creative thinking regularly. Fast Company has a great article on different ways of thinking about creativity, and you should give it a read to see what kind of mindset you’ll need to solve problems creatively.

Technological Savvy

Not every successful entrepreneur out there is a total tech-head, but it certainly helps. Being willing to learn about things like social media, online marketing, and new technologies in your field can help give you an advantage over your competitors, whether they’re around the block or around the world.

Even more important than knowing a lot about technology is an openness to learning about and experimenting with it. When a new social network comes along, you should open up an account and try it out. When you find out that customers want more freedom in their payment options, you should find a way to give it to them. When you see a problem that you think could be solved by technology, you should be happy to do your research to find a solution.

Self-Promotion Skills

Especially when you’re just starting out, you’re going to do need to do a lot of self-promotion. Many people aren’t comfortable with this idea, but if you want a successful business, there are no two ways about it: you need to promote yourself.

Online, over the phone, in person, and any other way you can think of promoting your business will be important—no one will buy from you if they don’t know you’re available. If the idea of self-promotion makes you cringe, check out these 10 stealthy techniques for self-promotion from Forbes.

Go Forth and Conquer

Now that you have an idea of what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, you can confidently start to figure out how you’re going to succeed as a small business. No matter what stage of the process you’re at—whether you’re thinking about a business plan or a retirement plan—the characteristics and ideals listed above will help you make the most of it.

Image credit: Sam Churchill via Flickr

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