Becoming a successful entrepreneur – along with other difficult endeavors, like brain surgery, driving in L.A. traffic or guessing the release date of the next Star Wars movie — is easier said than done.

Many people think they have what it takes to become an entrepreneur but, in reality, the odds are against them. You may have heard the gloomy stat that underscores the amount of peril in starting up; indeed, a 90 percent failure rate pretty much is considered unacceptable in any type of statistical modelling.

However, I recently had an epiphany during an assignment that gave me direct access to 11 entrepreneurs, in a multitude of different niches. Though the scenarios that transformed these mild-mannered folk into business helmers couldn’t have been more different, there were many universal themes that kept poking to the forefront.

I have compiled the most recurrent “a-ha moments” here:

You can have an entrepreneurial mind, but not be an entrepreneur

“We live in a time where many people want to be an entrepreneur but, the fact is that not everyone is going to be an entrepreneur, and not everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur,” said Michael Parrish DuDell, author of “Shark Tank Jump Start Your Business.”

However, having an entrepreneurial mind is a good place to start. Pat Flynn of tells us what signifies the mark of such a mindset: “Entrepreneurs love to step out of their comfort zone and when I get that fear, I use that as a sign. Whenever that fear comes into play (yes, I’m still fearful of certain things) but, when I get that resistance that whatever it is that you think you’re doing, A) you care about it enough to be fearful and B) there’s something amazing on the end of it.”

Invest in Yourself

Though tangible investment – capital, funding, products, etc. — seems to be the make-or-break definer of success, it’s the ability to hone what makes us great, say entrepreneurs, that constitutes the best investment of all. Constantly learn and grow your knowledge and skills; tap into the individual creativity that you harbor; and consider ways to utilize other parts of your mind that have remained untapped.

Entrepreneurs nurture both their mind and body on a daily basis. By investing in yourself, all of your work will pay dividends –you’ll see.

If you want to be, “do”.

Inertia can be a success-killer – so embodying success will require a whatever-it-takes-right-now attitude to reach for it, advises John Lee Dumas of Your ability to “do” at a high level is what is needed to realize a return on your investment.

Heidi Lovig, CEO of Heidi Ho Organics, is a great example of an entrepreneur that “did” – closing a deal with Lori Greiner by acting quickly. Heidi’s biggest takeaway of being on the show was like the Eminem song, “you only get one shot.” She says, “I feel very confident that I didn’t miss my opportunity and now, I have this deep relationship with this incredibly talented, savvy investor and I’ve been able to grow my business 500 percent this year.”

The question is, though, what is your calling? What do you feel compelled to do? And, do that. For example, if you want to become a dancer, then dance; or if you want to become a painter, then paint. You have to be brave enough to follow your greatest ambitions in life.

Ignite the Naysayers

While chasing your dream, you are going to ignite the naysayers and in some cases, these people may try to stop you right in your tracks. Could you imagine if Martin Luther King Jr.’s mother told him his dream was unrealistic, or if George Lucas’ friend told him he wasn’t a movie producer? In some cases, certain personality types are impacted by what other people say – so you have to learn to develop ‘thick skin.’

In other cases, some people see very clearly what it is they should be doing and being obedient doesn’t make the cut. If someone tells them they cannot do something, they are going to prove them wrong.

Look at Malala Yousafzai, who received death threats and continued to advocate for education in Pakistan. She stood strongly for what she believed in and taught the world that when someone believes enough in themself, they can inspire meaningful change.

“If someone tells me I can’t do something, I’m just going dig my heels in further, and say you know what, I’ll show them. That’s what really drives my big picture success” says Allison Maslan

Entrepreneurs are a little crazy!

Building a business from concept to fruition takes a kind of frenetic and relentless attitude; you have to love the work that you do to get up every day and make the effort to push projects forward. You also have to be willing to put yourself on the line.

Entrepreneurs take bold risks by abandoning the steady paycheck, sacrificing personal capital, and relying on cash flow.

“I need to figure out this entrepreneurial thing or I’ll be living in my car,” says Maslan. Some may call that crazy but, Maslan has achieved exemplary success –and you can too.

Inspired by 11 – Trailer

If you are interested in experiencing more a-ha moments, watch the complete documentary at

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The Author

Danielle Gómez

Danielle Gómez

Danielle is passionate about people, coffee, digital marketing, video production, writing, business books, and travel. As an entrepreneur, Danielle is keenly focused on video marketing and writing. She brings unique value in the transformation to digital- and inbound marketing, grounded in marketing essentials like market insights and data driven execution.

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