21 Key Traits of an Entrepreneur
Do You Have Them?
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❏ Today I will talk about 21 Key Traits of an Entrepreneur (Link)
We read about Entrepreneurs from around the world Daily. Entrepreneurs come in all shapes, sizes, sexes and world locations.
Some start their companies out of a simple shack. Others from their bedroom. Yet others from their garage or kitchen.
It’s likely each of us knows at least one Entrepreneur if not several. They’re our next door neighbor. Our work friend who just “quit” to work full-time in their new company. Our college friend who just got 10M USD from a Venture Capitalist.
You think “I can be an Entrepreneur too!”
But do you have the 21 Key Traits of an Entrepreneur that you need to be successful in your attempt? Keep reading to find out.
□ Trait #1: Risk-Taker
Remember the kid who would always be the first to leap off the cliff into the pond?
Or your friend who does extreme sports?
How about your neighbor who goes skydiving on weekends?
Or your colleague who quit their six-figure job to work full-time in their side-gig they’d been working at part-time for over a year?
These are but a few examples of risk takers.
What was your first thought on these examples? Did you think “these folks are crazy”? If you did, then you likely are missing #1 of the Key Traits of an Entrepreneur.
□ Trait #2: High Level of Confidence
Who is the most confident person you work with? Who is the second most confident person you know? Did you say “me”?
When you are given a challenging homework assignment how do you feel?
Do you worry about being able to figure it out and get it done on time?
Or, do you tell your friends you’re excited about this challenging assignment and are going to jump right in after class so you’re sure to get it done on time and you’re looking forward to learning something new?
You have an after-work softball game against a team that hasn’t lost a game all season. How do fell before the game? Are you worried about the likely embarrassment of losing? Or, do you verbally talk to your teammates and your friends about the exciting opportunity your team has to be the first team to beat your opponent?
If you don’t think of yourself as a person who exudes confidence at almost everything you take on, then you likely are missing #2 of the Key Traits of an Entrepreneur.
□ Trait #3: Resilience: Understands Failure Often Comes Before Success
Back in your 20’s you took a chance and went to work for a startup company. Within a year the company ran out of money and went out of business. It took you 3 months to find a new job.
How did you react?
Did you say “I’ll never work for a startup again”?
Or, did you say, “The company didn’t succeed, but I learned some new skills, made some new friends, and gave it my all, I want to find another startup and do this again”?
If failing leaves a bad taste in your mouth that you have great difficulty in quickly washing out, then you likely are missing #3 of the Key Traits of an Entrepreneur.
□ Trait #4: Determination
Your Dad was a great carpenter and you want to be like him. You decided to build a wood rocking chair. You spend four full weekends on your project.
You start by doing your research and buy the wood, glue, and tools you need. You find a schematic on the web. You cut, sand, glue, and stain the wood.
The rocker is finished. You have a big smile on your face.
You sit down in the rocker for the first time. The rocker falls apart and your backside hits the ground. How did you react?
Did you curse then gather up the parts of the broken rocker and toss it in the trash and yell “never again”?
Or, did you laugh, pick up the parts and say “back to the drawing board” and start over again?
If you’re not able to show the determination to keep trying at something until you get it right, then you likely are missing #4 of the Key Traits of an Entrepreneur.
□ Trait #5: Passionate
Most artists are poor, not rich. Most artists that you meet appear to be highly intelligent people that could be doing something else that makes them a lot of money, but they’re doing art.
Because they are passionate about their craft. Successful Entrepreneurs are the same. Look at an Entrepreneur like Elon Musk, Founder & CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. Would you agree Elon is Passionate? How about Steve Jobs, Founder & ex-CEO of Apple. Would you agree Steve is Passionate?
If you’re wondering whether you’re an Entrepreneur, ask yourself what you are passionate about. If the answer is not the company that you are thinking about quitting school or your job to pursue, then you likely are missing #5 of the Key Traits of an Entrepreneur.
□ Trait #6: Disciplined
Do you show up to work early or on-time every day without fail?
Do you put every task you are responsible for on your calendar with a time slot to do the task?
Are you able to skip dessert and eat a healthy diet in order to lose weight as you committed to yourself, without fail?
Do you get out of bed and go to church with your family every Sunday even on days you wake up “not feeling it”?
If you can’t answer “Yes” to these simple questions, then you likely are missing #6 of the Key Traits of an Entrepreneur.
□ Trait #7: Detail Oriented
When you start a new home or work project, do you just “jump right in”, or do you make a list of everything you need to be able to accomplish the task successfully “before you start”?
When you are addressing your Christmas cards, do you use last years list of addresses, or do you double check last years address list against your current address book so you can correct any old addresses first?
When you’re sending a written response to an important client, do you hurridly write it, or do you carefully craft each sentence, run spell and grammar check on it, then read it out loud in order to be sure it delivers the intended message correctly?
When you paint your house, do you say “one coat and done”, or do you use a bright light shined on each wall to look for spots you missed to touch up and then add a second coat if needed?
If you answered these questions with “Yes” to the first option on each, then you likely are missing #7 of the Key Traits of an Entrepreneur.
□ Trait #8: Gives Back
Do you help out at a local soup kitchen?
Do you work with an organization like Rebuilding Together?
Do you volunteer your time to help one or more charitable organizations?
Do you donate 5+% of your annual income to charitable organizations?
Do you independently or with others regularly help clean up trash around your neighborhood or city?
Are you a member of the national guard?
Can you name a single thing you do to give back to your city, county, state or nation?
If you honestly answered “No” to all or the majority of these questions, then you likely are missing #8 of the Key Traits of an Entrepreneur.
□ Trait #9: Networking Pro
Do you enjoy going to parties and meeting new people?
Do you actively seek to participate in community activities?
Are you a member of a religious organization or group that meets regularly?
Have you joined any MeetUp groups and attend them regularly?
Do you reach out monthly by email, phone or social media to people you see only a few time a year to stay in touch?
Do you have over 1000 contacts in your address book that you stay in contact with monthly?
If you honestly answered “No” to all or the majority of these questions, then you likely are missing #9 of the Key Traits of an Entrepreneur.
□ Trait #10: Strong at Selling
Have you mostly found it hard to get boy/girlfriends (or get the boy/girl you love to say “Yes”)?
Do you find it difficult to get your boss to give you the projects and responsibilities you ask them for?
Do you find it impossible to get the position on the softball team you really want each year?
Do you frequently miss or barely make your sales quota (if in a sales role)?
Do you cringe when you wake up knowing that you need to convince an employee who you think is about to resign to stay?
If you honestly answered “Yes” to all or the majority of these questions, then you likely are missing #10 of the Key Traits of an Entrepreneur.
□ Trait #11: Money Management Guru
Do you have more debt on your credit cards than you could pay off in full this month?
Do you have less than 3-months of living expenses saved?
If your car needed 3000 USD in repairs, would you need Mom or Dad to give you money so you could get your car fixed?
Do you find it impossible to save 10% of your pre-tax income each paycheck?
If you honestly answered “Yes” to all or the majority of these questions, then you likely are missing #11 of the Key Traits of an Entrepreneur.
□ Trait #12: Young in Heart and Spirit
At the beginning of each day, do you struggle and feel like an “old man/woman” getting out of bed, or do you “bounce” out of bed with a smile on your face?
Do you only interact with “people your age”, or do you interact regularly with people 1 – 20 -30 years younger than you?
Do you refer to persons as “old dude” or “youngster”, or do you treat persons of every age as equals?
If you honestly answered in the affirmative to the first option to all or the majority of these questions, then you likely are missing #12 of the Key Traits of an Entrepreneur.
□ Trait #13: Strong People Skills
Does your team refer to you as being their “boss” or being their “leader”?
Do you treat people differently based on their age, race, religion or sex, or do you treat everyone with which you interact as equals?
Do you talk disrespectfully about people behind their back, or do you respect each person for their plusses and minuses?
Do you go through the door first, or hold the door open for everyone you’re with and go through last?
Do you ignore a co-worker struggling with a problem you could help them solve, or do you volunteer to help them even if they don’t ask?
When you see a community problem do you just complain, or do you rally the community by reaching out and forming a team to tackle it?
If you honestly answered in the affirmative to the first option to all or the majority of these questions, then you likely are missing #13 of the Key Traits of an Entrepreneur.
□ Trait #14: Powerful Work Ethic
The trash cans at work are overflowing due to a janitorial strike. Do you ignore the issue as it’s not your job to empty the trash, or do you take time from your lunch break and empty all the trash cans into the dumpster?
A team member had to stay home with a sick child. They had a report that needed to be turned in that is on their desk. Do you ignore the issue and let the report languish on their desk, or do you find the report and turn it in for them?
You’re short-handed at work. Do you focus on getting your job done at your usual pace, or do you speed up your work process and do other tasks that are needed to be done?
You wake up with a headache. Do you decide to stay home in bed and watch TV all day, or do you get out of bed, take some aspirin, and report to work and be as productive as possible?
If you honestly answered in the affirmative to the first option to all or the majority of these questions, then you likely are missing #14 of the Key Traits of an Entrepreneur.
□ Trait #15: Goes the Extra Mile
You’re a volunteer coach on a softball team and your equipment person falls ill and lives an hour away from you. Tonight’s game will be forfeited if someone doesn’t go pick up and deliver the equipment to the team. Do you say “not my problem”, or do you jump into your car, pick up the equipment and deliver it in time for the game?
You’re the project manager. One of your staff has fallen behind and as a result, the project is going to be a week late if something is done. Do you tell your boss the project is going to be a week late, or do you jump in and help your team member catch up so the project is completed on time?
If you honestly answered in the affirmative to the first option to all or the majority of these questions, then you likely are missing #15 of the Key Traits of an Entrepreneur.
□ Trait #16: Naturally Competitive
You and your kid are going to both be playing some basketball after dinner. Do you focus solely on the “joy of doing something together”, or do you challenge him and yourself by keeping score?
You have a new project at work and 6-months to get it done. Do you lead your team to schedule their time and efforts to get the project finished “just in time”, or do you work with them to challenge them to see how quickly they can get the project completed through better planning and teamwork, with a small reward if they beat the schedule?
You go for a 5-mile run or walk every day. Do you ignore the amount of time it takes you to complete the run/walk, or do you track your time and try to get a little faster each day?
If you honestly answered in the affirmative to the first option to all or the majority of these questions, then you likely are missing #16 of the Key Traits of an Entrepreneur.
□ Trait #17: Humbleness: Naturally Shares the Spotlight
You completed a big project as the team leader. Your boss is telling you what an awesome job you did. The client is singing your praises. Do you smile and say “thank you, I worked really hard to get everything done on time and to exceed expectations”, or do smile and say “I’ll pass your kind words onto my team that deserves most of the thanks for this successful project”?
You’re the head coach of your softball team. You just won the championship game and reporters are all congratulating you and asking you how you pulled off this incredible season. You respond with “I pushed the team hard this year and demanded the best from them, and they delivered”, or do you respond, “Allow me to introduce you to the offensive and defensive head coaches to answer how they helped the players perform at their highest levels”?
If you honestly answered in the affirmative to the first option to all or the majority of these questions, then you likely are missing #17 of the Key Traits of an Entrepreneur.
□ Trait #18: Self-Starter
When do you get out of bed on your days off?
Whatever time you randomly wake up?
Or, do you set your alarm early so you can get the list of projects done?
There’s a new project at work getting started.
Do you wait for the project leader to tell you what to do?
Or, do you meet with the project lead early and present them with a set of responsibilities that you want to take on?
If you prefer to get out of bed on your days off whenever you happen to wake up, and you always wait for your boss to tell you what needs to be done, then you likely are missing #18 of the Key Traits of an Entrepreneur.
□ Trait #19: Natural Curiosity
As a kid, you saw an old TV and Mixer that someone had put out on the side of the road. Did you ignore it and keep walking, or did you go get your wagon, bring both to your home in order to take them apart and see how they worked?
Do you “never or rarely” read non-fiction books to learn new things, or are you a copious consumer of many forms of reading material in order to learn new things constantly?
You’re walking along a stream. Do you focus on getting to your destination, or do you stop frequently to pick things up and explore items of interest?
If you honestly answered in the affirmative to the first option to all or the majority of these questions, then you likely are missing #19 of the Key Traits of an Entrepreneur.
□ Trait #20: Delegator
You just got your first assignment as a project lead. Do you assign all the fun parts of the project to yourself and give the more menial tasks to your team, or do you learn what the strengths and interests each team member has and assign tasks accordingly, keeping what’s left over for yourself to do?
You’re in charge of a community trash pickup group of 15 persons. Do you look at everyone and say “OK, let’s go pick up trash”, or do you assign trash pickup duties based on the physical capabilities and general interests of each person?
If you honestly answered in the affirmative to the first option to all or the majority of these questions, then you likely are missing #20 of the Key Traits of an Entrepreneur.
□ Trait #21: Open-Minded: Listens More than Talks
When you’re at a party and talking with a group. Do you try to “talk more than 50% of the time”, or do you try to listen to others 75+% of the time and encourage others to speak by asking questions?
There is a problem with a client. You pull the team together. Do you tell them what they need to do to solve the client’s issue, or do you present the client’s issue, ask each person to share their ideas on possible solutions, then work with them to choose the best solution?
A friend comes to you with a problem. They are explaining the problem in a long-winded manner. Do you interrupt them and tell them how to fix the problem, or do you listen quietly to them explain the issue until they’ve finished talking, then ask any clarifying questions before responding?
Would people who know you well describe you as an “active talker” or an “active listener”?
If you honestly answered in the affirmative to the first option to all or the majority of these questions, then you likely are missing #21 of the Key Traits of an Entrepreneur.
Related: New Years Resolutions or Tasks – Which Should You Set? (Link)
Conclusion – 21 Key Traits of an Entrepreneur
OK, that’s it for this post. If you have questions, reach out. I’m here to help.
I hope I have educated you on the ways in which you can determine if you have the 21 Key Traits of an Entrepreneur (Link) that you will need to achieve success as an Entrepreneur. If you’re missing a couple of them, likely you can still succeed. If you’re missing even more, then you should really think hard before you take the plunge into Entrepreneurship. Being an Entrepreneur is not for everyone, even if you want it to be. For those that lack several of these listed attributes, finding success will be a great challenge, if not impossible.
If you do have the vast majority of these 21 attributes and can realistically work on yourself to correct those you lack – go forth and join with me and millions of other Entrepreneurs!
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“Angel Investors to Venture Capital – 10 Slides to Startup Funding Success – Entrepreneurs Guide to Startup Fundraising”
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My FREE Startup Coaching Newsletter (Link) covers startup problems that I’ve helped my clients solve that you are likely to experience. Topics include choosing the best entity for your startup, finding co-founders, raising venture capital, creating venture capital pitch deck, finding the right accountant and lawyer, creating your startup website, and so much more. I predict you’ll use these newsletters as your go-to-guide when issues arise.
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