6 Personality Traits That Are Perfect for Entrepreneurship

Although the everyday entrepreneur isn't likely to have brain wiring similar to Elon Musk or Steve Jobs, that doesn't mean that they can't be a successful business owner.

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By Adam Callinan • Feb 2, 2016 Originally published Jan 1, 2016

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There are certain people, such as Elon Musk and Steve Jobs, that seem to have been brought to this world for one thing: to build game-changing enterprises by challenging the status quo. There's no question that they, and those extreme few who function on or near their level, are unique.

Related: 8 Tough-Minded Traits That Assure Success

Although the everyday entrepreneur isn't likely to have brain wiring similar to Musk or Jobs, that doesn't mean that they can't be a successful business owner. We know that entrepreneurship isn't for everyone, but there are some personality traits that, if you possess them, will set you on the right path to achieving your dreams.

1. Taking abstract thoughts and making them linear

It seems like everyone has an idea that they think is the next big thing, yet very few of those people ever take the steps to execute on it. Those that do often flail around while their ideas die a slow and painful death. The problem here is that you need to be able to take your idea and visualize the entire process, from creation through sales and beyond in order to have a real chance at executing it effectively.

2. Don't bask in failure, but learn from it

If you're the kind of person that is fearful of failure, entrepreneurship isn't for you. The reality is you're going to fail a lot, but you have to be able to look at these failures as learning experiences and without emotion so that you can correct them, execute and move on.

3. Talk less and do more

As noted in the last point, everyone has ideas but very few people actually execute on them. Even if they have the ability to create linear paths with abstract ideas, it's shocking how often you hear about an idea from a colleague that just never gets moving. Successful entrepreneurs talk less and do more.

Related: Curiosity Is the Key to Discovering Your Next Breakthrough Idea

4. Function better under stress

Startups are a grind. If you're one of those people that can't operate well under stress when the stakes are at their highest, you will most certainly fail. You must be comfortable being a bit out of control because there isn't a playbook for a startup -- most of what you're going to do is learned along the way and won't be part of your plan. If, however, you're one of the few whose performance actually steps up under stressful conditions, you'll be well suited for the startup lifestyle.

5. Comfortable taking large risks

Startups are riddled with risk. The reality is that you're going to make little to no income for quite some time. Sure, there are ways to supplement this, such as keeping your corporate gig while you're in the early startup or pre-revenue phase, but at some point you're going to have to take a leap off the income cliff and work for free.

Clearly, the plan is that you'll take on the risk in exchange for a potential greater payout down the road, but if you're not comfortable stepping away from your cushy job and salary, entrepreneurship is most definitely not for you.

6. Enjoy and excel at puzzles

Starting and growing a new business is almost exactly like a giant puzzle. You must have the mentality that each and every decision on technology, verbiage, imagery or sales is part of a highly complex puzzle, where the outcomes are heavily affected by the decisions you make on how you want your puzzle to fit together.

If you're one of those people that thoroughly enjoys complicated situations and can take a step back to look at them unemotionally, while watching out for unintended consequences, you're going to love being an entrepreneur.

Related: 10 Timeless Qualities of True Leaders

Adam Callinan

Entrepreneur and Venture Investor

Adam Callinan is a founder at BottleKeeper, the fast-paced and sarcasm-infused solution to the warm beer and broken bottle epidemics that have plagued the world for centuries. Callinan is also a founding partner at Beachwood Ventures, a Los Angeles-based early-stage and non-traditional venture-capital firm at the intersection of technology and entertainment. As an entrepreneur, Callinan has spent over a decade building small businesses in and around technology, medical devices and consumer products, which most recently includes an exit in 2013. Callinan lives in Manhattan Beach with his wife Katie.

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