10 Steps to Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur

By Midge Leavey

Being an entrepreneur involves hard work, sacrifices and a passionate mindset that is willing and determined to make it happen no matter the challenge. Make that dream of owning your own business a reality by following these 10 mogul-maker tips.

Set a Healthy Daily Routine
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” —Benjamin Franklin
Getting a head start to conquer your day is the idea behind this 18th-century proverb; and modern science has shown that your daily routine can determine your yearly success. Research shows that the information you feed your brain before you go to bed determines approximately 67 percent of your sleep habits. Studies have also proven that proper sleep rejuvenates present cells and allows new cells to form structures of energy. So, planning your day the night before and getting a good night’s sleep not only helps you get a jumpstart the next morning, but also helps you be more productive. It’s about programming your mind at night and starting out early the next day with a healthy routine. One of the worst mistakes many entrepreneurs make is check their phone or respond to emails as soon as they wake up. These unhealthy mistakes create an immediate distraction to morning alertness and can burn you out even before you have a fresh crack at the day. Avoid or replace these poor practices by committing to at least 15 minutes per day to morning exercise followed by a healthy breakfast that includes high proteins and some oats to charge your cells into a state of focus. You’ll feel healthier and feel better about yourself.

Always Follow Up
“Follow up and follow through until the task is completed, the prize won.” —Brian Tracy
Following up with clients and colleagues reflects heavily on your character as an entrepreneur. Statistically, 72 percent of sales people never follow up, which may let potential clients and partners slip through the cracks. Following up with people you network and connect with, whether it’s a sales call or a current client, shows that you have good business ethics and professional mannerisms. When you keep a consistent line of communication, it shows the other person that they’re important. Another good tip to keep in mind is to get back to people as quickly as possible. Maintain a strict time schedule; when you say you’re going to do something for someone, be sure to do it and get it done before the time you originally stated.

Live Up to Your Word
“Among the things you can give and still keep are your smile, a word, and a grateful heart.” —Zig Ziglar
If there is one critical tip you should know, especially as an entrepreneur, it’s to live up to your word. Your reputation and actions should be inline with your word, as they define you as a professional. Keeping your word and sticking to your agreements will help you build good friendships and strong business relationships. The main factor here is trust; clients and partners should feel confident in trusting you and your ability to keeping your word. Another thing to remember is to create impeccable time-management skills. People like it when you’re on time.

Think Positively
“Change your thoughts and you change your world” —Norm Vincent Peale
According to Joseph Mercado, inspirational speaker and author of The Undiscovered You: Healing Your Negative Thoughts Using the Law of Replacement, one of the greatest challenges you’ll face as an entrepreneur is the negative thoughts that come in and out of your mind. Thinking positively helps develop good habits and provides you with the drive or energy to help you get there. Always believe in yourself and don’t listen to the naysayers. Be confident in knowing that your methods of positive thinking will guide you to the result you need to achieve your goals in life.

Be Passionate
“Your passion must come from the things that fuel you from the inside.” —Randy Pausch
Your level of passion is evident through your body gestures and voice tonality. A true entrepreneur eats, sleeps, and breathes his or her dreams. You should be passionate and love what you do. Passion is passing the good energy from words to actions. When you’re passionate about something, or someone, you react from your soul not only your mind. When you’re passionate, you glow and people can see and feel your passion.

Set Aside Some Alone Time
“Alone time is when I distance myself from the voices of the world so I can hear my own” —Oprah
Spending time alone enhances creativity and helps de-clutter the brain. As a mindful educator and entrepreneur, I have done research on myself as well as on others. My most creative moments tend to be in the morning hours after a restful sleep and morning meditation. It still amazes me how ideas are generated and flow through my mind and then lead to successful actions. Clearing your mind and de-cluttering your brain takes practice. Clearing your head allows for more room for new, creative ideas and the ability to focus on one thing at a time. In fact, meditation should be a daily practice of 15 to 20 minutes, preferably in the morning hours when your thoughts are fresh.

Surround Yourself with Positive People
“Surround yourself only with people who are going to take you higher” —Oprah
A few years ago, I organized and launched my own networking group. My goal was to surround myself with like-minded, positive people, which I successfully did. We now meet once a month to discuss problems and concerns, as well as brainstorm and encourage each other. Surrounding yourself with positive people helps keep you motivated and excited to continue your journey to and beyond entrepreneurism.

Be Willing to Make Mistakes
“Don’t carry your mistakes around with you. Instead, place them under your feet and use them as stepping stones to rise above them” —Anonymous
Norman Larsen, founder of the oil WD-40, was willing to work through his mistakes. Working in a small lab in San Diego, it took him 40 attempts to get the water displacing formula worked out. His persistence paid off because the original secret formula for WD-40, which stands for Water Displacement perfected on the 40th try, is still in use today. What if he gave up on the 39th try? Failure is a steppingstone to success!

Take a Risk
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear” —Jack Canfield
Risk taking won’t only potentially benefit the career path you’re already on, it may actually open you up to a world of possibilities you have yet to consider. Taking risks shows that you’re a leader, not a follower.

Visualize your Future Success
“Believe in what you want so much it has no choice but to materialize” —Karen Salmansohn
Seeing your future as if it is already happening will help make it materialize. Creating a vision board will help this process along. Cut out pictures of everything you want and envision it as though you already have them. Paste them on a board and hang it in a place where you will see it every day. Look at your board every night before bed. This will help these visions stay in your subconscious and make them become reality.