Back in the day, the word "entrepreneur" didn't bear the same credibility as it does now. It was the equivalent to calling yourself an "actor" in Hollywood; most people assumed you were really out of work and living in your parents' basement. But (characteristically!), entrepreneurs persevered. Adversity can be a powerful driving force, can't it?

Since then, entrepreneurs have proven to be an invaluable asset to our economy. Among other things, their big ideas have given us the tools that now drive our society, while creating countless jobs in the process. Now the word "entrepreneur" is associated with some of the brightest minds in history. Go figure!

But in order to join the entrepreneurial ranks, you have to be so much more than bright.

Dan Wittmers is the founder & CEO of the Mobile Leaders Alliance, an organization dedicated to the continued education and career assistance for mobile marketing, advertising and technology professionals. After personally overseeing the mobile strategies for multiple major brands (such as Kroger, Hasbro, and Visa) and working with hundreds of innovators, he has identified five common traits shared by the most successful entrepreneurs.

Here goes:

1. Patience

Have the patience to build your business from the ground up the right way. In today's market where 15-year-olds are selling their apps and technology to the likes of Google, Facebook, and Yahoo at multibillion-dollar valuations, it can be easy to get caught up in the rat race. A successful business starts with a strong foundation and, more often than not, that's what's enticing to a larger corporation.

2. Courage

Have the courage to stay the course. Along the way, there will always be people happy to give you their opinions about how you should change your business or product. In many cases, feedback can be helpful, but have the courage to follow your heart and build the business you envisioned. Always remember that the quickest way to get between two points is a straight line. If you spend all your time pivoting, you'll never get to where you were originally headed.

3. Readiness to Evolve

Constantly educate yourself (because no one else is going to do it for you!). The mobile and ad-tech worlds are changing rapidly, but there's a big world of information out there and it's readily available at your fingertips. Not only can learning new job functions save you money, but when you're knowledgeable about every facet of your business, you'll have the confidence to sit in on any discussion no matter who's in the room.

4. Humility

We all have limitations; whether it's time in the day or knowledge of how to accomplish a task. Never be afraid to know your limits and ask for assistance. The most successful entrepreneurs have a way of surrounding themselves with people who are smarter than they are, which accomplishes two things: 1. It helps with self-education and 2. It attracts other talented individuals to your business.

5. Innovation

Having one strong project running is great, but successful entrepreneurs are constantly thinking about what's next. They understand that entrepreneurship is a lifestyle choice, not a job title. Along the way you'll have to make difficult decisions i.e.(a day at the beach or a day on the laptop), but if you're dedicated to the entrepreneurial lifestyle, those tough decisions will ultimately feel less like sacrifices.

If you have these skills, good on you--keep those tools sharp! If not, it's never too late to hone them. Keep going!