What It Really Takes To Be An Online Entrepreneur
15 min read
Are you ready for some conflicting advice about becoming an entrepreneur?
I’m going to give it to you straight in this post, so you can determine whether or not entrepreneurship is right for you.
I talk about the traits of successful entrepreneurs, the not so fun things that I’m sure you aren’t really looking forward to (like sales, ew), and then I’m going to tell you to save money, and spend money – all in the same post!
We’re going to cover what it really takes to run a business online, and the mindset that you will need to be that successful business owner.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. This goes to help support me and The Success Mountain website – which I am so thankful for!
One thing you can be sure of about being an online entrepreneur, no matter what field of business you are in, is that you need certain personality traits and skills in order to succeed.
In fact, successful people say that the surest way to be successful in business is to mimic the traits of those that have already achieved success.
Take a look at these traits of successful people, so they can help you run a successful online business. Really use this post to dig deep and figure out if entrepreneurship is right for you by comparing your personality with these traits.
Hopefully this will give you a more definitive decision about whether or not you’re ready to be an entrepreneur!
Remember, if you don’t have the traits listed, you can always gain that skill with some study and practice!
Entrepreneurs Have to Talk To People
You’re thinking, well, of course they have to talk to people – silly Tiff, you should know that!
But it’s true, and you’ll probably have to be better at it than you think you will in order to get to where you want to go. Sorry to the introvert part of you – it’s gotta step out of the comfort zone just a bit!
First, even though you’re an online business, and whether that’s a blog or drop shipping e-commerce shop or whatever it might be, you’ll still need to talk to some people.
And as your business grows, you’ll need to manage your employees and talk with them as well.
Depending on what your goals are in your business, you’ll need most of these peopling traits:
- Management skills
- Leadership skills
- To learn how to effectively network
- And unfortunately, yes, you will need to be good at sales
Let’s discuss one by one so I can give you a good sense of what exactly you’ll need to learn, and why.
Then, you’ll have to determine where you are now so you can gain those skills and be a successful entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs Have to Be Great Managers
What is Management?
Managers are the ones that set specific goals and tasks for their company, and find the ways to achieve those goals as efficiently as possible. Management focuses on how things get done.
The key components of management are:
“Management is an art of knowing what to do, when to do and see that it is done in the best and cheapest way. – F.W. Taylor
Quick Tips to Be An Effective Manager
- Delegate effectively
- Set goals for your team
- Communicate efficiently
- Make time for your employees
- Be flexible and don’t be too serious
Entrepreneurs Have to Be Fantastic Leaders
So, did you know that there’s a difference between managing and leading?
Even though you may not have employees for quite some time in your online business, you will still need to know how to determine the difference between managing, leading, and how to effectively use them both to grow your business.
What is Leadership?
Leaders are the ones that create the vision and mission for a company. They create the vision that all other employees will help push the company towards in their work. Leaders create the path that employees will follow and make the path exciting to follow while motivating and inspiring them.
Quick Tips to Be An Effective Leader
- Create an inspiring vision for your company (what’s your mission statement?)
- Find ways to motivate your employees or team to reach the same vision that you have. Their motivations may be different, so you may need to offer rewards for hard work.
- Lead by example
- Be humble and work with your employees (be available)
- Communicate effectively (I see a theme here…)
- Set boundaries – things you tell your team you won’t do
- Know that it’s not about you, it’s about the team and the overall vision
How is Managing Different Than Leading?
Forbes has an excellent description of the defining differences between leading and managing. As Forbes says (straight form the horses mouth): “Leaders influence. Managers direct. Leaders focus on what matters and why, [while] managers focus on how to get it done.”
Managers focus more on systematic actions to take to get the job done. Another way to put this is that managers oversee or manage other employees or teammates to ensure they are doing the job as effectively as possible.
Leaders take a different approach, and allow for creativity and flexibility to move the business forward in an overall mission-directed vision. In other words, leaders are there to help their team members help move the company forward with a similar mission in mind. Leaders lead through trust while managers use emotions and fear sometimes to make actions.
So, now that you know the difference between managing and leading, and you also know that communication is a big part of being an entrepreneur, let’s talk about the other two things you need to be good at when it comes to talking with people:
Entrepreneurs Need to Be Good at Networking and Sales
Darren Hardy suggests to rip the Band-Aid off and accept the fact that you will need to sell in order to be successful in business.
I agree with him 100% because, as he says, you have already been selling your entire life.
He explains that when you are a child you sold everything to your parents. When you would cry for food, they would bring it to you.
You knew when to ask for what and how to cry effectively to get what you wanted.
Now, I’m not saying that to be good at networking and sales that you just need to beg and cry, of course that would be preposterous!
But the point is, if you were saying at the beginning of this paragraph “I’m not good at sales,” then you’re not giving yourself enough credit.
You probably just haven’t found your groove yet.
If you’re going to be selling your own products, you’re going to be selling it well because you actually believe in the product.
If you’re sitting in a call center and you really hate the products that you’re selling, you’re not going to do it very well.
To me, one of the biggest things about selling is that you need to believe in the product that you’re selling.
You need to believe that it’s actually going to help people, because then you will explain to them how it will actually help them.
Just like on this blog or any other blog, when offered a product with an affiliate link, you know that the authors are only writing about that product because they (hopefully) actually believe in it or have used it before.
As for networking, you will need to be able to effectively connect with people, because it’s the only way your business will grow. Almost every business is based on humans needing to connect with each other. If you can’t effectively communicate, negotiate, or discuss – you’re going to be in big trouble.
Very Important Side Note Here:
Brian Tracy’s book Bullseye discusses the importance of gaining one skill at a time in order to master it, and to be successful in your life and all areas of it.
Brian says to ask yourself this question:
“What one skill, if I developed it and did it in an excellent fashion consistently, would have the greatest positive impact on my career?”
He also says
“To answer this question, you require our three old friends: clarity, focus and concentration. You must be clear about the one skill that can help you the most. You must focus single-mindedly on the development of that skill. You must concentrate an average of two hours a day, five days per week, or even more, on the development of that skill to a higher level. If you do this, your future is virtually guaranteed.”
Click this link to go read more from my book summary of Brian Tracy’s Bulls-eye book. It’s an excellent read!
If you are struggling with networking and sales, get a really good book with excellent reviews (or two, or three) and read them, do the exercises and start implementing them. Start mastering the skill and I guarantee you will feel much more differently about it than you do today.
Entrepreneurs need to be able to network and they also need to be able to sell. Sales are in everything, and that’s the same with networking.
Unfortunately, there’s no if’s, and’s or but’s about this one, guys. Just bite the bullet, study up and learn what you can, and it will immensely help you become more successful as an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs Have To Be Good At Spending Money and Saving Money
Let me ask you a question:
Are you a spender or saver?
The answer to this question is tricky, because you should probably say both.
On one side of the coin (hah), in your first stage of business you need to really watch your spending.
It’s almost guaranteed that you have a limited amount of capital that you can use to start up your business.
So in the beginning of your business, you need to be very careful about watching your dimes fly out the banks window until you start gaining an income.
Then, the coin is flipped, because when you start actually making money, you have to change your mindset and start spending money.
It needs to go back into the business on effective things that will grow and scale your business.
If you don’t learn how to effectively spend money and make wise spending decisions, your business won’t scale and will likely be stuck in that stage of growth.
You can’t be afraid of spending money, because after all, you’re running a business, right?
Entrepreneurs Have to Be Okay With Uncertainty
When you start out, you’re not going to know where you’re going to end up. You may have a particular vision in mind where you might end up, but it’s almost guaranteed that it’s not going to be what you think it looks like right now.
First, to give yourself some sense of direction, you need to get clarity on your goals otherwise you won’t know what to aim for.
At least you have somewhat of a road map after writing down your goals. But understand, that you won’t see the trees for a while.
In the first stage of a business, you were starting from the bottom of the mountain.
As you climb, you can start to see your surroundings.
When you’re at or near the top, you can see a lot more and you can adjust what palace you want to take. But while you’re at the bottom, you need to be okay with uncertainty.
One of my favorite Marcus Lemonis quotes is to “trust the process” because the process isn’t what will lead you astray. It’s whether or not you change your mind while working the process, and take different courses of action that might derail you.
In fact, to help you solve this problem of uncertainty, I highly recommend you get and read the book The Entrepreneur Rollercoaster by Darren Hardy.
Entrepreneurs Make Commitments
Perhaps one of the most important pieces of being an entrepreneur is making commitments. This means that you follow through with what you say, with everything that you do, you finish everything, and you don’t let people down.
Even more importantly, you don’t let yourself down.
As an entrepreneur, you need to make a commitment to yourself, and promise to have determination through all the good and bad that will happen when you start your business.
You need to make a commitment to yourself to be persistent through everything that happens during your roller coaster ride of entrepreneurialism.
And you need to make a commitment to work hard, and be disciplined no matter how tough it gets, because there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Corny, I know, but it’s true – and they don’t say that for no reason!
Now you know all of the traits that you need to be a successful entrepreneur.
- We talked about the need to communicate effectively with people, network properly, and be effective at sales.
- We also talked about the importance of management, leadership, the difference between the two, and why you need to know how to lead effectively even if you don’t have employees.
- We covered two sides of the coin when it comes to spending money on your business and saving money.
- We also talked about seeing the forest through the trees even though you’re at the bottom of the mountain and can’t see all the way to the top.
- Lastly, we covered how important it is to make commitments to yourself and to others so that you can follow through and succeed!
So, to answer the question if you’re right for entrepreneurship, you will need to determine if you have those traits, if you need to gain those traits before you start your venture, or can you make that dedication to learning those skills and moving forward with your dream?
ACTION STEPS: Answer these questions.
- What traits do I have on this list that I feel confident about?
- What traits do I need to gain or what skills do I need to learn to move forward?
- Using Brian Tracy’s recommendations on studying a skill until I master it, what time and energy am I willing to commit in order to attain that’s skill and move forward with my dreams?
If you’ve done that last question – go schedule it right now on your calendar or planner, so you know you’re getting the most out of this post! So, do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?
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