10 Proven Habits Of Successful Entrepreneurs
Want to be a successful entrepreneur? Here are ten habits that billionaires, high profile investors and high growth startup founders have in common.
1) They Read
If there is one thing that these successful professional seem to do more than anyone else, and perhaps anything else, it is to read. They consumer books with an incredible appetite. It seems the more successful they are, the more hours they dedicate to reading each day. This can’t just be coincidence. It’s worth making time to read real books. Try to make it a staple of your routine before you go to bed, or first thing in the morning.
This may be both the most underestimated and most valuable success habit for entrepreneurs. Sleep impacts everything from health to how you feel and look as well as thinking and decision making abilities.
Just a couple hours more of real quality sleep could provide the edge needed to outperform, and feel a whole lot better in the process. Whatever you want to improve on, make sure you are getting your sleep right before trying any more exotic or expensive bandaids.
It’s true that many successful people get up early. Though many go to bed far earlier than most too. Yet, there are many geniuses who are night people as well. Find what works for you and doing your best work.
3) Money Management
Successful entrepreneurs are very careful with money management. They must be great in this area to balance cash flow and avoid going broke when they are really beginning to realize success. This doesn’t mean being cheap. Nor is throwing away money on losses to scale always the best business model. It’s really about appreciating that every dollar spent is either taking you closer or further from your goals.
Many of today’s top entrepreneurial and investor leaders are very frugal with their housing. Some have lived in the same modest home for decades. Others have sold everything and live in Airbnbs or Airstreams.
I have the pleasure of interviewing some of the most successful entrepreneurs on the DealMakers Podcast. I recently interviewed David Klein, founder of CommonBond. He is a great example of money management as he was living in his office for years before landing $4 billion in funding for his startup.
You don’t have to walk around looking like The Rock or an Instagram model to be a successful entrepreneur. In fact, if you track the photos of today’s top entrepreneurs and CEOs, they looked quite different before they had all this money.
The point is not about looks. It is that a strong body fosters a strong mind. You’ve got to have one of those if you are going to make it as an entrepreneur. You don’t have to be doing several hundred burpees a day, or have mastered the most complicated yoga poses. Even just walking on a daily basis can help.
Make sure some type of exercise and getting outdoors is on your daily schedule.
5) Aggressively Create & Protect Time for Relaxing
Burnout is one of the top threats to entrepreneurs. If you are going to make it through to the results and manage to maintain being on top of your game, you have to be very intentional and even aggressively carve out and defend time to relax and decompress every week. You can’t afford to compromise here.
6) Set Big, Clear Goals
It may be basic, but you’ll always be limited or lifted by the goals you set. Are you incubating a small business or a dragon?
7) Focus on the Highest Value Tasks
We all have the same number of hours in the day. The difference is that the most successful founders refuse to work on anything but the most high value tasks. They try to stay connected to their teams, but they know they simply can’t afford to get caught up in low level tasks if they are going to build billion dollar companies. They have to restrict themselves to only the work that delivers the absolute best possible ROI on their time. Everything else is a trap.
8) They are Constantly Building Powerful Networks
Many of the hyper-successful entrepreneurs I’ve interviewed on the DealMakers podcast may have at least briefly gone to top colleges or worked for organizations like Apple or Microsoft. Yet, they are also the first to tell you that it’s who you know that makes all the difference in getting funded and achieving great exits, not what you know.
I recently interviewed Matt Salzberg, founder of Blue Apron. He led the company‘s $1.9 billion IPO and served as CEO until the company had approximately $910 million of trailing revenue and 5,000 employees. He built his powerful network by graduating from Harvard as well as working for a powerful venture capital firm such as Bessemer Venture Partners
9) They Create Success Routines
It might not be sexy, but it works. You probably didn’t aspire to going to bed early or getting into a regular routine when you first dreamed of how life could be in high school or starting a business venture. Your ideal may have looked quite different. Then you realize that if you organize your time and have routines, you can reap incredible advantages. You can get more done, and your health is a lot better.
That doesn’t mean it has to be boring though. You can still wake up and go kitesurfing off of your private island or skip down to the beach to surf at lunch time. Success here is just as much about scheduling regular time to blow off steam and do inspiring things.
10) They are Always Seeking to Fail
If you aren’t failing you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough. If you aren’t ahead of your time, you are behind the times. If you aren’t getting no’s from potential investors then you aren’t asking for enough or from the best investors. If you aren’t sometimes having to apologize to users, then you aren’t pushing the boundaries of what you can do for them enough. If you are landing all your shots, you aren’t shooting high enough.