What It Takes to Be an Entrepreneur
February 1, 2017
Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?
After combing through the myriad of lists posted by publications such as Forbes, Business Insider, and Entrepreneur Magazine that included characteristics such as: tenacity, passion, vision, creativity, inquisitiveness, integrity, etc., I started asking myself:
What do these characteristics really mean? What does it really take to be an entrepreneur? Are these traits inherent or learned? Some of the lists contained 25 traits, while others contained only seven. So, what traits do all entrepreneurs share?
This may not be a popular view, but being an entrepreneur isn’t something one decides to be; entrepreneurs are born. I’ve known a number of entrepreneurs and am one myself. There are many characteristics we have in common, but there are four that ALL entrepreneurs share:
- Comfortable with discomfort — discomfort is common when starting a business or an endeavor. It may result from a weak revenue stream, having to make decisions without the benefit of cycles of data, or simply a lack of sleep. Regardless of the issue, discomfort plays a dominant role during any start-up period.
- Adaptable — starting a business or endeavor requires one to be adaptable because change can, and does, happen on a regular basis, sometimes on a daily basis. Whether a business model has to be changed to reflect a changing industry, consumer, regulation, sudden growth, or a shortage of cash, etc., entrepreneurs view this as part of the deal.
- Creative — being creative involves thinking differently, and entrepreneurs are creative by nature, whether their idea is unique or their approach to their idea is unique. Creativity may even come into play in the process the entrepreneur takes to develop and grow the business/endeavor. Their creative mind allows them to find alternative funding options, marketing solutions, and possibly even distribution channels.
- Motivated — all entrepreneurs are highly motivated. This trait helps them push through tough times, lack of sleep, indecision, hurdles, etc., that all new business and endeavors encounter.
So, do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Keep in mind that you don’t have to start a new business to be considered an entrepreneur. Your approach to your current job, even when that involves working for someone else, can be entrepreneurial. That spirit allows you to think outside the box to solve difficult problems, navigate through a budget crisis, launch a new product, respond to new regulations, hire new talent, and the list goes on.
Embrace your entrepreneurial spirit!
Anne Converse Willkomm
Director, Graduate Studies