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5 Essential Qualities Every Entrepreneur Should Have

Think you have what it takes to strike out on your own?
Andrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He implements lean methodology and currently writing a book about scaling up business. Twitter @AndrewDeen14
Andrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He implements lean methodology and currently writing a book about scaling up business. Twitter @AndrewDeen14

Entrepreneurs are a special breed. They are tenacious, energetic, and tend to have great people skills. But when you step back and see what’s behind the best entrepreneurs’ success, you find some specific qualities that most of them share. These qualities help entrepreneurs stay level-headed in times of trouble, and ready to tackle anything that comes their way. So what’s the secret? These top 5 qualities are essential for entrepreneurs who want to get their business off the ground.

1. Perseverance

Let’s face it: every entrepreneur faces repeated rejection, criticism, and doubt from others. In order to make their dream a reality, the successful entrepreneur has to have a thick skin, and the perseverance to persist in the face of negativity and criticism. While it’s important to make sure that a concept has a viable market, even the best idea will be met with resistance by some. Entrepreneurs need to be able to learn from rejection and criticism and keep moving forward in order to succeed.

2. Self-Discipline & Motivation

When you’re working for yourself, there’s no one looking over your shoulder, telling you what to do. You don’t HAVE to come into an office and put in your eight hours. No one is stopping you from spending the day eating potato chips and looking at cat videos. But entrepreneurs without self-discipline and motivation don’t build successful businesses. In order to succeed, entrepreneurs need to set their own work hours and stick with them, finding their own motivation beyond collecting a paycheck. In the beginning, most entrepreneurs are working on their own, or with just a few other people, so all the motivation needs to be internal for the work to get done.

3. Ability to Delegate

One problem many entrepreneurs have is letting go. It’s understandable: after spending months or years of doing all the work on their own, entrepreneurs are faced with bringing other people onboard, and it can be scary. They are so used to having the control, and making sure everything is done their way, that delegating can be difficult. However, the most successful entrepreneurs know that they can’t do it alone. They need help to bring their vision to life. They are able to pass off tasks to people who are qualified, and free up their own time for building the business.

4. Humility

The stereotype of the young CEO is a cocky, hoodie-wearing man in his twenties, but successful entrepreneurs maintain a strong sense of humility. They are always willing to learn from others, as well as from their own mistakes. They know that there is always more to learn, and that achieving success does not warrant a feeling of superiority. They are always looking for the next opportunity, and they know when to admit defeat and change directions. Instead of continuing to pursue idea that are failing to save face, smart entrepreneurs know when to pivot and try something else. Humility helps entrepreneurs maintain perspective and evaluate ideas based on evidence, rather than pride.

5. Adaptability

The economy and the business world is always changing. An entrepreneur needs to be nimble and prepared for changes. There will always be bumps along the way when building a new business, and adaptability is absolutely essential for surviving these setbacks and moving forward. Creative and adaptive thinking helps entrepreneurs solve problems and prevent stagnation over time.

Can You Develop These Qualities?

The old adage that “you can do anything you set your mind to” isn’t completely true, of course. Someone who is six feet tall can never become a professional jockey, and someone with motion sickness won’t make a good astronaut. However, when it comes to developing qualities required for entrepreneurship, it is absolutely possible to make these kinds of changes, as long as you develop the right mindset. 75% of college students are “searching for meaning/purpose in life”, and for entrepreneurs, that means building and growing. If you feel that entrepreneurship is the right path for you, then it’s time to start focusing on your dream—and the qualities you’ll need to make it happen.

Stories like Charlie Munger’s inspire me. It shows why you must live life as an optimist.