There are so many studies that track and report on the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. I have the luxury of reading them as well as being able to observe the behavior on a daily basis.

I find most successful entrepreneurs have been goal setters from a very young age. They also were willing when they are young to go out and get what they want. Many mowed lawns, baby-sat, delivered newspapers, worked in a supermarket or, like me, was a "hat check" girl.

They always found ways to make money so they could get that bike, new dress or car. Hard work was not something that they were afraid of, but, in fact, something that they embraced. Even as young people, they thought like a successful person. They set goals and stuck to them.

Successful entrepreneurs tend to be extremely opportunistic. This may seem like a harsh word, however, it simply means they always are looking for new opportunities regardless of where they are in their entrepreneurial journey.

I once heard a story about a record label executive who had turned down the Beatles. Instead of beating himself up when he realized he had made a mistake, he made an aggressive push to find the next Beatles and found The Rolling Stones. The rest is history -- and I do love that story.

I find that successful people are not impulsive. They have an objective and unemotional point of view. They ask themselves some hard questions before moving forward. They also make sure they keep their finger on the pulse of the market, their own internal strengths and weaknesses and their competitors. They are smart enough to know that competitors include young, nimble and flexible companies or individuals who may not seem like a threat on the surface. Cases in point are Blockbuster and Netflix, Blockbuster believed they had the market in the palm of their hands.

Above all, successful entrepreneurs have fun doing what they are doing but don't think of their business as a plaything. They are focused on building for their future and often, in the beginning, are willing to wear many hats.

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So the question for you is do you have the traits necessary to be a successful entrepreneur? Drop me a note and let me know.

Kathy McShane, is managing director of Ladies Who Launch, Connecticut. She can be reached at or