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Are You a Potential Entrepreneur? These 15 Signs Can Tell You the Answer

Are You a Potential Entrepreneur? These 15 Signs Can Tell You the Answer

So you think that you’re ready to become an entrepreneur? It’s not all glitz and glamour, and for most people, it takes dedication, time and a lot of late nights to get a business off the ground. Being an entrepreneur is one of the most difficult ways to earn a living, but also one of the most rewarding. These 15 signs, all backed up by successful business people and entrepreneurs, show the qualities you need to have in order to become a successful entrepreneur. How many do you see in yourself?

A Fiercely Determined Mind

The first thing that you will need to be an entrepreneur is ironclad determination. Someone that doesn’t give up at the first sign of difficulty.

When asked about what it takes to become a entrepreneur, Nitin Aswani, Founder & Head of Product of Oganikk Superfoods[1] said,

You can brush off negative, non-constructive criticism; you know that if you want to satisfy everyone, you should just sell ice cream. You are driven by purpose and are passionate – you understand that money is an output of resolving customer problems, not the other way round.

Always Go For The Leading Role

When you work with people in a group, do you find that you can’t help but assume a leadership role? Do you take it personally if a project doesn’t live up to your expectations? Then you might have what it takes to run your own business.

Evan Harris, Co-Founder & CEO of SD Equity Partners[2] explains,

The difference between a manager and a leader is vast. Just because you have held a management position for X number of years, does not mean you will succeed as an entrepreneur. To be a great entrepreneur, you must be able to lead. Your team needs to believe in your vision and trust that you can get them there. You need to inspire and incite passion. These are the qualities of a leader, not a manager. One who has these leadership qualities is on the path to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Gritty? Okay.

A true entrepreneur isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty when needed, as did founder of Kent Dating[3]. He said,

In the early days of your startup, you will likely be doing a lot of the grunt work yourself until you can afford to hire some additional help. Be prepared to get into the trenches and get dirty, metaphorically speaking.

A Goer For Risks

Are you prepared to be yelled at by your customers the moment that something in your business goes wrong? As an entrepreneur, you will be in charge of dealing with difficult people. You’ll also need to be ready to give up time, comfort, and financial security if you expect your business to stand a chance. Evan Harris, Co-Founder & CEO of SD Equity Partners[4] said,

Starting your own business generally involves taking a lot of risks. In order to be successful, you must be able to understand the risks involved in a decision but also know that there will always be risk and not allow it to hold you back. Someone who can assess risk and then make an informed decision, without being sidelined by fear, is definitely an entrepreneur in the making.

On risk-taking, Fred D. Winchar, President of Max Cash Title Loans[5] adds,

You are a risk taker but only when the risk is in your favor. You don’t blindly risk but when you do, you are confident you will win.

A Contrarian

When everyone else says “why?”, you say “why not?” You don’t just want to go along with business as usual; you want to really mix things up and change the world for the better. Gene Caballero, Co-Founder of GreenPal[6], is this kind of person who said,

One of the most important character traits of a successful entrepreneur is they have to be contrarian – but right. Contrarians are the ones that challenge the majority but have the stubbornness to see an idea through till the end.

Always Asking To Know More

Were you the kind of child that took the family appliances apart to try and figure out how they worked? You likely have the inquisitive mindset necessary to start a business.

Jeff Kear, Founder of Planning Pod[7] says

Are you are always interested in learning other parts of the business in which you work even though they aren’t your responsibility and you might annoy others working in those roles or departments? When I had jobs prior to running my own businesses, I was always asking questions and looking into ways to improve how I worked and how the business functioned.

Unsettled With Traditional 9 to 5 Roles

Are you bored with your day job, doing the same task over and over? Does it all feel meaningless, and like you’re just undervalued and lining someone else’s pockets with your hard work? It might be time to get into business for yourself:

Ben Taylor, Founder of Home Working Club[8] says,

If you feel constantly stifled in traditional jobs and convinced you could do things better, this probably marks you out as an entrepreneur-type – so long as those convictions are based on reality!

Kristen Gagné, Founder of Webtawks[9] adds,

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The typical 9-5 job feels wrong. You loath office politics. You detest being put in a corporate box. You don’t feel the value in working in a position that isn’t useful. You feel stifled.

Comfortable With The Unknown

Entrepreneurs are comfortable with the fact they may not know where or who their next paycheck is coming from: “You are more than comfortable losing everything you have until you succeed. Everything. You live your life “all chips in” and if you lose, you are prepared to live like a pauper till you get another opportunity to win” says Fred D. Winchar, President, Max Cash Title Loans.

Sarah Glass, Founder of Kent Singles [10] adds,

You’re comfortable with the unknown. You enjoy not knowing what one day will be like to the next. You enjoy the process of not having all the answers. Predictability is boring.

A Jack-Of-All-Trades

An entrepreneur wears a lot of different hats in their business. Early on in your business, you may be in charge of sales, customer service, accounting, marketing, manufacture, and other tasks all by yourself. You will definitely need to be able to budget your time and complete multiple different tasks.

On what makes you a great potential entrepreneur, Steven Benson, Founder and CEO of Badger Maps[11] says,

When you have the basic blocking and tackling in each area of business – Sales, Marketing, Technology, Accounting, Finance etc. A big surprise to a lot of people who start companies is how much time they need to spend selling to be successful. You need to be a jack of all trades, because a big miss in any of these areas can be company killing.

A Doer Rather Than A Sayer

Many people sit and dream, but an entrepreneur actually takes action and turns their dreams into a reality. You can’t just think about great business ideas and have them magically happen; you’re going to need to actually put in some hard work. As what Fred D. Winchar, President of Max Cash Title Loans[12] says,

The difference between a potential entrepreneur and a SUCCESSFUL Entrepreneur is the ones who can truly live a life that others fear to live and know others will mock you as you live out your dreams. Inside, your heart is burning to be more than just an employee and you know that you are relentless in your pursuit to make it. Their fear is not yours.

A Meticulous Planner

A good entrepreneur plans for any possible outcomes. You need to think in advance of any opportunities or risk that may impact your business and have action plans to adjust accordingly.

Steven Benson, Founder and CEO of Badger Maps[13] says

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I think that a great indication of being a potential entrepreneur is when you consider yourself a ‘planner’. That’s someone who really enjoys planning things, whether it’s events or business strategies. If you are going to run your own business, you have to get used to thinking a couple of steps ahead and you have to develop a concrete action plan to get started.

You also know how to manage your time on a day-to-day basis, Brandon Latack, President of 651 Lab[14] , once said,

Deciding how you are going to spend your time throughout the day is one of the key aspects of being a successful entrepreneur. You and Elon Musk are both given 24 hours in a day. Use those hours wisely.

No Fear For Hard Work

You’re willing to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. Entrepreneurs often put in 60 or 80 hour weeks in the first year of their business! If that sounds unappealing to you, you may want to stick to a salaried job working for someone else. Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com[15], says,

One of the greatest signs that you’re destined to be an entrepreneur is found in the hard work you’ve done over the years and the amount of initiative you’ve taken/shown for what you’re passionate about. Entrepreneurs embrace hard work and do not shy away from it. Rather; they enjoy it especially when it ties in with their passions. Ultimately, you become what you believe you will become and if you set your intention, stay focused and positive, and believe in yourself while working hard, great things will happen.

Fred D. Winchar, President, Max Cash Title Loans[16] concludes

You have no concept of weekdays verses weekends. Every day is a day to work. Money is made 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Vegas proves that.

An Especially Innovative Mind

Ben Taylor, Founder, Home Working Club[17], says,

With plans and schemes of making money since school, then that entrepreneurial spirit is probably in your blood – especially if some of those ideas were successful.

For people to buy your product, it’s going to need to be something new that they may have never seen before. You can take inspiration from other brand’s ideas and improve upon them, but merely copying a product or service that already exists isn’t going to make you rich. On this, Kristen Gagné, Founder of Webtawks[18], says.

You always think of ways to improve everything – from the way to tie your shoes to the design of the picnic table in the park – you seek out efficiencies and betterment of your world.

Nothing Can Beat You Up

Entrepreneurs don’t take no for an answer! You’re going to have to stick to it when things get rough and don’t seem to be working exactly the way you had planned. Fred D. Winchar, President of Max Cash Title Loans[19] also says,

When you fall, you are the fastest person you know to stand back up. Everyone falls. Failure is part of success. I have yet to know the successful entrepreneur who has not failed multiple time and had crushing losses.

On bouncing back from failures, Brandon Latack, President of 651 Lab[20] added

There will be several roadblocks when starting a business. The bigger the idea, the more roadblocks there will be. [Entrepreneurs] think of each failure as a learning experience. Next time you will be ready for it!

Highly Disciplined

If you’re able to succeed in other areas of your life such as dieting or mastering a particular skill, then you may have the discipline required to become an entrepreneur.

Commenting on the discipline it takes to be your own boss, Nitin Aswani, Founder of Oganikk Superfoods[21],

You are highly internally motivated – being your own boss can be a challenge for those who tend to slack off if there is nothing pressing.

Brandon Latack, President, 651 Lab[22], also says

You have the discipline to stick to challenges. It’s easy to become less enthusiastic and talk yourself out of a challenge once adversity smacks you in the face. Entrepreneurs continue to push forward when things start to get tough.

So there you have it, 15 sure-fire signs that you’ve got what it takes to become an entrepreneur. If you answered yes to over half of these 15 questions, then you’re well on your way to making that dream of being your own boss a reality.

Reference

[1] Oganikk: Home
[2] SD Equity Partners: Home
[3] Kent Dating: Home
[4] SD Equity Partners: Home
[5] Max Cash Title Loans: Home
[6] GreenPal: Home
[7] Planning Pod: Home
[8] Home Working Club: Home
[9] Webtawks: Home
[10] Kent Singles: Home
[11] Badger Maps: Home
[12] Max Cash Title Loans: Home
[13] Badger Maps: Home
[14] 651 Lab: Home
[15] MyCorporation: Home
[16] Max Cash Title Loans: Home
[17] Home Working Club: Home
[18] Webtawks: Home
[19] Max Cash Title Loans: Home
[20] 651 Lab: Home
[21] Oganikk: Home
[22] 651 Lab: Home

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Last Updated on March 15, 2019

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

What Makes a Leader Fail?

A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

What Is Effective Leadership?

Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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“… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

1. Courage

The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

4. Likability

Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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5. Vulnerability

Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

6. Authenticity

Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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“A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

9. A Passion for Continual Learning

Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

The Bottom Line

No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

More Resources About Effective Leadership

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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