Successful entrepreneurs have a number of habits in common to which they attribute much of their success. Copying some of these habits can substantially increase your productivity and success in your own career and life. Once you practice these habits for a while, they become part of your ordinary way of life – just as they are for hugely successful entrepreneurs.

1) Get up Early

Successful entrepreneurs are ahead of almost everyone else because they start the day ahead of everyone else. They're habitually both up and at work before the rest of the crowd. One study of 10 very successful entrepreneurs found that, even though these people had already made millions, nine out of the 10 were still up and at it every workday no later than 7 a.m.

2) Use To-Do Lists

Many entrepreneurs spend the first hour of the day, when they're in the office ahead of everyone else, mapping out what they want to get accomplished during the day. This practice helps them stay on task and avoid distractions, and the net result is that they get more accomplished each day than do most people who just sort of wander through their workdays without specific plans of activities.

3) Set Goals and Write Them Down

The practice of setting specific goals, and writing those goals down, is one of the most commonly found habits of successful people in all walks of life. They first write down a major goal, such as writing a book, and then break it down into more manageable short-term goals, such as writing 10 pages a day.

4) Have a Sounding Board

Most entrepreneurs realize that they aren't smart enough to figure out everything along the road to success. Many of them regularly make use of a sounding board – a trusted friend, relative or colleague that they can talk out their ideas with. These are people who can often point out things to consider that the entrepreneurs hadn't thought of themselves.

5) Don't Be Afraid to Fail

Successful entrepreneurs accept failed attempts at success as parts of the process, whereas most people tend to make only or two attempts to achieve their dreams and then give up altogether if they're not successful. Successful people have the attitude of Thomas Edison, who famously explained that he didn't look at his past work as 10,000 failures to create a light bulb but as learning 10,000 ways not to make a light bulb.

6) Focus on Doing Something Valuable, Not on Getting Rich

Nearly all entrepreneurs have steadfastly maintained that their primary goal was never to get rich, but to figure out how to create a product or service that people needed in the marketplace. What drives successful entrepreneurs is the desire to do something useful and to create something beneficial in the world.

7) Think Outside the Box and Find New Answers to Problems

The first answers that come to mind when pondering a new question or problem are not usually the best answers. Instead, think about a problem from a variety of perspectives, usually over a period of months, before you come upon a truly original and valuable solution.

8) Be Open to Ideas and Input From Any Source

Many successful entrepreneurs related stories of how breakthrough ideas in accomplishing their goals came to them through overhearing a conversation at another table during lunch, or as the result of meeting someone on the subway on the way to work. These people walk around with their eyes and ears open to input from anything happening around them.

9) Take Small Steps and Constantly Review

Successful entrepreneurs figure out the small steps that they can take toward accomplishing their ultimate goals, take them and then tweak the business model they are creating by continually reviewing what they've learned from what they've done up to that point. They don't just stumble ahead blindly; they are constantly refining their path to success by building upon what they learn along the way.

10) Limit Time Spent on Email and Social Media

Successful entrepreneurs don't let themselves get drawn into wasting half a day reading emails or posting on Facebook. The vast majority of them set strict time limits for those activities and rigidly abide by them. While other people are frittering away their time on social media, tomorrow's successful entrepreneurs are busy working on creating the next multibillion-dollar Fortune 500 company.

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