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3 Traits That Can Make or Break a Businessperson Self-made business people will tell you that it's not what you've done, but how you didit that matters most.

By John Patrick Pullen

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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It's easy to feel confident when you have a highlight-reel résumé like Jeremy Bloom's. But any self-made businessperson will tell you that it's not what you've done, but how you did
it that matters most.

Entrepreneurs may not have common personality traits, but they do share a small set of similar psychological characteristics, says Harvard Business School professor Noam Wasserman, author of The Founder's Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup. While conducting research for the book, which incorporates data from 10,000 business founders, Wasserman continually encountered three characteristics displayed by entrepreneurs: passion, confidence and representativeness. Balancing each, he says, "is the critical art for founders to have."

1. Passion. "A lot of the early magic comes from the founder's passion," Wasserman says. Infectious enthusiasm can get outsiders to buy into an idea early on. But if left unbridled, it will have the company looking skyward, while ignoring obvious obstacles at eye level.