Successful Traits Of An Entrepreneur – Successful ER doctors must be intelligent and calm under pressure. Successful triathletes must be goal oriented and driven. Successful songwriters must be creative. What about entrepreneurs? Entrepreneurship is an interesting field and often raises the debate as to whether successful entrepreneurs are born with early qualities or whether they can also be learned/developed over time. Rather than get into that debate, I thought I’d share what I see as the eight most common personas of successful entrepreneurs.
I don’t know what the research says but, in my opinion, the most important benefits are learning more about yourself, the inherent assets you have and also the gaps and blind spots you have. With this knowledge, you can better understand why you make decisions the way you do and can best surround yourself with others who bring different and valuable perspectives to the table while filling your key gaps.
Successful Traits Of An Entrepreneur
To use the example already mentioned, successful ER doctors must be both intelligent and calm under pressure. But these are only prerequisites. Every successful doctor in the emergency room has other traits of his personality that contribute greatly to his personal success and these traits vary greatly between the different successful doctors. I suggest it’s the same with successful entrepreneurs – necessary prerequisites and more unique nuances.
Infographic: 5 Qualities Of Every Great Entrepreneur
As you build your founding team and then your broader management team, you should aim for a complementary mix of strengths and personalities. Can you imagine how poorly a professional basketball team would perform if all they had were aggressive 3 point shooters. If only founders and managers join you who think and behave like you, you will build a company that cannot be trusted to shoot 3-point shots but cannot dribble, shoot free throws or layups, play defense or manage the clock. And this team is not going to win any game, let alone the championships.
Note: Building a diverse founding team will also greatly increase the strength of your founding principles. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out my article on the subject titled “Founding Principles – Do You Have Them?”
This article deals with personas, which most describe as variations from personality traits. A persona is more of a social role or character made up of a collection of traits. Some of these traits can be personality traits, but not all.
I do want to briefly acknowledge that certain personality traits offer advantages to entrepreneurs. The ones I usually see are listed below:
Successful Entrepreneurs Share These Five Traits According To Research
I’m sure you’ve seen other positive personality traits and I believe many of the successful personas you’ll see below incorporate at least some of these personality traits. Now let’s get to those personas.
Now let’s explore my assessment of the 8 personas most portrayed by successful entrepreneurs. I guess the word “successful” can mean different things to different people. For me it is best represented by the following two features:
As you read the following personas, realize that you probably display characteristics of pluralism. This is neither good nor bad because the benefit of this personal assessment is not to feel good about yourself but to understand yourself in the context of being a successful entrepreneur. First try to identify your most dominant persona and then see if others seem to describe you as well.
The personas listed are not in ranked order and are purely my estimation from providing personal advice to over 1,000 entrepreneurs and growth.
Psychological Traits Of Successful Entrepreneurs
Hysterics are always busy and are often referred to as “workaholics”. They are full of energy, move fast and to support this pace, they are very quick to make decisions. A startup’s most valuable resource is time (see related article titled “Your Most Valuable Resource”) and Hustlers help optimize available time (aka “runway”).
Warnings – Hostels often act without thinking and make decisions with very few data points. If they don’t also have a high degree of natural common sense, they can create a lot of unnecessary chaos.
Inventing a life between the gaps of mainstream society. They like to create new things and like to be told “it can’t be done”. Inventors are willing to shoot many arrows, knowing that only a small subset will likely hit the target. But it’s the process of starting from nothing and creating something that drives them.
Caveats – Inventors are so rewarded by creating something new that they often don’t care if the thing they invent solves a real problem that someone is willing to pay money to solve.
Characteristics & Traits Of An Entrepreneur
Researchers are curious and driven by their inner need to constantly learn. They like to get answers to the question “why” and this desire gives them a strong sense of drive and persistence. Researchers like to experiment to see what happens and this gives them a tolerance, and even enjoyment, for taking risks.
Caveats – Explorers often get so excited about the journey and their ability to learn along the way that they lose sight of the need to reach the destination. They can also drift towards perfectionism and this can be crippling for a startup.
Visionaries are creative and have an artistic way of thinking. They can see the big picture and are able to think big. It also means that visionaries often spot opportunities that others cannot easily see.
Caveats – Although some visionaries are also able to connect the dots between their current state and their projected future state, many are not good at explaining the necessary steps along this path. Visionaries mainly consume “where we are going” and not “how we will get there”.
Characteristics Of A Great Entrepreneur
Evangelicals see things that others do not, which means they have visionary qualities of a certain kind. They have an inherent ability to be contagious with their excitement and conviction, which gives them charisma. Because of this, they can be the company’s best spokesperson and salesperson – both internally and externally.
Caveats – Evangelists can easily become frustrated if/when others don’t see what they see. They can also become so fixated and obsessed with their current mantra that they turn off their various senses and it can be dangerous if it turns out that they have been steered in the wrong direction.
Scrappys are obsessed with “doing shit”. They are resourceful, efficient and flexible. And they don’t hesitate to cut corners or break rules to meet their goals. They are one of your main “go to’s” in times of meltdown because they can do a lot with a little and don’t care about job titles or stated roles and responsibilities.
Warnings – Scrappys don’t always take good direction and can step on their drummer. If they are not oriented in the same direction as the rest of the company, they will create chaos and rework. Get ready to sweep up broken glass left behind by Scrappys.
Character Traits Common To Successful Entrepreneurs
Unstoppable they are confident and fearless. Because of this, they are another “go to” resource in times of collapse and also good salespeople. The Unstoppables are resilient and have no problem wiping themselves off after a setback and getting right back into the game.
Warnings – Unstoppables are usually poor listeners and mostly unable to process the word “no”. Even if they hear it, they can’t process it and that means they can bang their head against the same wall over and over again until someone else manages to get them in another unstoppable direction.
Conservatives are logical and analytical by nature. Their actions are first calculated and only then decisive. Conservatives are strong planners and like things to be organized and process-oriented. They are usually self-aware in a way that leverages all of their senses and this also makes them strong collaborators.
Caveats – Although conservatives are good at leveraging their various senses, this comes at the expense of ignoring the intuition of their heart and gut. Additionally, their desire for order and process can make them very frustrated in the early days when pivots, strategy changes, and chaos are the norm.
Solution: Traits And Characteristics Of Entrepreneur
Best Complementing Personas – Although Conservatives are listed as a good complement to most of the other personas listed, they themselves are best complemented by Hastlers and Visionaries.
Before reading further, I would love to understand which personas you personally identify with the most. Please take the short survey below and feel free to click the link at the bottom to see how you compare to the summarized results.
It should come as no surprise that there are many personality traits and personas that do not lend themselves well to success as an entrepreneur. I won’t list them all but the ones I see most frequently in the startup world.
The graphic below helps explain this best. At the extreme left and right are personality traits that can kill a startup venture, if exhibited by one or more of the founders. The middle is where I find that many entrepreneurs drift back and forth. This is also where I sometimes have to step in as the sage advisor and bash an entrepreneur a bit.
Typical Traits Of A Successful Entrepreneur
There is a fine line between confidence and nervousness. majority
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