In today’s economy, workers cannot depend on having a stable, full-time job with benefits until they retire. Most people will go through times in their career when they work freelance or are considered an independent contractor. Many of us will also begin our own business at some point. In a gig economy, everyone needs to know how to create their own brand. We are all entrepreneurs.
Being an entrepreneur means that you have to take the reins. You are in control of your own career. That doesn’t always come naturally to everyone. It is tricky, and you have to have discipline, and you must be willing to work hard. You also need to be willing to emulate successful entrepreneurs. Most people who go into business have entrepreneurial figures they admire. They might be controversial figures like Sean Parker —who started Napster and upended the music business—or Julian Assange—who used his brand of hacker activism to start WikiLeaks.
Some might be more inspirational, like Chris Gardner, who went from homeless to head of his own prestigious brokerage firm. Or Joy Mangano, the homemaker who built a better mop and turned it into big business. They might be historic, like Henry Ford, or Thomas Edison. Or the entrepreneur you admire might not be famous. They might be your boss or someone else in your community who is running their own successful business. Look at what they do and figure out what works for them. You will notice how many entrepreneurs have similar skills. Once you notice that, you can apply those skills to your own work.
Concentration is an important skill for successful entrepreneurs. For our purposes, concentration has two meanings. The first is your ability to focus. Our digital world is full of distractions. We have all experienced the time suck of the internet. Moreover, we are constantly distracted by our phones and keeping in touch with family, friends and co-workers.
Successful entrepreneurs are able to shut out distractions and focus on their work. If you are the type of person who is easily distracted, that might be difficult at first. Like exercising a muscle, you can strengthen your ability to focus over time if you work at blocking out distractions. One of the best ways to do this is to have a personal policy that limits where and when you use social media.
The second meaning of concentration in the context of entrepreneurship is specialization. The saying that jack of all trades is master of none has a lot of truth in it. In your work you want to focus on carefully selected set of skills and hone them. Work at using those skills to sell yourself and your business.
A successful entrepreneur knows how to build a niche for themselves that keeps them in demand. Researching areas with underrepresented skills and being there to fill the demand for those skills is a great place to start.
Leadership is a vital trait for entrepreneurs. After all, anyone who wants to succeed in building their own brand and/or business should expect to be in a position of authority and to have other people working for them at some point. That means that you need to be able to lead. Some people are natural leaders, and they demonstrate leadership even as children.
Most people need to work at developing leadership skills. Even people who are natural leaders can benefit from working on improving their leadership skills. There is a wealth of books, articles, courses and conferences available to help you develop as a leader. Take advantage of them.
Organization is a significant trait of successful entrepreneurs. You need to have your ducks in a row if you want to accomplish everything you need to do in a timely enough manner. Organization is another skill that you might have a natural aptitude for, or it might be something you struggle with. Either way, you should view organization as a skill you can learn and improve upon.
There is a Chinese proverb that goes: Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.
If you want to become more organized look at how your thoughts, words and actions become your habits. Work on changing habits that make you less organized. Take advantage of the many books, articles and classes that will help you improve your organizational skills.
This one should almost go without saying. The most successful entrepreneurs are always the best innovators. Think of entrepreneurial titans like Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. They, and other entrepreneurs like them, are geniuses at finding new and improved ways to do things. They are geniuses at filling needs; sometimes needs that people don’t even realize they have. Take the time to stop and look at how you live and work. Think about how other people live and work. What skills, ideas, or products do you have that will help people? How can you build a better product or offer a better service? When you figure that out you will be on your way to success.
Communication can be difficult in a world where ideas get boiled down to the length of a tweet. That is why good communication is such an essential trait of successful entrepreneurs. You need to be able to communicate your ideas to your team. You need to promote your skills, your product, your services. Good communication starts with reading voraciously and building your vocabulary to increase your ability to express yourself. As with some of the other traits mentioned here, you can use books, articles and classes to help you become a better communicator.
In the competitive landscape of entrepreneurship, you need to set yourself apart. It is important to carefully cultivate the skills you need to succeed when you are building a business. Sometimes entrepreneurs focus so much on developing business skills or technical skills or artistic skills that they forget to develop the five skills that we covered in this article. This is a mistake that could prevent you from being as successful as you can be.
Don’t limit yourself. Work on all five of the skills we have just discussed. Develop them the way you would develop any other skill you need for your business. Will you lose out on the chance to be a successful entrepreneur, or will you cultivate the skills you need for success? Get started down the path to success today.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.