OWNER'S MANUAL

8 Qualities of Fearless Entrepreneurs

You know the type: They do things other business owners only dream of doing--and usually succeed. Here's what sets them apart.
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"In my office, the term badass is thrown around a lot," says Dr. Shelley Provost, a partner and director of happiness of the venture incubator Lamp Post Group. "We use it to describe many things: a person's performance or accomplishments or ability to close a sale or turn a profit, or how well they ask someone out on a date--basically their overall potential for awesomeness."

These are the qualities that Provost says set true business badasses apart:

1. They say yes first--then figure out how to deliver.

Badasses are incredibly confident, with good reason. If a job is anywhere near their wheelhouse, they will find a way to get it done or die trying.

Why? They trust their own abilities, but they trust the people around them just as much.

If you're a true badass, you think there's a way to solve every problem. All you have to do is find it.

2. They think differently than everyone else.

Most business problems aren't new. Badasses tackle old problems with a variety of creative solutions.

Instead of designing a corporate newsletter that no one will read to "improve communication," a badass will create a holograph of the CEO that welcomes you to work and gives you the latest news. And a true badass would wear a flowing gown like the one in this video of a Kate Moss hologram.

Tell me that wouldn't improve communication.

3. They speak up.

When badasses have a different opinion, they share it.

But they aren't argumentative--because that would just make them asses.

4. They enthusiastically share their awesome skills.

Badasses never shy away from teaching others.

Inject energy and innovation into your teaching method, and people will flock to learn from you. High Skill + High Confidence + Sharing With Others = True Business Badass.

5. They live by their own code.

They respect authority--but not too much.

Whether their code is to be a creative force in the world, to disrupt technologies, or to challenge others to examine their lives, badasses are unwilling to compromise their principles and beliefs for the comfort or approval of others.

If you're a true badass, you answer to a power deep within you.

6. They do what others only wish they could do.

One of my favorite quotes is, "The Wright brothers never had a pilot's license." Rather than look around for permission or approval, badasses are courageous. They're initiators. They have an idea and they act.

Rather than research and dwell on and discuss a problem to death, badasses find a solution by actually doing things.

7. They never, ever, ever give up.

Malcolm Gladwell popularized the idea that it takes 10,000 hours master a complex skill.

But the real key to mastering a complex skill is grit--the ability to stick with something long enough to log those 10,000 hours.

People with grit are like antidilettantes. Rather than flit from thing to thing, gritty people pick something and stick with it. They're tenacious, dogged, persevering, and they absolutely refuse to give up.

The grittiest people don't just work longer and harder, although that is part of the equation. They keep a laser focus on their goal and say, "No, thanks," to anything that gets in their way.

8. They ignore the haters.

There are many reasons to listen to the haters: to save face, to remain comfortable, to be secure, to not look like the fool.

But as Dale Carnegie, the badass of winning friends and influencing people, said, "The person who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore."

Haters try to talk you into--or even scare you into--sticking with the status quo.

Be a true business badass. Don't listen.

IMAGE: National Geographic/Getty Images
Last updated: Oct 8, 2012

JEFF HADEN | Columnist

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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