22 Key Characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneur

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There are entrepreneurs that have a life full of achievement, and there are entrepreneurs who really struggle to get off the ground running.

Being your own boss isn’t as easy as it sounds. You don’t wake up whenever you want; you don’t do minimal work and simply reap the rewards. In reality, it’s a lot more difficult. And to be the successful entrepreneur you want to be, you need to have certain characteristics and qualities. But what are they?

Read on to find out!

1. Self-Starter

A good entrepreneur knows what needs to be done, and they go out and do it. They don’t spend time procrastinating or daydreaming about what they would like to do and how they will do it. As the saying goes: there’s no time like the present!

2. Disciplined

Working for yourself even as a freelancer is extremely challenging, as you won’t have someone watching over you and offering you guidance along the way. You need to be disciplined enough to set your own deadlines and hours, and you should also be able to not let distractions get in your way – like daytime TV or the scorching sunshine.

3. Confident

You need to be believe in yourself and what you’re selling. If you walk into a pitch with a department store and are shaking all over the place, chances are you’ll lose the sale and respect for your brand. Even if you have to fake it till you make it, you’ve got to demonstrate confidence in your expertise and knowledge in the field that you’re working in.

4. Creative

To be ahead of the game, you need to be a creative thinker, constructing new ideas and better ways to do things. Take Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, for example, who didn’t stop at just one good idea; he continues to push and expand and develop new software updates.

5. Risk-Taker

Taking a leap into the unknown is always a risk, especially when you’re used to a constant paycheque from your 9-to-5 job. Just that one step is unsafe; what if you spend your whole life savings on an idea that fails? Any good businessperson will know that their idea won’t fail and will do their research before taking the plunge. As Zuckerberg says: ‘In a world that's changing so quickly, the biggest risk you can take is not taking any risk’.

6. Relationship Builder

Entrepreneurs need to have good people skills and should be able to network around a room effortlessly. The key to building a successful business is through a strong contact list, so they need to be a likeable character. As a leader, you’ll also be required to deal with a number of personalities and staff members, and should be able to handle them.

7. Open-Minded

As a businessperson, you’ll need to be open-minded so that you can spot new opportunities when they present themselves. If you receive negative feedback during your market research, for example, you must be able to accept the information and quickly adapt your product to ensure you’re creating something that your consumers want to use.

8. Planner

In order to drive your business to new heights, you need to be a good planner. By creating a logical business plan when you set out, you’ll have goals that you should be working towards to ensure your company is profitable.

9. Money-Savvy

Being smart with your money and sticking to your budget is one of the most important attributes of a good entrepreneur. As a successful entrepreneur, you should be able to plan for present and future financial obligations, as well as set aside an emergency fund.

10. Natural Seller

No matter what your product is, you need to be naturally good at selling. You should have the right balance when it comes to selling yourself, your business and your product without coming off as ‘too pushy’.

11. Lifelong Learner

Prosperous entrepreneurs spend a lot of time and energy on expanding their knowledge and learning new information. This desire to learn can keep them at the forefront of their industry and will help their business thrive and expand.

12. Delegator

As the owner of the business, there’s no way you’ll be able to manage everything on your own – and this is where your delegation skills come in to play. You should have the ability to identify people’s strengths and give them tasks accordingly to improve the overall function of the company.

13. Timekeeper

Excellent time management skills are essential to prioritise tasks according to their level of urgency. It’s, therefore, a good idea to write all your tasks on a shared board and number them in order of priority so you can have an effective to-do list.

14. Good Communicator

Having good communication skills isn’t just about how you converse with your coworkers and clients; it’s about how great you are at listening, too. Make sure you communicate everything clearly and concisely so that you don’t waste time repeating yourself over and over again due to poor communication.   

15. Dreamer

Dreaming big is part of the plan – you wouldn’t be in the position of being your own boss if you didn’t have a vision to begin with. Even if some of your dreams aren’t practical or realistic, it’s important to be optimistic and try to make your thoughts a reality.

16. Passionate

You’ll spend most of your waking hours thinking about and working on your chosen business, which means that you should have a real passion for it – and not select a field just because you think it will bring you a big return. If you don’t feel strongly about your pursuit, it’ll soon feel like a standard 9-to-5 job and you’ll quickly lose all motivation.

17. Self-Motivated

Motivation goes hand in hand with the above – if you’re naturally interested in your business, you’ll be enthusiastic and eager to work at every waking minute. You won’t need to try and entertain yourself; you will be naturally keen to work hard and build your empire.

18. Independent

Being in control and carving your own career path is a common trait for accomplished entrepreneurs. You should be confident in making your own decisions and work hard in order to achieve them without the help of anyone else.

19. Persevering

It’s only natural that newcomers to the world of business are bound to face a few setbacks and at times feel like giving up. But don’t do that – you’ve come this far and the end goal is in sight! It’s important to persevere and achieve the goal that you set for yourself.

20. Competitive

It’s natural that you’ll have a competitive streak if you want to be the best at what you do. You’ll possess the skill to size up your opponent and understand how you can defeat them.

21. Adventurous

Playing it safe isn’t going to get you very far when you run your own business – you’ll reach a point where you can’t progress any further unless you’re willing to try new ideas out. Great entrepreneurs are adventurous and don’t hold back when it comes to professional ventures.

22. Flexible

Being flexible is key in the corporate world – whether it’s accommodating a last-minute meeting change or shifting production dates. You need to be able to work around delays and obstacles that are thrown your way.

Being a great entrepreneur will come with a lot of practice and setbacks, and while these qualities will not translate into automatic success, they can sure help set you on the right path.

Do you think there are any other traits a good entrepreneur should have? Join in on the conversation below to let us know…