Business Management

10 Simple, Everyday Things You MUST Do to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties
24 Articles Written

“A person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so” is how the dictionary defines an entrepreneur. That doesn’t sound very sexy, exciting, or fulfilling. The definition omits the true essence of an entrepreneur—one who puts his or her health, life, and sanity on the line to feel as if he/she has made a worthy contribution to society.

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Hopefully, this contribution yields monetary benefits. This article will focus on the mundane activities that an entrepreneur has to take to become successful. My partner Jake constantly refers to his actions throughout his day as a grind, and the connotation of repeated, constant action is one of the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur. Let me list these actions and dive into each one:

  1. Be prepared.
  2. Always be on time.
  3. Stay passionate for the job.
  4. Strive to be full of energy.
  5. Take responsibility.
  6. Over-deliver.
  7. Always create value.
  8. Learn constantly.
  9. Shed the ego.
  10. Get rid of the punch clock.

10 Simple, Everyday Things You MUST Do to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

Be prepared.

Preparation is the one the most important attributes of any successful person. Take a look at all top athletes. Do you know how many hours Michael Phelps spent in the pool, or how long opposing pitchers in baseball spend preparing to pitch to every single batter in the lineup? These professionals spend so much time preparing that it becomes second nature to them. It is no different in business. Top salesmen train constantly on how to perfect the sales process, from the greeting all the way to the delivery and follow-up. They leave nothing to chance and prepare for the unexpected.

Successful real estate investors also need to prepare thoroughly, whether it is negotiating a deal, hiring a team member, or looking for new deals. Preparation leaves nothing to chance and will eliminate costly mistakes.


Always be on time.

As an entrepreneur, you need to respect other people’s time. Do not be late for an appointment, and more importantly, do not waste your colleagues’ time. We all have that family member who is always late for the holidays. It drives me nuts because I’m the one with six kids who is running multiple businesses. When you show up late, it conveys to the other person that they are not that important.

Stay passionate for the job and full of energy.

Building a successful business is grueling work, so choose a business that raises your passion and level of engagement. Behind most successful companies is a leader with a vision and the passion to see it through. I was floundering in my past business, and when I decided to insert devotion into my real estate investing, did I see positive results. The passion will drive you to overcome those bumps in the road and will give you a reason to build the business.

Related: The 6 Non-Negotiable Habits of Elite Real Estate Investors

I often discuss the seven levels of energy, from the level of a victim to the level of non-judgment. I use a tool in life coaching called “The Energetic Self-Perception Chart,” which details the seven levels of energy and their corresponding emotions and results. We all need to become conscious of where we are resonating throughout the day in comparison to the level of energy we commit to every action. If our engagement is one of a victim, guess what? Our results are going to mirror that of a victim, with lethargy as the core result. Winners raise their level of energy, become engaged in every activity, and ultimately prevail. Entrepreneurs need to raise the level of energy within their organizations to become leaders and motivate their employees.

Take responsibility.

Responsibility is the third level of energy in the Energetic Self-Perception Chart, and the corresponding result/action is cooperation. Oddly enough, this third level signifies energy transforming from a catabolic state to an anabolic state. Catabolic energy is energy that is draining and negative, while anabolic energy is positive and uplifting. It is up to you how you want to “show up” throughout your day. If you don’t take responsibility of your actions, the next step is to blame others and come up with zero solutions. This may work well with government workers, but translates poorly when you are trying to make payroll.

Over-deliver and create value.

Customers expect a certain level of quality, but the truly successful companies strive to over-deliver and make the interaction memorable. In our management company, we offer same day guarantees whether or not a tenant qualifies for our rental. We have written a tenant handbook for all prospective tenants on the various topics that are important to renters. The goal is to educate the customer and help him in the decision making process of renting an apartment. When he is ready to rent, our hope is that we are on the top of his list because we simply didn't just ask for his business, but provided value in the process.

Our focus is to deliver quality and service to our prospects. You do not want your business to become a commodity where the prospect’s only concern is price. I guarantee you will either lose that battle or your profits will be significantly reduced. Find out what your prospect is looking for and create solutions around their problems.


Related: Want to Be a Bona Fide Entrepreneur? Avoid These “Wantrepreneur” Habits!

Learning constantly and shed the ego.

The word “expert” to me denotes a person who is skilled in their profession, yet is constantly reading and learning and keeping an open mind to new information. Beginners are willing to try anything because they have few preconceived notions. I guarantee everyone on BiggerPockets has heard “you can’t do that” from the so-called experts. Don’t become one of those experts who is unwilling to embrace new strategies and expand their knowledge. I live by the mantra “learn, do, teach.” Teaching allows me to study my craft and learn new concepts. 

Get rid of the punch clock.

When you begin to build a business, the hours are going to be long, and there are innumerable tasks that are going to be completely new. You may find yourself at 2:00 a.m. trying to learn Quickbooks (that was painful) because at 9:00 a.m., you may have an important sales meeting. Think of it as investing in your future and your march towards financial independence. Only you will know when the time is right to slow down and delegate your low-level activities.

I have mentioned my top 10 simple activities for an entrepreneur to become successful. I would love to hear from you what has made you successful and why you decided to pursue the path of an entrepreneur.

[Editor’s Note: We are republishing this article to help out newer readers.]

What would YOU add to this list?

Let me know with a comment!

Gino Barbaro is a father of six and the co-founder of Jake & Gino LLC, a real estate education company focused on multifamily investing. He has grown his portfolio to 674 units in three years ...
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    Account Closed Rental Property Investor from Portland, OR
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Lots of valuable information here, thank you Gino. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge and experience about what has worked for you and others. I especially like the sections on taking responsibility and providing great service. Looks like I’m the first female to comment here. I’m providing this feedback to help all blog writers to better connect with 50% of their audience, and also so that writers are aware of who their audience is. I may be the only one to comment, but I’d be surprised if I’m the only woman to notice the male-centric language (sports analogies, “salesmen,” and “him” being the default pronoun). While the article absolutely delivers value, the language might make it more difficult to connect with as many readers as possible. I hope you’ll consider my comments as constructive feedback rather than as criticism. It’s difficult to be the only person speaking up on a public forum about this stuff, especially in a business context where males have traditionally dominated. With respect, Dani
    Gino Barbaro Rental Property Investor from St Augustine, FL
    Replied about 4 years ago
    It is pretty ironic, that I have 5 daughters and an amazing wife. I was in business with my dad who was a strong role model and all my partners are male. Thanks for the comment. I just find it difficult to jump back and forth to him and her, but I need to consider how to be more inclusive.
    Melvin Plummer
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Dani, When you go out to purchase a 100-unit apartment building, you don’t look for a male or female apartment building. When you go out to purchase a McDonald’s or Burger King franchise, you don’t look for a male or female McDonald’s or Burger King. Business is business. Many of our greatest limitations are self-imposed. People have many titles or identities: doctor, lawyer, judge, psychiatrist, male, female, Protestant, Catholic, Hindu, and the list goes on and on. At the core of all of this, people are human beings. Just remember this, don’t look up to anyone or down on anyone. Look straight across, eye to eye. For your own well-being, drop all of the labels and titles.Try that and your life and perception will improve dramatically. All the best, Melvin
    Peter Wade Investor from Rushford, New York
    Replied about 4 years ago
    I would add keep your mind as open as your eyes. When someone mentions a problem, that may be an opportunity. When you see a vacant building or house, that may be an opportunity.
    Gino Barbaro Rental Property Investor from St Augustine, FL
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Thanks Peter! Great observation. That is the essence of a successful person, to view and treat problems as opportunities.
    Jamie Johnson
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    I am an avid hockey fan but also a fan of business entrepreneurs like Daryl Katz. He paid $200 million for the Edmonton Oilers in 2008 and he is currently working to refocus his efforts to build Canada’s largest mixed use-sports and entertainment district. He is by far one of the most successful businessmen in North America. Check out this link for more info about his current business dealings.
    Account Closed from Clovis, California
    Replied over 2 years ago
    These are not just for entrepreneurs because you can apply these basic rules to be successful in life in general. Good read!
    Gino Barbaro Rental Property Investor from St Augustine, FL
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Thanks Erika!
    John Murray from Portland, Oregon
    Replied over 2 years ago
    I’m a successful entrepreneur and my main motivation for success is I hate being an employee. I was a good soldier and learned self discipline. I’m and extreme risk taker and a very hard worker, I like hard manual labor as well as working smart. The multimillionaire entrepreneur is a rare breed and if I was to give any advice work hard, self educate and if you are a good employee become a bad one. This is where the individual will jump off a cliff, build a golden parachute on the way down and be the happiest and most free person in the world. Be a rebel with a cause!