It seems like there are thousands of articles out there telling you how to be an “entrepreneur.” Some preach crazy morning routines like waking up at 4am and mediating for two hours. Others push an unhealthy work-life balance, encouraging 80-hour work weeks to prove how serious you are about your business. The truth of the matter is that entrepreneurs can look and act like anyone. What makes an entrepreneur is a business.
But you want your business to be successful, too. On the Making Bank Podcast, entrepreneurs hop on the mic to talk about how they reached their success. Just as there is no one right path to success, there is no one “right” routine to success. However, over the years, the show has highlighted the same certain qualities that can help launch and run a sustainable company. While you’ll need all of these qualities at all times, specific traits can aid you at different stages of the business.
On Season 6 episode 9 of Making Bank, neuroscientist Steven Kotler discusses peak performance. A phrase often used in entrepreneurial circles; peak performance is about maximizing your skills to perform at your A game. A big proponent of peak performance is discipline, the first and most obvious trait that helps entrepreneurs reach success. While it may seem well known, it can be one of the most difficult to master. Whether you are just starting out or you are trying to grow your business, discipline allows you to take steps towards your goals every day. Without it, it would be almost impossible to accomplish what you’ve set out to do. Remember those articles and videos about having a strict morning routine that begins in the early? Those are attempts at building discipline.
Here’s the thing. Discipline is about sustainability. It’s not only about committing to do something but committing to do it often and well. So, if getting up at 4am does not appeal to you, don’t do it. No matter how much discipline you may have as an individual, if the action leaves you exhausted, miserable and out of sorts, it’s not worth it.
Perhaps staying up late into the night is the thing that leaves you exhausted, miserable and out of sorts. If you prefer to be in bed and rise early, then follow that path. The issue with discipline sometimes is that we feel it needs to be miserable. It needs to be “a grind” in order to feel validated. The thing is that you don’t need to prove your discipline to anyone. Going to the extreme doesn’t make you more disciplined than the person that wakes up at 9am or takes the weekends off because any extreme is not sustainable. If it’s not sustainable for you, then there’s no way you can maintain your commitment. So, no matter what the entrepreneur next to you is doing, don’t worry about it. Your discipline will come through in your results.
The next trait that’s imperative to entrepreneurs is diligence. On Season 6 episode 11 of the Making Bank Podcast, guest Jonathan Feniak discusses the importance of doing your research, especially when it comes to the legality of your business. While making sure your legal ducks are in a row is extremely important, I would argue that research in all areas is.
The thing is that once you decide to start a business, you are no longer an employee. It’s not your job to sit around and wait to be told your tasks, or to go to a superior when challenges arise. When you are an entrepreneur, you must adopt the entrepreneur mindset, which includes being diligent in everything you do. If you choose to slack off at work, your business will slow. If you forget to send a follow up email, you will miss an opportunity. The ownership is entirely on your shoulders. While that may seem daunting, it’s also exciting. You have as much control as one could have over their career, baring life events.
Therefore, you must be thorough in everything you do. Again, as an employee, you can clock in and out and expect to get paid. When you’re the boss, you can work for two hours or twenty, and if you’re not closing deals, improving your product or selling, you won’t make any money. So, whether you work 5 quality hours a day, or 10 less focused ones, you must cross every T and dot every i. You must double check every detail because no one else will do it for you.
While it makes sense on paper, continuing to be diligent can be challenging. There will be days you’re exhausted, busy, or simply just not feeling up to it. That’s when you’ll need your discipline.
The last and one of the most important qualities of an entrepreneur is the ability to self-reflect and self-improve. While it’s certainly important to master your discipline and diligence, those qualities won’t work for you if you’re wasting them in the wrong areas. At any stage of your business, you must be asking yourself, “Is there a better way to do this?” Sometimes the answer is no—most of the time, yes.
Self-reflection and improvement allow you to utilize all your other skills to head in the right direction. So, remember to constantly and consistently reflect, adjust, and keep moving forward. At the end of the day, you can be the “most qualified” entrepreneur—but you can’t get to where you want if you’re on the wrong path. E