Entrepreneurship is such a “fun thing” to discuss. Is it a skill, a discipline, or a process? Well, we think it’s a mix of all of them, and it’s available to everyone.
As Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn put it: “All humans are entrepreneurs not because they should start companies but because the will to create is encoded in human DNA.”
And it’s that “will” which is conveyed through the notion of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship invites us to think differently, consider issues from various perspectives, and approach ideas from a creative standpoint. And that’s also what we want to encourage with this article!
We believe each of us has the potential to unleash their inner entrepreneur - only if we know how to. We can’t teach you all about entrepreneurship in a single article, but we can:
- invite you to join our inspiring online entrepreneurship course,
- and help motivate you to upgrade your entrepreneurial skills.
So, let’s start then!
What Is Entrepreneurship?
In general, the word entrepreneurship refers to business-related matters. That said, it can also denote how you think and then act on those thoughts. It’s basically the creation of ideas and then finding the right means to execute them. But when it comes to deciding on a single definition accepted by the majority in the entrepreneurship world, then things can be tough. Even Investopedia illustrates this inability to reach a common definition:
Economists have never had a consistent definition of "entrepreneur" or "entrepreneurship". [...] Though the concept of an entrepreneur existed and was known for centuries, the classical and neoclassical economists left entrepreneurs out of their formal models: They assumed that perfect information would be known to fully rational actors, leaving no room for risk-taking or discovery. It wasn't until the middle of the 20th century that economists seriously attempted to incorporate entrepreneurship into their models.
So, economists may not have come up with a proper definition of the term “entrepreneurship”, but we have some ideas, which we’ll share in the next section.
- the process of setting up a business;
- taking financial risks;
- acting upon an opportunity (as well as having the ability to recognize one in the first place);
- providing leadership skills;
- developing and managing a business;
- the act of identifying a potential business idea and manages to obtain all the necessary resources in order to see it through;
- understanding values, principles, and current trends in order to make the most of them;
- all about powerful transformations;
- making a difference in the world;
- being responsible and bold;
- understanding your own limitations and blocks, but knowing how to transcend them;
- innovation, authenticity, and originality;
- making a positive contribution to someone’s life/ company (or to the world, really);
- seeing possibilities where others only see limitations and obstacles;
- constructive criticism, negotiation, persuasion, acceptance, and evaluation;
- much more than regular business ventures and working in the traditional sense of the word;
- the act of understanding other people’s minds and intentions and knowing how to make them work with yours;
- making something out of nothing;
- having the necessary information;
- taking small steps which eventually lead to a “bigger” place;
- being aware of your uniqueness and knowing how to use it;
- acquiring material resources;
- execution of ideas;
- available even for those with no prior experience;
- crafting your own path;
- being at the right place at the right time with the right people;
- the process of creating, designing, and molding;
- adjusting your current needs, motifs, and beliefs to reach your end-goals.
- mastering skills you didn’t even know you had;
- having the courage the take risks (but also the wisdom to step back when that’s needed);
- building a life on your own terms, beliefs, and opinions;
- knowing how to seize the day;
- make the most of each idea, piece of information, and suggestion;
- keeping your feet on the ground, but not being afraid to dream.
- having no restrictions whatsoever;
- a set path;
- overworking yourself;
- linear and isn’t an overnight success;
- for procrastinators, the narrow-minded, or for those afraid to act on their ideas;
- being overly ambitious to the point you lose touch with reality;
- for you, if you’re only driven by money, power, and/or glory;
- for conventional thinkers;
- being a slave to yours or other people’s ideas;
- forgetting about your personal freedom
- rainbows and unicorns;
- exclusively available to young people (entrepreneurship knows no age limits);
- leaving our your personal needs;
- becoming obsessed with the need for success;
- only about the end-goal (it’s the journey in-between that counts too);
- a bunch of abstract ideas that never get materialized in the physical;
- grasping notions and concepts you’re not comfortable with only because they have huge potential;
- accepting society standards, rules, criteria, and ideas (it’s all about going beyond them);
- money-driven (sure, making money is awesome and having financial freedom is worth it, but it’s about having your idea out there above all);
- forcing yourself to do something/ be someone you’re not;
- expecting to achieve more than it’s possible or likely (sure, it sometimes happens, but not at all costs);
- forgetting about your true identity;
- neglecting others’ thoughts and ideas because you’re convinced yours are always the best;
- about following the stream;
- for those who don’t have the ability to commit;
- always logical and/ or straightforward;
- about get a paycheck at the end of the month (it’s about finding a higher motivation);
- for those who don’t know how to accept failure and disappointments;
- easy, but it’s totally worth it.
The History of Entrepreneurship
The word entrepreneur comes from a thirteen-century French verb (“entreprendre”), which means “to undertake” or “to do something”.
When we talk about the beginnings of entrepreneurship, it’s important to mention who the first entrepreneurs were: merchants and traders. We refer to notions such as the appearance of agriculture, nomadic tribes, hunting and exchanging merchandise, food gathering, and sharing later on. Also, concepts such as pottery, wool-making, carpentry, and others were embraced. Coming up with all these concepts was considered revolutionary for those times, however silly it may look from today’s perspective.
Also, we shouldn’t forget the invention of money (apparently the first known currency can be traced back to Lydia, and was created by King Alyattes), as it was crucial in terms of how trade was perceived.
One of the biggest changes was probably the start of the industrial age, which began in 1712. This period was marked by James Watt’s steam engine, Henry Ford’s automobile contribution, and J.P Morgan and Andrew Carnegie’s steel contribution, to name a few.
Although many would refer to them as innovators, we actually believe entrepreneurs are synonymous with innovators.
Now, when it comes to the modern age and the way we perceive entrepreneurship, we can state the following: both terms have a much more general meaning, and they usually apply to a business context (although later on in this article we’ll illustrate examples from other fields in our lives). But yes, there’s a general tendency to connect entrepreneurship to finances, business, and good deals.
Finally, here’s a list of some of the most well-known 20th and 21st-century entrepreneurs:
- Coco Chanel
- Walt Disney
- Bill Gates
- Enzo Ferrari
- Oprah Winfrey
- Steve Wozniak
- Henry Ford
- Howard Hughes
- Ferruccio Lamborghini
- Jeff Bezos
- Elon Musk
- Emily Weiss
- Jack Ma
- Estée Lauder
- Paul Gardner Allen
- Reid Garrett Hoffman
- Michael Saul Dell
Inspiring Entrepreneurial Stories
We’re not going to lie - we’re suckers for good entrepreneurial stories. After all, who doesn’t want and need an inspiring story to keep them going, right?
That’s why we decided to include six such stories to motivate you and to show you that sometimes the most unexpected situations may bring us the success we have always wished for. That said, it’s also important to note that none of these people gave up. They believed in their ideas - at the end of the day, if you don’t believe in your ideas, how can you expect others to do so?
The Pierre Omidyar way
In 1955, a computer programmer was auctioning stuff on this website. Back then the website was known as AuctionWeb, and it was mostly a personal project. However, due to an unexpected Internet surge, Omidyar had to slowly start charging people. He even hired his first employee to look after all the payments. Today that website is known as eBay.
The Matt Maloney and Mike Evans way
Two Chicago-based software developers got fed up with calling restaurants and seeing which ones offered delivery, so they thought of the following: they could create a one-stop for food delivery. That’s when the two of them (Matt Maloney and Mike Evans) created GrubHub, and at the moment it’s valued at $3 billion.
The John Ferolito and Don Vultaggio way
In the 70s, two friends known as John Ferolito and Don Vultaggio decided to engage in beer distribution (and not in a “regular way” but from the back of a VW bus). After two decades, more or less, and seeing the success Snapple enjoyed, the two friends decided to try selling soft drinks and so they ended up launching the AriZona Green Tea. Nowadays, AriZona teas are not only extremely popular in America, but they’re distributed globally.
The Howard Schultz way
Howard Schultz, a young marketer working for Seattle coffee bean roaster had a life-changing trip to Milan where he became fascinated with the espresso cafes in Italy. His employer back in America, however, had no interest in owning such coffee shops but decided to support Schultz’s endeavor, and Shultz even ended up with the owner’s brand name - Starbucks.
The Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs way
Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs have been friends since high school and both are college dropouts. The two of them engaged ideas while working together on game software at Atari. The details are irrelevant, as we all know what they’ve created as well as the position that the brand has in today’s computer world.
The Konosuke Matsushita way
Back in 1917, a very young apprentice who worked for the Osaka Electric Light Company thought of an improved light socket. However, his boss didn’t really show any special interest, so the young apprentice (Konosuke Matsushita) started experimenting and creating samples of it in his basement. After some time, he came up with other electronic products as well. Up till 2008, the company was known as Matsushita Electric and then it officially changed its name to Panasonic. Today, the company’s worth $66 billion.
Why Is Entrepreneurship Important?
Taking into consideration the positive outcomes that entrepreneurship provides, it’s not difficult to see that it’s an important aspect of our lives. That said, knowing something is an asset and actually understanding its positive contributions are two distinct things.
While we all generally see the role entrepreneurship plays in our society and what it means for the business world, we still may lack concrete examples.
So, before we actually dive into specific explanations regarding the importance of entrepreneurship, we’d like to share some inspiring stats first:
- Apparently, 62% of US billionaires are said to be self-made.
- There were 25 million Americans who were starting or already had their own business in 2016.
- 60% of people who start their small business are between the ages of 40 and 60.
- There are 582 million entrepreneurs in the world.
- 22.5% of small businesses are said to fail within the first year.
- Studies show that middle-aged men start the most successful businesses.
Now onto the reasons!
Entrepreneurship is important to the economy.
Entrepreneurs are able to shift the economy of a specific country to a whole new level. They really are. However, this depends on many factors including:
- how much competition they’re faced with (for instance, the more they have to prove themselves and find their place in the sun, the more inspired they may be to succeed);
- what the overall standards of the country are and how able its citizens are to contribute;
- whether they have the conditions (financial above all!) to fulfill their entrepreneurial goals;
- how much the market they’re targeting is saturated or open to new ideas, and so on.
It’s a great motivator.
Nothing can be a greater motivator than nourishing your entrepreneurial mindset. Engaging with your thoughts; developing your ideas; analyzing your plans; evaluating your goals; coming up with a list of people that can help you - that’s what entrepreneurship is, and that’s what entrepreneurs do.
This one is pretty much self-explanatory. Being an entrepreneur is truly an existing experience. It’s very unlikely that your days will become monotonous, or that you’ll fall into a routine - entrepreneurs never have two days which are alike, so no worries.
Also, what’s so thrilling about being an entrepreneur is the unpredictability factor. You never know what each idea may bring, what people you may come across, and who may end up being the helping hand you need. Plus, people’s feedback on your “projects” may trigger enthusiasm and a deep sense of satisfaction. It will get you started on your next entrepreneurial endeavor too.
Finally, what makes entrepreneurship so exciting is the fact you never stop learning new things. The minute you believe you have it all figured out - something new literally pops up. And while this may be frustrating for those who are slight “control freaks”, where’s the fun without it?
It makes ordinary stuff extraordinary.
Entrepreneurship certainly adds a bit of magic to everything we do. Whether we use our entrepreneurial skills in our daily lives, at work, or to simply help others - there really is magic at work! And we’re not exaggerating!
In other words, entrepreneurs can transform basic ideas into magnificent ones; they can handle problems and obstacles where others simply raise their shoulders and shake their heads in disbelief; they can motivate their team when the team members feel like they’ve lost all motivation and enthusiasm; and most importantly, they can make the most boring tasks seem like something meaningful and even fun!
Finally, entrepreneurs may not be able to see the extraordinary aspect of their goal at the very beginning, but they hold a vision of it - and they simply start. As Jeni Britton Bauer put it: "If you know too much before the start, then you will get overwhelmed. Come up with an original idea, and don’t copy because there will be no passion. You need that otherworldly passion. Just start.”
It helps boost one’s creativity.
Entrepreneurship is creative. After all, how can one come up with airplanes, electronic devices, and cars if they weren’t a bit more creative than the rest of their peers?
That said, it’s not just about embracing your creativity. It’s also about being fearless when it comes to sharing one’s thoughts and ideas as well as acting upon them. It’s about carefully devising a plan, acknowledging its shortcomings, and redoing it without blaming yourself.
Overall, creativity has various different meanings when it comes to entrepreneurship. It’s about thinking outside the box, but it’s about being efficient and productive too. If you want to learn more about creativity, make sure you check our online course.
It contributes to social change.
This is true. Entrepreneurship can create unique products, inspiring ideas, and contribute to the overall good in one’s society. Think about recent examples - how phones, computers, laptops, tablets, smartwatches, and so on have ended up revolutionizing our everyday lives. We may take them for granted now because they’re part of our everyday lives, but think about what life used to look like without them, and what remarkable changes took place after they were introduced to the digital market.
This doesn’t mean entrepreneurship makes everything perfect though. But good things can and do come out of entrepreneurs’ minds and that’s what counts.
How To Develop Entrepreneurship?
Working on your entrepreneurial skills is key if you want to keep up with competitors, come up with relevant ideas, and most importantly - keep your mind sharp. Here are some useful suggestions to help you develop your entrepreneurship mindset further:
Develop a work routine
Make sure you feel comfortable in your office environment.
Prioritize your relationships
Don’t stay together with people who pull you back, belittle you, and/ or demotivate you.
Skip working at home
Re-read the first suggestion if necessary.
Cut all negativity
When you feel you’re engaging in negative thoughts, or you feel somebody is projecting their negative energy onto you, step away from it, as it’s certainly not helping you in any way.
Focus on quality over quantity
Learn to accept others’ help
Yes, being an entrepreneur means you should do a lot of things on your own, but asking for help every now and then wouldn’t hurt.
Keep your priorities in check
This will not only make you a better and more effective entrepreneur - it will make you a more successful individual in all areas of your life.
Learn how to create boundaries
This is connected to prioritizing your relationships, but it also has further implications - it means you should not allow people to do as they please only because they're working with you, they’re an important person in your project, or you’re afraid they’ll turn their back on you if you speak up. After all, entrepreneurs are supposed to speak up!
Examples of Entrepreneurship in Everyday Life
We all plan our lives (at least, we should be - and not let life simply happen to us). Yes, there are certain circumstances and life events we can’t change or run away from, but most of the time we’re making conscious decisions, and those decisions are precisely what shapes our daily life.
So, basically, when we grab life by the horns, we’re adopting a more entrepreneurial approach. We aren’t so afraid to take risks, we’re ready for changes, we’re no longer afraid to leave a toxic relationship just because we’re afraid we won’t find a new partner, we’re willing to walk away from friendships which aren’t serving us any longer, and so on.
In other words, we have a specific vision for our lives and we’re not afraid to chase it. Having a clear vision of what our life is supposed to look like gives us a sense of direction, and when things go wrong (because let’s face it, sometimes things go wrong in life no matter what we do), we have that vision to hold onto as a glimpse of hope.
It’s unfortunate to reach a certain age and get caught up in thoughts such as “I should have applied for that scholarship”, “I was supposed to go on that trip”, “Maybe I should have replied to that text - things could be different now”, and so on.
These are such self-sabotaging thoughts, and thinking that you lost an important chance in life is never helpful - on the contrary, it only keeps you stuck in the past and in useless hypothetical situations. Those with an entrepreneurial heart know that there’s no such thing as a completely lost chance because they’re able to create opportunities (even out of thin air).
Or, they just understand the lesson behind it, and know-how to move on, and make the necessary changes in their lives so that those hurtful scenarios and self-sabotaging thoughts don’t occur again. They basically don’t dwell on hypothetical situations. Entrepreneurs either act in the moment or don’t act at all - but they don’t go back afterward and wonder what may have happened because they know that what lays ahead is way more important than what they’ve chosen to leave behind.
How to approach this?
- On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate your life? Try to be as objective as possible.
- What areas in your life are you struggling with the most? Why is that so? Also, how do you tackle these areas? Are you full of anger and frustration or you’re trying to shift things by making some positive changes?
- What are your priorities in life? Also, are you sure they’re truly your priorities, and not your partner’s, or your family members’?
- Do you tend to live up to society’s expectations? In other words, are you trying to do what’s expected of you and not what you would truly want for yourself?
- How open are you to making changes?
- Do you follow your dreams or you prefer to play it safe in life?
- Are you open about your life plans with others or you tend to be secretive about them?
- How do you accept rejection? What’s your initial reaction? Also, if you tend to react in a negative way (for instance, you start yelling, smashing things, threatening to never talk to the other person again, and so on), have you considered where this behavior comes from?
- What does life mean to you? Do you take it seriously or you want to have fun and live as if there’s no tomorrow?
- Do you enjoy routines? Why?
- What are some habits you think may be limiting you? And what are you doing to change them?
- How important is it to have goals in your life?
- Are you mostly led by logic or emotions?
- Are you an independent person? If yes, what’s the best thing about it? If not, what are you dependent upon?
- How do you balance your personal and professional life? If you don’t, how does take make you feel about your overall life?
- How do you align your personal and business vision for success?
- What can entrepreneurship teach you about daily life? More importantly, how does it affect it?
Business and Management
These are the most common concepts usually associated with entrepreneurship. Of course, business and management may be pretty straightforward concepts, but entrepreneurship is what adds freshness and open-mindedness to the mix.
So, being an entrepreneur in a business concept is much more than running your own business or being responsible for a certain amount of people. It’s a business lifestyle, a way of living and working - it’s about having a creative outlook on life and embracing your individuality.
Entrepreneurs not only change their own lives, but they change the lives of those around them too - especially those close to them within a business setting. Nothing can motivate an employee to get up in the morning and head to work than an inspiring boss, or an optimistic colleague.
Of course, work isn’t perfect and we shouldn't always expect things to be ideal, but within all that imperfection entrepreneurs find a way to move forward and “take” the others with them.
Entreprises see ideas where others see limitations or insecurities. Entrepreneurs see chances where others see problems. They take risks where others back off.
This doesn’t mean entrepreneurs don’t make mistakes though. It’s just that they’re much more willing to test their limits and learn from their mistakes than the rest of the people. And that’s what gives them an advantage. And the best part? They’re able to notice an opportunity in each business idea and make something out of nothing.
In this context, here are some of the most common business ideas that people find inspiring for starting their own business:
- online dating consultant;
- freelance developer;
- personal trainer;
- life/career coach;
- eCommerce owner;
- travel planner;
- house cleaner;
- massage therapist;
- makeup artist;
- bed and breakfast owner;
- interior design;
- coffee shop owner;
- tour guide;
- gym owner;
- event planner, and so many others!
Finally, it’s not about the type of business you choose or the kind of idea you come up with. It’s more about how you execute it and which people help you along the way.
How to approach this?
- What’s your overall mindset? Are you optimistic or pessimistic? Do you like to take matters into your hands or you have no problem collaborating? You’re organized or you leave matters up till the last minute?
- Do you consider yourself to be a leader? Why? Why not? What leadership qualities can you identify within yourself? Make a list.
- Are you afraid of taking risks?
- What’s your greatest mission as an entrepreneur /businessperson?
- How do you come up with concepts/ideas for your business? Do you simply wait to be inspired or you have certain methods you follow? Also, do you share your ideas with others as soon as you come up with them or you want to develop them a bit further first?
- What challenges have you faced so far? How did you overcome them? If you were faced with the same challenges today, would you take the same steps?
- How do you perceive talent?
- To what do you attribute your overall success?
- What do you look for in potential employees? Do you want like-minded people, or you actually want someone who can challenge your views and ideas?
- What are your goals? Also, do you think short-term or long-term?
- What’s so unique about your business/ job position? Why?
- Do you believe in luck or do you feel people who end up successful are always those who have put in the effort? Also, what does success mean to you? How would you define it in your own words?
- What made you choose this in the first place? What’s so attractive about being YOU?
- Are you fully aware of your responsibilities? And more importantly, are you comfortable with handling them?
- Do you sometimes wish you tried a different line of work? Make a list and state all the pros and cons you can think of in relation to your job and current tasks.
- If you were just starting out now, what advice would you give yourself? What things would you do differently (if any)?
- How do you perceive money?
There’s a famous saying suggesting “You can’t have it all.”, which poses the question of whether entrepreneurs can. We certainly would like to believe so!
Actually, on second thought, it’s almost surreal and impossible “to have it all”. That said, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive for it. In other words, we praise the process of striving for it, meaning you’re always trying to balance your personal and professional life (although at times it may look as though you’re failing). But what matters is to always keep moving forward. And that’s what entrepreneurs do!
Now when it comes to personal relationships, some entrepreneurs may try to approach them as “tasks”, but others see them as a break from their everyday activities, and they feel they can finally be themselves.
Also, keep in mind that the people around you don’t really care if you’re an entrepreneur or not (well, they DO care about what you do, it’s just that at the end of the day, they care about YOU and what you represent rather than what you do). In other words, people need the human version of you, not the entrepreneurial one.
Oftentimes we’re so used to displaying a specific attitude on work, that we tend to carry it with ourselves and project it onto other people (even our close ones). Or we tend to yell at them because of something our colleague may have said/done. While we all have our bad days and different moods, it’s crucial not to let that affect our personal relationships.
Sometimes it can be hard, but we have to try, because failing as a parent, a friend, or a partner is much more heartbreaking than failing as an entrepreneur.
As Jon Acuff has put it: “Dear entrepreneurs, you can start a thousand businesses, launch 100 projects, and take dozens of companies public, but you only have one shot at being part of your kid’s childhood. Your kid doesn’t care about your platform, they care about your presence.”
How to approach this?
- Do you consider yourself to be the dominant person when you’re in a relationship?
- How do others see you?
- Are you a control freak and bossy?
- Do you always need to know what’s going on within your friends’ group?
- Do you share your secrets with others? Also, can you keep others’ secrets?
- Do you sometimes feel like you’re leading a double life?
- Who do you go to for advice? Why that person?
- Do you differentiate between your entrepreneurial network of people and your most intimate connections? How?
- Is your life sometimes lonely?
- Are your friends from the same field as you, or they have completely different professions? If they are, do you see eye to eye?
- How do you treat your colleagues? Your partners? Your team members? Your competitors?
- How important are interpersonal relationships to you? What type of relationship is the most significant? A romantic one? Your friendships? Or maybe the relationship you have with your family?
- Are you a generous person?
- Do you take initiative with your personal relationships the same way you do at your job? For instance, if you like someone and want to ask them out on a date, are you willing to take the first step?
- Do you have the tendency to project onto others? Do you know how to spot this?
- Have you ever been heavily criticized by someone you value? How did you react?
- Do you easily get mad at others? What are things that can set you off?
- Do you defend others when they’re fighting with a third person? Or you tend to step aside and not get mixed up in the situation?
- How willing are you to take risks when it comes to saving/helping your loved ones?
- When you talk with your friends, do you always end up talking about your entrepreneurial job tasks, or you have no trouble discussing various different subjects?
Famous Quotes about Entrepreneurship
“An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.”
- Roy Ash
"Don’t get distracted. Never tell yourself that you need to be the biggest brand in the whole world. Start by working on what you need at the present moment and then what you need to do tomorrow. So, set yourself manageable targets."
"[Don’t] let anyone convince you that your dream, your vision to be an entrepreneur, is something that you shouldn’t do. What often happens is that people who are well meaning, who really care for us, are afraid for us and talk us out of it."
“Tough times never last, but tough people do.”
“If you don’t have big dreams and goals, you’ll end up working for someone that does.”
"No matter how many customers you have, each is an individual. The day you start thinking of them as this amorphous ‘collection’ and stop thinking of them as people is the day you start going out of business."
“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won't so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can't.”
“But as an entrepreneur, you have to feel like you can jump out of an aeroplane because you’re confident that you’ll catch a bird flying by. It’s an act of stupidity, and most entrepreneurs go play because the bird doesn’t come by, but a few times it does.”
“If you want to be an entrepreneur, it’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle. It defines you. Forget about vacations, about going home at 6 pm – last thing at night you’ll send emails, first thing in the morning you’ll read emails, and you’’ wake up in the middle of the night. But it’s hugely rewarding as you’re fulfilling something for yourself.”
“If you’re working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.”
“Almost everything worthwhile carries with it some sort of risk, whether it’s starting a new business, whether it’s leaving home, whether it’s getting married, or whether it’s flying into space.”
Frequently Asked Questions? (FAQ)
What qualities does a successful entrepreneur need to have?
Entrepreneurs have a lot of skills - some (such as creativity, courage, and open-mindedness) help them make progress, while others (such as greed, pride, and selfishness) regress them.
Of course, being a successful entrepreneur means you need to have more of the former group of skis. That doesn’t mean you should be perfect though. We don’t strive for perfection. Instead, it’s about accepting your flaws, but focusing on your strengths and making them a priority.
That said, here are the most common qualities successful entrepreneurs have.
Mastering your own thoughts, procrastination habits, and limiting thoughts is one of the greatest traits an entrepreneur can have. It may be challenging to always keep them in check, but once you start seeing results from your disciplined thoughts, it gets so much easier.
This one's a bit tricky because it tends to be misunderstood. You see, being confident and having self-esteem is truly amazing, but oftentimes people tend to take this to extremes. In other words, they become self-absorbed, egocentric, and quite condescending. They believe their ideas are the best ones and aren’t very open to cooperation with others.
That said, it’s important to make sure you’re not behaving in a way that would repel your colleagues, team members, or even your close ones. When/If you feel you may be “adopting” such behaviors, get back to being yourself and take a look at what caused you to change your behavior so drastically.
Entrepreneurs shouldn’t be put off by their failures or defeats. In fact, some are even motivated by them! Yes, you read that right. Some go back to trace all their steps to see what went wrong, not to sulk and be depressed, but to understand their mistakes so that they don’t make them again. But they don’t give up. In essence, they’re trying to see what the problem was so that they do things better the next time.
This is very closely related to persistence. Setting your mind up for success (although setbacks and disappointments may occasionally occur) shows devotion, endurance, and utmost persistence.
Strong work ethic
Having a strong work ethic speaks a lot about one’s professionalism. Working tirelessly to attain your goals requires commitment and patience, but it’s rewarding in the end. Of course, this type of approach shouldn’t influence other areas of your life - such as the relationship with your family, your social life, and so on.
Being a successful entrepreneur won’t mean a lot to you if you end up struggling with other parts of your life. It may even make you a “worse” entrepreneur in the long-run.
Lacking passion in your everyday life, tasks, and responsibilities can be a huge obstacle. In fact, if you don’t do your entrepreneurial job with passion, there’s honestly no point in doing it at all.
Successful entrepreneurs looooove their job. They generally love what they do - whether it’s texting, second emails, working on a new project, communicating with colleagues, you name it! And while they may be tiresome days, and days where they can feel like they want to give up - it’s the passion that helps them stay on track and continue moving forward.
Successful entrepreneurs are always on the lookout for a new idea, a fresh vision, and potential opportunities. This may sound demanding, but it’s true. Consciously or unconsciously, entrepreneurs are always seeking the next thing. They’re unstoppable, and always setting new goals.
Also, it’s important for entrepreneurs to find ways that will keep them motivated - they need incentives. So, find out what works best for you and stick to it (it really is different for everyone); for some, it’s helpful to stay focused on the end-goals, while for others, it’s the small steps along the way. Finally, motivation keeps your ideas flowing, so make sure you have several methods to keep yourself going.
How difficult is entrepreneurship?
This is a tricky question - it all depends on how we perceive entrepreneurship! Is it something that comes naturally to use? Do we feel we have to invest a lot of time to obtain it? Is it nerve-wracking or inspiring? Boring or thrilling?
That said, irrespective of how you see it, entrepreneurship does require hard work, a specific set of skills, and adequate determination. However, that doesn’t make it any less appealing or interesting.
In fact, it totally pays off to invest in your entrepreneurial skills. This is so because you’re investing in skills that can help you in your daily life and almost every profession out there. Yes, you don’t have to be a professional entrepreneur or to be running a family business to benefit from it.
However, if you hate taking risks, making important and life-changing decisions, and are trying to find a quick way to make money, then entrepreneurship isn’t for you (and yes, it may be what many perceive as “a difficult undertaking”). Also, it’s difficult when you consider how motivated you have to, as well as how you always need to be up-to-date with things. Plus, if you’re into procrastinating, then entrepreneurship can definitely be one hell of a challenge to cope with.
But if you can find beauty and motivation in healthy competition; if you can transcend your own restrictions, if you can build things from scratch, have them “destroyed” and find the will to rebuild them, and go beyond what “ordinary” people tell you to, then you have a shot at being good at entrepreneurship.
Finally, while certain entrepreneurship aspects may be indeed considered difficult, they’re certainly far from impossible. It’s all about setting your priorities straight, and knowing when you are capable of doing things on your own, and when you need assistance.
Is a degree in entrepreneurship worth it?
A degree in every field is always a big plus. The same goes for entrepreneurship. Again, getting a degree doesn’t guarantee any success. The same goes for a degree in entrepreneurship.
In other words, getting a degree in entrepreneurship can truly boost your knowledge, expand your skills, and help you form a network of like-minded people, but again, it doesn’t come with a guarantee that you’ll end up being successful.
In case you’re curious about what entrepreneurship programs look like at a university level, here’s an extract from a Forbes article that explains this through two examples:
At the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business, the Entrepreneurship program involves traditional classroom learning with apprenticeships and real-world experience. The titles of the courses include Entrepreneurship Overview, Intrapreneurship, Entrepreneurial Revenues, Entrepreneurial Costs & Budgets, Entrepreneur Capital, Entrepreneur Strategy & Perspectives, and Entrepreneurship Business Plan & Perspective.
At Babson College’s Entrepreneurship Center, students also combine class curriculum with internships and other means of getting involved with real-world entrepreneurial ventures. As an undergraduate, your entire first year is spent in the Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship track. Electives are focused on topics like marketing, information tech, operations management and the like. There is also a graduate program, which requires a complementary capstone course and courses like Managing Talent: Your Own and Others.
In general, although such programs sound informative and you can really learn a lot, when it comes to entrepreneurship, you need to show much more than university knowledge and a degree. In fact, most of the challenges you’ll likely face as an entrepreneur won’t have their solutions in any book. You’ll have to solve them based on your skills, experience, and resourcefulness.
That said, if you’re keen to get a degree in entrepreneurship, by all means, do so! We strongly support individuals who keep on upgrading themselves and never stop learning.
Suggestions for Further Reading
People love hearing about entrepreneurial success stories because deep down it makes them feel that success is attainable and available to them as well. While listening to such stories is truly amazing, we actually love reading about them!
The following list includes 11 highly inspiring books for potential entrepreneurs (as well as already existing ones!). You don’t have to be a “professional” entrepreneur to benefit from them though. Reading about successful people, and analyzing the skills and the ideas needed to do great in life in general, is a good way to get started.
So, let us know which one you’ll be reading first!
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, by Stephen Covey
2. Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!, by Robert T. Kiyosaki
- The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future, by Chris Guillebeau
- Rework: Change The Way You Work Forever, by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried
- Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too, by Gary Vaynerchuk
- The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything, by Guy Kawasaki
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport
- The Startup Playbook: Secrets of the Fastest-Growing Startups from Their Founding Entrepreneurs, by David Kidder and Reid Hoffman
- Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
- The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career, by Ben Casnocha and Reid Hoffman
- Screw It, Let's Do It: 14 Lessons on Making It to the Top While Having Fun & Staying Green, by Richard Branson
Overall, entrepreneurship is a very interesting topic to tackle, as we mentioned at the very beginning. There are a lot of skills, information, and principles a person needs to possess in order to call themselves an entrepreneur.
Luckily, nowadays it’s much easier to obtain them than it used to be in the past. If you are interested in becoming a great entrepreneur, join our course. We cover a wide range of entrepreneurship topics including:
- how to develop an entrepreneurial mindset;
- profit and loss and CAC and ROI;
- market research and market validation;
- traditional vs digital marketing;
- demand generation vs demand satisfaction;
- looking for opportunities and getting your first paying customer;
- how to build a team.
So, basically what we shared with you in this article is just the tip of the iceberg! Don’t hesitate to join us if you want to learn more!
Early Bird Signup
Signup for early bird access, exclusive discounts &
more when we launch new course.