The literature around “how to be successful” is plentiful, yet there is no magic solution to guarantee an entrepreneur’s success. You can learn from biographies and case studies, but following the same exact steps as — and even mimicking qualities to — other successful entrepreneurs doesn’t mean the outcome will match.
There are, however, certain traits and behaviors that are more rewarding when pursuing an entrepreneurial project. With just three questions, we have categorized the different qualities of effective entrepreneurs.
What Drives You?
Entrepreneurs are passionate, confident, and optimistic. To deal with uncertainty every day, an entrepreneur must have the personal drive to keep going. This persistence — even stubbornness — allows an entrepreneur to build momentum and continue toward their goal.
As forward-thinkers, entrepreneurs have discipline to get their work done. Working for themselves, they are responsible for dictating their own schedules and tasks. Whether it’s with an inherent drive to get work done or using tools to encourage productivity, an entrepreneur is motivated.
An entrepreneur’s clear vision also comes with a level of competitiveness that drives them to work quickly. Standing out from a crowd can be tricky, especially in the oversaturated marketplace of startups and small companies. Competitiveness helps drive an entrepreneur to putting themselves out there.
How Do You Approach Problems?
An entrepreneur is open-minded and always learning. There’s a balance of confidence and humility that allows an entrepreneur to seek new knowledge and be willing to learn every step of the way.
What makes an entrepreneur is an idea, a creative solution to a problem they have identified is a relatively common pain point. This creativity matches a self-starter attitude. Anyone can think of an idea, but an entrepreneur runs with it.
Entrepreneurs also have a high standard of ethics. With today’s demanding level of transparency and visibility, those who built their companies without a regard to business ethics eventually meet their downfall. Integrity makes an entrepreneur reliable and trustworthy, which is a significant consideration for investors.
How Do You Work?
Entrepreneurs are biased toward action; they are action-oriented. Starting a new venture has no patience, although an entrepreneur still must observe good judgment with their decisiveness.
Given the unpredictable nature of the startup world, an entrepreneur must be adaptable. Each day will bring about new challenges and opportunities, and an entrepreneur needs to be ready to tackle whatever emerges.
Lastly, and possibly most importantly, and entrepreneur is fearless. Startup failure rate is high, and an entrepreneur must be unafraid to take risks in order to build their idea into a viable venture.
Part of this exercise is knowing — and being honest with — yourself. To approach it with a more objective perspective, cognitive assessments and personality tests may help you better understand how you think and act. But don’t worry if this list of traits doesn’t fully describe you. Even if it doesn’t partially describe you, it doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t be an entrepreneur. Find a partner and build a team; most ventures can’t be pursued alone.