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Self-Employment: Habits and Motivators

Entrepreneurs count on certain habits and motivators to keep them engaged and help them succeed. Even those who come from diverse backgrounds are moved into action in similar ways.

Knowing what they are—and whether you have them, too—is a good way to assess your odds of succeeding in business. Do you already do some of these things? If not, could you start?

Examples of habits

Successful entrepreneurs tend to share similar habits. They also share many traits and attitudes, but these are often things they are born with, and can be hard to change.

Habits, on the other hand, are things people develop. Doing this requires studying them, seeing if you already have them, and if not, slowly working them into your daily routine and work life.

Many entrepreneurs

  • Are proactive. They choose projects based on their own interests rather than what others think.
  • Look for a new challenge before the current one is met. They can be easily bored and love to multitask.
  • Are disciplined. They are their own best task masters, driving themselves to finish tasks and projects no matter what.
  • Are optimists. They focus on what is possible instead of dwelling on what is not.
  • Embrace failure. They know it can take a few mistakes to get something right. They don’t mind falling down and getting back up again—and again.
  • Don’t mind working long hours. They do what it takes to succeed. They may even prefer working varied hours to clocking in from 9 to 5.
  • Can be stubborn and determined. They don’t let other people’s comments or opinions sway them. But they ask for help or advice if they need it.
  • Are confident. They believe in themselves, what they are trying to do, and their ability to do it.
  • Set goals. They put their short- and long-term goals in writing and measure their progress regularly.

Examples of motivators

Here are some common things that drive entrepreneurs:

  • The desire for flexibility and control. Running your own company lets you do things your way instead of answering to others.
  • Wanting to be independent. They may work longer hours than they did as employees, but they love the idea that no one else owns their time. They like being accountable to themselves rather than others.
  • Recognition. They would like to be known for something, and are driven by the chance to create something that will outlast them.
  • The chance to make more money. While money may be only a side benefit for some entrepreneurs, others are driven by it.
  • A passion for solving problems. They enjoy a challenge, whether it’s solving a problem, building a new product, or making something from nothing.

Your own habits and motivators

Motivators make you want to work hard. They can be very individual. For instance, you may be driven by

  • a desire for financial independence
  • a cause, such as the environment or human rights
  • a need to excel and win
  • a desire to be known for something

What motivates you can vary throughout your life as your priorities change. You might be more motivated by a cause in your twenties, money in your thirties, and leaving a legacy in your fifties. Other things that motivate you may be more consistent over time, such as the drive to solve problems or build a reputation.


Do you make it a habit to

√ set regular goals?
look at the big picture?
read about trends?
get along with people?
maintain relationships?
plan ahead?
gather information?
think positively?
take moderate risks?
learn from others?

Are you motivated to

rise to a challenge?
achieve goals?
solve complex problems?
learn from your mistakes?
seize opportunities?
continuously improving?
solve problems?
leave a legacy?
build a reputation?

If you answered yes to most of these, you may already have some of the habits and motivators you need to succeed in business.

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