Learn by Example: 5 Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs

In business and life in general, it’s only normal to make mistakes now and again. Still, if the only lessons you learn en route are those you draw from your own mistakes, you won’t exactly be a happy camper on Planet Earth – or a thriving entrepreneur, for that matter. The good news is you don’t have to go putting your foot in all the wrong places until you’ve come up with the best choreography of entrepreneurial success: you can steal tricks from top-rated businessmen and learn by example instead. So, what items can you add to your bag of daily habits in order to hack safe and rapid entrepreneurial growth?

1. Put Your Customers First No Matter What

Entrepreneurs who rise above the curve are the ones who put their customers before profits. In an overly crowded marketplace, buyers have grown extremely sensitive to the way they’re being treated by brands, and they’ll quickly walk out of your door if they but suspect that their money, time, and personality aren’t valued. The focus on user experience over revenues is precisely the approach which earned Twitter founders Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, and Biz Stone an edge over the competition early on – and look how far they’ve come by now. The takeaway: put customer satisfaction first if you want to get your brand to attract potential users like a magnet and grow even when success seems impossible.

2. Take Every Chance and Drop Every Fear

The road to entrepreneurial stardom may be covered by thorns and slivers of broken glass, but if you don’t take to it, you should renounce hope of reaching the finish line in foreseeable future. A dose of caution and forethought is okay, but try not to overthink or overplan every step of the way in advance – and even more importantly, don’t let anyone sway your belief in success. Elon Musk is a shining example of a businessman who simply wouldn’t take ‘No’ for an answer, and it won him a hefty fortune and the title of a tech industry mogul. Musk’s secret success formula is dead simple: take risks and visualize success instead of failure, and you’ll be acing every project.

3. Go the Distance, Plus One Step Further

The early bird may not catch the worm, but the persistent one will eventually dig it out and take it home. The main difference between a successful and an average entrepreneur is the former’s ability to go the distance, and then take one step further. Although perfectionism isn’t always an asset in business, it can be an invaluable trump card up an emerging business shark’s sleeve. For instance, it’s a well-known fact that tenacity and commitment to excellence were precisely the qualities that got Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer a place in the corporate sun. The takeaway? Take to the road, make a run for the gold, and don’t stop ‘till your competitors run out of breath.

4. Come Up with a Regimented Agenda

Though little growth happens within the confines of the comfort zone, consistency is what keeps an entrepreneur’s bowling ball rolling towards the ninepins of peak business results. A clearly laid out daily agenda, with tasks and objectives listed according to priority, can help an up-and-coming businessman keep their eyes on the prize and minimize delays and dead alleys en route. Fueled founder and CEO Rameet Chawla says that a consistent schedule is key to brilliance, and she believes her priority-based lifestyle contributed to the startup’s rapid growth. If you want to avoid pitfalls and win medals fast, devise an achievable daily agenda and stick to it religiously.

5. Work Hard, Play Hard, Rest, Repeat

All work and little play never made a star entrepreneur. To rise above the crowd, you’ll need to achieve – and maintain – work-life balance, and play at least as hard as you work. You can use opportunities such as business trips to let your inner child have a go at travel gadgets and board games, or design a part of the office as play area to keep motivation in check on busy work days and during slow weekend shifts. “Work hard, play hard” is the slogan Richard Branson swears by and it’s apparently worked for him like a charm, and it also opened his mind and heart, allowing him to participate in the creation of a better world on a daily basis.

As human beings, we’re creatures of habit and daily rituals give structure and substance to our lives. If you want to pull out all the stops on the quest to the Garden of Entrepreneurial Eden, arm yourself with these habits and steer your business onto the speedy and successful lane in a flash. Good luck!


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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