Starting a Business

You've Got Personality

Let it guide you to the right business.
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the December 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

You may have a passion for entrepreneurship, but if you don't take your core personality traits into account, your new venture could be destined for failure.

"Your personality traits will help you select the best industry," says Marc Becker, a business psychologist in Anaheim Hills, California, "and that will help you weather adversity during the start-up process.'

Here are common personality types and their best business bets.

Social Butterfly
Not content in an office in front of a computer or working solo from home, you'll be happiest out among clients and colleagues. You'd likely flourish in sales, teaching or consulting businesses that require interaction. Consider any business that involves networking, marketing and interacting.

Party-energizing service (people who pose as party guests and mingle at social events, creating interesting conversation, getting people to dance and so on)
Real estate sales
Management or executive recruiting
Public relations or marketing
Mobile DJ

Is working from the privacy of home your dream scenario? Then an e-business is your ideal option-and you don't need to be technologically sophisticated to get an online business going. But you need to be a good decision-maker, self-sufficient and able to play multiple roles.

Web site selling gardening tools, baseball cards, cookies-choose your product
Lifestyle Web site
House- and plant-sitting
Chauffeur service
Web site design

You feel best when helping others. Many entrepreneurs who don't have strictly "nurturing" businesses are satisfied with nurturing and mentoring employees, but nurturers sometimes allow themselves to be taken advantage of, so balance the nurturing with toughness and authority.

Massage therapist
Senior care
Restaurant selling comfort foods such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, meat loaf and mashed potatoes

Early Riser
Up before the sun? Being early is a trait most entrepreneurs would love to have. Consider a business that provides products or serv-ices to help those who get a later start.

Breakfast restaurant or food cart offering customers eye-opening drinks and entrees
Morning transportation service to make sure clients' children get to school or day care
Newspaper abstracting service for companies (reading newspapers and writing brief summaries of the key articles to keep busy clients well informed of breaking events)
Early pickup and delivery service
Wake-up call service

Night Owl
Night owls do well in homebased businesses, independent consultant roles, and computer and Internet-related services allowing them to work when they're most productive: in the wee hours.

Customer service center
Security service
After-hours dance club, book or video store, cybercafe, etc.
Food-service business targeting late-shift manufacturing or service operations
Secretarial or administrative support services

Unpredictable income and uncertainties about the future will be stressful. Try making a gradual transition from full-time employment to entrepreneurship, and focus on low-risk ventures. Consider businesses that will lessen your own anxiety.

Yoga school
Manufacturer or marketer of stress-reduction products (aromatherapy, massage oils, worry beads, relaxation tapes)

You're best-suited to fast-paced, challenging and constantly changing activities. Businesses that require physical exertion and travel are also a good match for you. But stay away from solo work-at-home options.

Child photographer
Adventure-travel coordinator
Personal trainer
Firm that organizes and coaches pep rallies at large group events
Training service

Pamela Rohland writes about the joys and tribulations of entrepreneurship for a variety of regional and national business publications.

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