Mindset Traits Of Successful First-Time Entrepreneurs

HawkYou’ve probably heard about the stats for new businesses.

About 80% make it to Year 1. But half are gone by Year 5.

And only one third make it to Year 10.

What is so unique about the ones that make it?

I’ve read a number of biographies about entrepreneurs. Not just those in the last 10 or so years, but those about entrepreneurs from hundreds of years ago and also during the interesting times in the 20th century.

Here are a few traits that popped up again and again with the successful first timers. Specifically their mindset traits…

#1. Patience

This is #1 on the list for a reason.

I won’t call it entirely universal, but I can’t really think of one successful first time entrepreneur that didn’t have patience.

They focused on the long-term. They weren’t in it for quick dollars. Sometimes they would do things to make quick cash, but only so they could invest it in their real initiative.

Sometimes that’s necessary when nobody will invest in you.

This is also critical when things go wrong. And they do go wrong. If you don’t have the patience to see beyond the current moment you’re never going to make it with your first company.

One last thing – the more you make decisions based on short-term thinking the more likely you are to only survive for a short time.

#2. Competitive

But not obsessed with the competition.

Is that confusing enough?

What I mean is that first time entrepreneurs will get angry when they’re losing to the competition.

Not always angry. Sometimes they use their underdog status to rally the team together, but first timers are usually competitive.

They are just focused on themselves and their own company’s improvement. They don’t obsess over what the competition is doing.

Think of it like the younger sibling that always loses at basketball to the older sibling. The younger one then shoots every day until finally they win.

Competitive to the point of self improvement.

#3. Sales-Focused

Without sales you’re not going to survive. Many of the most successful first timers have been willing and eager to sell their product and service. Sometimes they do it even when they don’t have the best product.

And really, you rarely have the best offer when you’re starting out for the first time. And even if you do you still have to sell it.

Things never sell themselves.

There are two moments in music that come to mind that have contributed to the myth of a product selling itself.

The first is Guns N’ Roses and the second is Nirvana.

Both bands seemingly came out of nowhere. Once the public knew about them stores couldn’t keep their albums on the shelves.

But the public would have never known about either band if label owner, and master salesman, David Geffen had called in favors at MTV.

Geffen had also spent the previous decade building one of the most successful independent labels in the business and it was ready to distribute and continue selling when the albums started selling insane quantities around the world.

#4. Cost-Focused

Want to know one more thing about David Geffen?

He bought nice furniture for his offices (for all the businesses he launched), but he often bought it secondhand.

And that’s true with a lot of successful entrepreneurs and first time entrepreneurs. They don’t waste money.

Sure, they’re willing to take risks with money, but they risk it on the right things like sales efforts and needed product improvements.

They don’t buy flashy cars and furniture. They don’t rent over-priced offices. They only get the basics.

It’s easy to make yourself feel like you’re in business by spending money on the surface things like an office, furniture, business cards, etc.

That’s a trap.

#5. Full Dedication

This one is more for first time entrepreneurs.

Once an entrepreneur has been around the block a few times they often divest their dedication and focus.

Heck, even Andrew Carnegie wasn’t that involved in his various businesses as he was getting richer and richer.

But the first time around the entrepreneur is almost always fully dedicated to their business. Even to the detriment of losing family and friends.


Thinking about starting your first business? The odds are against most people. But if you possess the mindset traits above you’re probably in a good position to make it work. It would help to choose a good industry and product, but plenty of successful entrepreneurs have done well with good traits and a mediocre product.

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