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The secret to becoming a successful entrepreneur

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them,” said Walt Disney, the pioneer of the animation industry. For any aspiration, whether it is to climb the world’s highest peak, touch the North Pole or swim across the English Channel, fearlessness is an important trait. However, like Walt Disney, if your aim is to become a successful entrepreneur, you will require a bagful of other qualities as well, because this journey is too long and too rough.

For an entrepreneur, failures and setbacks await at every corner. Billionaire entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates, Cher Wang, Richard Branson or Elon Musk too paid their fair share of dues before becoming the epitome of success. Their never-give-up-attitude is one of the many qualities entrepreneurs cultivate to make their dreams come true.

While every entrepreneur’s story is different, their pivotal qualities can be woven by anyone. In this feature, Soulveda peers into the minds of successful entrepreneurs to reveal what makes them unique and torchbearers of our future.

It starts with passion

Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are famous for their gruesome schedule and work hours. Similarly, many entrepreneurs work around 80 hours a week and still look fresh and excited. What do you think motivates them to push beyond their comfort zone? It’s their passion. It is their incessant strength and motivation that doesn’t let entrepreneurs flutter in the face of failure and criticism. This immutable passion is their weapon and shield. Without it, any goal is merely wishful thinking, despite the support of investors and customer strength.

Passion gives entrepreneurs a purpose; a reason to wake up in the morning and chase their dreams. It doesn’t matter how fierce the competition is or whether their goal is attainable. A passionate entrepreneur can make the impossible possible.

The art of forging a connection

The world took notice of Steve Jobs’ exceptional communication skills when he unveiled the first iPhone at San Francisco’s Macworld conference in 2007. With his eloquent storytelling and ability to connect with the audience, Jobs held everyone’s attention and curiosity. In the years to come, he continued to hone his communication skills, eventually transforming into one of the best orators in the history of entrepreneurship.

Since then, such keynotes and launch events have paved the way for entrepreneurs to share their ideas and visions with the world. But the importance of effective communication is not limited to the world’s stage. When the going gets tough, entrepreneurs speak the words of inspiration to keep their team’s spirit high. But here’s the thing—building a connection with others is not about words or the business. Effective communication—that reaches the hearts of listeners—is about building a bridge of empathy and trust with the audience. It’s an art mastered by every successful entrepreneur.

They continue to hustle, day and night, in a hope that one day their hard work will pay off. But sometimes, patience can run thin when failure meets you at every turn.


A student for life

The foremost thing entrepreneurship offers is an opportunity to step into the real world. Out there, the competition is fierce. With the fluctuating nature of the business world, the road to success can seem long and hard. To survive and thrive, entrepreneurs keep themselves informed and aware. They absorb knowledge from wherever they can. They believe in being a student for life, even after reaching the pinnacle of success.

Bill Gates reads around 50 books a year. Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Cuban spend hours reading newspapers, magazines, books every day to continue learning. Entrepreneurs like them cultivate the habit of reading at the very onset of their journey, which helps them learn and grow simultaneously.

‘Adaptation’ of the fittest

If time has taught anything to entrepreneurs, it is the importance of adapting to change. After all, change is the only constant in the business world, and many leaders have learnt it the hard way. When Apple launched its smart-screen technology, no one knew it will become the standard or dethrone BlackBerry. But it did. Such instances have enabled entrepreneurs to reshape their attitude, inspiring them to live by one rule—prepare for every curveball. It means, welcome new ideas, be open to realigning the strategies and never shy away from exploring new opportunities.

After all, adaptation and survival are two sides of the same coin. Entrepreneurs who have just started their journey use this adage as a slogan to find success. Instead of sticking to their guns, entrepreneurs try new ways to accomplish their goals. If one strategy doesn’t work, they adapt to a new, sometimes completely different approach. They work on every assumption and continue to adjust as per the audience’s feedback. This is how entrepreneurs build a product, or rather a company for that matter.

The hidden meaning of failure

For many, failure is the end of the road. For entrepreneurs, however, failure is just another opportunity to grow. Every time they stumble, they learn something new—what works and what doesn’t. The more they fail, the more they learn about their venture. But come what may, entrepreneurs refuse to give up!

Thomas A Edison, the inventor of the first practical incandescent light bulb had the same attitude towards failure. He said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Like Edison, determined entrepreneurs use failure to their advantage. For instance, using it as an indication that their plan is missing a valuable piece; as a sign to take a step back and reanalyse the strategy; or as a wake-up call to work harder than before.

The spirit of taking risks

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life,” said famed boxer Muhammad Ali. Although Ali may have said this about boxing or life in general, it stands true in the world of entrepreneurs. Because entrepreneurship in itself is a risky venture. By leaving a secure job behind to pursue a dream with a dubious future, every entrepreneur takes a gamble with their career. But it’s the same spirit of taking risks that makes them fearless in their journey to achieve the unachievable.

By taking risks, it doesn’t mean you should chase every idea or opportunity blindly. Entrepreneurs take calculated risks to minimise the collateral damage and maximise the chances of success. But whatever be the outcome, they become more informed and optimistic at each step. That’s how entrepreneurs evolve. But why should you take risks instead of taking the safer route? Because—in words of the Facebook founder, Zuckerberg: “The biggest risk is not taking any risk.”

The seed of patience and the fruit of belief

The Greek philosopher Aristotle said: “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” It was true hundreds of years ago and it is true even today. Especially for entrepreneurs who, in most cases, don’t taste the fruit of success in the first few years. They continue to hustle, day and night, in a hope that one day their hard work will pay off. But sometimes, patience can run thin when failure meets you at every turn. This is where belief comes into the picture.

In 2009, Brain Acton, the co-founder of WhatsApp tweeted: Facebook turned me down. It was a great opportunity to connect with some fantastic people. Looking forward to life’s next adventure. Fast forward to 2014, the same company that rejected Acton, paid US $19 billion to buy his start-up. What made Acton—and other successful entrepreneurs like him—pursue his dream, despite the rejections and denials? Belief, the biggest strength of every entrepreneur. With belief and patience as their virtue, entrepreneurs have proven that in life anything is possible.

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