The success secrets of entrepreneurs actually aren’t as secret as you think.  In order to be successful as an entrepreneur, you first need to understand what type of entrepreneur you are.  There are two primary types of entrepreneurs – those that have created their own businesses in reaction to their life and those that create business from inspired vision and action.  Reactionary entrepreneurs got fed-up with working for someone else. They are dollars driven and fear-based.  They want to have their own business because they’re tired of reporting to someone else and fantasize about making more money than they could in their day job.

Then there are inspired entrepreneurs.  They have an inspired vision, are fearless in negotiating unchartered territory, and love the entrepreneurial lifestyle. Risk-taking comes naturally to them, they know how to be in the unknown, and the more they integrate themselves with their businesses the more success they experience.

These 15 success secrets can transform a reactionary entrepreneur into an inspired entrepreneur

1.  Be conscious.

Here’s the deal: understanding your business means understanding yourself.  If you don’t intimately know what motivates you, depresses you, inspires you, or diminishes you, you cannot be successful as an entrepreneur.  Consciousness is gold to an entrepreneur because it allows us to move from being reactive to being proactive.  If you understand why you respond the way you to to the things that happen in your business, you can consciously make a choice to respond differently.

2.  Embrace the unknown.

A lot of entrepreneurs say they like the excitement of living in the unknown and charting uncharted territory, but the reality for many is that when the mortgage is due, when your car needs emergency service, or when your child gets sick and you can’t afford to pay for health insurance then living in unknown stops being fun.  How do you respond when you have a bill you don’t know how to pay?  Is it, “Oh my God, how will I ever pay this?” or “Now I know how much money I need to earn this week.”  Your mindset around the unknown will affect your success as an entrepreneur.

3.  Take inspired action.

Most of my inspired action gets generated not when I’m in front of my laptop or networking.  It shows up when I’m walking my dogs, washing dishes or folding laundry.  It is the small, quiet whisper that floats through my mind. It is, unconditionally, an easier, better, quicker way to get the results I want.  It is also, unconditionally, an out-of-the-box approach I wouldn’t have considered while strategizing in front of my laptop. Out-of-the-box thinking generates success for an entrepreneur.

4.  Define the vision and stick to it.

This is not the time to daydream about Plan B if Plan A doesn’t work out.  Ensuring Plan A’s success requires perseverance and focus.  Million dollar businesses don’t happen overnight.  You have to be willing to live in the muck of creating your business in order to generate long-term, sustainable results. If you are sure that Plan A is a viable business plan, and if you’ve got support for making it happen, stick with it long enough to see what kind of results it can generate.

5.  Define success.

Define what success means to you, and not just financially.  Take a holistic approach to understanding your definition of success.  Does it mean that you will have a balanced lifestyle, working 20 hours a week or less so you have time to care for yourself and your family? Does it mean creating an automated system for your business so you can run it from anywhere in the world and travel as much as you like?  Define what you want your life to be like and that will help you create goals for achieving success.

6.  Understand your mindset.

“Success isn’t something that you do on the outside, success is something that you are on the inside. The rest will follow.”Chuck Danes

Know your limiting beliefs. Do you believe it isn’t possible to have your cake and eat it too? Do you believe you don’t deserve to have a lot of money? Do you believe that you aren’t qualified enough to run your own business or offer the product/service you’re marketing?  Everyone has limiting beliefs.  Get to know yours.  Get into right-relationship with them so they no longer dictate your decision-making.

7.  Embrace change.

Wake up in the morning delighted to learn how your life will change that day.  Change is fun for inspired entrepreneurs.  What wasn’t working today paves the path for something else that could work better tomorrow.  When change needs to happen welcome it with open arms.  Build a vision for your business and then be willing to be flexible for how that vision unfolds.  You may be surprised by the results generated when change happens.

8.  Work smarter instead of harder.

Take the offensive instead of the defensive stance.  Ask yourself, what do you need to change in order to get your business moving in a different direction in an area that isn’t working?  It’s the difference between patching a leaking dam because you’re afraid of getting flooded and recognizing that the dam isn’t where you want to be in the first place.  Reactionary thinking leads to a lot of needless action in order to address limiting beliefs.  Offensive thinking leads to inspired action and elimination of limiting beliefs.

9.  Know your feelings.

Staying in your head all of the time actually doesn’t benefit you as an entrepreneur.  Getting in touch with your intuition (that guttural, knowing place in you) and activating your intuition will radically increase your level of success as an entrepreneur.  Staying in your head and trying to think through everything logically will slow you down, confuse you, and keep you from being able to see the bigger picture.  Going with your gut will save you time, will build your self-confidence, and will keep your business moving forward.

10.  Yep, feelings, again.

Cultivate more feelings and less strategy.  Be in the feeling of being successful.  There is not a cause and effect for success. We’re trained to think: If I get this thing, then I’ll be fulfilled. You have to be fulfilled, and then you’ll get this thing.  Like attracts likes.  If you feel confident, you will experience more confidence.

11.  Expect the unexpected.

I am continually surprised by the directions my business takes and how I have transformed in my journey of being an entrepreneur.  I have stopped assuming that I will know what my business will look like this time next year, and I have stopped assuming what I will be like at that time.

12.  Learn to love the journey.

To be an inspired entrepreneur you must unequivocally love the entrepreneurial journey.  In this lifestyle there will never be traditional safety and security.  You will never be able to definitively predict your income.  You will always be learning new things about yourself and your business.  You will always experience unexpected challenges.  Loving the journey and living in the unknown will be your only safety and security.  Inspired entrepreneurs know and accept that reality.

13.  Treat your business like a newborn.

A new business, or business idea is like a newborn.  Newborns need to be held close, to have absolute attention given to them, and to be supported in every possible way.  Do the same in your business.  Do not expose your business to negativity.  Hold it close.  Allow your business ideas time to gestate before exposing them to the dark, dangerous world.

14.  Create your own acknowledgement and celebration.

It is a habit of many entrepreneurs to always be focused on the next goal, instead of acknowledging and celebrating the goal that has just been met.  You are your own best (and sometimes only) cheerleader.  Taking the time to acknowledge and celebrate each and every goal will help to motivate you to continue to move forward, and, more importantly, to recognize how far you have already come.

15.  Start.

Stop daydreaming about your business idea. Start taking bold action to make your business a reality.  Your business begins with you.

After reading all this you may be saying to yourself, yes, but how do you actually be a successful entrepreneur? All this stuff about feelings and mindset are interesting, but what do I really need to DO in order to be successful?  Here’s the thing: 90 percent of the coaching work I do with entrepreneurial clients is around feelings and mindset.  Why? Because that’s 90 percent of what makes an entrepreneur successful.  The remaining 10 percent is implementation.  If you’re serious about being a successful entrepreneur then hire a coach, mentor, or join a mastermind group, and start taking a serious look at your mindset and your feelings.

Featured photo credit: John via flickr.com

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