The 10 Habits of Successful People You Should Be Doing Right Now

7 min read
10 Habits of Successful People: Understanding The Power of a Daily Routine

Everyone wants to know how to be successful in life. Whatever your aspirations, you’ve undoubtedly wondered what the world’s most wildly successful people do differently from everyone else to make it as far as they have. 

As nearly any experienced entrepreneur can tell you, building a business that lasts is not just a matter of blind luck. However, it’s also not just about raw talent or the number of hours you devote. While luck, talent, and hard work all have parts to play, there’s more to the startups that stand the test of time. Successful founders curate consistent, healthy habits that foster continuous growth.

If you study history’s most successful people for very long, you’ll notice that almost all of them are staunch proponents of daily routine. There’s enormous power in establishing good habits and sticking to them like clockwork. Here are 10 examples of habits that successful people practice daily that every entrepreneur can learn from:

1. Plan Ahead

The most successful people take an analytical approach to almost every part of their lives. But adopting an analytical mindset doesn’t mean you need to treat everything in your life like a complex mathematical equation — it just means you should develop conscious habits of thinking critically and planning ahead.

Entrepreneurship is a journey filled with problems that need solving. The way you tackle these problems is usually a good indicator of your ability to succeed. Don’t rush into a new situation without first analyzing it and using all your available resources to your advantage. Once you’ve made a plan, act on it decisively. Better yet, put your critical thinking skills to use anticipating and preparing for potential problems before they even arise.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Take Big Risks and Fail

Just because you’re planning your moves carefully doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take big swings. It’s very rare to find the success you’re looking for within your comfort zone. That’s why one of the key traits that separates successful entrepreneurs from those who haven’t yet lived up to their full potential is a willingness to push boundaries and deviate from the beaten path.

When you enter uncharted territory, there’s always the chance that it will end in failure. However, it’s crucial to remember that failure doesn't mean “game over.” If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur (or in practically any area of life), you’ll need to get comfortable with the idea of failure. When you take a risk and it doesn’t pay off, don’t give up — learn what you can from the experience, make a new-and-improved plan, and try again.

3. Set Personal Goals

You should also get in the habit of setting concrete goals for yourself. It may sound obvious or cliche, but giving yourself targets to aim for is one of the most important steps you can take to improve your productivity and odds of success. Even if you think you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, without measurable goals to strive for, you’ll probably have a hard time making steady progress.

There’s more than one way to define success. Setting goals isn’t about following the “correct” path to the top, but rather about establishing your own personal benchmarks for your entrepreneurial journey. Maybe you want to scale your business to a certain number of customers or expand to serve a certain number of physical locations. Maybe you have your sights set on taking your company public with an IPO. 

It’s also important to not have just one end goal, but a whole series of “stepping stone” goals that you’ll use to get to your end goal. For example, to reach any of the goals listed above, you might first need to secure funding, hire key roles, or build a lead generation funnel — all of which can serve as incremental goals on your roadmap to success.

4. Surround Yourself With Inspiring People

No one finds success all by themselves. Along your journey, you will cross paths with many different kinds of people, and work closely with more than a few of them. This is true for everyone, but successful entrepreneurs understand that the people with whom they choose to surround themselves have real impacts on their professional outcomes and opportunities. You should strive to surround yourself with people who inspire you as an entrepreneur and challenge you to improve yourself.

5. Learn from Others

Just as you should surround yourself with people who inspire you, you should also surround yourself with people who have things to teach you. Being successful in your field doesn’t mean you have nothing left to learn — on the contrary, the world’s most successful people are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to learn and improve.

Seek out experienced people in your niche who can advise you and offer hard-won insights based on real obstacles they’ve overcome. You can find people to mentor you in many different ways. For example, you can apply to a startup accelerator or sign up for an online mentoring platform like Mentorcam.

6. Network

Whether you’re looking for experts to learn from, investors to fund your venture, businesses to provide services or materials, or any other kind of partner, networking is the skill that will help you build the relationships you need to be successful. Experienced entrepreneurs know the immense value of being good at networking and looking for daily opportunities to make new connections. You may have what it takes to lead your business to success, but you won’t be able to do it without a network of individuals to support you, advise you, provide needed goods and services, and more.

7. Read Often

One characteristic that many of humanity’s most successful individuals share is an appreciation for reading. Being well-read comes with more benefits than just the pleasure of reading for enjoyment — it’s also one of the most effective ways to expand your knowledge and access valuable new perspectives that could aid you in business or in your personal life. 

For example, if you want to learn more about how to improve yourself and achieve success, some of the best titles to start with include 10 Habits of Highly Effective People: Precepts for Self-improvement by A. I. Abana, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari, and Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.

However, keep in mind that you don’t have to limit your reading to traditional books. While there are surely enough books available to keep you busy for a lifetime, the internet is a treasure trove of alternative sources of written information like blogs, guides, case studies, newsletters, and more.

8. Start Your Morning Routine Early

Another common habit among the most successful and productive individuals is the tendency to wake early in the morning. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Disney CEO Robert Iger, and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson are just a few of the famous names in the “early risers club.” 

Not only does starting your day with the dawn give you more waking hours to use, but it’s also great for your biological clock, leading to increased energy and productivity throughout the day. Many successful early-risers also recommend getting in the habit of waking up without an alarm clock to reduce morning stress and further benefit your body’s internal clock.

9. Be Frugal (Not Stingy)

Building a successful startup demands careful, effective resource management. Whether you’re bootstrapping or raising funds from investors, you likely won’t have a penny to spare during your company’s earliest days, and it’s not uncommon to feel a great deal of financial pressure as you juggle the various demands of getting a business off the ground. The most successful entrepreneurs recognize the importance of being frugal with their money in order to make it go as far as possible.

However, don’t confuse frugality with stinginess. Successful entrepreneurs also recognize the importance of investing resources where they’re needed. You should deploy your startup’s capital in ways that will result in further growth for your business. Don’t be afraid to spend money — just make certain each dollar is being spent in a way that’s strategically sound.

10. Take Care of Yourself

Last — but definitely not least — the people who make it to the peaks of their professions know the value of taking a break. Though it’s rewarding work, entrepreneurship can be grueling at times, and it’s critical that you remember to take care of your emotional and mental health.

Entrepreneurs face numerous unique demands and challenges, and these challenges won’t become any easier as you grow more successful. That’s why it’s very important to develop effective habits for taking care of yourself now so that you can apply them throughout your whole entrepreneurial journey.

How to Build Daily Habits for Success

Building new habits is never easy — however, with enough dedication, you have the power to turn each of these ten habits into regular parts of your daily routine. If you want to take the next step toward committing to these ten good habits to start (or any others), consider establishing a relationship with an experienced advisor who can guide your progress and hold you accountable.

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Tristram Hewitt

Tristram Hewitt

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Tristram Hewitt is an experienced ops executive with a track record of scaling companies like Turo (Series B to E) and Outschool (Series A to D). His expertise covers customer ops, risk, insurance, go-to-market, and company operations in marketplaces, mobility, and edtech. Tristram excels at data-driven problem-solving and has prior experience at Bain. He got his degree from Harvard and holds his MBA from the University of Chicago.

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