Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur? For the longest time, it seemed like academic excellence and business savvy were musts. However, there’s been an interesting flip in the influencer and media rhetoric highlighting entrepreneurs who never even finished (or started) college. 

This new perspective has given confidence to a whole new breed of entrepreneurs that share characteristics more to do with personality and determination than they do with book-smarts and business expertise. And even if you have no desire to start your own business, these traits can be employed by anyone to help you excel in any opportunity.


Successful entrepreneurs tend to have a long term goal, an overarching sense of purpose, and a good gut sense of the direction of their industry. Strategic and long-term goal planning and management are essential to a solid business plan. After all, you can’t get to your destination if you don’t know where you’re heading. On the flip side, sometimes entrepreneurs can be so focused on their goals that they don’t have the interest or patience to tend to the detail-intensive steps they must take along the way. Or they may find that managing their team is a distraction and keeps them from focusing on their ultimate objective. That’s where supportive and detail-oriented managers and employees can help them on the road to victory.


Many times, it is sheer passion that drives entrepreneurs into successful territory.  Simply put, many entrepreneurs are successful because they love what they do, and work tirelessly to achieve their goals. In fact, they may not consider their endeavors to be “work,” because they find it pleasurable and satisfying to see their dreams start to turn into realities. There’s an old saying that says, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,” which seems to define how entrepreneurs greet each day: with energy and enthusiasm. As an added bonus, their passion for work can be both contagious and inspiring, which in turn can motivate their team to work harder and remain dedicated. Just keep in mind, entrepreneurs can be so focused on their work that they forget to make room for other important things in their lives, and can become workaholics.  


Persistent determination and courage are also qualities held by many entrepreneurs.  They are unfazed when things don’t go their way. Instead of seeing setbacks or rejections as problems, entrepreneurs consider them as opportunities to transform a negative into a positive. There are many stories of entrepreneurs whose first business attempts fail, but with repeated efforts and persistence are eventually rewarded with success. Consider Milton Hershey’s entrepreneurial journey. Before founding The Hershey Company, the creator of the world famous chocolate bar started three candy companies, all of which failed. Or James Dyson, who created more than 5,000(!!) bagless vacuum prototypes over the course of 15 years(!!) before landing on a design that actually worked. Which leads us to the next quality shared by many entrepreneurs…

Open Mindedness

Just because an idea fails doesn’t mean it can never work. It may just need some tweaks and revisions. Or maybe it does indeed need a complete re-do. Either way, the important thing is to stay open to new ideas. Mark Cuban eventually found his way to success and great fortune, but not without a few stumbles along the way. In fact, his first business was selling…wait for it…powdered milk. He thought it would be a surefire hit with consumers due to its cost effectiveness. Needless to say, this first venture quickly went sour (pun intended), but his willingness to take a chance on a less than glamorous product ultimately became his first step on the road to great achievement.  His ability to stay open to different ideas and quickly pivot after his first plan didn’t work out served him well in the long run. Additionally, an open minded attitude enables entrepreneurs to identify new approaches and solutions to issues when they arise. In a team setting, staying open enables entrepreneurs to embrace the different ideas and perspectives of others on their team that may help propel business forward.


There will always be occasional bad days for everyone, even business owners. As the old saying goes, “Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you.” Instead of letting these off days create a feeling of defeat and hopelessness, many entrepreneurs can shake off doubts, mistakes and rejections, and forge ahead. This resilience is key to achieving and maintaining success. Approaching each day as a fresh start helps people avoid burnout and stay motivated.

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. It can be a wild ride, with lots of ups and downs. Even if you don’t naturally have the personality of an entrepreneur, developing these traits can help anyone stand out from the pack and achieve success, whether it’s running a thriving business, or being an extraordinary employee.


Are you or is someone you know an entrepreneur? Which of these characteristics can you relate to? Leave a comment below!

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