This posting is excerpted from a speech Randel is giving this week in Greenwich, Connecticut to the Connecticut/New York Entrepreneurs Organization.
Being an entrepreneur is tough... very tough. There are many reasons some entrepreneurs make it big, and others do not. Tonight I would like to speak to the organic, the personal, reasons that some entrepreneurs fall short of their promise. This is not about capital, which is a challenge for all entrepreneurs, nor about the economic climate (also a challenge). But rather about those individual characteristics that keep some entrepreneurs below their potential.
1. Passion: if you don't have it for what you are doing, find something else to do. Being an entrepreneur is just too darn hard - translate impossible - if you do not feel very strongly about what you are doing.
2. Physical and mental strength: if you think working hard is a 50-hour work week, please stay safe and sound under the covers of a real job.
3. Self-doubt: if you do not think you are entitled to big success ... if you do not think that you have all the right stuff and that success is yours for the taking, do not become an entrepreneur. At times you will be the only one who believes in you.
4. Belief: similarly, if you do not believe your endeavor has a 1,000% chance to go to the moon, stay back on earth. Those who are tentative have no shot at the moon.
5. Foresight: can you see around corners? Look for opportunities at the edges. Pick up a book, Blue Ocean Strategy, which argues for staying out of the red water - where everyone competes and mauls themselves - and diving into open blue (uncharted) water.
6. Guts: Do you have the stomach to persevere when you feel like a punching bag? Oftentimes the difference between the successful person and the also-ran is that the success story got up off the ground one more time than the other.
7. Failure: Are you prepared to fail? A big public, gut-wrenching failure? If not, you may be playing it too safe. Failure is almost a right of passage to success. You need to see the difference between an event(s) of failure and a conclusion to the story.
8. Self-discipline: do you have the willpower, the self-discipline, to make decisions for the right reasons? There are no guarantees of success but one sure-fire key to not succeeding is making choices due to fatigue or frustration. You must be strong.
9. Fairness: Are you hung up on the belief that life is fair? If so, forget being an entrepreneur. The strong survive. That's it. If you are expecting anything else, stay in something safer than being an entrepreneur.
10. Integrity: yes, some creeps are big successes but in general those who keep their commitments no matter what, are more likely to succeed than the creeps.
Jim Randel is the founder of The Skinny On book series - concise, illustrated books that cover important topics in an entertaining fashion. The first "skinny" book, The Skinny on the Housing Crisis, won "Book of the Year" in a recent competition. See www.theskinnyon.com.