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Last Updated on April 15, 2020

8 Characteristics of Entrepreneurship That Will Lead to Success

8 Characteristics of Entrepreneurship That Will Lead to Success

Entrepreneurship can be one of the most fulfilling paths you can take.

Have you dreamed of starting your own business and how that might change the world? Are you looking for a faster and more consistent road to success on your current entrepreneurial journey?

Perhaps you are already on your way and looking for the best ways to scale your current business, while you still maintain control over your time and continue your pursuit of joy and happiness in your life.

Whether you are already an entrepreneur or aspiring to be one, there are time-tested tools, tips, and techniques that you can employ so you can enjoy more personal and financial success along with the ultimate rewards and satisfaction that being an entrepreneur can offer you.

In this article, you will learn about the characteristics of entrepreneurship that will help you become a successful entrepreneur.

2 Basic Rules for Being an Entrepreneur

Rule #1 – Mindset Is Your Fundamental Success Tool

As an entrepreneur, developing a positive and productive mindset should be your first goal and a fundamental characteristic that you work on daily.

Mindset is the cornerstone of success. Starting with a positive mindset will always be your best defense when you run into the inevitable challenges on the road to entrepreneurial success.

According to Stanford psychology professor and author, Dr. Carol Dweck, one of the world’s leading authorities on mindset, there are two types of mindset: fixed mindset and growth mindset.

Fixed mindset is a belief that you are born with certain traits and they are immutable or unchangeable.

However, Dr. Dweck’s primary focus surrounding mindset is on developing the growth mindset: a belief that learning new skills and abilities can be strengthened through commitment, persistence, and work.[1]

With a commitment to the growth mindset, you become an unstoppable force with access to unlimited mental resources that you will need for long-term success.

Rule #2 – Mindset + Strategy = Your Success Formula

With your positive and productive mindset in place, you can more easily implement your chosen and necessary strategies to start, grow or scale your business.

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A mentor once shared with me something that has always stuck with me:

“The most positive mindset is only valuable when you take action on the right strategies…and in turn, the right strategies are only temporary if you don’t have the right mindset. Mindset + Strategy = Success.”

Depending on your business, you will have multiple strategies at your disposal. It is not the purpose of this article to give you specific strategies for your market or industry.

What you will learn here are universal strategies that apply to any entrepreneur, for any business, at any time in history.

Here are 8 characteristics of entrepreneurship essential to success:

8 Characteristics of Entrepreneurship That Lead to Success

1. Be a Little Obsessed (okay, maybe more than a little)

Entrepreneurs start a business for one of two primary reasons:

The first is that entrepreneurs are passionate. We want to change the world with our visions, and we are obsessed with being a catalyst and driver for change.

The other is that we see a solution to a problem and a way to capitalize (read: make money) on that idea.

Typically, entrepreneurs share both of these reasons, but the most successful ones are driven by the passion for change. We have a very big “WHY” for doing what we do.

Having a clear vision will help motivate you to get out of bed every morning and make your mark on the world. So, be very clear about why you are on this journey. Then go ahead and be a little obsessed and reap the rewards of your passion.

2. Show Up Every Day With Everything You Have

Jim Rohn once uttered this powerful quote:

“What is easy to do is also easy not to do.”

It takes fundamental self-discipline and drive to achieve your goals as an entrepreneur. One of the greatest gifts of entrepreneurship is the ability to control your destiny. If you make good choices about where you direct your time, you can get a lot done quickly and efficiently, giving you time for self-care, family, recreation and the other things in life that are more important than a successful business.

The hidden landmine of being in control of your destiny is that it is also very easy for us to procrastinate, especially without some accountability. Procrastination can be the bane of our existence.

One of the most important characteristics of success in entrepreneurship is discipline. It is also one of the most challenging for many of us to master.

Let’s face it, there will be days when you just don’t “feel like it”. But the show must go on. Those moments require you to pull out your strongest mindset and discipline practices like your morning routine.

3. Practice a Solid, Productive And “Non-negotiable” Set of Morning Routines

One of the most important elements of productivity is to “master your morning.” If you master your morning, you will master your day. If you master your day, you will master your life.

This varies from person-to-person, but here are some activities that you will want to include in your morning routine:

  • taking some time for silence or meditation
  • visualizing your ideal outcomes
  • exercising
  • reviewing your goals
  • reading and training
  • planning
  • generating new ideas.

Practicing an effective morning routine will make you more productive, hone your self-discipline skills, and help you to chip away at your bigger goals, one small task at a time.

Developing an uninterruptible and non-negotiable morning routine protects your most valuable and creative resource: your time.

4. Persistence Prevails When All Else Fails

One harsh reality that every entrepreneur will face is what I call “hitting the wall.”

Hitting the wall can take many forms, including creative blocks, feeling like you are running out of ideas, a business or financial obstacle, or a personal challenge that tries to steal your focus. I would love to tell you that you can avoid hitting the wall, but realistically, you can’t.

So, what do you do about it?

This is where the previous attributes and characteristics of entrepreneurship come into play. The discipline of simply showing up every day with everything you have is powerful.

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In his inspiring and down-to-earth guidebook for anyone in the creative space, which includes entrepreneurs, The War of Art, Stephen Pressfield powerfully and eloquently addresses this idea. Pressfield refers to the problem as “resistance”, and the solution is simply being persistent, or as he puts it: “doing the work.”[2]

5. Be a Perpetual Learner

Stay hungry. Stay on the top of your game.

In today’s information-based society, tactics and strategies change in a heartbeat. Therefore, it is vital to your success that you stay up-to-date and on the cutting-edge of the latest developments in your field.

Equally important is reading (or listening to) books that inspire you and help keep new ideas flowing. Listening to audiobooks through platforms like Audible is a great way to “multitask” your daily “reading” with other activities, like working out or driving.

When you study successful entrepreneurs, you will find that daily learning and reading is a non-negotiable part of their success formula.[3]

6. Sharpen Your People Skills

Sometimes running a business can feel like trying to herd cats. Customers, clients, and team members all require a slice of your time in some form. While having the right team in place can bring order to your chaos, it will also take some effort and patience on your part to learn to manage that team.

No man (or woman) is an island. It takes a team; a community; a movement to build your tribe and create the ultimate satisfaction, success, and freedom you desire as an entrepreneur. To truly create a significant impact in the world, you will need more than just you.

Because everything in successful entrepreneurship requires human interaction, it is important that you sharpen your communication and leadership skills. This allows you to accommodate the various cultures and personality types that you will encounter on your path.

There are tremendous resources available to help you hone your leadership skills. If managing your team feels like you are herding cats, then take a cue from #5. Tap into the communication and leadership training you need to master your herding skills.

7. Acknowledge the Little Wins Along the Way for Both You and Your Team

When you are striving to achieve big goals, it is easy to lose sight of the smaller successes that happen along the way.

Entrepreneurs tend to gauge their successes based on hitting those bigger goals. But it’s the little steps that you will take, each and every day, that will ultimately make all the difference.

Take a little time at the end of every day (or during your morning routine) to acknowledge your wins from the previous day. This is important to do for yourself, as well as for your team members.

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Everyone loves to be appreciated. Your team and company morale will soar when you take time to acknowledge both the big and small successes accomplished by your team members. Have fun with this! It makes a huge difference in overall performance, productivity and even the health of your team.[4]

8. Remember to Take care of Yourself in the Process

Entrepreneurs are notorious for falling into one of two categories when it comes to self-care.

The first is always taking care of everything and everyone around them while neglecting to give themselves the same level of attention and care.

The second alternative is becoming so obsessive about their work and life mission that other important parts of their lives get out of balance.

If you are an entrepreneur (or an aspiring one), chances are that you have or will run into one of these two situations at some point. Neither one is particularly healthy. And neither one will provide high levels of sustained productivity over time.

Take the time to care for yourself while you pursue your dreams and your life purpose in the form of your entrepreneurial journey. That means eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, taking breaks throughout the day, getting regular, consistent exercise and plenty of sleep, and spending time with family and friends.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Regardless of whether you are embarking on the exciting and fulfilling journey of entrepreneurship for the first time, or if you are a seasoned entrepreneur, or even if you fall somewhere in between, take a little time to assess where you are with each of these areas.

Give yourself the gift of a quiet moment to review your current situation and perform an honest evaluation. If you have trouble with clarity in any of these areas, consider asking friends, family members, and team members how you are stacking up. You may be surprised at what you discover about yourself.

What other areas are important in your life and business?

Remember that successful navigation through the world of entrepreneurship requires reevaluation. There is no such thing as your life and business being separate. The two are intimately connected.

When you find the balance that works for you, the results can be inspiring and rewarding at levels you may not have imagined yet.

More Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Featured photo credit: Garrhet Sampson via unsplash.com

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Reference

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Jeffrey Howard

Jeffrey Howard is a Serial Entrepreneur, Peak Performance Coach and Consultant, Bio/NeuroHacker, Speaker, Author, Trainer, Musician and Producer

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Last Updated on June 2, 2020

How to Write an Impressive Cover Letter (With Examples)

How to Write an Impressive Cover Letter (With Examples)

Think of your cover letter for a job application as an in-person introduction. Your resume outlines the facts—where you worked and for how long, along with your major accomplishments. But your cover letter also shows off your personality.

Your cover letter should outline the case for why you deserve the job without being “salesy.” How do you do that? Follow these 12 important guidelines.

1. There Is No Cookie-Cutter Cover Letter for a Job

Targeting your resume to a particular job may mean changing up your “Objective” section a bit or adding to your “Executive Summary” section. Cover letters, though, really need to focus on the particular person you’re writing to, the particular job, and the particular company. It needs to prove, with an economy of words, that your job experience fits the requirements of the position for which you’re applying.

Your letter should show that you have amassed the skills you need to succeed in that workplace. And, your cover letter should clinch your prospects by making the case that you are very excited about working at that particular company.

2. Always Opt-in to the Optional Cover Letter

Some job postings will give applicants the option of opting out of providing a cover letter for a job[1]. Don’t take the bait! Use the opportunity to further sell yourself in a personalized, well-crafted cover letter that creatively shares who you are and why your skills and personality align with the position and the company. Think of your cover letter for a job as an opportunity to describe your value proposition.

3. A Reference Goes a Long Way

Did someone recommend you for the job? Put that in the subject line of your cover letter if possible. If an online listing dictates what your subject line must be, cite the personal recommendation in the first sentence of your letter:

Dear Ms. Sanders,

Steve Smith recommended me for your Assistant Planner position. I worked with Steve at the XYZ company for four years as his assistant until he moved on, and I feel as though I learned from the best.  His high praise for you is the primary reason I am applying for this position, as I consider him an excellent judge of character. 

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You may want to bolster Steve’s recommendation with a short anecdote about working with Steve. Don’t be shy. Steve’s high opinion of you will likely mean that your resume gets a serious look.

4. Outline the Key Points You Want to Make

Company by company, your cover letter for a job application needs to be specific and bulletproof. Unless you have a great deal of practice in writing cover letters, it’s hard to just bang them out. So don’t even try. Instead, start with a list of points you intend to make. Generally, these would be a “grabby” introduction, a story or two about a particular accomplishment that is relevant to the job to which you are applying, a reason why you are the ideal candidate for the position, and a conclusion with a suggested next step.

  1. Intro – Have been familiar with the company since my father worked there in the 1980s.
  2. College Major – Majored in industrial engineering so I could get a job at CYY Building, Inc.
  3. Captain of Soccer Team – Prepared me to solve problems, promote morale, and coach a team.
  4. Ask for Informational Interview – 15 minutes to meet in person and learn more about opportunities.
  5. Compelling Close – Ask Hiring Manager to call me. Say I will call her in a week if I don’t hear from her first.

5. Moderating the Tone of Your Cover Letter

Some companies are buttoned-up. The workers wear three-piece suits to the office each day plus loafers. Other companies are more casual. The employees wear shorts in the summertime and skateboard through the hallways. In an in-person interview, you would never wear shorts to a company whose employees are sporting three-piece suits.

Similarly, your cover letter needs to strike the right note. The letter you write to a start-up should sound markedly different than the letter you would write to a white-shoe law firm.

For example, even using something as informal as “Greetings” for the salutation may not be appropriate at a more formal firm. And definitely don’t use the default “To Whom It May Concern.” Instead, try to find the name of the hiring manager with an online search. If that’s not possible, you will want to begin with “Dear XYZ Hiring Manager.” The tone of your cover letter for a job starts at the very beginning.

6. Create an Attention-Grabbing Opening Line

Think of going to hear a presentation by a motivational speaker, only to have her open with, “I’m here today to present (fill in with title of the presentation).” What a let down! What if instead, she started with, “I just ran a half marathon. Now doesn’t that sound better than if I told you, ‘I tried to run a marathon but quit half-way through?’” See the difference? You want to hear more.

Craft the first line of your cover letter with the utmost care. It doesn’t need to be clever, but it needs to show your personality and your fit for the position.

Dear Mr. Stevens,

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I am committed to making the customer service experience better for people like my grandmother. At 87 years old, my Gram is lost in the digital world and reliant on customer service representatives she can reach by telephone to answer her questions and solve her problems. She regularly shares stories of frustrating dead-ends she experiences with people wanting her to “go online and make your selection.”  Yet, whenever she reaches someone willing to take the extra time to resolve her issue, she sings the company’s praises to everyone she knows. Based on Gram’s frustrations, I want to be that person who won’t give up or pass the buck with bewildered customers.  

With a strong, anecdotal opening such as this, you show purpose and passion behind your application to be a customer service representative.

7. Recognize the Value of Cover Letter Real Estate

Spare writing is key in the cover letter for a job. It is always best if your letter doesn’t exceed a page. Those reviewing applications appreciate a letter that is terse, yet provides useful information to evaluate an applicant. This means you have five to six paragraphs in which to work.

Repeating anything from your resume is a waste of real estate. Think in terms of describing why you are applying for the position and why you are the best candidate.

To best show your personality, avoid stale phrases such as, “I believe my experience would be a good fit in your organization.” Add punch to your statements that show off your accomplishments and your attitude.

I thrive in start-up environments where I’ve learned to expect the unexpected and to make changes on the fly. In one such instance, I uncovered better results from a pilot project and in under 30 minutes had updated the CEO’s presentation in time for his meeting with a venture capitalist.

8. Getting Creative

On the surface, a requirement is a requirement. Many online ads specify the number of years, and you might think they are ironclad. But if you count the number of years you amassed a particular skill at the job and add any volunteer work where you also used that skill, you might surpass the requirement.

Say that you are applying for a position in fund development. If your career experience in putting on charity fundraisers falls a little short, it’s certainly appropriate to add in time spent organizing fundraising events as a volunteer—as long as you indicate it as such in your cover letter for the job.

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I recently passed my two and a half year mark of employment as a fund development associate with Notable Events. Concurrently, I oversaw all aspects of two annual fundraising galas as a volunteer board member of Reach for the Stars Foundation, offering scholarships to first-generation college-bound students. These involved finding sponsors for more than 70 silent auction items, renting event space, working with caterers, recruiting volunteers and MC-ing both events, which each drew more than 200 attendees and, together, raised more than $250,000. I believe this intensive hands-on experience helps supplement my years of employment.

Showcasing your community ethos through volunteering could make up for the deficit in actual on-the-job experience.

9. Making the Case that You Fit

How will you fit in at the company? With some research, you can easily figure out the corporate culture of an organization. Many companies share their core values in job recruitment ads. But even if you can’t discern a company’s mission or beliefs from its advertising, you can learn it from articles you read about the company.

Is it employer-centric or employee-centric? Is the culture more traditional or more fun? And what are you looking for? When you find a company where your needs align with theirs, that’s an indication that you would fit in well. Take care to make sure that your cover letter reflects how you fit.

If you are a recent military veteran[2], consider which civilian positions lend themselves to the regimented culture of which you’ve become accustomed. For example, your occupational specialty while in the military could dovetail well with a company’s job requirements—and you have the added benefit of discipline, following instructions, and teamwork that you can apply to any future position.

10. Always Ask for What You’re Worth

If the employer asks applicants to share their salary requirements in the cover letter for a job, disregard what you made in your former position and look into the salary ranges[3] of the advertised position. You will want to adjust up or down within the salary range depending on your prior experience in the industry or in a similar role.

The key is to not undercut yourself by asking below the minimum amount, or to overinflate your worth by asking for an amount higher than the maximum pay in the salary range.

11. Show Your Cover Letter to Three People Whose Opinion You Trust

Once your letter is out in the world, it’s too late to tweak it for that particular job. You will dramatically improve your chances of having your cover letter “land” correctly if you’re proactive. Find a few people in the field, and ask them if you can show them your cover letter before you send it out.

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If you are starting out and don’t know anyone in the field, you may want to consider paying for a professional career consultant or coach to review your cover letter and resume. Remember that the care you demonstrate in your cover letter is that employer’s first impression of you.

12. End With Enthusiasm

You want to stay upbeat all the way to the end of the letter. Let the reviewer know that you appreciate the opportunity to apply and that you look forward to hearing from (or having a chance to meet with) them in person.

It would be an honor to be part of your team, and I hope to have an opportunity to discuss this role and how I could contribute to it in person.

This acknowledges that the organization gets to make the next move, but that you anticipate it will be in your favor.

Sign off formally (“Sincerely” or “Best regards”) or informally (“Best” or “Thank you”) depending on the tone of the letter. Also, be sure to include your email address and phone number under your name. This ensures that, should the reviewer wish to contact you, the contact information is easily accessible.

Final Thoughts

The best cover letters for a job are lively, authentic, and provide a memorable result, anecdote or example of your approach to work. By tying your approach to the requirements of the job description and revealing your personality as a fit for the organization, you will give yourself a winning chance for making the cut and landing that coveted job interview.

More Tips on Writing a Great Cover Letter

Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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