We asked John Accardi – founder and CEO of cravebox.com and Starcourse Capital, LLC – which 3 characteristics are needed to become a successful entrepreneur. His response was:

Visionary young entrepreneur
photo credit: Rawpixel

1. Vision

You need to have a vision that you’re excited about. Starting and growing a company requires a lot of effort. Usually, you’ll need to work consistently for at least 5-years before you achieve a moderate level of success in terms of sales and profitability.

Without a vision that excites you, you’ll likely give up too soon. So before you start a company, give a lot of thought to your vision. It should excite you and you should be ready to work for many years in the pursuit of making that vision a reality.

Vision is also important as the company grows and you hire employees. It will unify your employees’ efforts and provide direction. Employees will be more motivated and excited if they share in your company’s vision and understand what the company is trying to achieve now and in the future.

When I started CRAVEBOX 7-years ago, I had a strong vision that I would sell products online and make $200k/yr. I thought it’d take me about 5-years to achieve this. This vision excited me so much because I couldn’t tolerate working for other people.

I dreamed all day about having the freedom and flexibility to work on what I chose, from any location, and to build my own schedule. I figured $200k/yr is an income that would allow me to run my business forever. I wanted my business to be self-sustaining so I could work in freedom without ever having to go get another job. I’ve greatly surpassed that original vision in terms of both flexibility and profitability and the vision gave me the energy I needed to make it happen. Vision is so important.

This is a great article on the importance of vision: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/269757

Budding entrepreneur working hard

2. Hard Work

Becoming a successful entrepreneur requires a ridiculous amount of work. There will most likely be lots of competition in your market and to beat those incumbents, you’ll need to work really hard.

In the beginning, you’ll need to take on most roles yourself. You’ll need to learn new skills to be competent in those many different roles. For example, you’ll likely need to design and create your product, build your website, perform marketing, bookkeeping, accounting, accounts payable and receivable, etc. You might have a partner, a freelancer, or an employee early on to help but you’ll still need to understand all these aspects of the business to manage anyone helping you.

Once the business begins to grow, the amount of work to operate the business will become overwhelming. So, you’ll need to hire employees, delegate work to them effectively, and manage them. This will free up your time to continue growing the business but it doesn’t mean you can relax. You’ll still have to manage your staff while continuing to grow the business, deal with problems, emergencies, adapt to new and improving competition, etc.

Entrepreneur talking on the phone

3. Resilience

This is last on my list but it might be the most important characteristic for entrepreneurship. To succeed as an entrepreneur, you need to be the type of person who can get rejected repeatedly, every day for months or maybe years, and continue to come back stronger.

I’ve learned that for myself, rejection gives me more energy. Every time I’m rejected or results are disappointing, I become frustrated or even angry, which causes me to push harder until I get the results I desire. So for me, rejection and failure only makes me stronger. This is so important because the first few years of business will consist of mostly rejection, failure, and generally disappointing results.

You need to be able to hang in there, work through this, and eventually you will break through to success. Even after you’re successful, things will go wrong every day, problems will happen, and you’ll need resilience throughout the entire lifespan of the business.

This study shows that resilience predicts entrepreneurial success:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0167487014000063