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15 Completely Vital Entrepreneurial Qualities

15 Completely Vital Entrepreneurial Qualities

Many, if not all, of us would much rather work for ourselves than someone else. However, being your own boss and sustaining your own business or products, is a challenge not all of us are ready to face. So, what does it take to truly stand out and be successful? Many current entrepreneurs have plenty to say on the topic, and others simply live by the habits one needs. To get an idea for the qualities you could cultivate, we gathered 15 absolutely indispensable entrepreneurial qualities.

You Have Passion

Passion is easily the most common of the entrepreneurial qualities. Whether you start off rich or poor, educated or not, every business leader must be passionate. Even if you’re starting off in an area you feel is not your calling, it is crucial you follow through with your goals with passion. Take Cameron Johnson for example, a multimillionaire entrepreneur who made his money creating websites.

“I realized after the printing business, as I moved on to other businesses, that it was a real passion of mine and I knew it’d guide me in life”, he says. Embarking on being an entrepreneur in any business will involve incredible levels of competition, and passion is often a deciding factor in pulling ahead. 

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    You Work Hard. Very Hard.

    Plain and simple, hard work is another completely pivotal ingredient to true success. While some breakthroughs might require timing or well informed decisions, nearly every challenge you face as an entrepreneur will require hard work. Don’t be afraid to truly immerse yourself in your goals, and get your hands dirty.

    You Are Confident

    Along the way to success, you are undoubtedly going to run into naysayers. Regardless of how intellectual or persistent your detractors are, an entrepreneur keeps going. Even if there are bumps along the road, confidence in an idea is among the crucial entrepreneurial qualities.

    You Persevere

    Hand in hand with confidence is perseverance. Another indispensable entrepreneurial quality, an entrepreneur must persevere under all conditions. Challenges are sure to arise on your way to success, but the ability to overcome them will set you apart from the rest. Entrepreneur Jan Koum, for example, is best known as the creator of WhatsApp, which was acquired by Facebook for $19 billion. Jan created the app at age 33, but first had to overcome a childhood of scarcity in the Ukraine. Additionally, after going to university, Jan was rejected from working for Facebook, shortly before creating WhatsApp. This is proof that working through difficult circumstances often comes immediately before success.

    You Keep Your Mind Open

    If you are looking to cultivate entrepreneurial qualities, another necessary one is open-mindedness. Often times, entrepreneurs’ most successful ventures come from unexpected sources. As an entrepreneur, you need to be willing to look outside the box.

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      You Have Courage

      Sometime the challenges entrepreneurs face are downright terrifying. In order to succeed in an uneven, ever-changing atmosphere, entrepreneurs must be able to pursue good ideas and decisions, even when their gut screams no. Being able to overcome fear is a sometimes daily skill an entrepreneur must use.

      You Are A Forward Thinker

      Much like keeping your mind open, another crucial entrepreneurial quality is forward thinking. To be successful as a leader, one must pursue ideas that bring them into the future. Once a need is obvious, other businesses will be eager to fill it. By thinking into the future, entrepreneurs identify opportunities before others. Self-made mogul Jessica Huie, for example, felt typical card companies ignored racial diversity. She created a card company to fill the gap, and quickly found success. By identifying a need others didn’t see, Jessica moved forward. In pursuing opportunities first, an entrepreneur can start a step ahead of competitors.

      You Ask For What You Want

      Whether it’s an improved contract or a start up investment, entrepreneurs eagerly go after what they want. Don’t wait around for others to show interest in your ventures, entrepreneurs go after what they need. An entrepreneur must know what will drive their business forward, and actively pursue it. As an entrepreneur, by simply asking for what you want, you will be more likely to find it.

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        Vision

        Along with being forward thinking, entrepreneurs tend to have a strong vision. By knowing what you want, from beginning to end, you will be better able to break your venture down into achievable steps. Having a strong vision will also help inspire the people who partner with you and work for you. Just as crucial to a business’s success as a leader who knows where they’re going, are employees who eagerly pursue the dream too. Vision, and committing to your vision, are important entrepreneurial qualities.

        You Are Flexible

        Flexibility is another crucial entrepreneurial quality. As anyone knows, things don’t always go as planned. This is especially true in business, as leaders and entrepreneurs must be able to adapt. When something unexpected throws a wrench in your venture, an entrepreneur is responsible for getting things back on track. If you are willing to compromise and quickly adapt to new situations, you will be more likely to keep small bumps in the road small, instead of growing them into failures.

        You Can Throw Out the Rule Book

        While learning the rules is often the first step in becoming an expert, a successful entrepreneur knows when to break them too. A healthy disregard for the rules can sometimes make the difference between success and failure. Colin Thornton, a South African entrepreneur, started his successful company after dropping out of post-secondary school. Colin didn’t let leaving school hold him down however, and is now worth around $10 million. By ignoring the right rules when the time comes, you may be in a more advantageous position.

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        You Are An Expert At Money Management

        No business or venture can be successful if more money is spent than earned. It’s absolutely necessary then, that an entrepreneur can manage money well. Especially if an entrepreneur is starting out with little funding, it’s likely a professional accountant will be too expensive. If you’re trying to improve your entrepreneurial skills, money management is a necessary key.

        You Study 

        It doesn’t matter if you are formally educated or not, an entrepreneur never stops learning. The better a person is informed, the better their ability to make strategic decisions. Whether you feel knowledgeable about your venture or not, new developments happen every day. Keeping utterly up-to-date on new techniques and competition is often the difference between moving forward and falling behind. Studying is another one of the crucial entrepreneurial qualities.

        You Immerse Yourself in New Technology

        Oftentimes, the best entrepreneurial opportunities lie in emerging markets, where there is less competition. Pulling ahead of the pack is often best achieved by concerning yourself with new technology. No matter the industry an entrepreneur pursues, there is undoubtedly new ways of doing things. Experiment with new technologies to deliver your business to your customers if you want to gain an edge. 

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          You Are Ambitious

          Ambition is another essential entrepreneurial quality. Not only will ambition bring you new opportunities, ambition is crucial for overcoming challenges. If you don’t have established goals as an entrepreneur, you are more likely to grow comfortable and settle for surviving, instead of thriving. Ambition is an entrepreneurial quality that provides momentum to your ideas and passion. Let your drive move you forward, and there’s no telling what you can achieve.

          Featured photo credit: Philippe Put via flickr.com

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          Last Updated on April 17, 2019

          10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

          10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

          What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

          Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

          They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

          1. Communication Skills

          Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

          To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

          Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

          Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

          After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

          2. Flexibility

          Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

          Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

          Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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          Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

          3. Being a Team Player

          Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

          What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

          This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

          Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

          4. Positive Mental Attitude

          There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

          Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

          Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

          It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

          Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

          5. A Strong Work Ethic

          People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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          If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

          Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

          • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
          • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
          • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
          • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

          For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

          6. Public Speaking

          Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

          Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

          If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

          For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

          Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

          7. Integrity

          From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

          • Always doing what you say you will do
          • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

          …even when no one is around to check up on you.

          There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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          Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

          8. Managing Your Time

          Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

          A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

          Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

          Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

          These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

          9. Assertiveness

          In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

          • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
          • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
          • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
          • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

          Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

          How do you use this information for yourself?

          It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

          Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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          How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

          10. Creative Thinking

          LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

          Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

          How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

          Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

          These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

          You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

          What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

          Final Thoughts

          The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

          So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

          The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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          Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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