The 3 Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs

Have you ever watched “Shark Tank” or the “Billion Dollar Buyer” and wonder how successful entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban, Mr. Wonderful, Barbara Corcoran or Tilman Fertitta are able to attain so much wealth while so many other entrepreneurs struggle and fail? I always wonder if they came from money with million dollar trust funds to get them started. Or was it attending the right Ivy League college; knowing the right people? What edge do they have to make them so successful? As I research, the more I realize it’s not having capital or the right connections that guarantees success.

Before she made her millions, Barbara Corcoran had a teacher education and waitressed to support herself.  With only a thousand dollar loan from a boyfriend (who ended up running off with her assistant), she was able to turn that tiny investment into a company worth seventy million dollars in 2001. If it’s not having millions to start or going to the right college, what makes them different? Is there a formula to their success, and how do I achieve a piece of that wealth? So far, I’ve found three behaviors all the above mentioned have in common. These habits seem so basic and yet, if you truly embrace them, could be the answer to the wealth formula.


I’m not talking about reading the latest Stephen King novel but reading for knowledge. Multi-millionaires read everything they can that pertains to their industry and then maybe a few mystery novels on the side. Whether you like him or not, President Trump is known to read newspapers front to back, absorbing information. Tilman Fertitta, one of America’s most successful businessmen, states at the beginning of his show, “Ask him anything about his business and he will know the answer.” He learns and memorizes every small detail about his companies and that’s an enormous amount of figures. No matter how busy their schedules are, successful people absorb themselves with reading, learning and studying every piece of information possible. They don’t stop this habit no matter how far they have come.


This is my personal favorite since I’m pretty great at this. Were you one of those kids in class that often found themselves starring out the window every time the teacher turned their back to write on the chalkboard?  Even now, when I’m stuck in traffic, which is a lot in Jacksonville, I’ll drift off in my head thinking of different story lines and visions of signing book covers. It didn’t shock me to learn very successful entrepreneurs have that same trait.  Everything starts with a vision. Many wealthy entrepreneurs are daydreamers and started their first company by envisioning it over and over again. They fantasize just like you and me. Surprisingly, many started with no idea how to make their vision come true; only a burning desire to see it happen. While you may not have heard of Sara Blakely, she is a self-made business woman that believes in visualization and the power of thought. What did she fantasize about? She pictured herself being a guest on Oprah Winfrey’s show, although she had no idea what for.  Years later, Oprah listed Spanx as one of her favorite things in 2000. I’m sure you can guess who came up with the idea. Yep, Sara’s patent made her not just a millionaire…but a billionaire.


This is where the dreamers are separated from the successors. Successors have an unwavering persistence to see their vision come to reality and don’t let any obstacle stop them from achieving their goals. These are people like Sara Blakely, Mark Cuban and Tilman Fertitta. They don’t let fear become a deterrent as it can be for so many others. The fear of making mistakes, losing all our savings and failed relationships are very real and have happened to every entrepreneur, including Donald Trump and Mark Cuban. Both have admitted to making bad business decisions that threw them off their game, but they battled back learning from those mistakes.

Being persistent is so much easier said than accomplished. Many of us struggle to find funding, time and energy while surrounded by others who may not understand our vision or may even want to sabotage our success thinking it’s in our best interest. Life is always going to throw roadblocks in our path such as illness, family demands, relationships, which can be both positive as well as negative. It’s the person that’s able to work around these obstacles that’s most likely to succeed like Tilman or Barbara Corcoran. I know if my boyfriend ran off with my admin, I would be devastated and unable to function for a while. But I’m guessing, she used that emotional pain as an incentive to become a successful entrepreneur.

I struggle with illness and credit issues myself. I have people contently telling me that with all my health problems, I should just give up the stress of running my business and work for someone else. That’s when I remind myself of the children’s fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare.” It’s not the person who is faster or stronger that wins. It’s the person who keeps on ploughing through the mess that will one day, break the ribbon.

Sherry has been part of the interiorscape industry for over fifteen years, starting at an entry level job at North Florida's largest greenhouse and currently owning two horticulture companies. At UMaine, Sherry majored in English where she worked part-time writing scripts for a local college TV studio.

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