How to Become an Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs are defined as small business starters that experience more financial risk than the average business owner for the hope of success and profit. Great entrepreneurs are people like Steve Jobs who created Apple, Elon Musk of Tesla-fame, or Richard Branson from Virgin.
These business starters all came from their own unique background, but they shared a common drive and creative passion to make a mark. When it comes to being an entrepreneur, it takes more than a desire to lead and a great idea to be successful. Great leaders must also have a special set of skills, and psychologists have found that some of the greatest entrepreneurs in history have certain traits in common.
Here is a list of five of the biggest, most common factors that lead to great entrepreneurs:
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Being a successful entrepreneur takes more than a sense to lead; it also takes heart and emotional knowledge. Leaders have to utilize their emotional intelligence (also known as an emotional quotient, EQ) to better understand their employees, and their desired audience base. Without tapping into EQ, leaders often miss opportunities to fortify their business culture, and to extend their outreach.
Entrepreneurs are also familiar with failure, and having a heightened EQ can help them control, analyze, and apply their emotions in a constructive way. There are ways to determine if your personal EQ is high, but being conscientious of others emotions and as well as your own can help you sharpen your skills.
Desire to Innovate
You may have the best idea of the decade, but you’re not going to get anywhere without a little bit of flexibility to innovate. Entrepreneurs are known for not only coming up with unique ideas, but for embracing diverse and “out of the box” concepts to reach success.
Innovation comes from thinking outside of the traditional mold, and networking and brainstorming with people that may not share your same background or worldview. Reaching out and building a diverse base of employees can help you stay innovative, and can help you reach an even wider audience. Similarly, networking or having a partner in your endeavors can help you better express your great ideas. Every great entrepreneur had a partner or team to help them reach success, and those teams were the brainstorming giants that helped get those companies off the ground.
Ability to Embrace Failure and Take Risks
Rewards never happen immediately, and in business, risks and failures will happen long before the first big win. Entrepreneurs are all too familiar with the ups and downs of success and failure, and they are able to embrace the opportunities and learn from them.
All of the troubles people experience in business are educational opportunities; whether about yourself, the business, or the market. Entrepreneurs can take them in stride, learn from the mistakes, and apply what was learned to every next step as they continue to build their business. Although some blows may be hard, the most successful businesses were able to rise from the ashes of failure. Don’t ever give up, but instead be ready to learn and grow.
Although not all great thinkers and entrepreneurs are extroverted, many of the biggest companies succeeded due to a strong ability for the creators to put themselves out there. For Apple, it was the combination of Steve Jobs – the extrovert and networker – and Steve Wozniak – the introverted big thinker – that really made the company into the giant it is today.
That being said, to be a successful entrepreneur, you’ll need to build up your network of relationships in the industry. The more people you can bounce ideas off, the better. These people will also help you find retailers to sell your product, or will introduce potential investors. Networking is a huge advantage in the business and start-up world, but it’s not a one way street. Be sure your networking also includes helping others: a mutually beneficial “scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” partnership can go a long way.
Be a High Achiever
Entrepreneurs share the drive to succeed. According to psychologists, entrepreneurs rank higher in achievement orientation than typical managers. In business psychology, this is known as conscientiousness, which also combines an awareness of work ethic and organization.
Although entrepreneurs rank high in wanting to succeed, they do not rank well in other areas of conscientiousness. They are typically not more organized or detail oriented – instead they let their often wild world around them lead them to new ideas.
Do you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur? Through failures, successes, mishaps, and bright ideas, many successful entrepreneurs have found a way to make their dreams into reality. If you have the skills and the drive to do it too, then maybe you’ll be the next one!
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Katie McBeth is a researcher and writer out of Boise, ID, with experience in marketing for small businesses and management. Her favorite subject of study is millennials, and she has been featured on Fortune Magazine and the Quiet Revolution. She researches SEO strategies during the day, and freelances at night. You can follow her writing adventures on Instagram or Twitter: @ktmcbeth
This post was updated February 27, 2019. It was originally published January 25, 2017.