In today’s world, it’s never been easier to become an entrepreneur, but it’s also never been more difficult to become really successful as an entrepreneur.

It’s almost envogue to leave your corporate job and start your own thing. That’s all fine and well until you learn that it takes some serious mojo to be a “for real” entrepreneur.

Of course all entrepreneurs are different but there are certain characteristics ingrained and evident in the ones who lead the pack.

Here are 10 things, in our opinion, that these leaders have in spades over all the rest:

  1. They plan every day in advance. They don’t let their days control them, but they control their days. The first part of their morning (or the last part of the day prior) is spent on what the day is going to hold. It’s the difference between being proactive and reactive. They spend a few minutes at the start of every day, thinking and planning. They know what they want to accomplish, and they make it happen.
  2. They give priority to their health. Working out and eating right is just a given. It’s not an option. Even when they are busy, they take care of their body. Sure, they may have cheat meals, but on the whole, they fuel their bodies with good stuff.
  3. They are constantly seeking to serve. They do what they do because they want to see others succeed. Focusing on your own success is a surefire way to no success at all. They go through their life trying to find ways to make other’s lives better and they use their business as a platform to make this happen on a large scale.
  4. They have clear and actionable goals in place. They set off on the road trip of their business with a map in hand. They know where they are headed, what they want to accomplish, and have highlighted the stops they want to see along the way. Goal setting is important to them because it provides clear direction.
  5. They take calculated risks. In order to be a successful entrepreneur, you absolutely have to take risks. But you don’t do something just because you saw someone else have a little success with it in a Facebook group. You do your own research and homework, and have a plan for implementation of new things. And, then if it’s not working after a reasonable amount of time (90 days), you let it go and learn from the “mistake”.
  6. They make their family a priority. Even though work may be busy, they know their priorities and family is one of them. It’s too easy to let too much time go by without being focused on what’s important. The successful ones know this and make regular investments into their family bank accounts.
  7. They are aware of their own strengths and weaknesses. We all are good at some things and not so great at others. The key is knowing and admitting where we could use help. No man/woman is an island, so no one can do it effectively alone. Those who surround themselves with others where they are weak are the ones who will see the greatest progress this year.
  8. They don’t blame others when things don’t go as planned. Taking responsibility is a beautiful, but sometimes hard, thing. Those who recognize the fact that if their business isn’t where they want it, know that the responsibility lies on them because the buck starts and stops right there in their own person. And, on the flip side, if their business is successful, other people are given the credit they deserve. This one characteristic alone of taking responsibility could make all the difference between the 5% of really successful entrepreneurs and all the rest.
  9. They evaluate and make adjustments after every day. Reflection is built into what they do every day. They course correct early and often. They look back on what they are grateful for every day, knowing that the best leaders cultivate a heart of gratitude. They make adjustments for the next day based on what went well and what could’ve been improved.
  10. They know what they don’t know. When given tools that they don’t know how to use, they invest time in learning (and not expecting other people to do it for them). They are insatiable learners, and have no problem learning from their own mistakes. Failure is welcome because it means growth for them.

It’s not an easy job being an entrepreneur. If you’ve done it for any length of time, this is not news to you. Certainly not all will crush it in their businesses in 2017. Many will go out of business. Many will sell for far less than their business could have been worth. The vast majority will be ok with being “ok” at many of the above, then get to the end of 2017 wishing things were different (again).

How are you doing with this list?  Today would be a good day to start working on those things you know could use improvement so that the end of 2017 isn’t met with regret.

A year from now you will wish you had started today. – Karen Lamb


-This post was written by Julie Weldon. You can reach her at