Grit is defined as courage and resolve; strength of character, bravery, pluck, mettle, backbone, tenacity, steel, nerve, toughness, resolve, resolution, determination, tenacity, perseverance or endurance. In more colloquial terms, It’s “big boy (or girl) undies on time” and “Winners never quit and quitters never win.”

At no time in your life will grit get a bigger starring role than the day you realize the first step of entrepreneurship and open your own business. Grit in life and business is key. While other personality aspects and traits, such as vision, focus, and passion play important roles, your true test of entrepreneurial spirit reflects in your grit level through life and the business process.

Why grit determines business success

  • Entrepreneurship is not a nine-to-five job, it’s an endless opportunity: Literally, in terms of hours and possible income and growth. There is no defined beginning, middle or end when it comes to your own business. It may start as a side gig, get sidelined when your regular job gets busy, pick up again seasonally and become your full-time employment as your client list grows. Unlike your “normal” job, working for yourself means working around your personal preferences and going when and where others need you.
  • Many people, including loved ones, won’t like you anymore: That reaction is often rooted in jealousy, distrust, their own laziness or misunderstanding your objectives. It’s a courageous act to defy family and explain this dream as your new reality. They can love and support you or not, but you’ve made this decision.
  • Going your own way is a lonesome road: You leave structure, friends, coworkers and everything you know about a “regular” life behind when you become an entrepreneur. Putting on the blinders and blocking out the daily noise requires a daily dose of backbone.
  • It’s also expensive: Plan a strategy to make and stick to a structured budget. Resolve to live within your means until your business takes off, and put your profits back into growing your business and paying off debt.
  • Failure tempts your return to the old way of doing things: Grit provides the strength to stay the chosen course. Many entrepreneurs, including Stephen Spielberg, Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates and Madonna failed multiple times before catching that one successful idea.
  • Taking chances takes nerve: Starting your own business is the classic flying leap with eyes closed; you can plan for a landing, but the exact location and your condition are uncertain. Starting with small jumps before the big leap builds grit.

How to maintain your grit from the get-go

  • Live life balanced: Your own business is a lot of work, but it’s important that it’s not all work. Exercise, eat well, maintain personal friendships and find quiet time during those hectic days.
  • Find kindred spirits in your career quest: Join the chamber of commerce, local business club, Toastmasters or other organizations to help further your development. Check your local MeetUp website for groups and your business’ national organization to see if there is a local chapter.
  • Control what you can and flex with the rest: Flexibility is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of understanding that not all situations are within your control. Exercise control where you can and give yourself options where control is impossible. Entrepreneurs handle unpleasant or unexpected business situations every day; how they deal with them provides great insight into the nature of the business owner.
  • Seek a professional mentor: Read their books, watch their videos and go to their live presentations. Many started young and now work with multinational corporations. That’s not an overnight leap; that’s years of grit and hard work to build that network.