Entrepreneurial Skills

“Going into business for yourself, becoming an entrepreneur, is the modern-day equivalent of pioneering on the old frontier.” — Paula Nelson

First, let’s take a look at the skills that are most often associated with entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are admired, and rightly so, for their ability to shoulder risk and take action, to follow through on their visions, to be passionate and driven, and have endless numbers of new ideas.  All of these talents and skills can lead to great success and are much to be admired. (But remember, these skills are only half of the equation for success.) Dave Ramsey is a great example of these qualities.

Most people in business are familiar with Dave Ramsey’s name from his radio show, his TV show, his best-selling books, or classes on finance. He’s well known and well respected.

But you might not have known this… He began as a real estate investor who started from nothing and at the age of 26 had over $4 million in real estate with over $1 million net worth. He had an empire consisting of hundreds of rental units. But he also had too much debt. As sometimes happens, his primary lender was sold to another bank, and that bank decided to call in all his notes at once. Dave Ramsey spent the next 2 1/2 years losing everything.

As he describes in his book about leadership called EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches, at 26 he had a new baby, a toddler, a shaky marriage, a bankruptcy, and multiple foreclosures. In his own words he was” broke” and “broken”. Ramsey really learned his lessons the hard way.

Dave Ramsey came back to become a multimillionaire. He had taken an honest look the reasons for his failure and combined the entrepreneurial strengths of a visionary/action taker with leadership/managerial skills and strategic thought and practices.


The Key Life Skills for Entrepreneurial Success

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” — Albert Einstein


Let me ask you two questions –

  1. When you think of an entrepreneur, what skills come to mind?
  2. Why is it that 50% of all new businesses fail within the first five years?

Surveys have been taken to get the answers to the first question. If you answer the following, you’re in agreement with what most people think:

  • risk taker/maverick
  • visionary/creative
  • passionate/driven
  • courageous
  • action taker
  • lifetime learner

All of those qualities are necessary if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, as well as a few more. But that’s only half the story. Have you ever heard the old expression, “What gets you there might not keep you there.”? That’s oh so true for entrepreneurs.

The passion and the vision of the entrepreneur will get you on the map, but without some key leadership and managerial skills, you very likely won’t stay there. To make it worse, some of these important skills might seem at odds with and even unnatural to passionate, forge-ahead entrepreneurs.

Aside from truly unavoidable circumstances, most start-ups and new businesses fail due to lack of key leadership and managerial skills. These skills, along with entrepreneurial skills, can be learned. You may be inherently better at some of them than others, but they all can be learned.

I have been in business for myself since 1996. I began that year with an online business when the internet was just starting to become common in the typical American household. Through much trial, error, and education, I learned how to be successful in the online world. It was a constant, and sometimes frustrating learning experience, as the templates and resources available today were yet to be made available to small business owners like myself.

Now I have ventured out into an area I toyed with many years ago — Residential Real Estate, and am enjoying it immensely. When I entered that arena back in the late 1980s it was a different world. Even though I had obtained my Real Estate license I ended up working as a sales rep for a company called “VR Business Brokers,” listing and selling small businesses, and that was my first real taste of being an entrepreneur. From then on I was hooked.

By the end of this series of articles, I hope to guide you based on what I have learned with a goal to help you have an understanding of the skills you need to succeed as an entrepreneur and how you can foster their growth. I am hardly an expert on the subject and have not been nearly as successful as some, but I have learned some things that I believe are worth sharing along the way.

Many entrepreneurs fail at their first and even second business, and then go on to be very successful.  In many cases they failed because they did not know the entire skill set they needed. I hope to save you countless hours of frustration and even some business failures. In future articles we will look at those skills one at a time.


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