In my experience as a serial entrepreneur, I’ve learned there are recognizable behavior patterns that indicate success for entrepreneurs.
How do I know? Because I’m a successful entrepreneur myself. I started the first of my five companies 29 years ago, and grew it into a $30 million enterprise dedicated to helping other small businesses succeed. My success depends on knowing what makes entrepreneurs tick, and believe me, there are patterns.
1. The Black Sheep
“I’ve always known since I was a little kid that I didn’t want to work for anyone else. I wanted to do my own thing,” she told us. “Even when I opened the store, people would come in and tell me how to run my business and say that I needed to go back to school. But I just ignored what they had to say. I knew what I was going to do, and I knew how I was going to do it–and I just did it.”
Black Sheep’s founder was a contrarian her whole life. While during many of those years she felt like she was going against the flow, she was really flowing towards being an entrepreneur.
2. Unafraid of Failure
Failure is one of life’s greatest teachers. It’s also a class most of us do everything in our power to avoid. If it’s a class you’d like to skip, then being an entrepreneur may not be for you.
Risk takers have learned things that the more risk-averse have not, like resilience, perseverance, owning mistakes, and trusting themselves. Often in business, those lessons are invaluable and prove the difference between success and failure. It’s one thing to say that you’re not afraid of failure; it’s another to have been knocked down and know you have what it takes to get back up.
3. Expert “Sleeve Roller”
Do you know someone who brags about how many job hats they wear at work? Well, if you’re a small business owner, you’d better have a big closet, because you’ll wear every job hat under the sun.
Sure, you can tell your buddies you’re the founder and CEO of a company, but you’ll also have the title of janitor, accountant, head of sales and advertising, legal counsel, security, chef, human resource director, payroll specialist, conflict resolution specialist, secretary, and, in some cases, mom or dad.
Suffice to say, running a business is hard work. If you’re used to rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands into the guts of something, you’ll be a pig in mud as an entrepreneur.
Lawyers, bankers, government officials: they’re the bullies of the small business world, and they’re all bigger than you.
If you want to run a business, you’re going to have to be able to stand up for yourself. Having some experience in this area really helps, whether it’s with schoolyard bullies, authority, sports, or beyond. Entrepreneurs are brave folk. If the prospect of running at odds with someone intimidating doesn’t scare you, entrepreneurship could be for you.
A lot of entrepreneurs get started by doing what they already know. For them, it’s not the work that makes it hard—it’s the vast array of flavors it comes in. Remember what I said about all those hats?