This has become the Time of the Entrepreneur. Many people still in jobs today, waiting in the unemployment line, or relaxing at home without a job, have started thinking about becoming an entrepreneur.
Since 2020 and the Year of COVID, we have seen a great deal of movement in the business world. First, it was the massive layoffs due to the government shutdown of businesses around the world. Then, we faced the #GreatResignation in 2021, when businesses started to rebound but employees were leaving in droves. In mid-2022, we experienced a period of #QuietQuitting and many employees stuck it out in their dead-and and boring jobs by doing the bare minimum. And then, in late 2022, a slew of tech-giant layoffs saw many more employees losing their jobs.
Do you have what it takes to take a business idea and grow it into a series of successful products and services? Are you capable of building an organization and processes to support the effective and efficient delivery of these products and services?
Working with business leaders over the past 33 years, I have identified 10 traits that an entrepreneur must possess to be successful. If you do not possess these traits, recognize them as gaps that you need to work to close or reconsider your interest in becoming an entrepreneur.
As you review these ten traits, consider how you would rate them.
1. ENTREPRENEURS ARE COMFORTABLE WITH UNCERTAINTY.
Uncertainty is usually the result of the fear of the unknown. This causes tension and anxiety. The typical result is stress, which could be good or bad for the entrepreneur. If you constantly seek new changes and embrace the uncertainty of the unknown, you have mastered this trait.
2. ENTREPRENEURS ARE FINANCIALLY ABLE TO ACCEPT AN INTERMITTENT WAGE FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME.
Many people, coming from a steady hourly wage or an annual salary, struggle with this trait. When a new business starts out, it often deals with highs and lows in cash flow. This means an entrepreneur could go months without making any money, and then suddenly have a big sale, but then suffer through another dry patch. Good entrepreneurs learn how to budget and live frugally when starting out.
3. ENTREPRENEURS HAVE OFF-THE-CHARTS FOCUS AND DEDICATION.
To be really good at a job, you need to be passionate about it. Entrepreneurs turn their passion into an obsession. Stories of giants in the industry today amaze us when we learn that the founders slept in their offices, worked out of garages and sleazy motels, or even worse. Entrepreneurs sacrifice everything to make their idea a reality.
4. ENTREPRENEURS ARE EXPERTS AT HANDLING STRESS AND ANXIETY.
Do you know what they say about ducks on the water? They peacefully glide across the lake like it is effortless. Meanwhile, the duck’s feet are furiously paddling just below the surface of the water. Entrepreneurs are like ducks when it comes to stress and anxiety. Entrepreneurs, they operate much better than others in stressful situations, so they tend to seek it out.
5. ENTREPRENEURS ARE VISIONARY MASTERS THAT CAN EXCITE OTHERS IN THEIR VISION.
Being able to envision something out of nothing is a difficult trait for many people. Being able to communicate that vision to others is even more difficult. But exciting others to one’s vision is a whole different level.
6. ENTREPRENEURS CONTINUE WITH OPTIMISM IN THE FACE OF CONSTANT REJECTION.
Sylvester Stallone was rejected 1,500 times when trying to promote his script for the movie, Rocky. JK Rowling’s, Harry Potter, was rejected 12 times. As an entrepreneur, you need to be very comfortable with being told, “No.”
7. ENTREPRENEURS ARE IN TOP PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH.
As an entrepreneur, you will face long, grueling, and stressful days. If you are out of shape both physically and mentally, you will have a much tougher climb ahead of you. Constantly dealing with health-related issues will derail progress and could halt your efforts altogether. I worked with an entrepreneur in 2020 dealing with cancer. He would take calls while getting chemo treatments at the hospital. Unfortunately, he lost his battle with cancer and the company collapsed. If you are focusing on your health, you will not focus on the business.
8. ENTREPRENEURS ARE OUTGOING NETWORKING MAVENS.
A large part of starting a new business rests and relies on making strong and supportive connections. You know the phrase, “It takes a village.” This is especially true when starting a new business. You need to overcome any aversion to networking and speaking in public to be most effective. Entrepreneurs that cannot be the “face” of their new enterprise will not perform well.
9. ENTREPRENEURS SEEK OUT FAILURE.
The fear of failure will hold back any entrepreneur that cannot overcome it. So much so, that you need to actually embrace failure and make it a constant bedfellow. Failure means two things: 1) You set your sights higher than you could achieve, and 2) You are trying to achieve the sites you set. We learn bestthrough failure – look at Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and Benjamin Franklin. They did not just fail constantly, they relished failure, realizing that they just discovered another way that something could not be done. An entrepreneur must love to fail and learn from it.
10. ENTREPRENEURS HAVE A VERY STRONG BUSINESS ACUMEN AND KNOW THEIR LIMITATIONS.
The best entrepreneurs understand business. They know how to start, grow, scale, and improve a business. They also recognize what parts they are good at and what parts they are not good at. Armed with this knowledge, they surround themselves with the expertise needed to be successful. Those that have a “Do it yourself,” or an “I got this,” mindset, struggle.
Successful entrepreneurs rate extremely high in all of these ten areas. If there are only a few areas where you rate yourself low, then you need to seek assistance to strengthen these areas quickly. If you rated yourself low in several of these areas, then you need to reconsider your thoughts about becoming an entrepreneur altogether.