The pandemic has been a facilitator to so many people to start their own side hustle and action their business ideas. Working from home has been the perfect facilitator for entrepreneurs to execute their ideas and hone in on the personality traits it takes to be a successful one. The traits that are needed by an entrepreneur are similar to the ones that were needed when adjusting to a new global style of working. From resilience to thinking on your feet, the common traits found in an entrepreneur are, more often than not, one of the key reasons they are successful.
Side hustles and the end goal of being your own boss is not as far fetched as it may have one day seemed. The accessibility to a range of diverse resources has become a catalyst for so many people to get a footing in their desired industry, but it is the commitment and personality that keep a business going and in with a chance of being a successful venture. There are entrepreneurs all around the world and there are still similar traits that we see tunnelling through them.
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What is an entrepreneur?
In order to understand the personality of an entrepreneur, it is important to outline what one actually is. An entrepreneur is someone who develops an idea and manages a business and takes on the risks of doing so. This includes the financial aspects and the day to day operations, so is very different from working as an employee.
The definition of an entrepreneur isn’t set in stone as the way that people operate in business and their motivations are ever-changing, but the primary defining factor of an entrepreneur is the personal risk that is taken on, which is what makes it such a big commitment to go into. Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone and is it all depends on the person as to whether or not they are willing to put in what is initially demanded by a business in the beginning stages of a venture.
When thinking of an entrepreneur, there is often a very glamorous picture painted as the profits and results of running your own business can be high, but many people often forget about the initial grind that comes before success. It is in the initial stages of a business where the common personality traits of an entrepreneur really shine through and it is often debated that a successful entrepreneur comes down to the personality and understanding that entrepreneurship will very much be a primary part of your life at the beginning and the time you dedicate to it will often be a reflection of how well it does in the future.
Traditional Entrepreneurs Vs Social Entrepreneurs
Just as there are an array of business ideas out there in the world, there is also an array of entrepreneur traits that are seemingly common amongst entrepreneurs. The diversity in the traits that are seen within entrepreneurs is reflective of the types of ventures that they want to be involved in and wish to make a change within. The results that entrepreneurs wish to see are quite commonly the motivating factor for them to continue to chip away at their venture and stick with an idea or product that they believe in, for whatever their motivating end goal may be. These traits can often be categorised between being a traditional entrepreneur and a social entrepreneur.
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A traditional entrepreneur is a person who creates a business centralised around building something which is predominantly motivated by financial gain. This means that this type of entrepreneur creates their business around an idea that has perceived value and opportunity. Traditional entrepreneurs have often come from an educational background or from learning a skilled trade which provides clarity to the service that they provide. The main goal is to make as much money as possible. For example, learning from others to set up your own long-lasting restaurant business. This can mean that even if you have no prior knowledge about a sector, you can learn the skill and educate yourself in this way to establish a business which then can go on and be profitable to you.
A social entrepreneur is very much motivated by social gain, more so than profit. The positive impact that a social entrepreneur envisions when actioning a business idea continues to fuel the reason for them to keep on working. An example of social entrepreneurship is within microfinance institutions. These types of banking services provide banking to the unemployed and low-income individuals who, in any other circumstance, may not have access to any other financial services, so this type of baking makes financial options available to a wider range of people. Social entrepreneurs, often head up educational programmes and help underserved areas and communities. These types of ventures are often carried out to fill the gaps that these types of entrepreneurs see in the world when it comes to social injustice, and is the motivation they need to continue working on their venture.
The common traits of an entrepreneur
As the categories of entrepreneurs are so varied, so are the traits that are seen within the business world. However, there are some tunnelling traits that are seen by entrepreneurs that highlight the commonality between them when it comes to personality. Being an entrepreneur is a lifestyle and is very much understood by most successful entrepreneurs. It is a contrasted way of working compared to working for someone else. You are sticking with your guns and following through with an idea that most likely would have started as a conversation or maybe even a shower thought. To continue to execute an idea that you believe in and want to see results from takes certain personality traits to be able to stick with it.
Walking the walk and not just talking the talk
One of the running traits with entrepreneurs is essentially cemented in an entrepreneur’s personality repertoire is actually actioning their business idea and venture. Diving in and giving it a go is where many people actually fail before they’ve even begun. Actually putting their ideas and thoughts into an empirical plan is key and essential to being a successful business owner and entrepreneur.
As entrepreneurship is a lifestyle, this way of living and taking risks is part and parcel of this way of life and navigating that is part of the challenge. Carrying out a calculated plan stimulated the logical side of the brain for many entrepreneurs and many gain experience this way – by doing. By creating an environment in which entrepreneurs can challenge themselves and execute their ideas, they are leaning into the go-getter attitude and personality trait that is apparent in many successful business owners.
It is not uncommon to find that entrepreneurs often have their hands in lots of pots and are constantly growing, discovering and remaining curious. The way that they operate is by doing, and the fear of trying new things is something that is not an obstacle. By combing a pragmatic school of thought with the ability to take risks, trying an idea and knowing it failed, is significantly better than pondering whether an idea would work at all in the life of an entrepreneur. Making concrete moves as a way to action a business plan is a common trait for entrepreneurs and is shown in their ‘walk the walk’ attitude.
Passion is key
The risks that an entrepreneur take are very apparent and is often a primary reason that not everyone chooses to start their own business. It’s hard work! When taking the leap into entrepreneurship, you are dedicating your time, finances and risking the stability that you would normally get when in employment, and even though the rewards you reap down the line may be lucrative, you’ve got to be willing to stick with your venture. Being an expert in a certain field is all fair and well, but when it comes to starting a business, there has to be a passion, as this will ensure that you stay motivated to do what you need to do for the sake of your business.
Having and showcasing passion about an idea is predominant with social entrepreneurs as they are often working parallel with a cause that they care about, but even if your passion is making money, this can be the drive that you need in order to stay on top of your venture needs. During the infancy of your entrepreneurship, there will be the feeling of climbing an uphill battle as you will be laying the groundwork for your business and foundation, so staying driven is important.
To test if you are truly passionate about your business, you need to explore why you want to pursue this business and what your goals are? What is your driver? Is it a cause you are passionate about and believe in or is making a profit and having an uncapped salary opportunity? By exploring your idea, and keeping your reasoning in the front of your mind is key to being able to stick to it and plays a huge part in the personality of an entrepreneur and will often be something that you turn to when things aren’t going as expected within your business.
Resilience is king
If entrepreneurship meant that everything was certain then everyone would be doing it, but even the most successful entrepreneurs have encountered failure at some stage in their life and most certainly will do again. No matter how big or small that failure is, facing it head-on is important which is why resilience is a common train seen in entrepreneurs.
Carrying on with your venture and finding ways to renavigate what you initially thought was going to go well, can feel like a kick in the teeth, but taking lessons from failures and not letting them reduce your enthusiasm or passion is what separates successful entrepreneurs from those who give up. Being resilient means the ability to withstand and recover quickly from certain situations and when being an entrepreneur there is a range of situations you will find yourself having to adapt within. For example, if your business idea is launching a new product and your initial stick doesn’t sell as rapidly as you thought it would, you have to think about how you will rework your stock in a way that will sell, this might mean selling at a loss as a way to gain more traction to your website which will help future sales, but that will be your call to make. Ultimately bouncing back and being resourceful is what is going to help you as an entrepreneur.
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Resilience is just a piece of the puzzle when it comes to the ever-changing nature of entrepreneurship and works in harmony with being flexible. Adapting and being flexible to the ins and outs of entrepreneurship is where most development often happens. Being able to cater to the challenges and changes that happen within a business is crucial and more often than not the way your business commands results will be slightly different to your initial business plan.
Being flexible doesn’t mean you will be compromising your initial idea, but it will mean that you are able to make adjustments as an entrepreneur to ensure your idea works as a venture. Leaning into these changes will not only make you more adaptable but will also make you think in a different way and find solutions to things that may come up as a problem.
Working on a flexible mindset is a common trait amongst entrepreneurs and ensures that you won’t fear change, but instead will work with it for the benefit of your business. You can utilise and develop your skillset by being flexible within your business and getting an understanding of the types of people who engage with your business idea and venture. By considering other options and ideas you are ultimately setting yourself up to give yourself the best chance at making this business work.
Staying motivated is ultimately what keep entrepreneurs going and persevering through the tough calls that they will have to make during the infancy of their business and even later down the line. Being motivated doesn’t necessarily equate to wanting to do every task that you know you have to, everyone always has things they don’t like doing, but it’s having the discipline to continue.
Running a business venture isn’t always going to be plain sailing and a common entrepreneurial personality trait is self-motivation. As you are not bound by the traditional working expectations as you are when you are an employee, you are in charge of your day and how to get the most out of your hours. This in itself can be hard for many people to get a grasp of, but having the motivation to jump into the hustle every day and commit to your idea will result in you learning the most out of your business and setting yourself up with the best chance to thrive and be successful with your idea.
Entrepreneurs are known to get a grasp on their day by starting early. This isn’t to say this is the only way to navigate your day is by waking up at the crack of dawn, but making the most out of your time and the time the day has to offer you is a common trait amongst entrepreneurs. This would be connected back to your passion and tapping back into your why which is why it is important to ensure that you’re certain in your passions.
Creativity means results
Talking about creativity can often lead to an image of being an excellent artist or the world’s best piano player, but in the world of entrepreneurship, it means making the most out of an opportunity and seeing something that maybe others don’t.
When it comes to your business venture, staying creative and leaning into your ideas is key to the success of an entrepreneur. Having a vision and using your skill set to execute it is what sets entrepreneurs apart from the crowd. Creativity stems from seeking opportunity and knowing what is a good opportunity for you to execute. Seeing a gap or a way to solve a problem for a consumer is what creativity is all about. Taking an idea and believing in it will mean that you are more likely to stick to it as an entrepreneur and find innovative ways to make it work.
Professor of the Practice, Management Science and Engineering, Tina Seelig teaches creative problem solving to her students at Stanford University. The importance of being able to see and visualise something that doesn’t exist yet is a common trait amongst entrepreneurs and could be the make or break of your venture. Being able to apply imaginative solutions to problems is a way to tap into the other skills that you develop as an entrepreneur and keep things exciting.
Being creative allows an entrepreneur to be open-minded and be able to receive and navigate ideas in a way that would be good for the business. Creativity can be a way to spark productivity and an entrepreneur can relish in it and be able to gain some positives from it.
Gift of the Gab
Knowing how to communicate your idea and network with people is key to being an entrepreneur. The way you sell your venture and get it out to the right audience is what will ensure that a business is successful. Being able to speak to a diverse set of people is a common trait that entrepreneurs have and meeting the right person at the right time can be what it takes for your business to propel in the direction that you want it to. It is important that the vision you have for your business is clear and you can answer any question that people may throw your way. This could be with potential investors, potential customers or clients and even to people who are simply interested in what you have to say.
Communication is not only needed when speaking about your idea to other people in your circle but is important for when you begin expanding your team. Your leadership style will be reflected in the way that you relay your expectations of your workers. Being open to suggestions and establishing a fair working environment is something that many people do not anticipate when setting up their business.
The importance of being able to talk to people is primary, as the types of people encountered as and entrepreneurs are often widely different to the friendship groups. Learning how to adapt to a variety of situations can lead to a lot of doors being opened, by simply outlining your venture in a clear way. Entrepreneurs are known for knowing how to talk and can be known as having the gift of the gab.
Having the tenacity and audacity to action things that people would normally be fearful of, is a common personality trait amongst successful entrepreneurs. Asking questions and seeking out opportunities that to others may seem far fetched is something that results in success for lots of entrepreneurs. Just going for it will mean that you have nothing to lose and the worst thing that can happen is that somebody says no and you wouldn’t have lost out on anything. Being determined and not easily put off will all contribute to the tenacious aspect of an entrepreneur and be seen as a noticeable trait amongst them.
Entrepreneurship is no easy task and deciding to embark on a journey as an entrepreneur will, most likely, surface these personality traits. An entrepreneur has to take on a lot of responsibility and by navigating the opportunities that come their way, will be able to take action ways that will evolve their business in a positive way and in turn evolve themselves.