Unpopular opinion: there’s only one characteristic you absolutely need to be a good entrepreneur.
There’s no doubt that characteristics of a good leader is a hot topic these days. Book after book after book is written about the topic because corporations want to make sure they’re hiring high quality managers. And then those managers are interested in knowing what qualities they need to lead their employees in a way that motivates and makes them want to stay in their position. And many of those employees want to know what qualities they need to embody to be promoted to a managerial level.
You most likely have some idea in your head around what makes a good entrepreneur; what qualities make a small business owner succeed. Maybe you read a book about it before starting your side hustle. Or maybe you read some blog post that listed out the top 5 qualities of successful six-figure entrepreneurs and then compared yourself and your personality against that list.
Characteristics of a good entrepreneur that you’ve seen elsewhere
Whatever you’ve read in the past… this blog post won’t confirm.
Tell me, have you heard that you need to…
- Have a good idea?
- Be creative?
- Be professional?
- Have good social skills?
- Be motivated?
- Have high self-confidence?
These are obviously very great qualities and having them won’t hurt you as an entrepreneur. But I can argue against each and every single one of them when it comes to needing these qualities in order to be a good entrepreneur.
Have a good idea
Obviously having a bad idea won’t make you a successful entrepreneur. But who says you’re the one who needs to have the good idea?
This is always my fallback comparison – do you know how many shoe companies there are in the world? Way too many to count. Many of them even design shoes that look almost identical to their competitors. Only one of those companies had the good idea first and then others followed suit.
You don’t need to have a brand new idea in order to be a successful or good small business owner. You don’t even really need to have an idea… you could partner with someone who has the idea because you bring different qualities and assets to the partnership.
Creativity isn’t the foundation of entrepreneurship. I know plenty of virtual assistants who don’t have a creative bone in their bodies or who just haven’t found that creativity yet. Plenty of VAs do task based type work because they feel they lack creativity. And you know what? Those VAs are damn good at their jobs! They’re damn good entrepreneurs.
This one. Oh, this one gets me fired up! What even is “professional?” Professionalism is subjective. And people’s opinions about what is professional changes over time.
Growing up, I remember hearing how people with tattoos had a hard time getting employed. “If you ever get a tattoo, you better get it somewhere that your clothing covers it up because if an employer sees it, they’ll never hire you.” Same thing with piercings.
Well, I have tattoos, one of which is clearly visible on my wrist, and I have my nose pierced. Do I consider myself professional? Sure. If I want to.
A cool thing about being a business owner is that you get to define what “professional” means. And if someone doesn’t like it, well then they’re just not your ideal client and you don’t have to work with them!
Have good social skills
This one also gets me fired up because as an introvert, I much prefer to not be in social situations where I’ll have to speak to people. When I tell people what I do and then tell them I’m an introvert who actually prefers to stay in my own bubble, I always get the question, “how do you make money then? How do you land clients?”
Honestly… pretty easily. You don’t need to be an extrovert or have “good” social skills in order to be a good entrepreneur. You just need processes that work for your personality type.
In fact, I know a TON of business owners who identify as introverted and who started their own businesses because they’re introverts.
Alright… this might cause a bit of controversy because how can you run a business if you aren’t motivated to do so. You control your income which means you need to be motivated enough to do the work to bring in the income.
Yes, you need to have motivation. But you don’t need to be motivated all the time. I have bursts of motivation. This specific blog post has taken me about 3 hours to write. I started it, lost focus and scrolled through my email. I came back to it, lost focus and online shopped. I came back to it again, lost focus and apartment hunted. I’ll probably lose focus one more time before I finish it. That’s just the way I am.
I’m motivated to make a full time income but I’m not always motivated to work.
Have high self-confidence
When I started my business as a side hustle I didn’t have much confidence that it would ever turn into a full time gig. Yet, it did.
Having high self-confidence isn’t something you need to have to be a good entrepreneur. In fact, I truly believe that you get high self-confidence by becoming a good entrepreneur.
Taking your idea (or someone else’s) and turning it into a full time business – that improves your self-confidence. Landing your first client – that improves your self-confidence. Getting a raving review from a happy client – that improves your self-confidence.
Recognizing that you can control your future, your income, your happiness and level of success – that improves your self-confidence.
What characteristic you actually need to be a good entrepreneur
If you don’t need to have a good idea, be creative or professional, have good social skills, be motivated, or have high self-confidence to be considered a good entrepreneur… what do you need?
You could have an amazing idea, be super creative, be “professional,” have the best social skills, be ridiculously motivated, and have high self-confidence but if you don’t have the persistence to push through when they get a little (or a lot) hard… you won’t be a good business owner or entrepreneur.
I won’t lie, being an entrepreneur is hard. Like, really hard. Hard on your social life (if you have one of those), hard on your family, hard on your finances at times, hard on your self-worth.
But if you have the persistence to push through the hard times, you’ll come out as a better person, a better entrepreneur, and a better business owner on the other side.
With persistence, if you launch a business with a shitty idea, you recognize that and make changes. You push through because it’s what you want to do.
With persistence, if you don’t consider yourself creative, you take a course or use templates. You push through because it’s what you want to do.
With persistence, if you don’t fit the stereotypical “professional” mold, you keep on being yourself and find people who love that about you. You push through because it’s what you want to do.
With persistence, if you don’t have good social skills, you find a way around having uncomfortable sales calls. You find a way around having to talk to your clients every single day. You push through because it’s what you want to do.
With persistence, if you aren’t motivated, you do what it takes to regain that motivation. You push through because it’s what you want to do.
With persistence, if you don’t have high self-confidence, you work on yourself and your business until your self-confidence improves.
You push through because it’s what you want to do.
Persistence is what separates the entrepreneurs that make people say, “ohh, riiiiight. You’re an entrepreneur… so you’re between jobs right now?” about from the entrepreneurs who can say, “I’m a small business owner” for years and years and years.