5 Skills That All Entrepreneurs Should Possess

May 3, 2016

It’s no secret that the benefits of becoming an entrepreneur are attractive to the naked eye. Owning a business can provide you with a life of autonomy and financial abundance.

The inception of the internet has provided small business owners with ample opportunity, bridging the gap between traditional media sources and the consumer. Nowadays, you don’t have to seek the approval of a Hollywood executive to effectively build your brand.

Not too long ago, those who aspired to become “entrepreneurs” were often misunderstood. It simply wasn’t practical to go to school and start your own business. If you chose the entrepreneurial path, you were likely met with massive amounts of resistance.

So what has changed over the years?

Not much. Becoming an entrepreneur will require you to deviate from the conventional path in society. You will be met with many obstacles along the way. Yet the mere vision – whether it’s derived from a primal, emotional, or convoluted state – is usually an indication that you can do it.

But no successful entrepreneur relies solely on “passion.” You have to cultivate a core set of skills to supplement your vision.

What specific skills do you need to be a successful entrepreneur? While every entrepreneur is unique in his or her approach, I’ll break down 5 fundamental skill-sets that every entrepreneur should acquire.

1 – The Ability To Endure Failure and Be Persistent

If you’re an entrepreneur, failure will be an inevitable part of your journey; instead of circumventing it, learn to embrace the downward rolls as part of the process.

The entrepreneurial mindset isn’t common in most societies. Being an entrepreneur will require you to seek abundance rather than security. You won’t be rewarded with a bi-weekly paycheck for simply showing up to work. You’ll need to take calculated risks and constantly expand your comfort zone.

There is no overnight success in the world of business. In fact, some of the most prominent entrepreneurs and innovators are often the ones who have failed the most.

You also need to take risks and be persistent in finding new ways to be successful. For example, when learning how to get better conversion rates from customers online, I had to find clever (some might use the term ‘forceful’) ways to encourage new subscribers to provide information on why they were visiting my website. Not everyone is comfortable with doing the research, but being able to better cater to the majority of my subscribers definitely helped me grow a successful eCommerce business.

Failure will produce stress, and you must be prepared and find ways to deal with the chemical warzone that will go on in your brain. One strategy is choosing a hobby that will provide you with a physical outlet; why not take up boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, yoga, or hiking?

Most people perceive failure as the opposite of success. Entrepreneurs understand that failure is a prerequisite for success, and learn how to process short-term failures so that they can better plan for long-term successes.

2 – The Discipline To Be Productive

We all have 24 hours in a day, but the problem that most entrepreneurs face is “self management” not “time management.” Being productive is simple, but not necessarily easy.

The first step is to leverage the faculty of focus. In a faced-paced, media-ridden world, it’s very easy to get distracted. Focusing on one task for an extended period of time will help optimize your creativity and productivity.

Every time you get distracted, it can take up to 20 minutes for you recapture your focus. Make a concerted effort to eliminate all time wasting habits. Turn off your phone and stop checking your email. If that doesn’t work, then download an app such as Freedom that restricts internet access to your computer.

If you focus for just 1 to 2 hours at a time (stretch breaks are okay and encouraged), you’ll often accomplish more than you would in an entire day. Your brain is just like any other muscle in the body; it can be gradually trained to concentrate on a specific task.

Once you cultivate the ability to focus, you need to create a regimen for your business. Your motivation and awareness levels are generally at peak levels in the morning. Therefore, most people will do best working on important projects during that time. Following is a bit of a strategy for how to plan the day’s tasks.

The “Productivity Pyramid”

Identify the tasks that have the highest priority in your business; these are generally the activities that generate the most revenue for your bottom line. Examples might include:

  • Product creation
  • Marketing sequences
  • Joint affiliate promotions

As the day continues to progress, your motivation and self-awareness levels gradually decrease. Afternoons may be an ideal time to focus on important but more automatic tasks in your business. These are typically activities with a lower-attached dollar value, such as:

  • Customer service
  • Replying to emails
  • Sorting your mail

Obviously, it would be optimal to delegate the administrative work in your business. If you’re a “solo-preneur”, that may not be a viable option in the beginning.

Create a regimen that you can follow over the long-term. This will allow you to cultivate rituals that will help pay major dividends to your business. Focus on the highest value tasks in the morning, and remove any potential distractions.

Productivity isn’t about how many hours you work. It’s about maximizing the output of each hour with optimal focus.

3 – Build a Digital Presence

Social media continues to evolve, but though contexts have changed human behavior has stayed the same. A few years back, business owners would gather at cocktail parties to network and exchange ideas. Today, social media is the new source of that networking.

You wouldn’t go to a cocktail party and sell a potential prospect after a handshake, would you? Many marketers are using social media as an immediate “pitching platform”, but this skewing for personal gain may be doing more harm than good for a business.

It’s paramount that business owners (or managers) understand the psychology behind social media. Instead of using these platforms to overtly sell your products, you should be listening to your fans.

In all likelihood, your social media followers aren’t ready to take the next step in your marketing sequence. Social media should be used as a medium to instill trust. The content you create should correlate benefits and goals in which your audience is interested in accomplishing.

How do you produce content that converts your fans into prospects and potential customers?

You first listen, and then engage.

Keep in mind that social media is transparent. If you try and automate your content, your fans will see right through it. Your audience is comprised of humans that are interested in your core message, so treat them as such.

Contrary to popular belief, you are the one that needs to learn about them. Inquire about the goals, fears, and frustrations of your fans. Take the time to respond to their messages and comments. You might not be able to measure the tangible ROI of your efforts right away, but the personal attention and engagement will be well worth it in the long-term.

Every social media website presents a different environment and focus. Do your research and figure out which platforms are most conducive to your niche. Create a social media strategy that will hold you accountable to posting and interacting each week. Always lead with value and be personable. Remember, you’re at a cocktail party, not a computer.

4 – Learn Copywriting

Selling is arguably the most important skill-set that you can learn. Whether you’re doing it face to face, over the phone, or on the web, the ability (and fearlessness) to sell is a critical entrepreneurial success factor.

Developing copywriting skills goes hand-in-hand with selling. Copywriting is essentially the language that convinces your prospects to take action. In order to write persuasive copy, you need to understand the emotional points that can trigger a prospect to buy.

Knowing these points will require you to know your audience’s core desires and needs. As you continue to engage on social media, you’ll understand your customers at a much deeper level.

Strong copywriting will increase the conversions of your landing pages, sales pages, and email subject lines.

Below are 5 tips that you can use to write compelling copy that converts:

  1. Write big, bold headlines that are benefit driven
  2. Use testimonials to showcase social proof
  3. Use bullet points that serve as mini-headlines to describe the different features of your products
  4. Use explicit calls to action
  5. Focus on the audience’s needs, not your accomplishments

A good copywriter is someone who understands his or her audience. As you continue to do market research and encounter both successes and failures, your writing will become stronger and your refined message more appealing to your customers.

5 – The Ability To Communicate

You don’t have to be a keynote speaker to be able to communicate effectively, but communicating with all walks of people is another key skill for any entrepreneur.

Below are 3 tips that you can use to get your voice heard:

  1. Confidence. It doesn’t matter if you have an accent or a stuttering problem – if you speak with confidence, your message will resonate with people.
  2. Succinct. This ultimately comes down to preparation. Take the time to plan what you are going to say, and then say it. Avoid using excessive conversation that you didn’t plan on saying (unless absolutely necessary).
  3. Articulate. Simply put, think before you speak. Slower is okay, if you’re taking the time to choose words that better convey what you really want to say.

Whether you’re writing or speaking, you need to craft your message so people will listen. The art of communication is one of the most integral aspects of building a brand.

Closing Thoughts

If you want to become an entrepreneur, you need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, which starts with possessing the right mindset.

The above 5 proven skills will help you build your business and better face both the challenges and triumphs that only an entrepreneur can experience.

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