Ivan Temelkov
August 31, 2016

10 Things Every Successful Entrepreneur Should Know About

Entrepreneurs - It isn't this easy!

The word “entrepreneur” seems to be used quite frequently these days. In fact a vast majority of people in my circle consider themselves entrepreneurs. Sure, the internet has revolutionized the way modern business is done forever. Although I don’t quite think that it is any indication of the entrepreneurship realm.

I’ve been entrepreneurial for over 22 years now but who’s counting! Although it wasn’t until the last 5-7 years when I really truly began to express deeper interest in entrepreneurship. Thus far I’ve learned that it is most definitely one of the wildest rides you will ever encounter. There are tons of ups and downs that many people are incapable of handling. But that’s just it though. If you classify yourself as a modern entrepreneur, get strapped in for the journey ahead.

For the record, the following are definitely not in any particular order of importance. I must confess that the majority of these recommendations are based on personal experience.

#1 – More Action, Less Reaction

Being in the marketing industry for the last decade, I’ve a heard a good share of promises. “Let’s connect.”, “We should discuss it.” etc, etc. One too many false promises with no action to follow. A successful entrepreneur is one that rolls up their sleeves and goes to work. No ifs, ands or buts. So-called “entrepreneurs” in the marketing industry are notorious for making false promises with no action or delivery. In most cases such scenarios indicate a lack of decision-making. For instance, when working with clients, either tell them how you propose to do something or simply do it.

More action and less reaction shows your customer that ability to make decisions.

#2 – All About Consistency

The ability to be consistent in entrepreneurship attributes to seriousness. A lot of entrepreneurs lose faith, traction and commitment rather quickly. It’s important to have a clear understanding of your goals and objectives. After accomplishing this you should set about making valiant strides to fulfill them. Discipline is the key factor in consistency. Being able to be consistently disciplined about your goals and objectives communicates seriousness to your customer base. Failures will inevitably happen. But your failures should not be contributing factors to inconsistency in entrepreneurship.

#3 – Risky Business

In my personal experience, I would go as far as saying that entrepreneurship is one giant risk. A complete crapshoot into the unknown. As an avid entrepreneur in the current landscape, you should acknowledge the risks associated with entrepreneurship. Your business ventures may or may not pan out to your expectations. A successful entrepreneur is one who takes risks knowing that they can turn them into profitable opportunities. This isn’t easy for many people. Taking a risk is something that forces us to step outside of our comfort zone. Stepping into an unfamiliar territory indicates that we are about to tackle a situation that does not present any certainty.

Are you a risk taker? Entrepreneurship might in fact be right up your alley. Are you someone who is comfortable with your current status quo? Don’t expect change if you’re unwilling to risk something.

#4 – Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

One of the hardest aspects of entrepreneurship is the ability to make decisions. In most instance, it pertains to executive decisions that have a direct correlation on your bottom line. Truth be told, this is an extremely hard position to be in as an entrepreneur. Some decisions are easier than others, but that’s just it. Being able to come to terms with the need to make bold decisions is simply part of entrepreneurship. This particular capability goes hand-in-hand with risks. You also have to understand that certain decisions may yield failures. But that’s OK!

#5 – Comfortable With Failure

Failure will be quite frequent in your entrepreneurial journey. There will even be days where you may be banging your head against the wall. I’ve been there multiple times. One way that you will learn is by failing and acknowledging the mistakes you made along the way. I can be a bit of a perfectionist, and personally this was a bit difficult to grasp. All my life and throughout my entrepreneurial journey thus far, I’ve strived for perfection. Theoretically it sounds good but in practicality it’s a different story.

Coming to terms with failure will be hard to digest – especially if you are the type of entrepreneur that thinks perfection is ingrained within your DNA. Believe me when I tell you that there is no such thing. If a playbook on entrepreneurship existed, the business world might be a bit dull.

#6 – Authenticity

In today’s saturated and highly competitive digital world, it’s extremely hard to separate yourself from the rest of the herd. Authenticity though, is a big part of being an entrepreneur and building a brand. I talked a little bit about this in the latest episode of The Biz Grind. Being authentic means that you need to be original. Originality in a saturated business marketplace is easier said than done. Tactics, strategy, customer experience, implementation and execution, are a few days that you can differentiate yourself from other brands. Two top ingredients of successful entrepreneurship can be the customer experience and quality of work.

The way you do things is a differentiating factor amongst direct or indirect competition. As a matter of fact, those two things have been successful determining factors in business for many companies. Many entrepreneurs and brands tend to overthink authenticity though.

#7 – Recognizing Opportunities

As a successful entrepreneur, you need to have the ability to recognize opportunities in unusual places. Not only that, but in general having the ability to pinpoint an opportunity to begin with. I’ve taken gambles on several things that have proven to have monetary value. That sort of goes hand-in-hand with risks. Being proactive and an opportunist will definitely help accelerate your entrepreneurial journey. The FURminator comes to mind when discussing opportunities.

For many people, it is nothing more than a ‘deshedding’ tool for cats and dogs. Although only a few people know that this product was bought out for $100 million dollars after all patents, licenses and acquisitions. This is a company that was started right here in St. Louis, MO, currently known nationally as a mecca for tech startups.

#8 – Relationships & Nurturing

Relationships are everything. This has been proven to me specifically over and over again. Forging continuous new alliances attributes to the ability to fill up your pipeline. It can help alleviate the prospecting phase by providing you with access to warm leads. Nurturing business relationships is equally important. It is something that can help you generate higher residual income. Business relationships can be forged based on a variety of different things.

A few key factors in relationship building are

  • Likability
  • Experience
  • Common Interest
  • Referrals


You would be quite surprised at some of the people you may end up doing business with. The majority of entrepreneurs, startups, and even established brands, tend to overthink relationship building and nurturing.

#9 – Building Trust

As an entrepreneur and business owner, you need to understand the power of trust. Prospects and ultimately potential clients need to be able to trust you. The unfortunate part about building trust is time. Trust is not something that can be achieved overnight. It’s a process and evolution of both parties involved. There is no definitive timeframe set in place that will dictate the fruition of trust between a client and vendor. Believe me when I tell you that building trust with prospects and/or clients can be extremely frustrating. Most entrepreneurs expect instant gratification when building trust and that tends to test their level of patience.

#10 – Patience

Patience is a virtue! Following the entrepreneurial path will be a huge test in patience. If you’re an impatient person, then entrepreneurship might not be the right approach for you. That is all there’s to it.

Either get some patience or cut your losses and exit while you can.

Your Turn

Thoughts, comments, suggestions? Perhaps you had an experience you feel would be helpful to others to hear about?  Or you feel there is an 11th or 12th thing that budding entrepreneurs need to know? I’d love to hear them in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading!


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A digital marketing practitioner bringing nearly two decades of seasonality to the table with emphasis on Search, Social, & Content. I'm enthused about helping small businesses increase their digital footprint by utilizing the power of technology, web, strategic thinking, and targeted execution for maximum market penetration. CEO of @RazorSharpDigit, a human-centric digital brand but can be found @ivan_temelkov on Twitter as well.