The Realities of Successful Entrepreneurs

By: Guest | March 29, 2012 | 

Today’s guest post is written by Mark Harai.

I often read articles about the bliss, excitement, and glory of being an entrepreneur.

Don’t get me wrong, these are certainly part of the overall journey, but typically just the icing on the cake.

Everything in between the start of the climb to the icing at the top define you as a person and shape your entrepreneurial career.

Dealing with bills, budgets, and payrolls isn’t glorious. Driving day-to-day operations, motivating the crew, and meeting crushing deadlines may sound exciting, but it can be daunting. It will seem as if everyone and everything is conspiring to derail you and your plans. It can really suck!

Pushing through constant resistance and overcoming challenges on a daily basis requires commitment, mental toughness and hard ass work.

Before you buy into the bliss of entrepreneurship, one must first understand and accept the realities to have staying power when the tough gets going.

1. Entrepreneurs Take Action

Entrepreneurs take action. They catch a vision and build businesses out of thin air. Their mindset is centered on organizing and leading people vs. being led by someone else. It’s the strength of their commitment and conviction to their ideas and vision, coupled with a ‘right now’ attitude that drives the entrepreneur.

2. Failures Are the Building Blocks of Entrepreneurial Success

Entrepreneurs will experience failure more often then success. Out of the dozens of companies they start over their career, only a small percentage of them will become successful. Failures are actually the foundation of a successful entrepreneurial career.

3. Entrepreneurs Don’t Quit

Persistence is the key ingredient to entrepreneurial success. You will be emotionally, mentally, and physically stretched. At times you will even question your convictions and beliefs. The key to successful entrepreneurship is to never, never give up!

4. Entrepreneurs Are Born To Do What They Do
Entrepreneurs are wired differently. They don’t look for jobs – it’s not part of their nature or thinking. They create them. They look at needs in the marketplace and build companies to fill those needs. Building businesses and putting people to work is just what they do.

5. Entrepreneurship Can Be Lonely

Entrepreneurs must rise above all of the naysayers that called them dreamers or fools, ignored the laughs and giggles of friends and family, and embraced a vision much bigger than themselves. If you need the support of others to get busy following your dreams, then entrepreneurship is not for you.

6. The Foolishness of an Entrepreneurs Heart

It’s the foolishness of an entrepreneurs heart that tells him/her they were born to build great companies that in fact provides the power to actually accomplish it. This belief in ones-self has been behind every great movement or company in history. Without it, you won’t succeed.

7. Entrepreneurs Are Extraordinary
Safe doesn’t change the world. Doing things the way everybody else does won’t change the world. Being normal doesn’t change the world. Being extraordinarily you and committing 100% of yourself into your vision and work is the only way you can create businesses out of thin air and make them roaring successes.

At the end of the day, there just aren’t that many people on the planet who can pull this stuff off. Doing so is the fulfillment and accomplishment all entrepreneurs seek after.

There’s obviously much more to all of this and it would be great if you would add some of your wisdom, insights or comments below for the benefit of the community.

Mark Harai is a serial entrepreneur based in Costa Rica. You can read Mark’s personal blog and connect with him on Twitter at @Mark_Harai.

  • trontastic

    Love them all, especially number 6. I think the only thing I’d add to this list is that Entrepreneurs know how to sit back ever once in a while and just allow their creativity and ideas to flow without distraction.

    •  @trontastic Number 6 is so true! 
      Funny add too; I know many entrepreneurs who would like to shut off their creativity and idea flow so they can just focus on one project at one time : )

  • ericamills

    @DanaVanNest @katewalling @lamiki So, so, so true!

  • I love this post.  Sometimes I get overloaded on the “inspiring” stories and just want to hear about the reality of it all.   Kim Phillips over on 12 Most wrote a great post a while back: and it really struck me with how overloaded Social Media is with AWESOMENESS.  The reality is that starting anything from scratch is tough. It’s exhausting. It’s confidence crushing…. and you just have to keep pushing on.
    And hearing about the REAL parts makes it a lot easier for those of us pushing still….

    •  @AmyMccTobin I love the attitude you have Amy!
      It’s the stuff ALL great entrepreneurs are made out of : )
      Those who push through the resistance until time and success line up realize they have the power to influence and create the future.
      It’s a powerful realization.
      How cool is that!

  • lamiki

    @DanaVanNest @ericamills @katewalling Oh, that post is full of pure gold! thank you, Dana!

  • HighwaySeo

    @ginidietrich @mark_harai good and litle bit funny article :). Thanks 4 sharing Gini

    • ginidietrich

      @HighwaySeo My pleasure!

      • HighwaySeo

        @ginidietrich No, the pleasure is all mine 🙂 I read spinsucks a lot. : great article, funny slideshare 🙂

        • ginidietrich

          @HighwaySeo Thank you!

  • Leon

    G’Day Mark,
    In 2008, I moved my 30 year old offline business to online.  “Going global” has revealed some interesting things. Word use is one of these. For instance people in the US who work in my field–HR–seem to be obsessed with the difference between a “manager” and a “leader.” In over 30 years’ consulting, no manager has ever asked me about this.
    “Entrepreneur” is similar. I would never describe myself in that way. In this country the word has overtones of “shady” dealings and self- aggrandisement. 
    Yet in my business I challenge all the conventional wisdoms about staff performance and general HR practice .One of my clients calls what I say, “Leon’s Little Heresies.”
    There’s no shortage of entrepreneurial spirit in Australia. Nor is there any shortage of entrepreneurs.
    You just wouldn’t want to associate with the people who use the word to describe what they do.
    Make sure you have fun
    Best Wishes

    •  @Leon Interesting reply Leon… I was not aware of the stigma associated with the word ‘entrepreneur’ in your country.
      I don’t consider what I do work. I love what I do and in fact, it’s hard to shut off at times. There’s just something I found very cool about creating a business out of thin air and putting people to work.
      That’s what entrepreneurs do. They accomplish it by infecting other capable people with their ideas, putting action behind them and moving people to get things done.
      Real entrepreneurs create jobs and its anything but easy. It doesn’t require education. It doesn’t even require money. It requires vision, tenacity and balls and the ability to inspire and lead people.
      If you can do that, its a good thing – regardless of what you call it : )
      Thank you so much for your add here Leon – you’re a gentleman and a scholar sir!

  • You know it’s tough when you use your personal credit card to make payroll.
    It can be very lonely as an entrepreneur and at the end of the day since it’s all about you, there might not be enough love to go around either. 
    It’s definitely takes a certain breed and mental makeup that’s for sure. We all know plenty who are trying to be ‘that guy’ in here as well and it certainly isn’t any easier; especially when someone is counting on you to ‘bring home the bacon’. 
    I understand you have some new ‘stuff’ coming; can’t wait to see the new and improved Mark.
    Hope all is well. 

    •  @bdorman264 Hey Bill!
      Its always great to hear from you sir!
      New and improved?
      Nah, just living, learning, growing and doing what I can do to improve myself and others I the priveledge of touching with my words and actions.
      If you can simply do that in life, you’re doing something worthwhile.
      Thanks so much for the support Bill. I admire you very much and its great to get feedback and support from people like yourself.
      It’s what motivates me to continue on with the good fight.
      Cheers to you my friend : ) 

  • katewalling

    @DanaVanNest Awesome article! And Yes – totally agree. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂 @ericamills @lamiki

  •  @Mark_Harai , I always enjoyed that book the E-myth — which is similar in concept. Entrepreneurship is not glamorous, it’s hard work, and lots of times there is no payoff. Entrepreneurs are a special breed and you captured some great traits that are common among the successful ones. Enjoyed it!

    •  @adamtoporek Hey Adam – thanks so much for the inspiring words here sir!
      There’s nothing that can replace hard work!
      My motto is “the harder you work, the luckier you get.” 
      I arrived with this motto by working my butt off, never giving up when most people would have slit their wrists and experiencing the success I envisioned when it was least expected.
      If you keep at it, your breaks and time will come.
      Cheers to you and other great entrepreneurs who are on the cusp of the greatest breakthroughs of their careers! 

  • Six amazing points, but you’ll know of course that my number 1 fave is number 1: taking action. You can dream, visualize, affirm and write motivating thoughts to yourself, but until you get off your butt and do something about it, nothing happens. I’ve never been employed. Been an entrepreneur (and like you @Mark_Harai , I didn’t know that word connoted negative things in certain parts of the world, as @Leon pointed out). So let’s just say I’ve been self-employed all my life: over 25 years now. I’ve certainly seen my fair share of ups and downs, and loneliness is something to be overcome in particular when times are tough. You certainly learn who your friends/associates are during those times:)
    Persistence, perseverance, lovin’ what you do (due to and in spite of, haha) and making a difference: hats off to that! Cheers! Kaarina

  • Seven amazing points, and you know I’m lovin’ #1: taking action. You can dream, visualize, write affirmations and think positively all you want, but until you get off your butt and do something about it, nothing happens. I’ve never been employed. Been and entrepreneur all my life (and like you @Mark_Harai , I didn’t realize that word connoted something negative in parts of the world, as @Leon pointed out). So let’s just say I’ve been self-employed for 25+ years now. I’ve certainly seen my fair share of ups and downs, and you certainly find out quickly who your friends and “trusted” associates are during those times.
    That’s why success is really an inside-out job. Fan the flames that burn within, to share one’s gifts and talents with others; to be of service; to bring something special and valued to all we come into contact with. Cheers! Kaarina

    •  @KDillabough  @Leon You do have a way with words Kaarina – they always warm up the place and inspire and motivate the community…
      You’ll definitely find out who your real friends are in the process – hint: you’ll always have more friends when things are going well…  I call those fair whether friends : )
      It’s the storms of life that bring out the true colors of people and their intentions – and ultimately the friends you can count on and trust.
      I’ve had thousands of so called friends – I can still only count my real friends on one hand – and I’m very thankful for them.
      I really believe we’ll be life-long friends Kaarina – that makes me happy : )
      Cheers to you my awesome friend!

      •  @Mark_Harai  @Leon And cheers to you my awesome friend:) We will indeed be life-long friends, not fair whether ones. Always a pleasure to connect with you. You bring a bright spot to my day. Cheers! Kaarina

        •  @KDillabough  @Leon You’re too sweet Kaarina – you misspelled weather for me LOL!

        •  @Mark_Harai  @Leon I did indeed:) Birds of a feather must flock together:)

  • CePena

    @kamichat really like these articles on spin sucks; thanks for sharing!

  • Mark_Harai

    @glennelliott Hi Glenn, thanks a bunch for the support and kind words sir – I look forward to sharing in the community : )

  • Mark_Harai

    @kbloemendaal Thanks Kieth – hope you have a great Sunday sir : )

  • Mark_Harai

    @HennekeD Thanks for sharing Henneke – have a great day sir : )

    • HennekeD

      @Mark_Harai You’re welcome – that was a good post; but please don’t call me sir 🙂

      • Mark_Harai

        @HennekeD LOL – just a habit Henneke : ) I look forward to sharing in the community : )

        • HennekeD

          @Mark_Harai No probs. Enjoy your Sunday, Mark 🙂

  • ifdyperez

    Fired me up! Great post, @Mark_Harai, thanks for sharing.

    •  @ifdyperez You’re getting me all fired up too – its going to be a productive week!
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your enthusiasm ifdy; its infectious : )

  • I can’t thank @ginidietrich and Lisa enough for the opportunity to share some thoughts on such an awesome platform.
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  • Mark_Harai

    @C_Pappas Thank you Christina : )

  • I read about so many people claiming to be entrepreneurs and this just puts a lot of things into perspective. 
    I love the perspective about being extraordinary. Too many of us conform; and though conforming to an extent might be necessary it doesn’t always help when you need to get things done the way you believe is right or new or fresh! One has to believe in their vision, in what they have to offer and extend! 
    Loved the post Mark!

    •  @Hajra  In order to be extraordinary, you have to bring something to the table that nobody else can. It that ‘one thing’ that sets you apart and head n’ shoulders above the rest.
      There will only be one thing standing between you and your goals/dreams… YOU.
      And that you needs to be extraordinary. 
      You’re always inspiring Hajra : )

  • RobertaBudvietas

    You make a couple of valid points. Not every business owner is an entrepreneur. 

    •  @RobertaBudvietas I absolutely agree Roberta. Not every business owner is an entrepreneur and that’s a good thing. 
      The two in my mind are really quite different. 
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here : )

  • BernieJDarcy

    @dandarcy @Mark_Harai Thanks! Great motivating article for the entrepreneur to get this week started.

  • Mark_Harai

    @dandarcy Awesome reply Dan, thanks so much sir!

  • Mark_Harai

    @BlueArtists Thanks for sharing – have a great Wed!

  • Karen LEcuyer

    Well said Mark.  I’ve learned first hand that playing in the entrepreneurial jungle isn’t as easy as it looks – especially when you come from a place of being a job seeker rather than a job creator.  True entrepreneurs are a different breed.  
    Look forward to hearing about what’s new and upcoming in your world.

    •  @Karen LEcuyer Hi Karen!  Its so good to see you miss : )  Have you started that blog we talked about?  I’m going to go search for it when I’m done writing this message. 
      You have some great insights to share many folks could benefit from; both business/ professional and personal experience – take your pick!
      Have you been frequenting SpinSucks and the awesome Miss Gini Dietrich? 
      I learn at her blog everyday and the community has some of the smartest business/ PR/ social media/ et al, minds on the planet – people you  should get to know and build relationships with.  They are right down your alley.
      (Apologies for being a bit of a lurker these days @ginidietrich : )
      Let’s hop on a Skype call, anytime after today – I left my headphones in Coco : (
      I do look forward to it, as I’m making some very good progress on projects you may be interested in hearing about.
      Thanks for reaching out here miss!

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