You work hard at building your business. That’s a good start, but do you have what it takes to be rich? And by "rich," I mean the ability both to generate material wealth and achieve what matters to you most. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against you.
The good news, however, is that there is a path to follow and habits that you can emulate, to give you a better chance at achieving your goals.
I have been blessed to be the CEO of three companies, two of which were acquired by public companies. Now, as the CEO and co-founder of Aha!, I challenge myself to learn something new every day. I read as much as I can (and wish I could read more), especially around the subjects of innovation and entrepreneurship.
As I've studied the paths of successful founders to see what they had in common, I've discovered at least five attributes they share:
1. They are innovators.
Successful founders do not just set out to start any old business. They see a problem that needs to be solved and a huge opportunity to provide the solution.
2. They are risk-takers.
When Bill Gates and his friend Paul Allen first approached MITS about their new Altair 8800 microcomputer, they boasted that they were already working on a BASIC interpreter for the Altair platform. In reality, the pair just wanted to see if the company was interested before they started the work. Once MITS showed interest, they took several weeks to build their next invention and prepare their presentation. Luckily, the deal was a success, paving the way to what would become Microsoft.
3. They tackle hard problems.
Elizabeth Holmes was only 19 when she dropped out of Stanford to start the blood testing company Theranos. She was inspired after her uncle died of cancer that was diagnosed too late. Her company's technology provides an easier, faster and less painful method to test blood so that people can detect diseases earlier.
4. They do what they love.
Larry Ellison did not set out become a billionaire. He taught himself to develop software, dropped out of college and started Oracle, mainly because he wanted to create an environment where he would enjoy working. Likewise, Bill Gates spent all of his free time as a kid programming, so starting Microsoft was a natural fit for him, and right in the sweet spot of his talents and his passions.
5. They leave a legacy.
Many wealthy entrepreneurs donate wealth to charity, but these founders translate philanthropy into action. Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, and many others have signed a pact to donate half of their wealth to charity over time.
Wealthy founders know that with their material resources, they have the opportunity to make a global impact and change lives.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor.