Successful entrepreneurs are innovators that make the world go round. We talk about them. We admire them. We aspire to be them. But what qualities are common among them? And how can you get in on the action?
From taking risks to taking rests, we’ve rounded up 13 traits of flourishing entrepreneurs to help you kick your innovation—and inspiration—into high gear.
Successful entrepreneurs are grateful for what they have. Even if their bank account’s seen better days. Even if things aren’t going as planned. They see the value in what they’ve done and how far they’ve come—and they’re not looking over their shoulders to compare themselves to others.
True trailblazers know their worth. They’re cognizant of their abilities and know how to best put them to use. They also know the difference between confidence and cockiness, skipping selfies to work on their projects instead.
They root for others.
Because thriving innovators are confident—in themselves and what they’re doing—they’re cheerleaders for others. They know the value of camaraderie, community, and a little healthy competition. They’d rather lift others up than hold them down.
They’re constantly improving themselves.
Bona fide pioneers aren’t satisfied with “good enough.” They know there’s plenty to learn and they’re willing to put in the work to better themselves. Maybe it’s taking a class. It may just be learning to cook healthier foods. Whatever it is, they’re constantly looking for ways to reach new personal goals.
They’re willing to work hard.
Being a groundbreaker takes work. A lot of it. Successful entrepreneurs don’t avoid hard work, they embrace it. They also don’t expect success to just come to them. They pound the pavement, virtually or on foot. And when they hit it big, it makes it that much sweeter.
They take risks.
Author John Burroughs famously wrote, “Leap and the net will appear.” Nothing rings truer for innovators. Being an entrepreneur means stepping out of your comfort zone and into the unknown. It can be scary (really scary!) to quit your day job to pursue your passion. Heck, just putting yourself out there is intimidating. But born torchbearers know they have to take risks to succeed.
They also take rests.
All that hard work, all those risks and self-improvement, can drain your battery. Thriving innovators know they can’t run on empty so they take breaks to recharge. That might mean a 20-minute power nap, a long weekend, routing calls elsewhere for a few hours, or enabling the beautiful peace and quiet of “do not disturb.” Whatever it is, they emerge refreshed and ready to get back to work.
They’re open to feedback.
Like successful companies, successful entrepreneurs are open to feedback, even when it’s not positive. It’s great to hear what you’re doing right. But effective innovators know it’s just as important—perhaps more so—to know what you’re doing wrong so you can make the necessary adjustments to improve.
And open to new things.
Wise entrepreneurs understand the power of an open mind. They know there’s a lot to learn in the world, and you won’t get far if you don’t try anything new. Whether it’s meeting with an unexpected investor or overhauling an ancient phone system, innovators are less “why” and more “why not.”
They’re willing to fail.
Business pioneers know failure is a rite of passage. When things fail—mildly or spectacularly—they proudly add themselves to the lists (and lists) of legendary innovators that failed but eventually came out on top. As Frank Sinatra famously sang, “Each time I find myself flat on my face, I pick myself up and get back in the race,” they own up to their mistakes and embrace the chance to change course.
As we’ve mentioned before, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Whether it’s getting customers or gaining followers, seasoned entrepreneurs know good things take time. So they’re patient, with themselves and others. They put in the work, look towards the future, and keep chugging along until their big break finally breaks through.
If there’s one thing constant about business, it’s that things are always changing. And successful entrepreneurs are up for the challenge. They know they can’t get stuck in their ways so they’re adaptable and go with the flow.
No matter how much notoriety they receive or how well-off they become, successful entrepreneurs stay humble. They remember how they got where they are. And they haven’t forgotten their struggles and failures. So they choose humility over arrogance and stay true to their roots.