How does one become business savvy? Is it in you from birth or is it something you learn through a ton of experience? It’s a question I’ve wondered about for years. And while I don’t know if it’s possible to be born with the qualities you need to succeed as an entrepreneur — I do know that they can be learned.
Entrepreneurs are not “special” people. They are not an elite breed of superheroes who magically make something out of nothing. For a long time, I didn’t even know I was an entrepreneur.
I was young, I was broke, and I was out in the world on my own. Unlike Gary Vaynerchuk, my dad didn’t bring me into a family business or encourage entrepreneurial endeavors. It’s safe to say that my parents could not imagine entrepreneurship being available to anyone who was not wealthy.
Least of all, me.
I needed money and I found ways to make that money. Every opportunity was added to my list of hustles and I secured as many income streams as possible. Either this involved learning a new skill and using it to turn a profit or buying products for cheap and selling them for what I thought they were worth. Over the years, I went from selling mixtape covers at a premium price to opening a yoga studio — and I don’t even do yoga!
I’d get asked a lot about what I do, and I never really had an answer. To be honest, I just did whatever I had to. Until one day, someone clarified, “No, you’re an entrepreneur.”
Umm… I sell stuff?
I just did whatever I had to. Until one day, someone clarified, “No, you’re an entrepreneur.”
Here’s the thing, I didn’t use half of the resources that are available today. I didn’t buy any courses or books until much later in my journey. Neither did I attend webinars or build email lists. I simply took advantage of opportunities that would sustain the lifestyle I’d created for myself.
These days, it seems like entrepreneurship has become a secret club. If you want to get in, prepare to jump through a few hoops. Then, once you’re in, you’ve got to find your way out of a massive content maze.
At the end of it all, hopefully, you walk away with something that closely resembles a business.
I can tell you from experience that it isn’t like that at all.
I’m a firm believer that anyone, anyone can become a successful entrepreneur. It’s not that it’s easy, but it is easily accessible. You don’t have to live in a certain area or be born into money. You don’t have to be single or give up having a family.
With that being said, every entrepreneur I’ve met does has very specific traits. And they all have a different story that led them to become that way. These qualities make running a business feel like second nature. If you work on building these qualities every day, you won’t be able to recognize yourself in a year.
I’ll share those entrepreneurial characteristics with you and show you how you can develop them.
3 Qualities That Will Actually Make You a Better Entrepreneur
We all have some degree of creativity in ourselves. The difference is how well we develop that creativity and when we choose to use it.
This isn’t the kind of trait that is either dormant or active; it’s a quality we build continuously. Creativeness is finding new and innovative approaches to normal processes.
Being more creative isn’t always about coming up with something unheard of. It doesn’t always come down to challenging the status quo. Creativity is about finding your voice and using it as often as you can.
Have you ever watched a romantic comedy? If you’ve never noticed, they all have the exact same concept. As a matter of fact, Michael Hauge is an expert at storytelling, and he was still able to break romantic comedies down into only six categories. Boy meets girl, they don’t get along, over a series of crazy events they fall in love. We know exactly how it’s going to end. But, directors find creative ways to tell the story, and still manage to entertain us.
Steve Jobs didn’t invent the phone or the computer, but he did find creative ways to enrich our lives through technology. He used products that already existed and made them better.
How to enhance your creativity
There are many ways to improve your creativeness, but the best way is to live in the moment. Appreciate where you are in life and everything that exists around you. Consider how things came to be. What influenced and shaped them? Are they perfect as is, or can they still use some improvement?
Another way to enhance your creative qualities is through replication. I’m notorious for preaching the power in being a copy-cat. I’d even go so far as to say that it’s the single best way to find your own style.
Meineke sent me direct mail not too long ago. Typically, it would have gone in the trash, but I really appreciated the postcard design. I kept it on my desk and on a tiresome, rainy day, I tried to re-create it. The further into to the design process I went, the more my design took on its own personality. To date, the ad I created has already prompted over 40 sign-ups here on SipBlack. So, thanks for that Meineke and a toast to copycatting.
Imitation isn’t restricted to tangible things like design and visuals. When you discover a business you’d never heard of before, consider how you found them and how you can recreate that same experience in your business. Figure out how you can start with their end result and work backward to where you are right now.
Another method is through renovation. In other words, build on what is already there. How can you improve on a concept that already exists? How can you make a process or a product even better?
See, creativity isn’t always about being original or reinventing the wheel. Most of the time, it’s taking someone else’s idea and building on it. You just keep doing this until you have enough experience to come up with something completely new.
Give yourself constraints
Many entrepreneurs, including myself, come from arduous backgrounds. Life wasn’t easy and we found ways to make the best of a bad situation. I’m willing to bet that had our lives been different, perhaps even easier, we wouldn’t have taken the path of entrepreneurship.
I’m not saying to make life difficult for yourself for the sake of success, but I think it’s wise to give yourself boundaries. You can give yourself time constraints, creative restrictions, or even give yourself financial limits.
When you’re deprived of the resources you need to make the job easier, you start tapping into your well of genius. Open your mind to the fact that you don’t need as much as you think you do.
There are some people who wait on a business loan of $10,000 and others who make it happen with the $500 in their account. Giving yourself limits forces you to zero in on the most important step — the next one.
How do I get from Point A to Point B without all of these tools at my disposal?
Always have options
Finally, another way you can build your creativity is by coming up with multiple plans. If your goal is placement in a popular magazine, think of three ways you can make that happen. Come up with strategic angles you can bring to the editor and different ways you can reach out to them.
For every goal, make it a habit of coming up with three ways to achieve that goal. Not only will this force you to be more creative, but it also prepares you for any setbacks that may come your way. As long as you have a clear vision of where you want to end up, you can’t go wrong.
There were many times when I thought it was completely over for me. I almost gave up on my business. More than once. I’ve been crushed after hearing “no” too many times and with almost no support, it didn’t feel like it was worth it anymore.
Give up. Go to school. Get a job.
Entrepreneurs need to be able to bounce back after hard blows. You’ve got to have thick skin and be willing to move forward even if no one understands what you’re doing.
Boosting your resilience
The first step to building resilience in yourself is to accept that you know less than you think you do. There is no surefire way to run a business and that’s what makes it such a rewarding journey.
No one has all the answers and your unique experience will be added to a long list of resources for others. Every failure is an opportunity to learn something new. Failure is nothing more than a mistake you’re likely never to make again. Knowing what doesn’t work brings you one step closer to understanding what does work for your business.
Resilience works in your favor because it also builds up your confidence. As you face challenges and come through on the other side, you will learn to believe in your own abilities. A high level of confidence keeps you focused and able to make better decisions.
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The Human Touch
At the heart of your business lies other people. Your business doesn’t work without us. Your job is to make sure that we, also, don’t work without your business.
For your business to thrive, you have to become an integral part of people’s lives. Strive to be valuable and necessary to others.
I love to apply Disney’s vision statement:
To make people happy. — Disney
It’s what we should all strive for. We should wake up every day wanting to change lives, to bring joy, to remove obstacles and ease their pain. If you focus on giving your customers the best experience you can provide for them, they will always come back to you.
Why you should polish up your interactions
There are other reasons you need to be able to connect with people. The better you can communicate, the easier it is for collaborations to work.
Collaborations can sometimes involve multiple people. You have to be able to juggle all these different relationships for one common goal. Most collaborations that fall apart can be traced back to miscommunication between members. It’s really hard to get what you want if you don’t know how to say it.
How can you be more straightforward about what you want? The answer is to understand how to talk to people.
How to connect better with people
If you want the human touch, all you have to do is practice active listening. Even when you’re giving instructions, you should pay attention to the feedback. With every conversation, think of what the other person wants to get out of it. Do they want you to understand something? Do something? Change something?
Try to comprehend and acknowledge their needs. This is a good overall practice because others will feel more comfortable opening up and give you precious feedback.
Aiming to understand the other person should be the bigger goal. More than getting your point across, make it a priority to truly listen.
All of three of these qualities will undoubtedly make you a better, more successful entrepreneur.
- The Human Touch
There are also other qualities like being passionate, hard-working, having self-discipline, and skilled at time management that will help you transition into a more savvy business owner. Truly, there is an endless list of qualities to improve yourself, but these three qualities are where you should start.
That leads me to my next point— just start. None of these characteristics matter if you don’t act on them. Use some of the strategies I provided to build on those traits.
Whatever you’re waiting on is not the magical answer that will propel you to success. You’ve got to go out there and do it— become the best version of yourself. Be fine with the fact that you may fail your first time around, just try really hard not to. Most importantly, have fun with it and always be learning.
Do you think you’ve changed since you began this journey as an entrepreneur? I’d love to hear your experience.