This Is My House! Using Entrepreneur Characteristics to Improve Your Life

According to Wikepedia an Entrepreneur is a: “Type of personality who is willing to take upon himself/herself a new venture or enterprise and accepts full responsibility for the outcome.” The word comes from an Old French word entreprendre meaning “to undertake.”

There are two interesting facts about the term that seem to make women think it does not commonly describe us:

  • The term is normally capitalized – Entrepreneur – as if it is a title.
  • People typically think of a man when hearing the term; as a matter of fact many of the definitions use the words he, him andhimself and do not include any female pronouns.

Another reality is that Entrepreneurship always involves risk and many women do not give themselves credit for their courage to handle risk. This is ironic, because in certain circumstances a woman will, literally or figuratively, wade into a swamp full of alligators. If you doubt this, then do something to a member of our families. Or question our loyalty to an employer or a cause.

As a woman, getting comfortable with the Entrepreneur inside of you will help you improve all aspects of your life. Honing the Entrepreneur skills you already possess will make you more successful in anything you undertake.

Here are some of the key Entrepreneur characteristics that can enhance the various parts of your life:

Ownership – Whether it is your household, a project, a daily task, a campaign or a business, understand that it belongs to you. Treat it the way you treat anything that you own. Accept the risks, nurture it, protect it, make it look good, enjoy the positives and overcome the negatives. Ownership means you are invested in something and if you are invested you will work for success. If you do not feel that you own it, the outcome will be totally dependent on someone else.

Organized – Organization is in the eyes of the beholder. So use the methods and tools that work best for you and don’t worry if someone else tries to get you to do it their way. But it is vital that you are organized in a manner that helps you accomplish the desired end result and retain your sanity. Being organized usually involves having a plan, having appropriate information and/or tools and having a process that makes sense. For instance: if you are in charge of a silent auction, a process will maximize proceeds and minimize frustration; if you are hoping for a promotion a plan will make you proactive, which increases your chances.

Clearly Defined View of Success – Success is not the same for every person in every situation. An Entrepreneur goes into a venture with a clear definition of what success will be. If you can clearly describe what will be a successful project, day, event, assignment, negotiation, business, etc. you are more likely to attain that success and a sense of fulfillment. If you do not have a defined view of success you will not know it if hits you in the face.

Flexible & Creative – Although you have already been encouraged to be organized, be careful not to be obsessive. No matter how well you have planned and prepared, something outside your control will likely happen that will throw you off course or slow you down. Do not stubbornly stay with your plan or process if it stops working. We are often told to make lemonade when given lemons or to see obstacles as opportunities. That is not always easy. But if you incorporate flexibility and creativity into everyday life you can adapt any plan, process or situation to the current circumstances. Again, less frustration – more success.

Self Disciplined – An Entrepreneur business owner has no one else to blame, no one to make decisions, no one to save the day, no one to make sure she does her job. She can work in her pajamas, she has no boss, she is in charge. But if she has no self-discipline, she soon has no business. Self-discipline is equally important in anything you may undertake. If you are baking goodies for a bake sale you must exercise enough control not to sample too much or you will eat the profits and the evidence will show up on your thighs. When you are working on a project that has a deadline you must be disciplined enough to not wait until the last minute to complete tasks, because something unforeseen will happen.

Convincing – One of the primary philosophical characteristics of Entrepreneurs is belief – in yourself, your ideas, your business, your abilities, etc. The belief is the first step to convincing. Understanding your audience or target is the second step, because understanding means you can identify the benefits for them of participating, supporting, donating, purchasing, using, attending, etc. If you do the first two steps, then convincing will come easy. But convincing is enormously important to reaching a desired outcome.

Asks – A successful Entrepreneur asks. She may be afraid of the answer, but she realizes that she has to ask for the sale, promotion, assignment, donation, information or opportunity. This is one of those places where “no risk, no reward” applies. The response may be negative, but it is usually necessary to know that, if you are to complete something or move on to the next step. Not asking is equivalent to giving up or giving control to someone else. Remember from the original description that an Entrepreneur “accepts full responsibility for the outcome.”

Delegates & Partners – Even though the definition of Entrepreneur is “one who takes responsibility for the outcome,” it would be ridiculous to think that one person can do everything. That can be a difficult acknowledgement for women. Learning when, where and how to delegate or partner is crucial to being successful. But the knowledge is only half the story, doing is the other half. Delegating and partnering provides success on many levels. Triumphantly completing a task, project, event, etc. is one level. Another is sharing the revenue, experience, praise or recognition with someone else. And contributing to the development of an employee, collaborator, child or organization is another. More successes likely to be realized by partnering and delegating are increasing your opportunities, productivity and efficiency. And last, but certainly not least, delegating and partnering helps you use your time, energy, money and brain power wisely and prudently. Entrepreneurs know when to lead and when to follow.

Researches – Knowledge is power. Background provides understanding. Other peoples’ triumphs and mistakes teach lessons. But you cannot benefit from any of these if you do not do research. Research avoids culture faux pas, minimizes costly mistakes, provides competitive ammunition, enhances your assets, strengthens your position and reduces wasted time. How many times have you made a purchase only to find out a few days later that you could have gotten it for less at a different store or website? Have you ever been embarrassed because you made an assumption instead or doing a little reading? Ever felt under or over dressed? A true Entrepreneur prepares to be successful by doing the appropriate research.

Finishes – Making it to the end and recognizing the end are important principles for entrepreneurial living. Our definition stated that an Entrepreneur “accepts full responsibility for the outcome.” Normally, outcome is perceived as the end. However, if you do not reach the end the outcome is likely not what you really wanted. And if you have not clearly identified the outcome you may go past it, thus wasting time, energy, money and maybe reputation. Although this is an important trait, not all people classified as Entrepreneurs are good at finishing. Most of those who rarely finish were placed in the Entrepreneur category by default. These are the individuals who keep starting something new because they have short attention spans, did not think things through before they started or do not deal well with obstacles. They did not function well when working for others, so they became “Entrepreneurs” and started businesses or organizations. Chronically not finishing things is extremely unsatisfying, which may explain their wanderlust and, also, may be the reason for the failure of many businesses and organizations.

Persistent – Sometimes women are not comfortable with persistence because they are afraid they will be called pushy or other uncomplimentary terms. But persistence, and often consistency, is necessary. Everyone has their own agenda; we all have demands on our time, energy and money. So if you are to accomplish your agenda and respond to the demands on you, you must persistently ask, remind, propose, cajole, beg, follow-up and insist. Take this lesson to heart: Just because someone should, doesn’t mean they will. The entrepreneurial way is to take responsibility for the outcome and the responsibility likely includes persistent action.

So look inside and draw out your Entrepreneur characteristics. Nurture and develop them. Apply them to the things you do – big or small. And enjoy the improvement in all the areas of your life.