For the last six years, much of my day-to-day work has focused on helping photography entrepreneurs get ideas out of their heads and onto paper so they can turn those ideas into dream businesses. Along the way, I’ve learned a lot about the personality traits that are essential to make a living from something that starts with a single thought.

We photography entrepreneurs are not like other people. We are a special breed. We are dedicated to our ideas and obsessed with bringing them to fruition. Setbacks and failures can be hard blows to us because the course we’ve chosen is so personal. These aren’t someone else’s ideas we are trying to make happen; these are our best ideas and strategies. When they don’t work, we have to recover quickly and find ways to put positive spins on what we’ve just learned. We constantly think and talk about how to improve our craft or make our pictures just a little bit better, which can make us impossible company for our partners and friends.

Entrepreneurs play an increasingly important role in the USA’s economy. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2013 United States Report from Babson College, 13% of American adults are engaged in entrepreneurial activities. Of them, more than one-third introduced new and innovative products and services to the marketplace. Plus, it is expected that 37% of entrepreneurial business expect to have six or more employees within the next five years.

Yet, what I find even more striking than these statistics are two other important contributions entrepreneurs make to our society:

  • We are narrowing the gender gap in leadership roles. For every 10 men who start their own businesses, seven women are doing the same. We’re evading the glass ceiling by designing our own buildings.
  • Most entrepreneurs start their businesses to pursue their goals—not because of financial necessity. This tells me we have more opportunities to be happier. In fact, entrepreneurs are more likely to describe their lives as “excellent” and “close to ideal.” Working for yourself is so much better than working for someone else’s goals, isn’t it?
    If you’re not already one of us, you may be dreaming of the life you’ll have when you finally become an entrepreneur. But first, you need to consider if you have what it takes to make your great idea a viable business.

Here are the Top 10 Characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneur:

1.) Passion and drive to turn ideas into success stories.

2.) A “big picture” view. Entrepreneurs want to change the world, or at the very least make an ordinary thing so much better. We clearly see how our products or services influence the ways people interact/live/play. These positive changes are the fuel we drive on.

3.) Ability to take hard hits. The road to success is littered with small, medium, and large failures (some of which can be very costly). We must shake off failures and emerge stronger.

4.) Refusal to quit. If it’s not this, then we find something different. Entrepreneurs keep looking, adjusting, and fine-tuning. There must be a way to bring an idea this good to market—and we will make it happen.

5.) Good dose of narcissism. We carry the belief that we are the only right person to do this and our idea is simply better than anything else out there. For this reason, I say a lack of confidence is the silent career killer.

6.) Desire to work hard. Contrary to what most people think, being an entrepreneur involves hard work and long hours. Even the best idea needs a solid business structure, a logical implementation, and constant tweaking.

7.) Courage to take risks. It takes money to fund an idea, often from our own savings or from generous family and friends. There is no risk-free start-up or photography business. Entrepreneurs have the courage to overcome their fears on a daily basis.

8.) Ability to think of the business as its own entity. This is a hard one for photographers! All business owners I know feel about their businesses as if they are children. But, you need to take a step out and aside from love, constant affirmation, and attention we also have to run it with discipline.

9.) Willingness to learn. Nobody can know everything. Successful entrepreneurs go to conferences, take classes, and read books not just about the art of photography but also about business and self-improvement. They continuously want to learn how to run their businesses better because they can reach more people with their art.

10.) Contagious optimism. As entrepreneurs, we focus on ‘how we can make it work’ instead of ‘can we make this work?’ We see the payoff of our ideas and we make our businesses our priority.

The business world is buzzing and I have met many innovative business owners who are brimming with fantastic ideas. As the numbers show, more and more people who embody these 10 characteristics will be starting new businesses and designing their lives around their personal goals. Is your great idea going to be another success story?

Complimentary registration is now open for “7 Steps on How To Book More Shoots and Fill Your Bank Account.” Here is one reason you should: You need to “see the light at the end of the tunnel” because your current path isn’t sustainable. You continue to log even more hours in your business and not on your business. Your income hasn’t changed. You’re still worried about finding your next new client. Just to remind you—bootcamp is free, without any obligation. The video trainings are recorded. So even if you’re busy, you only need 5 minutes to see results. Bootcamp starts February 21st.

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