9 traits of successful entrepreneurs you should develop in yourself

Entrepreneurial spirit—it’s a phrase you entrepreneurmight see in some job ads. Granted, your track record might not look like Mark Zuckerberg’s, Lori Greiner’s, or Richard Branson’s, but that doesn’t mean you can’t emulate successful entrepreneurs at work.

Put simply, awesome employees and successful entrepreneurs have more than a few traits in common—and employers are eager to hire such people. Being a self-starter can make you very desirable.

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How a Father of 3 Built a Million-Dollar Business Around Craft Supplies

Brett Haugen’s million-dollar screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-2-47-52-pmbusiness idea hatched eight years ago when his wife, Mary, asked for a favor. She wanted him to use his design and woodworking skills to build storage units that could hold all of her crafting materials—ink pads, markers, paper punches—in one place.

Mary loved the custom cabinets he made for her, and her friends did too. Haugen, a mechanical engineer and manager at a computer-parts manufacturing company, sensed a business opportunity. “The only thing being sold in stores were generic storage units,” he says.

To test the market, Haugen built a few dozen products in his garage and posted them on eBay in early 2009. It was a good proving ground. Units that hold 48 ink pads, for instance, took 15 minutes to assemble, cost $5 in materials, and quickly sold out at $35 apiece, he says. But a display shelf was a dud. “It was generic,” he says in hindsight.

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Picturing the Way to a New Career

James Oliver can thank HGTVjames-oliver for his business idea. In June 2011 his wife, Ayana, called him upstairs to watch a couple decorating their living room. “They were hanging wallpaper that had a collage of their family photos,” recalls Oliver, a father of twins. “They said anyone could do it, but I couldn’t find how to do it anywhere.”

Oliver, a self-employed small-business strategist, saw an opportunity. Without giving up his consulting work, Oliver found printing and distribution companies and created WeMontage’s sample product: a photo collage printed on removable wallpaper.

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How Two Friends Teamed Up to Sell Robots to Kids

When Marina Bers and Mitch Rosenberg Kinderlabmet at a 9-year-old’s birthday party in May 2011, they discussed a business idea, fittingly, for children. They arrived with their kids, who went to school together, and Bers buttonholed Rosenberg—who had a background in engineering and marketing—to discuss a prototype she was developing: A robotic toy that teaches problem-solving skills to 4- to 7-year-olds using computer science principles.

Bers, a child study and human development professor at Tufts University, wanted a startup veteran to help build her toy into a viable business. Rosenberg liked the product but wasn’t ready to leave his $190,000 paycheck. The following year, however, Amazon acquired Rosenberg’s company—a robotics manufacturer—and the payout on his equity stake was enough to let him forgo a salary, for a while at least, and take a risk.

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A Sound Proposition

Six years of working at a nonprofit 150609_pac_john-bialkoffering rental housing to low-income families taught John Bialk just how precious quiet can be. He frequently fielded noise complaints from tenants—from late-night parties to loud TVs. And these issues often led to nasty feuds between neighbors. “I’d see cars keyed, tires flattened, physical threats,” says the Neshkoro, Wis., resident. “As a property manager, you sit at your desk waiting for bad things to happen.” In the meantime, he came up with a solution: a noise-monitoring system that works on a wireless network to alert landlords to problems.

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How to Tweet With Purpose

Looking to tweet your way into TwitterBusinessthe hearts and minds of consumers? Consider taking them to dinner first.

Around 22 percent of Twitter users have purchased a product or service after tweeting, retweeting, or favoriting it on Twitter, according to a recent study by Vision Critical, an international online market research firm based in Vancouver, British Columbia. So naturally, you’re thinking: More followers breed more sales, right? Not exactly.

Simply collecting followers doesn’t guarantee financial gains. To use the network to drive traffic to your website and generate sales, you must first build a relationship with your followers. “On Twitter, the relationships, conversations and engagements you make are what determine your success,” says Jure Klepic, a business-marketing consultant who specializes in social media based in New York City.

While familiarity with social networks gives young entrepreneurs an advantage, there’s an art to using Twitter for business. Click here for pointers on how to build your company’s image on Twitter, cull valuable followers and engage prospective customers: