1 . Be a Salesperson
Never underestimate how important it is to be able to sell. Its at the top of the list on purpose. Even if you never have to sell to clients unlikely , you will have to sell your ideas to investors, sell your company vision to prospective employees, and sell consumers or customers on your brand. Selling is absolutely critical to your success, so if you have an aversion to it, youd better get over that fast.
2 . Delay Gratification
No business is successful on day one. Almost no businesses are successful after year one. If you think entrepreneurship is the ticket to instant riches, you need a reality check. Not only will you have to work hard for a long term goal, you will probably have to work hard in the face of what seems like certain failure at times.
3 . Discipline
Discipline isnt just about working hard, but you do have to do that. Discipline is also about managing your entrepreneurial tendencies. Many natural born entrepreneurs are blessed with a mind that is an idea generating machine. The good news is that some of those ideas are gold mines. The bad news is that if you continually pursue new ideas, old ideas never get developed to fruition. And Ive watched one multimillionaire in particular run his business into bankruptcy because every week he was working on something new.
4 . Take Risks
Just leaving the rat race is a huge risk in an of itself. No wonder so few people do it. And if you have a spouse or significant other, realize that they are risking with you whether they like it or not. Everyone has a need for some level of certainty, so if you cant find it in your business, plan on finding it elsewhere maybe for several years at a time.
5 . Build Rapport
Note that this is not called Making Friends important, yes, but not the same thing. Building rapport means building respect, a reputation, and hopefully key alliances along the way. Donald Trump doesnt seem to be the kind of guy youd call your BFF. But he does have the ability to get people to listen and trust him. You will need to build relationships as an entrepreneur, no business is an island.
6 . Be a Leader
While you may be a natural born follower, as a business owner, you will have to be able to lead. That means trusting an inner compass to guide you when there are no outside indications as to what step to take next. It means having people rely on you. And it even means forgoing the road less traveled for bushwhacking your own path.
7 . Be Uncomfortable
Nobody thinks that running a business is easy. But generally people underestimate just how hard it can be. There can be times as a business owner that for months on end you will be in a state of stress, worry, anxiety, and discomfort. Being an entrepreneur means being able to live and function in this state for extended periods of time, and being able to find a way to shut it off so that it doesnt consume your personal life as well as your career.
8 . Inspire
To be an entrepreneur you need to be inspired. You will likely have to inspire others such as employees and your first customers who will have to believe in you with no track record. But most of all you will continue to have to inspire yourself, because sometimes your vision is the only thing that can lead you out of one phase of your business and into the next.
9 . Focus
Related to discipline is focus the ability to tune out noise that can distract you from your goal. That noise could be people who doubt you, busywork, doing too much social networking, or perhaps worst of all, the noise inside of your own head of self doubt, fear, or unrealistic expectations of yourself. Personally, Ive only heard about these things, I cant say I know this from experience.
10 . Understand Numbers
I am extremely number challenged. Im the biggest of big picture thinkers. So there are times when I am working on a project that I think is going terribly only to finally force myself to build a spreadsheet or break out the analytics and find that Im actually doing better than I had thought. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true, when I think that Im kicking ass only to find that the actual return on investment of time, dollars, etc. isnt where I thought it would be. Truth be told, this is one of the number one reasons people go out of business they dont pay enough attention to the cold, hard numbers.