Wondering what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Well, unfortunately, there is not a manual on how to become a successful one but there are certainly some personality traits that most successful founders share. Let us delve into the most common 5 personality traits all entrepreneurs have.
If you are new to the startup world and think most entrepreneurs are in it for the money, let me stop you right there! Entrepreneurs are driven by passion. Money only gets you so far, but a passion to achieve your life-long dream will give you the extra push you need when going through difficult times, something you will definitely experience as a founder. Moreover, especially at early-stages, most entrepreneurs work endless hours for almost nothing so if your goal is to make money, you will quickly turn disappointed and eventually quit.
In an article for Forbes, Martin Zwilling (2015) argues that a lot of entrepreneurs are driven by extrinsic motivators: achieve fame, gain power, or become rich, when in fact they should be driven by intrinsic motivators. He lists among the most effective ones the following: Making a difference in the world, finding personal meaning from building a business, and the satisfaction of doing something great (1).
You will probably not be surprised by this one. Entrepreneurs are outside-the-box thinkers, they challenge the status quo and are always on the look-out for ways to improve existing products/services. Contrary to common belief, most innovations are not launched on new ideas, or what Harvard Professor Clay Christensen calls “disruptive innovations”, but on “sustaining innovations” (2). Indeed, the majority of startups are based on an improved product/service rather than a completely novel concept.
Another classic one. Entrepreneurs thrive outside their comfort zone, they do not see opportunities as risks but as rewards. They are willing to try out new concepts even though success is not guaranteed. Does this mean they are not scared of taking risks? No, they also experience fear but the difference lies in how they use that fear, namely as a motivator rather than a brake.
(1) Zwilling, M. (2015). Retrieved on 31/08/2020 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/martinzwilling/2015/08/27/6-top-motivations-that-drive-the-best-entrepreneurs/#3f52a9b726ff
(2) Christensen, C. M. (2013). The innovator’s dilemma: When new technologies cause great firms to fail. Harvard Business Review Press.