One of my favorite TV shows these days is Shark Tank.  Would-be entrepreneurs present their ideas to a panel of successful millionaire/billionaire investors hoping to secure a partner to help further their business.

It's interesting to see the kinds of questions posed by potential investors.

It's even more interesting to see the range of answers returned.

What Makes an Entrepreneur

I've worked with a fair number of start-ups during my career.  There have been many discrete differences between these enterprises, but a few things have stayed the same. Namely, the personality and drive of the founders.

An entrepreneurial founder is an amazing individual.  Imagine someone who quits a regular, stable job to pursue a dream. Someone who gives up success, title, a desk, consistent referrals, everything in order to build something new.

All based on the hope that an idea will pay off in the end.

An entrepreneur often works overtime - unpaid - just to see their business succeed.

Unfortunately, this workaholic-level of productivity is assumed to be a requirement for success.

You can be successful and have a life

Everyone gauges success differently.  In business school, one of my colleagues said she knew she'd be successful when she "could take every Friday off and still drive a Benz."

Some judge success based on dollar figures, other based on the throughput of their venture, yet others on their attractiveness to venture capital firms.

In order to be successful, you need to first define what success looks like for you.  Then you need to run after that definition with all of your energy.

Entrepreneurs aren't successful because they give up an evening with the kids in order to churn out more code, write more copy, or close another sale. Entrepreneurs are successful because they define their business, focus in on their core strengths, and devote a highly-focused amount of energy at specific, actionable goals.

How in-line are the hours you spend at work and the objectives by which you classify "success?"