what it really takes to be an entrepreneur

Successful entrepreneurship often involves certain personality traits. While some of these entrepreneurial traits can be learned, or at least improved upon, the most successful entrepreneurs tend to be those who are born with these traits.

Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

Go ahead, ask yourself if you have the following traits.


1. You Have A Never Ending Passion

Successful entrepreneurs almost always have a visceral passion about what they are doing. In fact, it often consumes them to the point they are thinking about it all the time and working on it even when they sleep. Moreover, it’s almost never just about making money.


2. You Serve As a Fountain Of Ideas

The best entrepreneurs are those that continuously spawn great ideas. This is because relatively few ideas, even great ones, actually pan out to be great money makers.

Does anyone remember the Lisa computer? This was a complete flop by none other than the great Steve Jobs! While this genius’s hardware and software failures are rarely mentioned, there were many of them. The point is, your creations aren’t always going to be perfect but if you are able to weave a lot of ideas, some are bound to be a success.


3. You Aren’t Afraid To Work Hard — Really Hard

Having great ideas is not enough. It takes an enormous amount of work to turn a great idea into a profitable endeavor. Appropriately, Thomas Edison, one of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time, is famous for saying,

“Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.”


4. You Never Like To Give Up

Successful entrepreneurs tend to be people who easily recover from failure and just keep on persevering until they ultimately succeed! There are almost always significant snags and hurdles in any project. Most people get so discouraged by these, they end up discontinuing the project before they finish it.

Entrepreneurs are so motivated they find a way to solve these no matter how difficult.


5. You Have a Willingness and Ability To Learn From Everyone

Entrepreneurs tend to be people who are good active listeners. They are open to ideas from anyone regardless of their background or training. They don’t tend to be people who think you have to have a college degree or special training to figure something out. Some of the best ideas for equipment used in water have come from fishermen, not engineers.


6. You Are Often a Calculated Risk Taker

Entrepreneurs understand that no idea is a “sure thing” and taking a calculated risk, whether that be an investment of money or time, or both, is almost always necessary to carry forward great ideas. When Jeff Bezos quit his cushy high paying job on Wall Street and made his famous 3000 mile car trip from New York to Seattle to found Amazon, he took a calculated risk… and we all know how well that one turned out!


7. You Are Able To See the Big Picture

Henry Ford represents this trait well. While the car and the assembly line had already been invented, Henry Ford was able to see the big picture and knew that the real profit would come from using an assembly to mass produce cars so they would be affordable to a much wider demographic. In other words, under his guidance, the car went from a tiny niche market to one of great mass appeal.


8. You Can Keep Up With The Times

Entrepreneurs are always on the look out for the next big trend so they can meet the needs of that growing market.

While Apple did not develop the first mp3 player, it was the first company to fully realize the marketability of it and understand the features users would most want.


9. You Are Intelligent

While you don’t need an IQ to match Albert Einstein, the most successful entrepreneurs tend to be people with well above average intelligence. This doesn’t mean you can’t be “ordinary” in other ways and it doesn’t mean you need a college degree. In fact, some of the most successful entrepreneurs are college dropouts, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates to name just two.


10. You Are Not Afraid To Ask For Help

Most entrepreneurs know when to ask for help. They can self-identify their strengths and weaknesses and know how to surround themselves with people who will complement their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses. This also often extends into their personal life since it often takes a very supportive significant other and/or family and friends to succeed.


11. You Have The Ability To Finish Things

Many people have great ideas and start developing them but never seem to finish them. Entrepreneurs have an exceptionally high will, drive, and ability to get things done.


12. You Have An Infectious Excitement

In order for an idea to turn in a profitable venture, other people must buy into it. This potentially includes investors, partners, and employees. It always includes buyers. Therefore, the best entrepreneurs seem to know how to let their infectious excitement for the project rub off on other people.


While having the 12 traits described above are not absolutely mandatory to successful entrepreneurship, they are traits shared by many of the most famous and most successful entrepreneurs of all time.


entrepreneur picture quote


  1. Thank u Joel for doing what u do. I’m 27 year’s old and recently me and a friend quit our jobs and relocated from Texas to the Philippines to be centrally located in Asia. Its been less then a month since I left the states to follow my dream of starting a import / export business that caters to Americans. From time to time I become home sick and depressed but ur website re ignites that fire that helps keep me going and helps keep things in perspective. I thank u for what u do and may God continue to bless u and ur team around u. Thank u so much for what u do. U make people like me feel not alone.

    Jose Herrera

    • Such a bold move. Good on you Jose. Thank you for leaving that comment, it means a lot to me 🙂
      Much success to you sir! Best of luck with your import/export business.

    • Hello Jose, I amverygladthatyouand your friends chose Philippines to have an import/export business Just want to ask are a Filipino?

    • @ben karume; u heard of the saying, ” when the student is ready the teacher will appear” ? What u want is what u get. It’s all up to you buddy! 🙂

  2. I agree with Daniel – solid list! Especially #3, I feel that gets overlooked a lot. You gotta work hard. Really Hard!

    Hope you don’t mind, but I shared this on my blog.

  3. Hi Joel,

    I’ve always been a hugely creative person, full of ideas throughout my life. But in the past a lack of confidence has held me back.

    No anymore! As i grow everyday I see I’ve always maintained the qualities in your list but never believed in myself. I’ve self-sabotaged for years. But I’m now making up for lost time FAST!

    Thanks for another great read


  4. Great article, but Next was not a complete flop. It was acquired by Apple and a great part of OS X is based on NextStep, the OS that was made for the Next Computers


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