The lure of being an online marketer or entrepreneur is strong. Keeping your own hours. Not answering to anyone but yourself. Packing up and traveling wherever, whenever. Having financial freedom. Who wouldn’t want to have a lifestyle like that?

All around us we see entrepreneurs who are multi-millionaires/billionaires who seem to have “made it” overnight. I hate to break it to you but those people did not make it overnight. While the idea of the lifestyle seems bigger then life and perfect, the journey to get there is not automatic or instantaneous. Every single person who is a successful entrepreneur all share common traits.

Are you a problem solver?

One of the most important traits they all have in common is an entrepreneurial mindset. They see themselves as a problem solver. These successful individuals have really honed in on what problem they want to solve and how their unique skills sets can help solve that problem. Think about the entrepreneurs you admire. Even though they may be in the same general space, such as online marketing, they each have their own unique approach and specialization. If at your core, you believe you are a problem-solver and on a daily basis take steps to solve the problems you see, then you share a trait with all successful entrepreneurs.

For me personally, it took me awhile to realize I was in fact a problem solver. As I started this journey of having my own digital business, I was filled with self-doubt. When I actually took a minute to think about what actions I took in all of my previous jobs when faced with a problem. Particularly, when I was told ‘No, that just isn’t possible.’ I never accepted that answer and found a way to solve the problem. The solution was not always ideal nor the final outcome exactly what I wanted but it was always better then the alternative – doing nothing.

I take this same approach with my online business. I examine what isn’t working and identify a way to solve it. This does not mean I tried to come up with the answers all by myself. One thing I’ve learned is that my business problems are not unique. Others have had the same issues. I regularly rely on the support networks I have in place. I ask questions of those who are more experienced. I search the Internet. If the solution I tried doesn’t work, I try something else.

Are you a life long learner?

Another characteristic of successful entrepreneurs is that they see themselves as life long students. They never think that just because they are successful that they know everything. The world is always changing, especially the virtual world. There is always new tools, platforms, or techniques to help one run a business. Being curious and open to learning new things is a key to success.

I was tremendously lucky to grow up in a family that valued learning. I learned very early on that having learned something new was a reward in of itself. When I grew older, I figured out how to leverage that learning spirit not only to help me advance in my career but as a creative outlet. I love beautiful design and in particular incredible web and print layout design. Because I wanted to emulate the beauty I saw, I had be curious and learn how. I am still learning how and that is the most fun of all.

Are you willing to lead?

Everyone who has had success chose to be a leader. It is one thing to solve your own individual problem and completely another to help others solve theirs. The problem could be anything – business, personal, health, financial, relationships, or something else. The key aspect is to stand up and share: your story, your ideas, your curiosity, your solutions. There are others out there looking for exactly what you have to offer.

Being a leader does not require some type of magical transformation. It really is a choice. Think about all the times in your life you chose to lead. It could something big or small. Were you a captain on a sports team? Were you involved in student government? Were you a steady, reliable voice to help your family or community through a rough patch? Did you rescue a lost pet? All of these are examples of being a leader.

The leaders I look up to (short, abbreviated list)

There are so many people I admire and look to for inspiration. Individuals from whom I always learn something new. Here is a very short, abbreviated list of entrepreneurs I see as leaders (listed alphabetically not ranked). If I included everyone, I would never finish writing this post. I encourage you to create your own list. Who are your leaders?

  • Denise Duffield-Thomas (luckybitch.com) – Founder of Lucky Bitch Money Bootcamp
  • Marie Forleo (marieforleo.com) – Founder of B-School
  • Seth Godin (sethgodin.com) – Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur [I recommend his book Tribes]
  • Cerries Mooney (cerriesmooney.com) – Archetype Branding Expert and creator of the Primary Archetype test
  • Stella Orange (stellaorange.com) – Copywriting Guru
  • Amy Porterfield (amyporterfield.com) – Online Marketing Guru, specializes in Facebook

In Conclusion

Individuals who are successful entrepreneurs all share common characteristics. They see themselves as problem solvers. They are life long learners. They choose to be leaders. If you want to be truly successful as an online marketer and entrepreneur you need to brutally honest with yourself. Do you have those characteristics? If not, are you willing to change and embrace them? I believe everyone can be successful and inherently has these traits. It is your choice to activate them.

I would love to hear your thoughts about these characteristics. Are there any you feel you already have? Which ones do you think you need to work on? Share with the community in the comments section.