Are you a seasoned entrepreneur? Or are you thinking to start your own business? Read on to discover what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
Are you meant to be an entrepreneur?
The career choices we make during our adult life stage are to a large extent a reflection of the values and beliefs we acquired and ingrained in our childhood.
Through the continuous exposure to our own cultural, family and social background, we are programmed to pursue a specific career path through a natural process of ‘modelling’. Often the first choice is to follow a similar work path as our parents or, by contrast, the opposite of what they chose to do.
But independently from where you are born and your parents’ choices, even a modest study of psychometric testing (Personality Profiling) will show you that your personality make-up determines your entrepreneurial inclination.
When you’re a true entrepreneur, there’s a default in your mindset that comes from two primary sources:
1 > Unshakeable self-confidence.
2 > The ability and desire to think on your feet
These are not acquired skills: you are born with these personality traits and sooner or later in your career they will lead you to own your business.
I see this a lot in my work as a Career Coach: many young adults start their professional journey working for other people as an employee, only to realise they need to be their own boss in order to STAY TRUE to themselves. 🎯
The 8 key aspects of entrepreneurial thinking
In the last 16 years, I’ve had a chance to work FOR entrepreneurs in my former marketing communications agencies and WITH entrepreneurs as an independent business coach.
From this experience, I have learnt HOW entrepreneurs look at things and WHAT typical behaviours they display.
Here are their 8 key common characteristics.
1- Absence of doubt
Entrepreneurs have a unique way of approaching new challenges. There is never a thought of ‘this can’t be done’. Of course, it can be done! The only question is ‘do I want to do it?’.
If someone has done it before, it’s as good as done before. If it’s something that has never been done before, rather than think of the reasons why, how, or when, an entrepreneur is more focused on the winning, fame, glory, and profit of being the FIRST to get it done.
2- Low concern for risk
The first trait above, also explains why entrepreneurs rarely consider the risks involved in a new enterprise they are starting. Risk is reserved for those mere mortals who don’t have their super-powers!
The ’How’ is really insignificant at that point. Their unshakeable self-confidence has carried them through all manner of barriers, problems, disasters, and victories before. It will carry them through their latest adventure too.
3- Hunger for new challenges
At no point does an entrepreneur attempt to ‘make money’. They will make money of course, but whether it’s enough or whether it’s quick enough may well be a deal-breaker, because entrepreneurs get bored easily.
They will walk away from great opportunities, because they have just ‘had enough’. Ask any entrepreneur if they’ve ever walked away from massive pay-days just because they were done with that opportunity. Most of them will have a list of occasions when it’s happened!
4- Unconventional thinking
Entrepreneurs are unconventional in the way they think and do things: they will change the way things are done, just because they can. They are adventurers, pioneers, and creative thinkers who have results as their primary goal.
Entrepreneurs are not just the ‘founders’ of a new company: they are the people who set out to solve a problem they spotted in their pre-existing world. They are often fuelled by a bigger sense of duty: they want to ‘make a difference’ using their own energy, skills, time, resources and structured business.
5- No notion of ‘hard’ work
Everything they do is an ‘adventure’ for them and they would describe their work as ‘fun’. The moment it begins to feel like ‘hard work’, they are gone. This is why they are the absolute best at starting anything, but probably the worst at staying with it: they don’t enjoy being caught up in the small details.
This is also why you’ll never find any real entrepreneur in an employee job situation. They don’t like being told what to do and, as much as they try, they struggle to conform to somebody else’s rules.
6- Present moment focus
Entrepreneurs have no fear and spend zero time thinking about yesterday. They know that TODAY is where it all happens, they will start early and finish late to get ahead of any schedule, timescale, or competitor.
No wonder they are often described by their close friends and family as ‘workaholics’ – a label they wouldn’t necessarily give themselves because their present enterprise is their primary motivation in life.
7- No interest in planning
It’s not that they aren’t able to plan, it’s just that planning more than a few steps ahead is pointless in their eyes. Rather than have any kind of detailed plan or blueprint to follow, they view business and even life itself as if they were driving down the motorway at night.
As they drive along, they trust they’ll be able to react and respond to everything that comes their way. Their ability to think on their feet, to change direction at will, and to let their intuition run free will take care of everything.
8- Fierce competitiveness
Entrepreneurs have an overwhelming desire to do what others will not, or cannot do. Just because they believe they can. They often have a real obsession about winning!
Of course, they can’t always win in their marketplace and even if they do, their ‘success formula’ will soon be replicated by existing or new competitors. So, the best entrepreneurs are always at work to learn from their failures and move on to their next competition!
What can you learn from entrepreneurs?
It’s undeniable that working closely with entrepreneurs can be challenging.
- They have a constant flow of new ideas, perspectives, and projects so you need to adapt quickly.
- They don’t care much for planning and have no time for waiting so you need to respond fast and fill in the details on their behalf.
- They constantly live in the now so you need to assist them in seeing the implications of their business decisions.
- The only rules they are interested in are those they make themselves so you need to have full clarity about their expectations.
It’s not surprising that entrepreneurs are often solitary beasts who work well on their own or as the leader of a team, but very rarely as a member of a team.
Yet, having a chance to work closely with one or more entrepreneurs can provide you with priceless personal and professional growth opportunities.
Here are the top 3 that come to mind:
1- Gain valuable know-how in your sector.
You can learn so much just by observing what they do and how: what strategy or tactics they are using in your specific sector and market or just in business, in general.
2- Learn to own your future.
Day after day, by looking up to them for inspiration you can build the courage to take ever-growing steps out of your comfort zone and – if you want to – one day you could set up your business too.
3- Develop a passion for your work.
Your working days will be full of excitement: it will be like playing ‘the accelerated game of life’ every day. Just make sure that your contributions to the business are recognised, when the time is right.
Key takeaway: you get to decide which of your personality traits you want to ‘unleash’ fully in your career.
So, now that you’ve read about the stereotypical profile of an entrepreneur, I invite you to do a little self-development exercise and ask yourself:
💡 > Do these qualities describe me fully or to some extent only?
💡 > Knowing what I know now, what am I going to do about it?
If at the end of this exercise, you realise that you do want to start a business but something is holding you back, then you know where to find me to unstuck your situation.