The 5 Characteristics of True Entrepreneurs

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Most entrepreneurs are cut from the same ambitious, risk-taking cloth. Foregoing the stability of a 9-to-5 job is certainly not for everyone.

If you own a business or are thinking about creating one, you’re probably curious about what sets entrepreneurs apart from everyone else. Below are five traits that typically unite entrepreneurs.

1. Your business is your dream.

For many people, simply having a rewarding job is enough. Some of the most ambitious individuals, men and women intent on reaching the top of their chosen fields, aren’t necessarily entrepreneurial-minded.

There’s nothing wrong with craving the stability that comes from working for someone else. But to be an entrepreneur, the motivation needs to come from within. Creating something from scratch requires unwavering belief in yourself and your business. Your goals for your business and your dreams for your life need to be, if not one and the same, then intertwined. Otherwise, it’s hard to find the will to keep going when the going gets tough.

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2. You create an opportunity to fill a need.

Entrepreneurs often choose their ventures based on a personal experience or need. Jim Bizily, the owner of  Park City Rental Properties, is a great example of this. When Bizily was a San Diego resident, he frequently vacationed in Park City, Utah. During his visits, he found himself dissatisfied with the services offered by the property management companies in town. Instead of remaining unhappy with the situation as it was, Bizily chose to relocate to Park City and create a property rental company that far surpassed any of the existing local options.

When most people encounter a problem on this scale, they shrug their shoulders. Entrepreneurial-minded individuals, however, will search for a solution.

3. You’re a risk taker.

One of the top traits that sets an entrepreneur apart from the rest of the pack is the willingness to embrace risk over a sense of caution. Employees are often concerned with maintaining the status quo and pleasing those in higher positions. Entrepreneurs, meanwhile, are rarely concerned with preserving circumstances as they are – instead, they desire to incite positive change by shaking things up. Change is often risky. Part of being an entrepreneur is having a healthy appetite for uncertainty and the ability to realize that even if the results aren’t perfect the first time around, it’s ok to take the chance and see what happens.  

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4. Passion is your top priority.

For entrepreneurs, passion is often more important than success. While success typically revolves around an end goal, passion is about the ability to approach an enterprise with fervent enthusiasm. While a successful manager may be more concerned with daily and weekly numbers, an entrepreneur regards every moment as an opportunity to effect real change.

5. You don’t lose sight of the big picture.

Another trait that unites most entrepreneurs is the ability to forge a new path. Employees are often compelled to make decisions based on past experiences and current circumstances. An entrepreneur must use the past and present to create a new future. One example of this difference in outlook might be found at a tech company whose profits are lagging: A manager at such a company will likely be concerned with increasing marketing efforts for an existing product. An entrepreneur might instead opt to create an entirely original product. While the overall risk may be higher, a maverick understands that creating a new market niche could add a valuable dimension to the entire industry.

Starting or running a new business always involves a certain amount of courage and risk. If you aren’t satisfied with doing “business as usual”, you may very well be an entrepreneur in the making. And even if you aren’t an entrepreneur by nature, you can still learn a great deal by studying the habits and characteristics of those who possess a truly entrepreneurial spirit. 

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