Once you become an entrepreneur, your life changes. Find out how entrepreneurs work smarter to create successful businesses (it’s not what you think!) that thrive.

I discovered a long time ago that entrepreneurship isn’t about what you do, it’s who you are. And as a result, success isn’t really about goals. It’s about creating a way of life that consistently pushes you to achieve. In other words, to really be master of your own destiny, self development is a must.

When I mentor new entrepreneurs, the crucial starting point is to show why a business is not about products, services, advertising, marketing or your team. The single most important and defining aspect of your business success is all about YOU, the entrepreneur. So you want to lead with the best version of yourself.

Steve Tobak, Managing Partner at Invisor Consulting writes via Entrepreneur:

“The funny thing about real executives and business leaders is that they don’t just wake up one day and say, “Wow, I made it,” and then kick back and live a life of luxury. They usually never stop working their tails off and tackling the next big challenge because that’s who they are. That’s simply what they do.

I’m not just telling you this to inspire you. I’m telling you this because I know it to be true. I can tell you from personal experience – through my own career and those of hundreds of senior executives I’ve known and worked with over the years – that it’s true.”

So how do you become the best ‘you’ possible? Become a lifelong learner. Seek out wisdom and skills training and motivational people with expertise. Turn your car into a rolling library by listening to CD’s or podcasts. The average commute is about 22 minutes where I live. That means that you have 44 minutes every day in your car to learn. Buy books written by successful people. If you don’t like to read, buy audio books. Focus on becoming a better you.

Tobak goes on to list the best practices for entrepreneurs to achieve success:

“Experiencing adversity.
The reason why those who grow up under difficult circumstances often turn out to be successful executives and business leaders is because they develop the sort of competitive spirit and tenacity needed to overcome the constant challenges of their jobs. There’s no better training for being a CEO than growing up with adversity.

Having something to prove.
Most top executives I’ve known seemed to have a chip on their shoulder, as if they had something to prove, although I’ve never been able to figure out to whom they had to prove it. I’m not even sure if they knew. But that’s usually why they’re never satisfied with their own performance and accomplishments. That’s why they never stop growing, innovating, and achieving.

Being obsessed with your work.
I think everyone sort of knows by now that true entrepreneurs are passionate about solving some sort of problem in a way that’s never been done before. But the big success stories – Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page – aren’t just passionate about their work; they’re obsessed with it. That’s why they’re so disciplined and focused.

Believing you’re special.
One thing I’ve noticed all the greats have in common is they really think they’re special. I don’t mean that in an “I’m better than you” sort of way; they just play by their own rules. And they really couldn’t care less about how things are done or should be done. That’s why they often accomplish what others say can’t be done. Thinking your special can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Being smart and trusting your instincts.
You can think what you want, but all the successful business leaders I’ve known are smart and savvy. More important, they always trust their instincts when making big decisions. Sure, they hire the best talent and listen to what they have to say, but in the end, they go with their gut. And that usually works.

If you see success as a single goal, I doubt if you’ll ever achieve it. But if doing great work is simply what you love to do, then I’m sure you’ll be successful.”

Major takeaway: it’s all about you.

The best way for you to push your success as an entrepreneur is to actively embrace the concept of self-development and make it a priority so your business carries your unique talents and insights that attract your ideal long-term clients, partners and team!