Entrepreneurs are a special breed of people, and there are essential entrepreneurial skills every digital marketer should have. The path to success looks different when you decide to provide freelance or agency digital marketing services, but all successful entrepreneurs have a few important things in common.
You can Google “entrepreneurial skills” right now and get a billion links, and most of them will say the same thing. But this is the ONE page you should read. I promise this list isn’t like anything you’ve read before.
Essential Entrepreneurial Skills Every Digital Marketer Must Have
Entrepreneurs are passionate, hard workers wired to achieve greatness, and that is what separates entrepreneurs from the people who choose to work for others or not at all. Anyone with the basic ability to learn can take courses on the technical skills needed to become a digital marketer, but there are innate skills that separate those of us that want to build our own business.
Of course, many factors play into how successful you can be at selling your digital marketing services. The market you serve, the niche you focus on, and the services you specialize in are going to affect how hard you will have to work and how much money you can make. But when you compare two similar businesses that started at the same time with the same tools and resources, there are essential entrepreneurial skills that lead to more success.
The Hard Skills Digital Marketers Need
You’ve heard of hard skills, right? Hard skills are the ones that anyone can learn in an educational or on the job setting such as finance, marketing, or how to use software or tools for business objectives. Useful stuff, but they are helping you perform a specific action and do the “work” of running a business.
Working from the assumption that you have mastered (or in the process of mastering) some digital marketing services to sell to clients, you’ve got the first hard skill for being a digital marketer in place.
The next hard skill needed is the business basic of financial literacy. This is your business after all, not a hobby. You need to understand and stay aware of how much money is coming in and how much money is going out on a daily basis. You don’t need to know how to do your own taxes, but the balance between income and expenses is your profit, and you need to be fully aware of what that is.
Another hard skill digital marketers need is sales. Salesmanship is a special form of communication that you can and should learn from others if you aren’t a natural-born salesman. Just as you can learn the different ways to market online, you can learn how to persuasively communicate that you are the best solution to a problem they will pay to solve. This is a crucial skill, especially in the beginning, when most entrepreneurs are a business of one person doing everything.
These hard skills will make you a better business owner, but more than likely, you will still fail if you don’t develop the soft skills that separate the wannabes from the six-figure club.
The Essential Entrepreneurial Skills Digital Marketers Need are Soft Skills
Traditional business teachings focus on drilling down the hard skills, but the most essential entrepreneurial skills digital marketers need are soft skills. The truth is, the most successful entrepreneurs are very proficient at finding new ways of doing things and that includes automating, outsourcing, and building a team of people who can handle the technical aspects of fulfilling services and running a business.
With so much at risk – whether it is your financial, career, or emotional wellbeing – there are specific soft skills that every entrepreneur needs to have or develop. These are the intangibles and non-technical skills that are more about intuition, your mindset, and how you connect with others (even if you never leave your house and see another person).
- The Desire and the Strong Ability to Learn
There is a lot of trial and error in being an entrepreneur. The chances are high that you’re going to make mistakes, follow some bad advice, and fall prey to a scam or two. If you’re able to learn from every situation, good or bad, then even the failures move you forward and closer to your goals.
- A True Grit Level of Resilience
Resilience, duh. Right? But you’re going to need to be able to not only survive the setbacks and the knockdowns; you want to have the true grit that makes you jump right back up swinging. Beyond the determination to see things through, you want to get it done and better than anyone has ever done it.
- The Confidence to be Courageous
Where there is risk, there is fear. A true belief in yourself pushes you to be courageous and take that risk despite the fear. Confidence and courage push you outside your comfort zone to achieve bigger, better things. Bonus… confidence and courage attract clients (and partners, followers, collaborators, dates, etc.) like crazy!
- Problem Solving Superpowers
A recurring theme here: There will be challenges to building your digital marketing empire. But if you have honed your problem-solving skills, when something goes wrong, you welcome the challenge and learn from every obstacle you overcome. You know how to analyze a situation FAST, get creative with SIMPLE (sometimes out-of-the-box) solutions, and fix problems QUICKLY.
- Communication and Relationship Building
Sales, clients, partnerships, profits, collaborations, hiring, marketing, expansions, future opportunities… all influenced by your communication and relationship building skills. I put the two together because all your communication is either building or breaking a relationship. Whether you are listening, talking, or writing – how well you communicate is either engaging people and building trust or pushing people (and therefore money and opportunities) away.
- Focused Flexibility
If you don’t learn how to bend, you WILL break. Being able to focus on your goal and consistently execute the activities you know will get you there is a required discipline of entrepreneurs. It shows in the unmatched drive to build your dreams, but focus is a skill that must be paired with adaptability and the flexibility to adjust your plans when needed. Flexibility allows you to take the risks, make smarter decisions, and be more open to opportunities that could benefit you and your business.
For Entrepreneurs, Hard Skills and Soft Skills Work Together
Being an entrepreneur is more than learning the digital marketing skills and small business management. The emotional intelligence that comes from flexing your soft skills muscles allows you to maximize the benefits you get from your technical skills.
So, take these skills and dream bigger. Take the risk. Learn from your mistakes. Find Success. Just do it!
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