10 signs you deserve to succeed

Ian Lurie
sweet success - you aren't entitled to it

I run into a lot of people who feel entitled to success: Business owners with zero capital, below-average motivation and the expectation that internet + them = wealth.

But every now and then, I meet people who are clearly going to kick butt. After 16 years of hearing pitches from the entitled crowd, and the far smaller butt-kicking crowd, I’ve learned some telltale signs of impending success:

  1. You have a powerful vision—a strong, driving sense of purpose. You do everything with that purpose in mind.
  2. You seek out those smarter than you.
  3. You’re willing to tell people when something sucks.
  4. You’re willing to tell people when something’s great.
  5. You use data, but you don’t let data use you: You know that lack of data doesn’t necessarily mean something’s a bad idea.
  6. You’re a whole-brain thinker: Not left- or right-brained. You’re both.
  7. You love to teach.
  8. You love to learn.
  9. You delegate.
  10. You have a revolutionary business plan: Earn more than you spend.

These aren’t entirely voluntary. I can only hit about half of them at any one time. The people who get them all, though—they’re magical.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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  1. #10 is one of the most empowering things that a young entrepreneur can do. So many people are a slave to a job they hate, because their ideas would take time to get off the ground. Most people are so in debt and strapped to their lifestyle they couldn’t take a few weeks off to try a new business idea even if they wanted too.
    Good writeup Ian as usual.

  2. “Business owners with zero capital, below-average motivation and the expectation that internet + them = wealth.”
    So true. Not just that, but they expect it yesterday!

  3. It’s a nice article but it’s worth noting that not every entrepreneur naturally has all of these abilities, at least to start with.
    Everything has to come from somewhere – Bill Gates and Steve Jobs for example – both had the initial idea and did something with it. However, that doesn’t mean that Steve Jobs, for instance, was the leader he eventually grew into.
    A good article but could be misinterpreted… maybe not everyone can be an entrepreneur but remember – it all starts with an idea or passion.

    1. Hi James,
      I’m not saying this is a yes/no proposition – but when someone has ALL 10, they’re power entrepreneurs. The rest of us have to strive for it.

  4. I really like your #1 reason. It’s a key aspect that I know I’ve overlooked more than I should.
    Clients, investors, customers, etc can tell if you don’t have passion for what you’re doing. If you’re not truly driven by what you’re doing, it’s going to be difficult to convince anyone else that it’s worthwhile.

  5. I wish more of my customers were like that, they are the easiest to work with (if you treat them right).
    I cannot get my head around number 5.
    How do you know if you are being used by data?
    Wouldn’t lack of data hinder me knowing if something is a bad idea and present incomplete picture?

  6. Number 5 reminds me of one of my favourite sayings (for people who cling to data as the be all and end all) ‘He uses statistics like a drunk uses a lamppost – for support rather than illumination.” Genius.

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