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Four traits of every successful entrepreneur

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Christie Whitehill
CEO, Founder of Tech Ready Women

Why do some succeed... when some don't?

This is the question that most entrepreneurs have asked themselves at least once. I personally have asked myself this question. Not only because I aim to succeed in everything I do, but because I want that level of success that most entrepreneurs can only dream of. The kind of success that makes Richard Branson a billionaire business magnate in addition to being an all-around nice guy and family man.

Success can take on its own meaning depending on what outcome it is you want to achieve. However, most entrepreneurs often define success as financial success and of course, widespread recognition in whatever industry they’ve entered. Unfortunately, the statistical success rate for Australian startups is only about 5% according to this Deloitte report. It’s not promising, but fortunately, there are certain characteristics we can emulate from the astronomically successful to ensure that we beat this statistic.

So what are the key traits that make people like Richard Branson and other successful tycoons so, well, successful?

#1. They know their life mission

Everyone has a calling, mission, or whatever you want to call it, that is leading them down their life path. And it’s those lucky few, the few who know exactly who they are and what they are here to achieve, who end up accomplishing great things.

In an article on, Richard Branson revealed the importance of having a life mission: "What keeps me going is my sense of mission, and the strange thing is, mine is an impossible one… I was always driven by the desire to change things for the better.”

Clearly, the first step to success is working out your own personal mission. Simply look at your life and ask yourself: What values drive you? What do you find yourself thinking about, dreaming about? What would you love to be, do and have?

If you need help figuring it out, seek a coach or mentor to help you dig a little deeper and ask the right questions. Keep exploring and trying new jobs, skills or courses. It’s often the things we confirm we don’t want to do that helps us along the path of working out what you want to do!

#2. They can overcome self-doubt

Majority of successful entrepreneurs will tell you that they have had to overcome their own personal doubts more than once all throughout their journey of building their business from the ground up. When you create a new product or service, you are basically venturing into the unknown, and that is something that scares the pants off most people.

The late great Apple mogul Steve Jobs knows this all too well, and here’s his advice: “Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. Then somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Wise words from a wise man.

#3. They believe in themselves

Self-belief is one of the traits I admire most in people. Often, this trait can be found in very successful people - like some of the world’s best athletes. In them you see a determination to cross that finish line or score that goal even when the odds are against them, or when it seems like they are about to lose. They don’t give up.

Now, not all of us have been trained to think like an athlete - far from it. But you can train yourself into adopting this mindset and applying it to your own life. How do you do that?

Well, take it from Henry Ford, the man who didn’t give up on his mission to produce the world’s first affordable automobile despite failing and falling into bankruptcy numerous times: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Every time you tell yourself or others your intention, pay attention to how you tell your story. Are you telling yourself the story of how you want it?

#4. They view challenges as an opportunity for growth

If you take a look at your own life, think back on the times you have been most challenged. I bet most of you would say that from those challenges came the greatest rewards. As an entrepreneur, if you’re like me and you want to reach your ridiculously high goals, you should always be seeking growth, personally and professionally.

Get excited by challenges that come your way, because as famous author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn says, “Don’t just read the easy stuff. You may be entertained by it, but you will never grow from it.” Challenges are just part of the journey, so relax and learn to enjoy the growth that comes after them.

There are many more factors that contribute to the success of an entrepreneur and their business - aspects such as, timing, market fit, cash flow, and the ability to lead a team. There are also a bunch of external factors such as industry regulations or Government support that can make or break a business. Although in the end the meaning of success can be different for everyone, the key is to commit to your goals, be persistent, never give up, and be grateful, because life can be a wonderful journey full of amazing experiences.

Christie Whitehill, is a leading entrepreneur and mentor in the Australian tech startup space. She is the CEO, Founder of Tech Ready Women.

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