What is that special something that makes a successful entrepreneur?

The world is full of larger than life tales about successful entrepreneurs. You read about the wild rides to success and the horrible failures.  But what is special about successful entrepreneurs? There is not one special skill that makes an entrepreneur successful. Rather, it is a combination of skills and a unique state of mind.

So what defines a real entrepreneur?

From day one, being an entrepreneur is risky. Real entrepreneurs have to take on some degree of risk. They either quit a perfectly good job or never really look for one. Some are unemployable or gradually become unemployable. Then, they start a business, knowing – and often ignoring – that the odds are against them. The fact is that most businesses fail. An entrepreneur must know that before anything else. That in itself is enough to scare most people back to their jobs.

You know that you are an entrepreneur if you are less interested in how much money you make with your business than being your own boss.

So what is so special about these real entrepreneurs?

Above all else, real entrepreneurs refuse to fit into a box. Who they are and what they do doesn’t always make sense right away. One thing is true for sure. They are driven. They are more interested in starting an building a business than the business itself. If they don’t start this business, they will start another. If they fail with this business, sooner or later, they will start another business. They don’t back down easy.

Every single one is entirely different without even trying to be different. They get no pleasure from copying someone else but instead choose to forge their own path, follow their own instincts, and relentlessly pursue the things that they are passionate about.

Money is not the primary motivator.

In the pursuit of their passions, these entrepreneurs often forget about getting rich or making a profit. In their minds, profits exist but are not the main driving force. What they want is to succeed. To reach a goal or beat the odds. They want to be the best in the business, the best web designer or the best technical writer.

Because they refuse to get caught up in the financial gains, they are often able to focus more intently on what they do, rather than counting the money in their bank accounts.

Passion is what it’s all about.

Real entrepreneurs are passionate, but they are not dreamers. Their thoughts and drives jump out in conversations and actions continually. Whatever the world thinks about what they do matters very little to them. They remain focused on the goal at hand regardless of what people think. They drive ahead not because people approve but because they are driven by a burning desire from within.

Entrepreneurs are risk-averse.

Entrepreneurs are not thrill seekers. Just like money isn’t the primary motivator for a real entrepreneur, neither is the risk. They are willing to accept the risk to be able to follow their passion, but they aren’t seeking some kind of high just for the fact that they are taking a risk. Instead, they let their passions outweigh their fears.

Entrepreneurs are not born.

Entrepreneurs come from all walks of life from all kinds of backgrounds. There is no rule that if your parents are entrepreneurs, you will be an entrepreneur too. Entrepreneurs don’t graduate with the same or even similar college degrees. And many of them are not even college educated. What is common about entrepreneurs is that they often seek out mentors. Many of them credit their success to the mentors they had.

Entrepreneurs know how to find the right partners.

They don’t set out to be leaders, but people often follow them. While they may become leaders due to their singular focus, they know how to partner with others who have the skills to help them to pursue their passions. Most true entrepreneurs aren’t great at running the day-to-day aspects of a company, so they trust the operations to one or more team members, allowing them to continue to focus on creating and casting vision.

They are not always easy to work with. Because they bring such a great degree of passion and focus, they often don’t wait around for results. This means that they are not always easy to communicate with, as they don’t follow the standard rules of social interactions or business. They can be stubborn but often turn on a dime if they realize they are in the wrong.

In the end, what makes entrepreneurs so special is that they are passionate about pursuing their dreams. They do this by knowing that there is a greater chance for failure than success, but they still move forward. If you want to become an entrepreneur just to be one, the chances are that you won’t succeed. Instead, if you are driven to strike out on your own and are willing to give it every ounce of your focus and energy, you may just be a genuine entrepreneur.

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George Meszaros is the editor and co-founder of Success Harbor where entrepreneurs learn about building successful companies. Success Harbor is dedicated to document the entrepreneurial journey through interviews, original research, and unique content. George Meszaros is also co-founder of Webene, a web design and digital marketing agency.

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