Even though I was in the corporate world for over 20 years, I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. There’s just something about being able to control your work day, including having more control over who you work with and more control over the amount of work you do and when you do it.
When I had my consulting business a few years ago, I loved the fact that my alarm clock didn’t go off at oh-dark-thirty in the morning. The same is true now since I’ve reentered life as an entrepreneur. My only alarm clock now is my Bouvier des Flandres, Allium. She has a specific time when she’s allowed to wake us and it’s not oh-dark thirty. In case you haven’t figured it out yet; I’m not a crack of dawn person.
I like to think of myself as a lifestyle entrepreneur. Some people define a lifestyle entrepreneur as a person that builds a business around what they love to do and what sustains their life goals. Their business incorporates their interests and passion. They are able to find and live their purpose. That pretty much sums it up for me. But, being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone. I get that. It’s definitely not a get rich quick scheme and it takes courage and grit.
Some of you might be wondering what it takes though. I’ve studied successful entrepreneurs — female, in particular — and I’ve found five common traits or themes I thought I’d share.
1. SHE TURNS HER DREAMS INTO HER PURPOSE
Successful entrepreneurs have spent time getting to know themselves — to the core. They have tapped into the creative side of their brains and designed their dream life because they have a strong desire to push beyond the status quo and live a life of passion and purpose. They can envision a better life. It’s what drives them, what keeps them going and what tells them to never give up. Acting on your dreams means taking control of your life and living according to a plan you’ve designed. It truly is the difference between living an exciting, fulfilling life and being apathetic, just going through the motions.
Dreams require a person to stretch, to go beyond average. Female entrepreneurs are not average. They don’t settle for average. It takes a lot of imagination, courage, confidence and passion to follow your dreams and successful ones have what it takes.
2. SHE SETS GOALS AND TAKES ACTION
Goal setting is a powerful process for creating a path and motivating yourself to turn your dreams and your vision for the future into reality. It supports your decision on what you want in your life. Successful female entrepreneurs know the importance of setting milestone goals — the stepping stones — that support their dreams and journey. They understand how achieving goals can help gain the confidence they need to be truly successful.
The successful entrepreneur sets goals, takes action and constantly evaluates progress. When it’s time to pivot, she pivots.
3. SHE TAKES CARE OF HERSELF
A successful female entrepreneur understands how her physical, emotional and mental health affects her ability to achieve the high standards and goals she has set for herself and her business. She knows you cannot take care of everyone else and be a successful business owner if you don’t take care of yourself first. She not only knows this; she practices it.
Taking care of yourself means creating an appropriate work and life balance. The successful entrepreneur loves her work, but also knows that if the scale is tipped too much in that direction, she’ll end up being stressed out and burned out. Work won’t be fun anymore. She understands when to set the “to do” lists aside to balance the work and life scale.
So, it means having a spa day or taking a relaxing bath after particularly stressful or challenging days. For emotional health, it may mean taking time to go to your child’s soccer match or having a romantic date night with your significant other — without feeling guilty. For your physical health, it may be a commitment to exercising your body and eating healthy. And, for your mental health, it may mean scheduling time for reflecting, meditating or journaling.
4. SHE HAS A POSITIVE AND CONFIDENT ATTITUDE
Your thoughts are very powerful and carry tremendous weight in how your life’s journey unfolds. A positive attitude and positive thoughts help build the confidence you need to succeed. A successful female entrepreneur knows this and approaches life and her business with a “can do” attitude that builds confidence.
After all, she has already articulated her dreams and designed a plan for turning that into her reality. She is on a path that will lead her to the life she desires which is most certainly one filled with joy, peace and harmony. Along the way, she knows she’ll have disappointments, but when they happen, she doesn’t dwell on them. Instead, she looks for the messages, learns from them, pivots and stays focused on the dream. She practices gratitude and focuses on the good in her life rather than focusing on what is going wrong at the moment.
She smiles. Yes, smiles. Because she knows that smiling releases endorphins and serotonin, also known as the feel good hormones, and that will give her the instantaneous boost she needs to put her back in a positive mindset where she wants to be.
5. SHE REPLACES FEAR WITH FAITH
You can’t reach for a dream and remain in your comfort zone at the same time. Your fear and your limiting beliefs keep you firmly inside your comfort zone, but successful entrepreneurs know that the magic actually occurs only when you throw your fears aside and step confidently outside your comfort zone.
How do they do it? With faith. They believe in themselves and their ability to succeed. They kick any negative self-talk to the curb. They embrace change, have an open mind, try new things, take chances, make mistakes and are comfortable being uncomfortable. Their unwavering belief in what they are doing gets them through hard times. They know want they want, they can visualize it and they step out in faith reaching for it.
They believe they can change the world; and they often do.
Finally, it’s important to point out that most successful entrepreneurs weren’t likely born with these traits. They learned and mastered them along the journey. That makes the desire to learn and evolve perhaps the most important trait any successful female entrepreneur (or any successful person for that matter) can have. What do you think?