In today’s workplace, culture fit matters and so does your character. Then the skills you bring are what will separate you from mediocrity. Often when sharing at colleges, I get this general question:

“What are some of the entrepreneurial skills someone just starting out or still in school can learn?”

Because this is such a common question, it is included in the #AskAnything chapter of the book, Principles To FortuneCertainly others may have their own experience, which may differ or perhaps expand this list. These 10 skills have served me very well. If you have your own experience to contribute, please comment below.

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  1. Learn to Learn: You need to learn to learn on your own. If you need to know something, dig in and learn it. Don’t be scared to ask questions. That speeds up the learning curve. Especially if you are asking someone who has been there, done that.
  2. Persuasion: You can also call it selling or being business savvy. But you need to learn how to “sell” people on ideas, attitudes, and actions. And learn to re-package them and try again as it’s a process sometimes rather than a single event, whether it’s convincing someone they can do better than they thought they could, a huge business idea, or even the plan of action to execute a business idea. This is an art. And if you are an artist, you should be getting better at it over time.
  3. People Skills: You can’t be successful without people. The better you can really get to know people, the easier it is. What their interests are. Understand their personality. All types of people. Tolerance and understanding are the keys here. You need people to help you with what you are not good at, so you can focus on what you are good at.
  4. Think Long-Term:  RealTruck was just another overnight “20 year” success. Don’t be so caught up in what am I getting right now; it will blind and cripple you for the future. If you are interning for a CEO of a company and getting paid $12/hour, don’t just look at the $12/hour. You might be getting $500/hr from the experience.
  5. Focus: Having a vision for something also requires a laser-like focus on the small things needed to make the bigger picture come to reality. Knowing which of those smaller tasks are is important. Especially when you are learning as you go. Always better to have one thing done than 80 almost done.
  6. Perseverance: Most give up too easily when confronted with an obstacle. You must wire your mind to lean toward how can we do this, rather than why can’t we. Most folks are quick to share why something won’t work. You have to be the one to be determined enough to figure out a way through it or around it.
  7. Get It Done Attitude: No one cares why you didn’t do something. Published is better than perfect. Your return on investment, whether it’s money or time, comes from something completed. Having a million dollar, unsigned check in your pocket might feel good, but it’s worthless. Something almost done, almost has value.
  8. Follow Up: It’s amazing, you know, in the early days of RealTruck when we were trying to get it started. Vendors would fly in to try to sell us their stuff and we would say “Yes, you bet, we want to sell your stuff. Here is what we need.” Seems like a huge percent of them wouldn’t get us what we needed. They wouldn’t get us the images, data files and all the things we needed to put their products on our website. I was always amazed by that. The thing that separated us from a lot of other people was just simple follow up. Meaning I learned early on in my life the most spiritual thing I can do, is do what I say I’m going to do, when I say when I’m going to do it, but if not, let someone know about the not, ahead of time. So if I can’t make it I should tell you ahead of time, if I do say I’m going to do it I should do it, even if someone better comes along.
  9. Start:  Learn to start. Often people want the idea, plan, or whatever to be perfect. Once everything aligns perfectly, then they will start. That’s crazy. That’s like saying I’ll learn to dance after I learn to dance. Learn to start and adjust as you go. You will also learn to fail, which to overcome, requires starting again.
  10. Repeat:  Rinse and repeat. Learn what works and what doesn’t work for you. Adjust as needed and repeat.

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Just Starting Out? Entrepreneurial Skills to Master