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Entrepreneurial Mindset: How to Think Like a Top Entrepreneur

How do you develop a strong entrepreneurial mindset, no matter what?

Good question. The most successful entrepreneurs don’t just use a great business model or the right marketing strategies. They also work on shifting beliefs that are holding them back.

And today, you’ll learn 23 actionable mindset traits of successful entrepreneurs so that you can build a thriving business.

Want to learn more? Let’s dive right in. 

What is an entrepreneurial mindset?

23 successful entrepreneurial mindset strategies

What is an entrepreneurial mindset?

In the corporate world, you need to get it all “perfect.” 

That’s not how it works in the entrepreneurial world. 

As an entrepreneur, you need an entirely different approach to building beliefs, resilience, and motivation to achieve entrepreneurial success. The thing is: Business failure often comes down to the lack of an entrepreneurial mindset.

Here’s how you can adopt entrepreneurial thinking and adopt an entrepreneurial mindset.

Why is an entrepreneurial mindset important?

The key to a successful business? The right mindset. 

If you can’t overcome challenges, solve problems, and become action oriented, you won’t come far.

But if you drop the negative beliefs that are keeping you stuck, can bounce back from rejections and obstacles, and trust that the successes you’ve seen others enjoy are possible for you as well, you are much closer to growing a successful small business and “making” it as an entrepreneur.

Take it from a girl from a small town in Texas, who grew up in a typical middle-class family, and was considered “average” for most of her childhood.

The reason I was able to break out of the life that I was originally destined for was because I decided that I could be more than what had been planned for me.

Ultimately, this led me to replace my 9-to-5 in just 4 months, before I left my job. And my business continues to grow, year after year. 

Coaching business income

The best part? Everyone can cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset. 

How do you develop an entrepreneurial mindset? 

Mindset is essentially the inner game, your beliefs and thoughts, that shape your thought processes.

Your mindset is affected by various factors — your background, upbringing, friends, family, partners, culture… But while you, like me, might not have a typical “entrepreneurial” background, you can change your mindset. 

It’s true. As research shows, we all have a negativity bias. 

This means that your brain focuses more on the negative than the positive. But you can instead adopt a positive attitude.

This just goes to show that your mindset is flexible.  

Science also shows that intelligence and how you approach intelligence (and that way, success) depends on your mindset. With a growth mindset, you see intelligence as expandable. Someone with a fixed mindset can change to a growth mindset–and this tends to improve their results.

It comes down to shifting those beliefs that aren’t serving you and replacing them with good beliefs. In fact, the smartest person won’t succeed unless they work on their confidence, problem solving, critical thinking–all those things that make up your entrepreneurial mindset as a business owner.

Here below, we’ll look at 23 such mindset shifts you can make to improve your entrepreneurial thinking.

23 successful entrepreneurial mindset strategies

How do you improve your entrepreneurial mindset? These are 23 strategies I’ve used and/or I’ve helped my clients use. Time and time again, I see how they help people adopt a different perspective and go from employee to entrepreneur, get their first clients, and grow businesses that allow them the freedom and impact they’re working towards. 

Example of successful entrepreneur
One of my students shares their results.

1. Shift from numbers to actions

Do you ever think things like “I need to make this much money to succeed”?

There’s a time and place for this type of thinking, but in the beginning it just serves to overwhelm you.

Instead, focus on getting one client at a time. 

Think:

“Where can I connect with one person?” and “Who would get great value from working with me?”

This is what I did in my first online business and all the way to my first six figures. I networked, went into Facebook groups, and posted a bit on LinkedIn. I used whatever platform I thought my audience was on.

It was a much more doable and enjoyable process — and it ensured that I didn’t get frustrated because my goal seemed so far off.  

2. Stop comparing yourself to others

Do you compare yourself to people who are further ahead?

What many don’t realize is this: 

You’re not competing with those people.

It’s usually pretty hard to connect with someone who is really established.

For example, you probably won’t get Warren Buffet as your financial consultant–and you don’t want to. After all, he makes billions. His advise wouldn’t be applicable to your situation.

Similarly, people with huge audiences or thousands of customers tend to be more detached from their day-to-day business and customers can’t expect that much personal support.

When you’re just starting out, you’re able to give that support. And that’s how you stand out from the crowd, even when others seem to be much further ahead. 

3. Set goals that you can believe in

A excerpt from my journal:

“I want to make $30,000 by the end of this month.”

Now, there’s nothing wrong with this goal on its own. But I wrote this back when I hadn’t yet made a single dollar in my business. After two years of trying.

A few years later, I did reach my goal. But my initial goal was always doomed to fail. 

The same applies to aspiring entrepreneurs who haven’t made a single sale yet and who come to me and say, “I want to make six figures in four months, just like you did.”

That’s not to say your goal can’t be ambitious. But focus on one that isn’t unattainable.

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4. Stop saying “should”

Before I started my first online business, a digital advertising consultancy, I worked in the digital advertising space as a manager with a 6-figure salary. I was directly advising chief marketing officers at various established corporations. 

So I went looking for clients, thinking, “I know what I’m talking about. It’s going to be a steal to work with me!”

But the problem was… I didn’t have any social presence or “proof” that I could run a business doing what I did. 

It was only after I had gotten my first clients and testimonials that I started seeing that momentum.

If you’re thinking… 

“It should be easier for me…”

“I should be further ahead…”

“It shouldn’t be so hard…”

Stop! 

Instead, accept responsibility for your progress and work on getting that first, second, and third client to build up that online reputation and business.

5. See your business as an infinite process

This one is about feeling like you’re behind.

This is one of the most harmful ways of thinking and it WILL keep you stuck.

You see, your business is an infinite process.

Double down on the things that you can immediately focus on:

“Where am I right now in my business?”

“What do I need to focus on next?”

6. Always know what you’re working towards

Imagine your dream life and scenario.

Where do you wake up in the morning? 

How do you feel? 

What’s the first thing you do? 

Where are you? 

What does the rest of your day look like? 

Where you are right now is a result of your past decisions. Where you’ll be in the future is a result of what you’re doing now. 

By knowing what you’re working towards and being in control of your decisions, you get closer to your end goal. 

7. Maintain beliefs that serve you

It’s very hard to have something if you don’t actually believe you can have it. 

You might tell yourself you’re not cut out for entrepreneurship…

That you’re not worth the money…

Or that you don’t deserve success…

Ultimately, what you believe is your reality. 

This mindset shift is all about creating your own reality with new beliefs. A belief (“I can make $10,000 in my business every month”) might not seem realistic right now, but by building it up slowly (“I can get one client”), you create your new beliefs. 

8. Consistently exercise your mindset

Your mindset is like a muscle. And just like muscles, it needs some exercise. 

That’s why you should exercise it with a daily mindset routine.

It doesn’t have to be a time-consuming routine, 30 minutes/day is plenty of time. 

I keep a morning mindset routine, which involves things like journaling. 

Watch this quick video to learn more about what it looks like: 

9. Set intentions for every day

Decide what you want to accomplish to zero in on those things–every morning.

However, I’m not talking about some vague goals. Instead, be specific about your daily intentions.

For years, I tried to make it a habit to go to the gym. But even when I got myself there, I had no clue what to do. 

So I’d walk for a while on the treadmill, do a few squats, and call it a day.

I didn’t know how to even have a good workout. So it didn’t matter how motivated I was! (Not to mention how un-motivating it was not knowing what to do.)

Same thing for my business. It wasn’t until I literally broke it down into…

Monday: Spend 15 minutes on A. Spend 15 minutes on B.

Tuesday: Spend 15 minutes on B. Spend 15 minutes on C.

…that I started seeing results. 

10. Cultivate a success mindset

How do you cultivate a success mindset?

Thinking “I’m building a 6-figure business” or “I’m going to have the freedom to travel wherever I want” when you’re just starting out feels way too far off. 

But small wins feel much more attainable. 

Goals like talking to one potential client who might be interested in working with you or getting one comment/like/response to your social media post. 

And as success feeds success, those small wins snowball.

11. Focus on the things you can control

So often, new entrepreneurs will say things like: 

“I’ve tried this and that, but I haven’t gotten any clients yet. I feel so discouraged.”

My answer? Yes, you will feel discouraged if you base your motivation on external factors.

Instead, focus on the actions you’re taking now (how many times have you shared your offer, connected with people, shared a social media post…). In other words, things you CAN control.

12. Become self-motivated by default

Maybe you’ve heard this advice before:

If you want to motivate yourself to work out in the morning, you should lay out your clothes the night before you go to sleep. All you have to do when you wake up is get out of bed, put on your workout clothes, and go workout.

Apply the same to your business.

Do a little bit (not too much) every day so that it becomes a habit for you.

And do it in a way that works for you. For me, when I started my business, I tried waking up early in the morning but that just made me sleepy and I didn’t get any work done.

Because I’m a night owl, I decided to work in the evenings instead. I came home, relaxed for a bit, ate dinner, and then made myself comfortable on my cozy, grey couch and worked for at least 30 minutes every day. 

couch as a workspace
This is what my couch looked like. So comfy!

13. Stop doing things out of fear

Early on in my business, I made hiring mistakes because I was driven by fear. 

For example, I spent a lot of money on copywriters. Why? I thought I had to hire professional writers to write my website and marketing content if I wanted to sell anything.

After spending all this money, I realized that I could do it myself–and often even better than the copywriters because no one knows my business like I do. 

Nothing ever worked out when I did it out of fear. 

And I see many of my clients do this as well. They hire Facebook ads managers or funnel experts to help them.

While there’s a time and place for those things, your motivation to hire someone shouldn’t be based on fear. 

14. Work on your money mindset

I grew up in a very standard, middle-class family. My father supported all four of us on his salary (which wasn’t that high). As a result, my parents were really frugal. 

So, when I started my business, I didn’t know how to handle my money. In my first year of this business, I crossed seven figures in sales. And let’s just say… I had a party.

First year online business revenue graph

I threw money at designer clothes, an expensive apartment in New York (New York is pricey to begin with), and I even trained at the same celebrity gym as JLo.

The reason I splurged so much was that I didn’t have the money mindset to hold on to my money. I made a lot of mistakes–and I learned an invaluable lesson.

To build a business, you need to be ready to keep your money. And you need to have the mindset to make more money. 

If you’re struggling with getting clients or building a consistent business, your money mindset might be a huge part of it. 

15. Show up consistently

The people who build their businesses the fastest share one trait:

They show up and do the work every day. Even if they’re tired or don’t feel like it. 

When I started my business, I worked in a tech startup in New York. My six-figure role was highly stressful and I was managing a team and millions of dollars in advertising budgets. 

I would come home tired every day. All I felt like doing was watching Netflix and sleeping.

But every night, I sat down to do the work.

This consistency led me to grow a six-figure business.

The thing is:

Consistency is the only way you will be able to start a business. 

16. Reframe failure

When most entrepreneurs fail, they tend to see that failure as an end destination. They think, “I failed, so this will never work.”

But failure and making mistakes is just a bump in the road–and an important part of entrepreneurship.

In fact, the best entrepreneurs have probably failed more than anyone else.

A few of my own “stepping stones:” Tens of thousands of dollars waste and many many many posts where I got zero likes and comments.

social media post
A good example of one of my earlier social media posts that pretty much flopped.

Instead of wallowing in failure and letting it keep you stuck, prepare for it. 

What will you do when you fail (and you will fail)? Find an answer to that and move on.  

17. Shift your fear of success

The fear of success is real.

I’ve had countless clients say things like, “I’m afraid of getting a client, because what if I get too many clients to handle while working my job?”

That’s when I tell them:

“Focus on what’s ahead of you right now. Once you’ve worked with a number of clients you’ll be much faster at working with them, you’ll have processes, maybe you’ve even quit your job at this point.”

Or people will be afraid of who they will be or what their life will look like once they’re successful. 

I used to have this fear too. I grew up believing, “Money is evil.” So of course I thought that people who have money are bad people (and not someone I wanted to be like). I had to reframe this belief to keep it from blocking my progress.

If you identify these types of fears in yourself, write them down. 

Let’s take the first example: “I’m afraid of getting more clients because I can’t handle them.” 

Write down the answer to this question: “How many clients can I handle while in my job?”

Maybe it’s 5, maybe it’s 10. Focus first on the first step (getting ONE client) and worry about the rest later. Because once you get there, you have so many options. You might leave your job. You might not take on more clients. Or you shift into a part-time position or become a contractor for your company.

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18. Detach yourself from rejection

As an entrepreneur, you need to get over this fear.

Here’s the thing:

When someone rejects you, it’s not about you. 

If someone says they don’t want to work with you, it might be that they’re not ready. Or they have their own things to work through.

Rejection is just part of the process. 

Rejection email
I even get rejected these days–with a 7-figure business and an established brand. Here’s just on example when I reached out to a podcast.

And in my first online business, I got 30 “no’s” in a row. People even told me they couldn’t work with me because I looked like I was 12… That’s how bad it was. 

But instead of getting discouraged, I analyzed how I could improve. 

And soon enough, I had my first “yes” — my first client who paid me $5,000.

Payment first paying client

Don’t get stuck in rejection because you WILL get rejected. Cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset is all about taking responsibility for your own company and going through those “no’s” to get to your “yes.”

19. Trust yourself

As an entrepreneur, people will judge you. 

Your co-workers, family, friends…

I still get judged to this day. People comment on my ads, emails, YouTube videos, blog posts… And those comments aren’t always that nice. 

Instead of giving into self doubt, think: If you come from a place of integrity, that’s on them.

20. Become obsessed

One of my best clients is a fully-booked coach.

A while back, I noticed her doing something very smart. 

She was liking my responses to every question I answered in my mastermind group, as well as her responses to every livestream, Instagram post, and email I’ve shared over the last few months. 

In other words, she’s obsessively studying everything I have to teach and absorbing it to make her own. (Not copying, but understanding the underlying concept and using that for her own business, which is in a completely different industry.)

I do it, too, when I’m learning something new.

Like when I made the decision to commit to Instagram. 

Instagram profile

…I studied what accounts that I enjoyed were doing (like Kim Kardashian’s, Anastasia Brow Bar’s, and JLo’s). 

…I Googled different Instagram palettes and themes. And played with my own filters and colors. 

…I studied influencers who’d gone viral on Instagram to learn their tips for growing an audience.

And I started testing everything I learned for myself. 

This kind of obsession is what helped me cross 7-figures in revenue so quickly.

I was obsessed with growing my own coaching skills, my products, overdelivering, my clients, my systems…every part of my business.

21. Look backwards

There’s this story about two rock climbers who are climbing the same mountain.

When they’re halfway up the mountain, one of them looks up and thinks, “I can’t do it. The top is still too far away.” He feels exhausted and overwhelmed and stops climbing.

The other one looks down. He thinks, “Wow, I’ve come so far!” Energized, he climbs to the top. 

It’s the same for entrepreneurs who want to reach their goals.

Successful entrepreneurs celebrate their wins based on where they are right now.

Someone who signs a $1,500 client might think, “Why am I not at $10k already?” 

But successful entrepreneurs celebrate what they achieve now and think, “Look how far I’ve come!”

22. Take fast action

Something I see in my online groups is this:

Someone might ask, “I haven’t gotten any clients yet. What should I do?” 

Our community supports them and gives them the advice they need.

If we check in on them a few weeks later, they still won’t have implemented the advice. 

But our most successful students?

They will get back to us in a few days and by that time, they’ve implemented all our advice. 

Too often, people think, “Is this the best use of my time?” or “What if I look stupid?”

Instead of dwelling on those beliefs, successful entrepreneurs take immediate and continuous action. 

23. Think: How can I make this work for me? 

Last, but not least: 

You might keep yourself stuck by thinking, “Will this work for me?”

Instead, think: “How can I make this work for me?”

For example, I’ll often see new entrepreneurs say things like, “I haven’t gotten any sales yet. Building a business feels impossible!”

But if they made it work for them, they could take alternative steps, like asking their network for referrals, writing a guest post, or pitching a podcast. 

By problem solving and tailoring advice you get to your situation, you’ll succeed no matter what. 

Want to Build a 6-Figure Coaching Business So You Can Achieve More Freedom?

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When you sign up, you’ll also receive regular updates on building a successful online business.

Over to you!

There you have it. 

Now you know what it takes to develop an entrepreneurial mindset.

I’d love to know:

What’s the #1 entrepreneur mindset you want to work on? 

Let me know in the comments below. 

About Luisa Zhou

Luisa Zhou has helped thousands of students build and scale their own profitable online Freedom Business. Fun Fact: She used to work as an engineer for the Space Station and holds a B.S.E. from Princeton. Click here to learn more about Luisa.

Hope you enjoy this blog post.

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