What makes an entrepreneur isn’t so much the business itself but what an entrepreneur does within. Within the business itself and who they are as a person to be more exact.
This is something I believe in now after starting as a writer in 2015 and devoting my time since then to build a business. Over the years, I’ve looked over various articles, other entrepreneurs, and spoke with a variety of people. These things shifted my perspective. Furthermore, it showed me particular traits that I would consider makes an entrepreneur – and a successful one at that.
When you think of great entrepreneurs, many commonly turn to people like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. For me, I’m looking at the people you don’t even know the name of.
Yes, those individuals are shining examples that people fawn over, but they are outliers in so many ways. Chances are we will never end up in their positions and frankly, I would prefer to never be in their positions. Instead, it’s smarter for us to be looking at entrepreneurs within our communities. The ones that are providing great entry doors for sale in Toronto or other products in your city.
The reason for that is simple: these individuals are compassionate individuals.
They didn’t get into business to make billions of dollars, destroy the planet, exploit their workers, and then start a space company to run away from the problems. Compassionate entrepreneurs are those who are looking after their team similar to how a manager should be acting like.
Compassion also is transferred to customers where entrepreneurs would listen to feedback, and try to make their community a better place.
In a recent blog post on Medium, I mentioned how entrepreneurs are the type of people who think of solutions to problems and sees what sticks. In order for them to do that in the first place, entrepreneurs need to have a bit of creativity.
What makes an entrepreneur is someone who is happy with experimenting to a degree and focuses on getting solutions out as quickly as possible and make them as often as possible.
There is still a level of quality to them of course, but often speed or practices like rapid prototyping is the way of the game.
Another foundational trait that makes an entrepreneur is discipline. After all, you’re going into business and as a result, you’re losing out on a lot of systems that your 9 to 5 job has.
Even if you’re doing it part-time and you’re starting with a hobby, having discipline is going to be essential. Even if it’s something that you love doing, there is a big difference between trying to make money with it and doing it for the fun of it. Discipline allows you to stay focused, make processes, and create systems that you can put your mind through to get things done.
Stemming from the first point, what makes an entrepreneur is someone empathetic. Compassion stems from a willingness to understand people. Empathy is a result of relating to people or willing to make those connections.
Entrepreneurs don’t necessarily need to be vulnerable, however, they are the type to be providing solutions that actually work and are willing to go the distance to do that.
This translates not only to customers but to the people they interact with and their team.
How entrepreneurs portray this varies depending on the situation. In some cases you can call it openness as flexible entrepreneurs work with different companies, accept ideas from employees and things like that.
In other cases, it can be pivoting. There are different kinds of pivoting and each one has its own purpose for entrepreneurs.
Passion is a bit of a mixed bag for me as the self-improvement industry tends to use it in manipulative manners. Nevertheless, I do agree that passion does play some role in what makes an entrepreneur.
After all, if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing to solve a problem, how will you convince people to buy what you sell? How are you going to be able to keep doing what you are doing when you have no passion?
To be clear, being passionate about something isn’t necessary at the very start. I look at Youtubers who have made a living out of making videos. Many confessed that at the start, they had other reasons to do what they were doing or they were passionate about what they were doing right then and there.
That said, passion is still needed if you want to make it long term. If I wasn’t passionate about my writing, I would’ve stopped years ago after reading some of the terrible articles I wrote.
Instead, passion is what led me to look at those articles, figure out what I was doing wrong, seek new solutions, and find a whole new level of love and appreciation for my work.
What also makes an entrepreneur is their ability to take risks. I remember in the first class of entrepreneurship in university, my professor – an entrepreneur himself – wrote on the white board one word:
He followed up with a simple phrase: “If you are to go into business, you need to expect that you will fail.”
Even as a writer, where I faced virtually no start-up costs, there was still some risk involved. I left a job selling credit cards to people – a stable job – and threw everything into trying to make this work.
It didn’t. I failed and I had to move back to my parent’s home for several years.
Failure doesn’t mean that you business is closed and gone for good. Failures can be things like that where you make dumb decisions or you run into minor inconveniences.
The thing is, you run into those things whenever you take risks. You run into them a lot more when you are doing that.
So even if you’re planning on taking the safer route and are more risk-averse – such as myself – you still need to embrace the fact you need to take risks at times to get to where you want to go.
What I mean by this is that an entrepreneur will be able to communicate ideas, build rapport, and generally is nice and approachable to talk to.
All of these translate to networking skills, collaboration opportunities, new ideas, and someone who is confident in sharing ideas, insights, knowledge, and more.
Entrepreneurs have a very social aspect to them even in the case where you are flying solo. I still have to get out there and meet new people, chat with other people, sit in meetings, and engage with other people. All on a regular basis.
The more you weave yourself into communities, the easier it becomes for your business to thrive. After years of being independent and feeling like it’s me versus everyone else, I’ve learned what makes an entrepreneur is thinking we’re all in this together.
What Makes An Entrepreneur Is More Than You’d Expect
By no means is this the entire list of personality traits that you need to succeed. There are several others with people’s own hot takes on them. Furthermore, if you feel like some of those traits don’t fit you right now, don’t worry about it.
As people, we are all flexible individuals and can change on a dime if need be. Begin working little by little on those personality traits and refine yourself.
For me, it took a few years for that to happen and I’m still working on these aspects little by little. I chalk it up as part of my self-improvement journey.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon