9 Intangible Assets Dominant Entrepreneurs Possess
A Note From The Editor
Think your company has what it takes to make our Top Company Cultures list? Apply now.Apply now »
Lose your degree. Years of experience can never fully convey your overall worth. There have to be more effective ways to display your value to a potential employer and to the business world at large.
Plain and simple, the resume is old and broken. It hasn’t had a major overhaul in nearly 380 years and it’s time to disrupt how job-seekers and hiring managers find the best candidates to fill positions. Our higher education system is a mess, and online schools continue to challenge the education model. Yet, we still use these same archaic methods for sourcing the right people by only scrutinizing education and years of experience through resumes. Blah!
Conversely, if you're an outlier with ridiculously high talent, unconventional education and little experience (or any combination thereof. For example, a 21-year-old self-taught hacker with no formal education and one year of "job experience."), this broken process makes it even more difficult for you to be discovered.
I’ve been obsessed with studying successful entrepreneurs and found that many have intangible qualities that wouldn’t, or couldn’t, be expressed on a standard resume. In addition, some entrepreneurs even had seemingly negative marks against them (by worldly standards at least) such as dropping out of college, not being able to hold a job, getting fired and unflattering social-media activity.
Here's a list of nine intangible assets that entrepreneurs possess:
You ever hear the saying, being an entrepreneur is like building the bridge as you walk across it? This refers to those entrepreneurs who always answer “yes” when asked if they can do something (even if they have no clue and figure it out as they go). They are the first to volunteer for the seemingly undoable tasks. They do it with confidence, because they believe that they can accomplish anything they put their minds to, even if they have no idea what they are doing.
I’m referring to good stubbornness. These are the “I won’t take no for an answer” people. These people love a challenge and will get back up even if they fall 100 times because they know they are one step closer to getting the result they want. Giving up is not an option.
Here’s a good example:
Kellee Khalil created Lover.ly, a visual search engine and cloud scrapbook for everything wedding-related. According to Business Insider, "One week before Kellee Khalil launched her wedding startup, she received a coffee invitation from a business strategist at a top bridal site. 'We have $70 million to buy competitors just so we can shut them down,' Khalil was told."
Unfazed by the message, and maybe even in spite of it, she has gone on to to build a wedding-site juggernaut where users now view more than 40 million images each month and have “loved and bundled” more than 400 million wedding details.
3. Cool under pressure
This is a tough skill to effectively measure on a person’s resume or LinkedIn profile.
Too many people are brilliant but can’t hang in the real world. They collapse under the first sign of adversity. Others can handle a decent amount of pressure before they crumble, but true A players thrive under pressure. It brings out the best in them. These are the entrepreneurs who seem to pull off the impossible.
4. Their network and peers
It sounds strange, but a person’s peers show a lot about who they are. People typically like to hang around others with the same interests and motivation levels. The saying goes that “you are the sum of five of your closest friends.”
It is the reason Entrepreneur’s Organization is so effective, and partly why LinkedIn exists.
Frederick Hutson did four years in the state penitentiary. That alone would dissuade most individuals from even thinking about starting a company, let alone attempt to disrupt an industry as big as the state prison system itself. He has since created a company, called Pigeon.ly, that provides inmates and their families with discounted phone calls and photo sharing.
The company boasts of supporting 2 million minutes per month on phone calls and a quarter-million photo shares. Pigeon.ly was recently accepted into Silicon Valley’s most prestigious accelerator, Y Combinator, and appears to have a very bright future.
Vision is an undeniably key trait for successful entrepreneurs. Sometimes vision can be the result of having such extensive knowledge of an industry, technology or market that the entrepreneur almost seemingly knows what the world wants. Noah Kagan's vision with SumoMe, and its explosive growth is a perfect example.
The other type of entrepreneurs' vision, that marks greats such as Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, is to bend the world to their vision.
7. Blind optimism
Justin Barr sold his company, Tapit, for $23 million. He was so blindly optimistic that he slept in his office and pulled all-nighters while working his butt off. He explains, “I just felt something, and went for it.” It didn’t matter what anyone else was doing in the space, he built a product he “knew” was going to be successful. He contributes his “blind optimism” towards his company’s success and ultimate acquisition.
I recently read about the publicity stunt Tucker Max and Ryan Holiday were able to orchestrate during one of Tucker’s book launches. Long story short, Tucker was denied the opportunity to make a sizable donation to Planned Parenthood, but despite this, he was able to leverage the controversy into millions of new page views, website traffic and tens of thousands of social-media shares.
The pair saw an opportunity, and leveraged it to the hilt.
Career Sushi has more than 10,000 internships available with companies nationwide including Warner Music Group, Billboard, FunnyorDie.com, Gary Sanchez Productions, Lionsgate Entertainment, Michael Stars and Draftfcb. It is the brainchild of Shara Senderoff, a film industry executive and producer who was determined to fix what she saw as a broken process for hiring interns.
Here’s what she had to say in an interview, “My mindset from a very early age has always been 'to figure everything out and no matter what, find a solution.' I was born a problem-solver. I believe my 'find a solution' attitude has allowed me to set an example to those around me. I've learned to execute, execute and execute again and I don't think I'd have become the leader I am today if I didn't approach everything I do with the belief that I can always be better.”
My co-founder and I believe the traditional model of judging a person's professional worth is broken. That is exactly why we created Intangibly, and feel that this is arguably the most important factor.
I leave you with this great Jobs quote:
Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.