Have you ever wondered what sets successful entrepreneurs like Richard Branson apart from others? What do they do differently to guarantee success?

When I co-founded a start up boutique advertising agency I learned a few things about what it really means to be an entrepreneur and I’d like to share these with you today. I’ve discovered that entrepreneurs tend to have a few common traits and the good news is – there’s nothing to stop you from applying these traits this month, this week or even today.


In my opinion – entrepreneurs are a rare breed and they truly value productivity over the ‘number of hours worked’. This isn’t to say that they don’t work hard – because believe me you need a strong work ethic to succeed as an entrepreneur, the point is – they work smart.

I’ve always been a believer in the art of productivity – and I strongly believe that most people are not as productive as they could be. A lot of time is wasted when we are not focused on what we’re doing each day.

Entrepreneurs however, do not waste a single second. They have learned how to use their time to the max and this is why they can somehow achieve the impossible!

Instead of working by a set number of hours each day (ie 9 – 5), they apply a whole host of productivity techniques to ensure they get things done quickly and efficiently. I’ll share a few of their productivity techniques here with you today – the first is goal setting.

Entrepreneurs set goals because of the following reasons:

* A goal (with a deadline) creates energy that naturally motivates you to get things done quicker than usual. This energy powers you through to achieve things.
* A goal allows you to overcome any feelings of inertia or procrastination
* A goal allows you to really ‘focus’ on what you’re trying to achieve
* A goal makes your mind one-pointed. That is – it stops you from getting distracted by other things
* A goal forces you to focus on the positive outcome instead of getting swayed by negative thoughts

So goal setting really is an important part of being an outstanding entrepreneur and I will be featuring an extensive goal setting process in my up and coming ‘Successful Living’ online course which is set to launch later this year.

The second productivity technique that entrepreneurs use is the art of focus. I myself learned the power of focus when I co-founded our start up ad agency. The thing is – when you’re involved in a start up, there really is so much for you to do, that you have no choice other than to learn how to focus your mind.

The alternative is to drown in a sea of responsibilities and wind up getting lost in overwhelm (not such a great alternative huh).

Being focused really is the secret to productivity and there are many things you can do such as limiting time spent checking emails, working in uninterrupted blocks of time, scheduling working hours to maximize productivity and so on. You can read my post about Productivity to get a more detailed list of these tips.

Because I’m really passionate about the art of learning to focus, I’ve been working on a powerful technique that I myself have used over the last 7 years or so and I’ll also be sharing this in my successful living course later this year so stay tuned for more info on this.

Be Curious

As well as productivity being key, entrepreneurs tend to have a natural sense of curiosity. They are always open to new ways of doing things and are never rigid in their approach to business and life in general. They consume information as a means of inspiration and never take things at face value.

They like to challenge the traditional as this allows them to innovate. They are constantly looking for ways to improve everyday things and ways to build upon existing successes.

They are positive in their approach – it’s not a case of high-lighting other peoples failures, but a natural desire to keep on improving things. Here are a few ways in which they may keep their curiosity burning:

* They make a concerted effort to keep up to date with new innovations (often using social media)
* They make it a habit to regularly try new things
* They are always keen to hear other peoples opinions
* They are not afraid to debate the status quo
* They dedicate time to regular brainstorms about new innovations (both on their own and in groups)

Long-term perspective

Unlike most people, entrepreneurs are not instant gratification types. They don’t expect results overnight – because lets face it – the world doesn’t work that way!

Instead, entrepreneurs understand that things take time. To put this into perspective, I’ve even come into contact with some entrepreneurs who set 100 year plans. That’s right – while most of us can barely put together a plan for the week ahead, they are busy planning the next century!

It can be easy to look at successful businesses and feel like they got lucky overnight – I can assure you this is not the case. For example, Starbucks had only 5 stores for the first 13 years that they were in business, it was only after this that they suddenly extended to a  massive 16,000 stores. It certainly didn’t happen overnight.


Entrepreneurs understand that failure is a pre-requisite for success. In fact many of them enjoy failing. Richard Branson was quoted as saying:

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules, You learn by doing and falling over.”

Entrepreneurs have to be resilient because almost all of them will have gone through failure after failure after failure before finding success. You can read my article on failure to learn more about the benefits of failing often!

Self belief

Entrepreneurs have an incredible belief in themselves and what they are capable of achieving. They believe that anything is possible and it’s this mindset that often propels them towards success.

These are just a few traits that entrepreneurs share and below I’ll detail a few simple things you can do today to get yourself one step closer to being an outstanding entrepreneur.

Simple Life Strategy: 8 Tips to become an Outstanding Entrepreneur

1. Get Productive! Start by getting into the habit of setting goals to spur you on & eliminate negative thinking

2. Control your email. Limit your time spent checking email (have set times throughout the day where you check instead of being ruled by email)

3. Work in uninterrupted blocks of time. Let others know when you need to spend an hour or two working on one thing and don’t allow any interruptions!

4. Focus. Make a concerted effort to really focus on everything that you do. Decide to not let anything distract you from your goals and notice how much more you get done

5. Adopt a curious attitude to life. Start to look for ways to improve things, make an effort to try new things out and make time for innovation sessions or brainstorms

6. Take a long-term perspective. Make peace with the fact that ‘overnight successes’ are a business myth. Commit to the long term vision and you will eventually reach success

7. Become resilient. Open your arms to failure and every time you are knocked down, dust yourself off and get back up again knowing that you’re now wiser to proceed towards success.

8. Believe. Remember that anything is possible and choose to believe in the power of your own self.

If you found these tips useful, please share this article with others.

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