By Jennifer Good (Courtesy: theselfemployed.com)

Being self-employed typically means you subscribe to the belief that you can make something more of yourself. You believe that you are in control of your success. However, the hard truth is that generally 50 to 70 percent of small business owners will fail in their venture within the first 18 months.

So, what makes the difference between those who achieved success and those who didn’t? While a lot of factors can contribute to a successful business, there are a few characteristics that all successful people have. If you’re looking for some ways to increase your chances of achieving success, try these tips.

Focus on the positive.
Successful people don’t waste their time concerning themselves with negative thoughts. In fact, they go out of their way to think positive thoughts. More than a “feel good” technique, the field of positive psychology continues to make leaps and bounds. The idea of shifting your thoughts towards positive outcomes as way to increase the odds of said outcome is a popular method used by many successful people. This ideal brings new meaning to the saying “energy flows where attention grows.”

Face problems head on.
It’s no secret that everyone has their share of problems. It’s what creates diversity in your life. What’s different, though, is how you deal with them. Successful people are willing to face problems head on. They know that a situation not dealt with can quickly spiral out of control and can result in a problem even bigger that the original situation. Whatever the problem, figuring out how to fix it as soon as possible is pretty much always going to be the best course of action.

Make the most of your time.
You’ve heard the expression “time is money.” Successful people take this mantra to heart. It doesn’t mean that life is centered around money, but rather realizing that your time is actually worth something. That means you spend time on tasks you don’t need to or letting people monopolize your energy and talents. Successful people realize quickly what tasks are better left to others and which tasks make the best use of their talents. If you don’t value your time, you can’t expect anyone else to.

Be willing to work for what you want.
Successful people know there’s no such thing as instant gratification. You can’t expect immediate results without some hard work first. If you really want the “big goal” you’ve got to get your hands dirty and do the work that no one else wants to. You can’t hire it out or spend four hours a week working and expect to reach your dreams. If you aren’t willing to do the work, you aren’t willing to be the success you were meant to be.

Focus on what you can control.
One of my favorite sayings is “you can’t always control what happens to you, but you can always control how you react.” It’s important to realize that you can’t always control the things that happen in your life. Successful people realize this and only focus on areas they CAN control.

Setbacks are part of life and are going to happen, either to you personally or to your business. The key to success in these situations is to quit focusing on areas you can’t control and focus on what you can. If something bad happens, it doesn’t change the past to keep dwelling on it. Instead, put your attention on what you can do moving forward and what changes you can make to hopefully avoid the problem again.

Be grateful.
If you really pay attention to the successful people around you, you’ll probably notice that not many of them are very negative people. In fact, they seem to exude positivity. Do they have some magic positivity pill? Luckily, the answer is a lot simpler. They’re filled with gratitude about the things around them. It may seem like it’s easier for them to be grateful since they are already successful, but what you may not realize is that most successful people started with an attitude of gratitude even when they weren’t successful. Like in point #1, they don’t waste their time with thoughts that don’t contribute to their overall goals. Feeling grateful for what you currently have in your life is the best way to shift your focus to the things that will make you successful.

Be around people who make you feel good.
Working hard to achieve your goals only works when you are surrounded with people who make you feel good. You need to be at your best to achieve the big dreams in your life. Negative people just weigh you down. While you can’t avoid every negative interaction, you certainly control the big influencers. Make sure the people who are closest to you support you as a person and what you want to achieve. While you may be able to do it in spite of adversity, it’s a much better experience when everyone around you is invested in your success.


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