Top 10 Characteristics of an Entrepreneur

Last month, we debunked common myths about entrepreneurs. In this post, discover why entrepreneurs savor going to work while many 9-5’ers count the days to retirement.

These are 10 characteristics of entrepreneurs:

1. Don’t Fit In

One commonly-cited reason individuals become entrepreneurs is the belief s/he does not fit in the ‘corporate’ environment.  This includes those who simply don’t like to be told what to do.  Most entrepreneurs are, at least in the beginning, hands-on and enjoy working beside the one or two employees on the floor, behind the counter, or on the phone creating sales. The term ‘corporate’ culture only defines a segment of the entrepreneurial profile.

2. Want to Escape The “Rat Race”

Entrepreneurs want to escape the 9 to 5.  This may happen as the business progresses, but it is rarely a goal achieved immediately.  For example, my uncle opened a machining shop with the idea he could close at 4.  As a result, his business quickly failed.

3. Possess A Strong Eagerness to Learn

Learning is key to entrepreneurs.  Though this may be a passion for many of us, entrepreneurs look at ideas and learning experiences with the view of improving their business, not just themselves.  Entrepreneurs think differently, at least when it comes to their business.  They ask “how” rather than “how not”; “why not”, instead of “why”.

4. Are Creative By Nature

Entrepreneurs are unconventional and creative. Matthew Toren quotes Albert Einstein in his article 6 Genuine Reasons Why People Become Entrepreneurs (Entrepreneur Magazine), which says “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

5. Prefer to Create Their Own Future

Creating their own destiny is key.  You hold the keys to your success.  True for all, critical for entrepreneurs.

6. Choose to Pursue Their Own Passions

Entrepreneurs develop and sell products and services they love. This takes the saying “do what you love, and the money will follow” to the ultimate degree.

7. Desire to Be Experts

Entrepreneurs enjoy being perceived differently than others, as experts in their field. This feeling of being appreciated is the second most important level on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: prestige and feeling of accomplishment.

8. Highly Value Flexibility

Freedom of choice in who s/he work with, including customers as well as employees. While many entrepreneurs will state there are few customers they won’t work with, the ability to make that decision exists.

9. Hate Dealing with Boredom

If boredom creeps in, changes can be made. This can vary from new production techniques to a new marketing campaign to delegating certain responsibilities, but the ability to tackle a challenge whose resolution pays off is important.

10. Aspire to be Socially Responsible

Responsibility to society is often cited as an entrepreneurial incentive.  Whether this need to make a difference is in their industry, their community or with their employees, contributing is important.

One other reason I read across many articles is you can never be fired.  Not true!  The inability to adapt to a changing market and the idea that one is irreplaceable are just two of the many ways in which entrepreneurs can be ‘fired’.  They stifle their business.  Though they may not be leading their business down the road to extinction, they certainly are creating a situation where cash flow and value are unoptimized.  My response is, “Why would you want to do that?”