Self-storage icon blazed your path to success

Self-storage trailblazer Don Temple, 85, has died-but his legend and lessons will live on.

Temple established Los Angeles county's first self-storage facility in 1968, and is considered one of the industry's top 50 pioneers. By reputation and report, he was known as a hardworking humanitarian who followed his passions, embraced innovation and mentored others to be successful. He never finished college, demonstrating that much entrepreneurial success resides in one's dedication and drive versus a bunch of degrees.

A forbes.com article identifies traits common to successful entrepreneurs. These touchpoints might provide a timely checklist for you currently-to see where you're on target and where some improvement is in order. No doubt Temple scored high on this "entrepreneurial esprit" depth chart. Writer Eric Wagner points out that, like Temple, many entrepreneurs don't follow a traditional college path: "...before Steve Jobs or Bill Gates dropped out of college, would anyone have defined them as entrepreneurs? Looking back, I would say these guys were probably born entrepreneurs. Now did they pop out at birth and immediately set up a lemonade stand in the delivery room of the hospital charging the nurses 50 cents a cup? Well, in reality-probably not. But who would deny they were pumped full of the entrepreneurial 'mindset' since birth?"

Temple started his first entrepreneurial venture at the age of 14 in tandem with his father.

Wagner describes seven key traits of incredibly successful entrepreneurs, citing one as paramount: "... tenacity. Just the sheer will to keep going, even when things look impossible...You can probably squeeze by with mediocre levels of each of the other traits on this list. But if you're a day late and dollar short in the tenacity department? You're as good as done. You're pretty much dry toast."

Here are the others along with excerpts of Wagner's comments:

1. Abounding Curiosity...Every true entrepreneur I've ever met has been full of curiosity...Taking stuff apart to see how it works. Asking people questions about their likes and dislikes. Questioning why we keep doing things the same old way when maybe there is a better way.

2. Bursting with Creativity...New products. New solutions. New ways. Willing to think of all possibilities...As you become more curious by asking questions and learning, it actually opens your mind to creativity.

3. Clarity of Vision. You simply need vision as an entrepreneur. And more importantly? Clarity around that vision. Crucial to have a crystal clear vision of who you are; what you want to do; and where you want to go.

4. Ability to Communicate...We must be clear; concise; easy to understand. Both in writing and verbally...communication affects influence. Communication affects relationships. Communication affects results...It's a necessary trait, but one you can master with practice.

5. Leadership Acumen...Even with no employees, you definitely have a team of others working on your behalf. Vendors, partners, mentors, contractors, and more. You must be able to lead them.

6. Loving Risk and Taking Action...Entrepreneurs take risks. They take action. Each one may have a slightly different risk meter, but when the time comes; they step out of their comfort zone and risk through taking action.

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