What does it take to succeed as a business owner in the outdoor industry? Every business owner is different, but there are some key personality traits that most successful business owners and entrepreneurs have in common. If you’ve been dreaming of an outdoor sports-related business, here’s what you’ll need to get there. Plus some words of inspiration to help you along the way from some of the greatest achievers in history and today’s most successful entrepreneurs.
7 Personality Traits of Successful Outdoor Industry Entrepreneurs
It should come as no surprise that passion leads the pack of personality traits that successful business owners possess. You simply can’t be blase about forging forward on an entrepreneurial journey.
“To succeed, you have to believe in something with such a passion that it becomes a reality.” Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop
And if you want to start an outdoor business, it’s likely two passions are driving you: a love for the outdoor industry and a burning desire to be a business owner.
“One of the huge mistakes people make is that they try to force an interest on themselves. You don’t choose your passions; your passions choose you.” Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com
Successful outdoor industry entrepreneurs didn’t wander into their positions accidentally. They were compelled to go there by a passion for nature, adventure, and to create something for themselves.
Any business owner can tell you that the path to success is never straight and easy. It takes a fierce determination to stay the course through hard-times, adapt to unexpected surprises, and overcome monumental obstacles.
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.” Calvin Coolidge
Growing pains, slow periods, market changes, and even readjusting your business model can all be par for the course when you’re running a business. Successful business owners know that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." Henry Ford
If you want to win in the outdoor industry, you’ll have to know when to hold on, tighten your grip, and keep fighting.
Entrepreneurs and business owners are often caricatured as “devil-may-care” and even reckless risk takers. But a successful business owner doesn’t embrace all risks, she or he just recognizes which risks are worth pursuing, and which are not.
"An entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane on the way down." Reid Hoffman, co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn
Quitting your day job is risky. Obtaining funding for your business is risky. Trying to carve out your own niche in the outdoor industry is risky. Successful business owners recognize that taking on risks is part of the job.
"The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that's changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks." Mark Zuckerberg, cofounder and CEO of Facebook.
Luckily, if you’re passionate about outdoor sports, you may have this personality trait well developed. When you regularly participate in adventure sports, you learn to overcome a natural response to fear, and may even perceive it as something positive. This outlook serves you well on the biggest waves, tallest mountainsides, and when you’re building a business, too.
Successful entrepreneurs see the world differently. They look for opportunities to solve problems. They see solutions rather than roadblocks. And they can visualize their success before it occurs.
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” Walt Disney
An entrepreneur’s vision reaches even further than just starting a business. A true outdoor industry business owner can see ways around obstacles and steer their business towards innovation and growth.
Self-doubt and second-guessing yourself has little place in outdoor sports, where one small hesitation could lead to injury. And the same is true for entrepreneurs and would-be business owners, as well.
“Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.” Oprah Winfrey
Your confidence as a business owner shouldn’t come from your accomplishments. It should come from within. If you are confident in your thoughts, and believe in your ability to push through hard times to succeed, you will have an edge over the competition every time.
#6: Embracing Failure
When you first take up a new sport, there’s a learning curve along the way. Imagine if you quit the first time you fell off a surfboard, snowboard, or mountain bike. Running a business takes the same mentality. Successful business owners see every stumble, misstep, or fall as an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and start again.
“I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I cannot accept not trying.” Michael Jordan
Failing -- and falling -- can either instill fear, or it can motivate you to do better the next time. For successful business owners, failure is one more opportunity to learn and be better.
Entrepreneurs and business owners don’t wait for success to come to them. In psychological terms, they possess an internal locus of control: they believe they have the power to influence the events and situations in their lives.
People with an internal locus of control are more likely to take responsibility for their actions and their outcomes, and work hard to achieve what their goals. Proactive entrepreneurs go after what they want.
"If you've got an idea, start today. There's no better time than now to get going. That doesn't mean quit your job and jump into your idea 100 percent from day one, but there's always small progress that can be made to start the movement." Kevin Systrom, cofounder of Instagram
There are amazing similarities between the traits you need to succeed at outdoor sports, and the traits you need to succeed as an entrepreneur in the outdoor industry. Passion, determination, the ability to learn when you fail and to get back up and keep going… if you want to succeed as an outdoor industry entrepreneur, you just might have what it takes.