Anatomy of an Entrepreneur Part 3 (10 Necessary Talents)
So far the best entrepreneurs are 1 part visionary, 1 part rebel + 1 part dreamer. Add in a dash of confidence and sprinkle generously with leadership skills. This week we add determination and independence to the mix of 10 "rare" talents necessary for success according to Gallup.
You can read about Business Focus and Confidence covered in Part 1 here. And you can read about Creative Thinking and Delegating covered in part 2 here. This post covers the 2 traits that drove your parents nuts when you were a little kids...determination and independence. I can vouch for this because I seem to have passed these genes along in spades to my little ones. But hey, it'll pay off someday, right?
Let's face it, not everything is going to be sunshine and lollipops if you start your own business. Not even if you're these guys. And as much as you read about unicorns (leading you to believe they're a lot more common than they actually are). They're called unicorns for a reason - because they're rare, almost mythical businesses that achieve superstar revenues almost from conception. And just because they achieve unicorn status doesn't mean they're immune to the bumps and bruises of doing business. They're just better equipped to handle it.
But that's okay. You can handle it too because you've got determination baby! When you suffer a setback you work harder. You don't give up (why do I suddenly feel like some weird combination of drill sergeant/ motivational speaker?)
Your worldview says you've got control over your life and if you work hard enough you can affect outcomes. You know your actions matter and setbacks mobilize you. You're never going to be the poor, oblivious creature caught crossing the road, frozen in high-beams with fear and indecision.
Just like you're never going to be shaking your fist at the skies blaming "fate" or any other visible or invisible forces for your problems (p.s. this doesn't mean you can't believe in a higher something only that you hold yourself accountable for your actions).
You pursue your goals with the tenacity of shoppers after a good deal on Black Friday. You have a high tolerance for stress (which is good because there's a lot about running your own business that's stressful). But you've never been afraid to roll up your sleeves (even if they're silk). If you wanted 9-5 you would have worked for the other guy/girl, right?
Just make sure you also build in time to stop and evaluate the path you're on. Make sure your determination hasn't put blinders on forcing you to continue down a path that isn't working. You might be a workhorse when it comes to stamina, but you also need to have the distance and perspective of the driver to make the right course corrections.
Every small child goes through this "I do it myself" phase. You and I just never grew out of it. I still get this way when my daughter says, "maybe we'll have to wait for Dad to fix this." I can hear myself saying, "no I can figure this out." This statement is either followed by regret or pride depending on the outcome.
This trait of independence is vital in the early stages. When it's only you (or maybe you and your co-founder) and no employees or cash to hire freelancers.
Independence is a requirement.
You have to believe you're capable of learning what you need to know. Of figuring it out. Of becoming a Google master. You have to rely on yourself to do-it-all because...there's no one else. You're highly motivated to make things happen so you plan, strategize, set goals and deadlines and figure out how to measure if it's working or not.
It takes an insane amount of [wo]man hours to get something off the ground initially but once your business starts to grow you need to figure out ways to streamline your process, outsource or hire help. Otherwise, you risk your health by always putting in 90 hour work weeks. It's just not sustainable. Luckily there are probably 17 321 small companies and apps for that. Specifically built to help you run your business better and help you achieve your goals (this blog belongs to one such business) ;)
And transitioning from do-it-all-control-freak to hands-off-delegator-extraordinaire can be challenging, but also necessary. Because as we saw last week delegating is one of the 10 necessary talents.
I feel like independence and determination aren't especially "rare" talents. But that could be an availability bias on my part, surrounded as I am by my strong-willed, do-it-by-myself offspring who challenge my patience and sanity daily. But hey, they come by it honestly and some day I know it'll work in their favour.
The next two necessary skills according to Gallup? Knowledge Seeker and Promoter. Next week I'll cover these because we all know it's impossible to run a business in 2015 without having a social media presence and knowing how to promote your stuff.