More and more attorneys are stepping into entrepreneurship. Many are doing it by choice because of the appeal of freedom and autonomy. Many others, however, are being forced to explore alternative options because of the difficulty of being hired into an established firm.
With that in mind, today I want to share a few key characteristics a successful entrepreneur must have.
Kahuna CEO Frank Lunn consults with entrepreneurs and startups regularly and his philosophy is to focus on the person, not the idea. It’s about execution. He believes it’s about who you are that will determine if you succeed or not.
So rather than asking for a business plan, Frank is more interested in whether or not an entrepreneur has these three things. And he believes if you have them, you will succeed.
The 3 key characteristics for a successful entrepreneur are: 1. Personal Responsibility 2. A Value Exchange 3. Gratitude
1. Personal Responsibility
When you step out on your own, you’ve done just that – committed to being on your own.
That means you can’t make excuses or blame anybody else for your lack of success or results.
When something needs to get done, you either have to do it or pay for someone else to do it. Those who are used to assuming things will “just happen” will have an extremely difficult transition into entrepreneurship.
You have to own it. You have to look in the mirror when things aren’t going well.
But this is also a good thing. Because when you take personal responsibility you realize your success is in your own hands. If you don’t like the way something is going, you can change it.
This concept was explained beautifully in this article.
The article says: “Personally, I relish the chance to take responsibility over my own professional life. To make no excuses and to unabashedly share with the world who I am and what I can bring to the table. That is a true thrill.”
2. Value Exchange
This is the true heart of entrepreneurship. Do you have a skill, product or service that is helpful enough to other people that they are willing to pay for it.
For law professionals, this part often comes the easiest, but the challenge then isn’t creating value, but perceived value.
Are you able to communicate that value to others in a way that makes them want to work with you?
Are you able to overdeliver so much with the people you work with that they want to tell everyone they know?
If you are able to provide value, you have a business. Now it’s just a matter of communicating it to others and taking enough chances to put yourself out there.
Oh and one more thing…
It’s kind of a strange fit here, but with over 20 years of entrepreneurial experience, Frank says nothing ever takes the place of gratitude in a professional or in personal life.
Truly gratitude is the foundation on which all other entrepreneurial characteristics are built.
Those who are grateful are more optimistic.
Those who are grateful take more personal responsibility.
Those who are grateful see more opportunities.
Those who are grateful can maintain a work/life balance.
Those who are grateful commit to providing value, rather than simply making money in the short term.
Most of all gratitude gets you through the tough times.
When you are an entrepreneur, there will be days when the phone doesn’t ring. There will be days where it’s the opposite and you feel you are wearing too many hats and can’t keep up.
You’ll think, “This would be so much easier if I was just paid for the time I put in.”
But then you’ll remember to be grateful for where you are. You’ll be grateful for the freedom to work when you want.
You’ll be grateful that the clients you work with trust your name enough to work with you.
You’ll be grateful for the skills that allow you to provide value to others.
And you’ll be grateful you are an entrepreneur, because you get the thrill of taking control of your own life.