As an entrepreneur, I get asked a lot by startup founders what does it take to succeed? The reality is when you look at the most successful entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs or Oprah Winfrey they tend to have similar DNA: they’re tenacious leaders, driven visionaries,  eager business people. Entrepreneurs are cut from a different cloth than most nine to fivers—willing to take a risk when others won’t. But not all entrepreneurs are born—in fact, many are self-made. So if you’re considering stepping into the startup world, think about what the most successful entrepreneurs do and follow suit.

They’re Self-Motivated.

First off, if you’re going to go through the startup grind, you have to be all in. Every day the alarm goes off, and there is no one getting out of bed to start your day other than you. The entrepreneur’s journey is packed with long days and late nights burning the midnight oil. You need to remind yourself everyday why you wanted to start your business in the first place. Successful entrepreneurs have a constant drive, a compelling purpose behind the why, even if it’s something as simple as never wanting to work for someone else ever again.

They Have a Vision and a Plan.

Once you’ve decided to head down this road, you’ll need a vision that you and your future team can rally around. The greatest entrepreneurial leaders are visionaries—constantly looking to where the business is going and steering the ship in the right direction. But vision alone won’t get you there. Along with casting the vision, it is vital to create a multi-year plan that is designed to outline the strategy, tactics and goals to ensure success.

They Have Financial Sense.

You can’t start and run a business successfully without understanding money. You also can’t manage what you can’t measure, and it’s tough to know what levers to pull for growth when you don’t have good, sound financial sense. If you have ever watched the tv show The Profit on CNBC, then you have heard Marcus Lemonis tell entrepreneurs time and time again, “Know your numbers, because numbers never lie.” When you’re in startup mode and bootstrapping it, every dollar counts.

The most successful entrepreneurs have a good grasp of their financials and know the best places to put their capital to drive the best ROI. If you struggle in the financial areas of the business, don’t sweat it. Make sure you bring in a co-founder you trust who can tackle the hard number-crunching so you can focus on other areas of the business that are in your wheelhouse.

They Have Business Sense.

Just as crucial as finance is having a solid business sense. We’re talking about the day-to-day activities such as closing deals, customer support, price negotiations and partnerships. The best entrepreneurs are always looking at the business and finding intelligent ways to impact the business and the bottom line. Negotiations with other businesses (distributors, suppliers) are also important, and going in naive can cause more harm down the road by establishing a rocky precedent.

They’re Multi-taskers.

Entrepreneurs need to wear many hats. If you’re running your own business, you’ll likely be in charge of creative elements, negotiations, marketing, website design, customer service and everything else that comes with growing a startup. You’ll need to be a versatile worker, willing to tackle areas of your business you might not expect. In a startup no two days are the same, which means the ability to juggle a number of initiatives at once is a crucial trait to have.

They Have an Ego.

Nobody likes being annoying, but everybody wants to promote themselves. It’s a fine line. Ultimately, to be an entrepreneur, you need a bit of an ego—you need to recognize that your business will only succeed if you make it. You can’t rely on anyone else but yourself in the early days, and you can’t worry about what others think of you. Ultimately it’s your dream that’s on the line, and if you study the most successful entrepreneurs, they lead with a bit of arrogance. So whether you’re pitching to potential investors or presenting to early prospective customers, don’t forget to bring your confidence.

They’re Decisive

Great entrepreneurs don’t waiver when it’s time to make critical business decisions. In a startup, you just don’t have the time to contemplate a million “what if” scenarios. Look at the data, make assumptions and make a firm decision. Once you made your decision, don’t look back on it. Focus your efforts on the decisions ahead of you and what you need to do to realize your vision.

They Have Product Knowledge and Expertise.

If you’re entering a new market as a startup, you’ll need to separate yourself from the crowd. Expertise is a solid way to make your mark as an entrepreneur. Not just knowing about your product, but knowing about the industry—your competitors, market trends and best practices are all important to keep abreast of. After all, the most successful entrepreneurs listen to their audience and set out to build solutions to their greatest daily challenges.

Another key trait of successful entrepreneurs is their commitment to thought leadership. They see their role as one where they can take their knowledge and expertise and add value to the industry that they serve. The bottom line is invest in yourself—your knowledge is an asset.

They’re Positive Thinkers.

Pragmatism is good, but optimism is better. There will be times when you think you’re wasting your time.You’ll wonder why you’re bothering to go down this path, and question every decision that led you to this moment. In times like these, unless you keep an optimistic mind frame, you’re bound to give up. Stay focused on the purpose of your endeavor and look for the daily wins.The truth is every entrepreneur hits a speed bump or two, but the most successful entrepreneurs use those hard times to get stronger and sometimes even pivot the business down a better path.

The good news? You’ll know pretty early on whether this lifestyle is for you and probably won’t waste too much time chasing the entrepreneurial dream. If you’re failing for three years and can’t figure out why because you’re so darn optimistic, there’s one other trait to look for…

They’re Prepared for Failure.

Of course, optimism is good, but pragmatism still counts for something. Most entrepreneurs have failed multiple times in multiple ways before they found success. Just look at Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon. Before starting Amazon, he launched an online auction site that failed. However, he took his lessons learned from this startup failure, and they became the fuel to start the Amazon we know and use today.

As an entrepreneur you need a certain level of risk tolerance to be able to survive these challenges in life and the ability to accept defeat when you feel a project isn’t working out. But from the ashes often comes another great idea or opportunity. The end is rarely the end, even when it feels like it.