9 Characteristics Of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs

Kumar Gauraw

Who doesn’t want to be successful in their endeavor? Every entrepreneur wants success and if you are like me, you also want it as of yesterday.

Successful People Are Simply Those With Successful Habits-Brian Tracy - Post Image

Since starting my journey of entrepreneurship, I have studied success stories of many extraordinary entrepreneurs (Rich Devos, Sam Walton, Steve Jobs etc.), successful sports personalities (John Wooden,  Tom Landry etc.) and some extremely successful bloggers (Darren Rowse, Michael Hyatt, Neil Patel etc.) and learned tremendous motivation.

I have mentioned on several occasions that I continue to attend many success seminars and workshops regularly as I continue to learn and grow. Seminars and workshops are definitely my favorite because of the power of association which makes a huge difference in our mindset!

Why A Few Succeed While Many More Stay Mediocre

But one thing I noticed through my experience is, I am not the only one who attends such seminars and conferences. There are people who spend way more money than I do on books, seminars and workshops every year. There are also those who seem to work very hard and yet they don’t see the success they desire.

I notice the same thing in blogosphere. There are bloggers who are doing extremely well and then there are those who don’t see the light of the day. At the time when my blog was just a new kid on the block, I used to admire a few bloggers who had a good size blog with a decent traffic and today, they don’t seem to get anywhere.

In fact, there are bloggers who started around the same time I started and then there were those who started because they drew their inspiration from my passion. Well, many of them have disappeared while some of them don’t even have any traffic.

The question is, why do some people succeed while many more either fail or stay mediocre when it comes to entrepreneurship? Why is it true in virtually every industry, in every field?

9 Characteristics That Make The Difference

There are 9 characteristics that are common among all successful entrepreneurs and the thing is, these are not mutually exclusive. All the successful entrepreneurs I know and associate with (and learn from) are particularly very meticulous about all these and no wonder they enjoy the success they have.

I hope you will find these traits useful in your endeavors. If you would like to add your thoughts or share your testimonials, please use the comment section at the end of this post to have your say.

1. They Always Have A Plan

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. ~ Benjamin Franklin  [tweet this]

Successful people know where they’re going and more importantly, why they are going where they are going. They set up a plan and then stay the course with slight adjustments (as the situation demands) as they move forward.

It’s amazing how many people have told me that they don’t take any new year resolutions because resolutions don’t work. Well, my question to them is, how will you even know what worked at the end of the year if you don’t even know what you want to do?

People who achieve, do not fear failure, they do not get derailed by temporary setbacks. They have a goal, they have a game plan and they move forward.

2. They Are Hard Working

Honestly, there’s no way around it; it takes work to be successful. People who are extraordinary achievers work hard. Significant success is never achieved by being in the comfortable, and therefore, it  requires a lot of time out in the field (or ‘online’ for an online entrepreneur) doing what must be done.

High achievers put serious time into daily planning their work, getting their creative juices flowing, strategizing and then executing those plans. They don’t waste productive time in unproductive things (e.g. browsing news, entertainment and chatting etc.)

3. They Have Passion For Their Craft

Hard work for a prolonged period of time is hard to do if there is no passion for your craft. There are days when I am creating my next blog post and it’s 3 AM in the morning. Even at that time I don’t feel I am overworked. I know a few friends who work very hard in their jobs when the situation demands it and they feel very proud of it.

The reason that happens is because we are passionate about what we do. We do the work we do because we love what we do! High achievers never feel they are working hard because they are working out of their passion. Where there is passion, work seems trivial and that is why passion is so important!

4. They Are Self-Motivated

A major challenge of entrepreneurship is, you have no boss especially while you are a small enterprise where your customer base is also small. You have no one to tell you what to do, no one to fire you if you don’t do what you are supposed to do. I mean, it is a difficult situation for many people.

However, all successful entrepreneurs I know are self-motivated and they remain that way every day of their life. Once they know what needs to be done, they just keep on keeping on come what may! They have the passion (which drives them for sure) for their craft, they know their ‘why’ and they just do what must be done.

5. They Are Risk Takers

Successful entrepreneurs know that success requires courage to step out of the comfort zone, be creative, take chances that others don’t dare to take. That is why success people are risk takers.

People who play it safe, who don’t want to take risk – don’t go very far because they never challenge themselves. They let their fears control their lives and they choose to remain average.

For example, to write a book, to start a new website, to venture into a new business, requires courage because you risk not succeeding if things don’t go the way you planned originally. But if you don’t take the chances, what are your chances of success anyway?

All successful entrepreneurs understand that and they are always willing to take chances to pay the price of success they desire.

6. They Respect Time

Time is money and no one values time more than those who are successful and perhaps that’s one of the most important reason for their success.

Successful entrepreneurs use their time wisely and respect other people’s time with the same sincerity. They communicate things precisely, quickly get to the point, and move on.

They keep their phone calls short, don’t waste time browsing the internet, watching entertainment or the news. They don’t waste their time on checking emails and responding to them. Most have their assistant do the job of email management.

This allows successful entrepreneurs to have more time for creativity, strategic planning and business growth. For example, look at bloggers who are doing extremely well. You will not find them wasting time. They are rather busy creating new product, publishing new content, learning new stuff or marketing. They are always in the creative zone!

7. They Stay In The Basics

High achievers do not take their eyes off of the ground. They never forget the basics and never fail to look at their performance and that of their team regularly.

Successful entrepreneurs study their statistics often so that they can know what is happening in their business such as:

  • Is business progressing?
  • Are customers happy?
  • Are new customers coming?
  • How is morale in the organization?
  • How are marketing campaigns performing?


Based on such statistics, they make adjustments in their strategy and mobilize their team in the right direction.

8. They Are Always Excited About Gaining Knowledge

You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read. ~C.T. Jones  [tweet this]

Successful entrepreneurs know that if you keep doing the same thing, you will keep getting the same results. Therefore, they keep themselves humble and keep learning so the new knowledge can help them propel towards the next level of success.

I was recently amazed again by a recent post from Michael Hyatt who came back from another Tony Robin’s workshop and shared with us what he learnt. He is one of those who inspires me with his work ethic and passion for business. And he is a great example of those who are always in the habit of learning just a little bit more every day!

If you want to stay ahead in your business, you need to keep learning, you must keep growing. If you are a blogger and you want to take your online business to the next level, you’ll have to humble yourself and learn from those who are making it big at every opportunity you get.

9. They Persist In The Face Of Challenges

Successful people make right decisions early and manage those decisions daily. ~John Maxwell  [tweet this]

Successful entrepreneurs don’t keep looking for the next shiny objects every now and then. They know that there is no short cut to success and it will always take work. So, the reason they succeed in everything they do, is because they get started and stay the course.

Successful people do not quit when faced with a few setbacks. Instead, they persist, they learn from their mistakes, correct their course and keep moving. It’s their consistency in being persistent that makes them different from those who keep looking for the next big thing and never make it big in anything.

When things don’t seem to work for you, do you quit and start something new or learn from your mistakes, fix the issues and persist?

Your Turn – Share Your Wisdom

I know the more we study different successful entrepreneurs, the more we find and also, you may have an attribute for successful people which I have not yet listed. Would like to add an item or two to this list?

Please feel free to suggest through your comments as I am always looking forward to learning from your wisdom. Thank you kindly!

Kumar Gauraw

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Kumar Gauraw is a Personal Branding & Social Media strategist helping entrepreneurs and skilled professionals achieve personal and professional success by developing leadership and leveraging the power of the Internet, Blogging and Social Media.

37 Awesome Thoughts So Far, Add Yours Now...

  1. Hi Kumar,
    I think you have been very wise to study success stories. I know you continue to as well. We can all learn so much, for as a wise man once said, “I’m standing on the shoulders of giants.”

    Seeing Point #8, I’m sure I’ve conveyed to you before, I have a dear friend Don Hill who was best friends with Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones, so I loved to see a quote from him here. He was a very inspiring man. Hmm, another idea for a post ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I love all these points. I think one that could easily be added is DEDICATION. Sure it fits in with points 2,3,4 and 9, but is worthy enough on its own. Without dedication to your purpose, you won’t achieve much.

    Kindest Regards,

    • Hello Bill,

      Like Kumar, I have also discovered that there’s a lot to gain by reading biographies, especially of the world’s truly great. Reading such books makes you understand that it is in the power of any mortal to actually wind up great – as the lives of the world greats demonstrate.

      However, caution should be exercised not to commit the blunders they did commit. Afterall, they were only human!


  2. Dedication is a definitely a great another characteristic of its own. Thank you for suggesting that, Bill. Dedication to the mission brings discipline and I think it’s a great one!

    About that quote, that always inspires me and I like to quote that at every possible opportunity simply because there is so much power in that one line. Yes, I remember you have mentioned about your friend in the past and that is definitely a great topic for a post. So, should I look forward to a post in near future? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you for dropping by and adding value to this post Bill. Have a terrific Thursday!


  3. Hi Kumar,

    Awesome post indeed ๐Ÿ™‚

    You are SO right about listing these characteristics of successful people – and you left nothing for us to say, as you said it all! Yes, they are great risk takers, something which I believe makes them reach where they are. We talk of all such people and think that had they not taken risks or tried out new things, those inventions wouldn’t have been there today.

    They are very focused, believe in themselves, don’t think about failing and learn from failures, and they just keep moving ahead with full confidence. We all need to imbibe such qualities in us too, and if we try, we can, isn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hi Harleena,

    It’s so good to hear from you ๐Ÿ™‚

    Yes, we need to imbibe such qualities if we wish to emulate their level of success and personal achievements. Bill did add another characteristic, ‘Dedication’ to this list which I thought is awesome. So, I think that is a great addition to this list and thus, actually, making this list to be of ’10’ rather than ‘9’ (Now, I will include that in future when I get to updating this list after I hear from everybody else in a few days. What do you say?

    Thank you for dropping by and sharing your words of appreciation. Have a great Thursday and rest of the week!


  5. Hi Kumar,

    Awesome post you have written this time. There is a lot to learn from everyone, even what not to do by the ones who are not making it and of course by studying from the people who do.

    I’m not having a very productive day so far but your post has gotten me back on track again.

    Thank you and have a great day. Monna

    • Thank you Monna for dropping by and then also, thank you for your kind words of appreciation.
      I am glad to know that I was able to help you feel just a bit better through this post. Isn’t that amazing how we can positively impact other people’s lives in small little ways?

      Thank you for sharing that!


  6. Excellent list, Kumar. I know that for me having a plan and sticking to it, with only minor adjustments, is the toughest discipline. I notice that when I find myself falling behind my plan I am inclined to look for “shiny objects” to fill the gap rather than seek innovative ways of doing what I already do.

    Thanks for laying it out so clearly and cincisely.


    • Hi Alan,

      Well, thank you for sharing your story! Discipline is the hardest thing to practice and especially when we have the next exciting opportunity opening doors ๐Ÿ™‚

      But then, everything looks exciting initially only to look a serious work when we get serious about it and that is where discipline and determination play a major role, don’t they?

      Thank you and have a wonderful weekend!


  7. Hi Kumar,

    This is an awesome list. Only speaking from my personal experience, it seems #5 is the one that holds many people back. When I’m talking to others, this seems like the main issue. It’s all about strategically getting out of your comfort zone!

    Take care Kumar!

    • True Steven, #5 is a big deal for many many people. However, the reason #5 stops people because they don’t have an intense desire for the results they expect. If the dream is not strong, if there is no passion for it, every little problem is a BIG problem, right?

      THANK YOU for dropping by and sharing your thoughts!

  8. Hello Kumar,

    This is a very favorite topic of mine so I guess I can speak with authority.

    The most effective of the characteristics you shared here are:
    1. Respect for time: once lost, can you gain a second?
    2. Passion: if you wake up and feel like going back to bed again, great chances are that you’ll never do great on your current project and
    3. Hardwork. Yes, hard – the only one option that beats all the rest hands down!

    Kumar, you have covered the topic, I dare say, back to back. There is nothing more I need to add except bring out the very core characteristics for readers who may need a summary!


    Kindly ignore yesterday’s mail – I’ve got a way out.

    • Hi Terungwa,

      You always add tremendous value with your wisdom and I appreciate you for always doing that.

      The 3 things you summarized, are awesome and I enjoyed the statement you made about passion. It’s true that if we feel like going back to bed then we aren’t passionate about our current task at hand and therefore, chances are, we won’t succeed in it ๐Ÿ™‚ Great way to look at it.

      Thank you for sharing your wisdoms with us here. Have a productive weekend!


  9. Really motivated me. On the way to success in blogging. Many of the blogger know that these qualities are needed but what matters is implementation. We need to start at first and never stop on the way. We keep on getting what we are getting, until we keep on doing what we are doing!

    Thanks for this inspirational post!

  10. Hello Kumar,

    Thanks for this great post. For me, it is worth a million.

    I often tell my friends that, ‘planing is painstaking, failing is painful but not knowing what to do is the worst kind of suffering’.

    I have learnt a great deal from this post. Thanks for sharing and happy weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Ebenezer, I love your quote! It really is the worst thing to happen if we don’t know what to do or what are we here for!

      Great wisdom! Thank you for sharing it with us!

      Have a wonderful weekend my friend! God bless!


  11. Kumar,
    This is a great list of characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. I think another characteristic would be: โ€œThey are always aware of their brand.โ€

    Iโ€™ve shared this bit of wisdom online before but one thing that I learned years ago (as a member of the BNI networking group) is that โ€œEverything we do is either a relationship builder or a relationship destroyer.โ€ Successful entrepreneurs are aware of this. If they do make a mistake, (and we all do), they apologize. They work hard to gain our trust and respect and in turn, they get our loyalty (often in the way of business and support).

    Thanks for a post that gets us thinking and talking. I hope you and everyone here has a great weekend.

    • Hi Sherryl, Yes, that’s a good point as well. Successful entrepreneurs do know who they are, what they stand for and they live it. They are not afraid to apologize and why will they be anyway? After all, they do take risk of making mistakes, right? So, they take their chances and they mess up, they do the course correction and move on.

      Great tips! Thank you for sharing!


  12. Kumar,
    every time I come to your blog I learn more and more things that I would not learn anywhere else.. you have so much knowledge that I love to lean from… THANKS so much for always striving to be better.. and so we can benefit by only associating with you.

    As you, I spent much time and money to attend many workshops and seminars and buying books and programs… (I must confess that in the last 15 years, I did not attend as many workshops or seminars, but before that, I always attended one a week and sometime even more)

    In the last 15 years lifestyle changes got me to the Internet and on other interest.. so yes, I learn and buy much more programs and books and takes and CDs and DVD but miss the physical meetings, seminars and workshops and so missing what you called “power of association”…

    My plan is to move back closer to the city this year so I will start doing it again.

    Thanks so much for all the 10 tips.. I made many notes and truly resonate with # 7 They Stay In The Basics and #8 They Are Always Excited About Gaining Knowledge,,,,

    Thanks so much again for bringing some light of excitement in my day while reading your article…


    • Hello Nick,
      It’s always a pleasure to hear from you and when it is a few words of appreciation, it’s wonderful ๐Ÿ™‚

      I am glad that you resonated with the post and that you are also planning to move to the city to be able to enjoy the ‘power of association’.

      I will that will be a game changer for you as I find that true in my case, every day!

      Speaking of learning, we all learn form each other and one another when we have hunger for knowledge. I am humbled to know that you found something of value in my post. So, thank you!

      Have a successful next week!


  13. Hi Kumar
    I lved this post
    It is a very nice post.
    I m also an Entrepreneur and i completely satisfied with your opinion of that an entrepreneur must have…
    Learning Attitude
    Leadership Quality
    and very important self motivating power…

  14. Hi Kumar,

    Very good post.

    Indeed, there are many differences between successful people and unsuccessful ones. Back in the days when I was helping a lot of newbies setting up their niche sites what I was noticing the most was lack of true commitment and persistence.

    Some people have a tendency to think that successful people didn’t have to work hard and when they realized that it takes work, commitment, persistence and patience, they are out of there.

    I’ve seen so many people start online business and never accomplish anything. So, thanks for those great tips that many people need.

    By the way, what is the plugin that you’re using to show the picture of related posts at the end of your post?

    • Hello Sylviane, That is so true. People seem to think that people at the top do not need to work anymore. I only wish they knew that staying there is much tougher than getting there once ๐Ÿ™‚

      Well, the plugin I use is called nRelated Posts. It does a great job!

      Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts!


  15. Hi Kumar, this a great list, and I want to add to it too. Successful people believe in themselves and what they’re doing – they don’t complain when something goes wrong, they look to see what they can learn from it. They have a different “language” – listen to the way Donald Trump talks about everything he does. He’s always passionate and optimistic, and he thinks like a billionaire!

    • Hi Julieanne,

      That is another great point. Successful people have a great self-esteem. They talk like a champion, they believe in themselves. Thank you for bringing it up. I will include this point into this list in this list in future (perhaps I need to create a new post with a more comprehensive list).

      Have a great weekend!


  16. Hello Kumar, Wow what a list my friend, you have left nothing out! I love how you start out your post talking about how we all want success and we wanted this as of yesterday, but the truth be told it is a journey… Like yourself I have seen many a friends hang it up because it was to challenging. I for one am not a quitter..HEHE
    I guess this is what it takes Huh?

    As they say a quitter never wins and a winner never quits. Great Article my friend Thanks for sharing. Have a Wonderful Super Bowl Sunday. Chery :))

    • Hi Cherry,

      You are right about not being a quitter! My mentor told me one thing when I was stepping into the arena to become an entrepreneur which I never forget. He said, “Kumar, the secret to success is, get started, stay consistent and never quit.”

      That’s it. And, that has been my mantra since then. I am willing to fail over and over but I don’t ever want to quit and join the “quitters club”. Never in this lifetime!

      Thank you for stopping by and wish you all the success in the upcoming week!


  17. Kumar,

    I do have many of those 9 traits but there are few areas where I tend to slip up.
    First is having my plan and following through on it. I have planned and completed my goals often, but then there are those times when I keep getting distracted by the next thing to learn, to do or to accomplish and I am taken in a different direction. I don’t always stay in the basics, check my stats and alter my actions soon enough. And I tend to think I have more time available than i actually have. I do prioritize when something is imminent and compelling, but otherwise I attempt to do everything – and that becomes impossible.

    Thanks for this right-on list of what it takes to succeed.


    Dr. Erica

    • Dr. Erica,

      We are all work in progress. I think we are learning everyday and I have my own challenges too when comes to planning. But, studying these people, learning from them consistently, is helping me improve one step at a time and I am sure you are doing the same thing.

      I think that what matter is, where we are going and how much better we are getting everyday, isn’t it?

      Thank you for sharing your story which most will relate to. Have a great Sunday!


  18. A comprehensive list of characteristics

    One characteristic I was struck by when I read the Steve Jobs book was his passion for detail – this intense focus on the smallest detail and not letting up until it was handled just the way he wanted it. The other thing was his unwavering vision of what his products should do – and forcing engineers to come up with ways to accomplish his vision and accepting no compromises or excuses as to why it couldn’t happen just the way he wanted. .

    • Hi Marty,

      I love the fact that he was so detailed and perhaps there is a reason behind Steve Job’s passion for details. He, actually, was an artist and a good artist does everything with so much detail. No wonder his every creation was so beautiful including the icons on iPhone. He had an amazing focus.

      Thank you for adding that to the list. Perhaps, I should also add another point as “They pay attention to details”.

      Have a great day!


  19. Great points, Kumar ๐Ÿ™‚

    I think time management is the most important trait for a successful entrepreneurs – you know, managing time accordingly, balancing life work and play.

    I do disagree with your point on entertainment. Entertainment can serve as a great inspiration and can also help with relaxation – thinking outside work. I mean, we may be passionate about something…but, I don’t think passion alone can motivate us to keep doing it

    Imagine if we were to follow the same routine everyday, we could get bored, won’t be? Like eating our favorite food everyday makes the food less favorite. We need to take breaks – and entertainment is a good way to take a break.

    Of course, we should also keep our entertainment in check (perhaps dedicate a time slot just for entertainment).

    I do love planning, but at the same time, I also loving doing things without planning (makes things more adventurous. Although I wouldn’t recommend that in situations where we have a lot to lose).

    Anyways, thank you for sharing this, Kumar ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

    • Hi Jeevan,

      You brought a good point of discussion while challenging the point on entertainment but we are talking about high achievers, not average Joe who does same thing day after day. We are talking about people like Steve Jobs, Sam Walton, Anil Ambani, Ratan Tata and others of that caliber. Do you think they have time to get bored? I would wonder anybody else in the world will have everyday adventure as much as they have…. Do you think they need to waste their time in front of TV watching Bollywood movies to entertain themselves? I doubt that ๐Ÿ™‚

      Yes, the average Joe needs entertaining because nothing much is going on in his life. On the other hand, extremely successful people fill their free time with things that fill them with new knowledge. They read new books, they attend a new workshop, they go for an exercise and rest of the time, their life truly is an adventurous journey – everyday (or at least they feel that way).

      Robin Sharma said it well yesterday in his new video – “Victims seek entertainment while Leaders seek education.”

      And we are talking about leaders here my friend. Imagine being in their shoes. You will be amazed how they live! I am sure you will start appreciating a lifestyle which is so entertaining that it needs no more TV.

      Thank you for dropping by and sharing an interesting perspective on entertainment ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a good day my friend!


  20. Wonderful list of those characteristic, which you favor of successful people, you have had the honor to interview or observe during the years you have been in business. I enjoy reading it and love one of the areas as loving what you do with passion.

    When one gets serious about their goal as to being self-made, which is what an Entrepreneur is. We start to see the world different and keep our eyes on the present and future always excited about the next adventure we create.

    Being a success as you state, is all in the mind of the person. My success is very different and unique than anyone else who has proven, with time and attitude. They understand the fundamentals of achievement, servant hood and loving what you choose to do, as the core parts of maturity in our industry. There can be nothing but pure love for others in serving them and enjoying solving challenges.

    I have an eagerness to learn each day, and hunger to find new contacts to listen for opportunities in serving them in anyway that is ethical and honorable. When waking each day, my excitement and love of life empowers me to heights that I can not explain. It is a deep passion to take action and be consistent with it. That is my success, the love of serving others and creating daily adventures with challenges that are always resolved with consistent activities. End results being what I visioned prior to starting that adventure, success for me as only I can determine.

    Amazing share you have provided for all of us readers to really start self-evaluation. This one thing will awaken the hunger within to manifest our genius.

    Thank you for giving us this opportunity and sharing your thoughts.

    • Hi William,

      Thank you for sharing some great insights from your side and adding tremendous value to the post. Your passion for helping others, serving others keeps your excitement going and it’s a great example of what effect passion can have on our excitement levels on a daily basis.

      Thank you for your kind words of appreciation. Have a sucessful new week coming up!



  21. Excellent list Kumar!

    Entrepreneurs (in my opinion) must be forward-thinking drivers that are always pushing forward. Unlike a typical j.o.b – if you don’t get the work done, it’s not going to happen. Managing your time, staying focused on what pushes your business forward and staying positive during tough times are all important traits.

    There’s a lot to juggle for any entrepreneur that ‘s for sure!

  22. Hello Mr.Kumar,

    Having plan, never giving up, knowing basics and most importantly staying mediocre was so true.
    Few things are also putting finger on my self to put in application beside reading:)…
    Thanks for sharing this great article..

Please Note: My goal is to host interesting conversations with caring, honest, and respectful people. Therefore, I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic.