By Kevin Donlin, Guest Blogger

What makes one entrepreneur wealthy and successful …

… while another struggles to survive?

In a word, habits.

Forget what the economy is doing — up or down, that’s not the determining factor. There were plenty of successful people in the Great Depression, and plenty of failures in the recent boom years.

Your success stems from what you think and what you do. And most of what you think and do stems from your habits.

Psychologists estimate that approximately 95% of the thoughts you have today are the same ones you had yesterday. Yikes.

And as much as 45 percent of our actions each day are habitual. We run on autopilot for much of the day, day after day, week after week, month after month ….

That’s the power of habit.

To get better results in your business, you need better habits.

But … not all habits are created equal.

In the book, “The Power of Habit,” Charles Duhigg offers powerful reasons why some habits are more important than others.

These so-called keystone habits “have the power to start a chain reaction, shifting other patterns as they move through our lives,” writes Duhigg.

“Keystone habits influence how we work, eat, play, live, spend, and communicate. Keystone habits start a process that, over time, transforms everything.

“This, then, is the answer of where to start: focus on keystone habits, those patterns that, when they start to shift, dislodge and remake other habits.”

Get that?

Keystone habits can dislodge and change other habits — which is how you change your life.

Now. How many keystone habits do you need?

Good news: One may be enough.

Example: a single keystone habit — SERVICE — propelled Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, Disney, Starbucks, Zappos, and others to outrageous levels of success.

Zappos, in particular, has profited wildly from making service a keystone habit. Zappos is literally “Powered by Service” — that’s their corporate motto. And #1 in their list of 10 core values is this: “Deliver Wow through service.”

The simple habit of service is a big reason why Zappos, which sells the ultimate commodity — shoes! — reached $1 billion in sales in only 8 years, before being bought by Amazon in 2009.

If service is a keystone habit for you, it can dislodge bad habits, like not improving your products, or not returning phone calls. And service can remake and improve other habits, like poor listening skills.

To sum up: Your habits make or break you, in business and in life.

Just as keystones are small stones that support a big arches, keystone habits are small habits that support big changes.

To learn more, and discover 3 keystone habits that let you create more for yourself in the next 30 days than in the previous 6 months, click here.

Until next time …
Kevin Donlin
Copywriter + Marketing Strategist

* has been marketing online since 1994, when he sold one of the first ebooks ever;
* was Webmaster for from 1995 to 1998, when he worked with the pioneers of Internet marketing;
* has been an entrepreneur since 1998;
* was among the first to use pay-per-click (PPC) online advertising in 1999;
* is author of 4 books, including 21 Quick Ways to Get More Clients, and
* has been interviewed on marketing topics by WXYZ TV (Detroit), KARE-11 TV (Minneapolis), The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, The New York Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, USA Today, Forbes, Woman’s Day, CBS MarketWatch, CNN Money, The Chicago Tribune, and others.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Michigan State University.


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