How did you become an entrepreneur? Were you driven to it by an irresistible internal desire, or was it circumstance that caused you to strike out on your own? Are you wondering IF YOU CAN be an entrepreneur?

According to a recent article at, simply possessing what we commonly refer to as the “Entrepreneurial Spirit” is not enough to succeed when taking the leap into creating and building your own business. Simply “wanting to” is not enough. There are, in fact, certain identifiable characteristics that make for a successful entrepreneur:

  • Personality traits and economic behavior are strongly linked
  • Personal desire for achievement is tied to business success
  • Risk-takers thrive in complexity, uncertainty, and urgency

Of course, the question then becomes, is the entrepreneur born with these characteristics or are they learned? This leads us to the age old argument about nature vs. nurture. Most credible research shows that our personality traits are 50/50 in terms of being influenced by nature or nurture. The best thing you can do with the Gallup data is ask yourself, “Do I have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? How will I know? Who should I ask to get an honest and aware opinion?”

Far too many people with entrepreneurial traits and skills are dying in the comfort of a paycheck or family business. Too many others who lack these traits and skills are dying trying to be an entrepreneur, and largely failing at it.

What separates successful business owners from less successful ones?

Speaking of great entrepreneurs, the Gallup article references the psychology of highly talented entrepreneurs that drive bigger, more valuable businesses. The 10 talents of successful entrepreneurs (with links to more details), based on a study of 2500 entrepreneurs in the US, are:

  1. Business Focus: You make decisions based on observed or anticipated effect on profit.
  2. Confidence: You accurately know yourself and understand others.
  3. Creative Thinker: You exhibit creativity in taking an existing idea or product and turning it into something better.
  4. Delegator: You recognize that you cannot do everything and are willing to contemplate a shift in style and control.
  5. Determination: You persevere through difficult, even seemingly insurmountable, obstacles.
  6. Independent: You are prepared to do whatever needs to be done to build a successful venture.
  7. Knowledge-Seeker: You constantly search for information that is relevant to growing your business.
  8. Promoter: You are the best spokesperson for the business.
  9. Relationship-Builder: You have high social awareness and an ability to build relationships that are beneficial for the firm’s survival and growth.
  10. Risk-Taker: You instinctively know how to manage high-risk situations.

When trying to decide if you “Have what it takes” to succeed as an entrepreneur, a serious self-examination is required. Do you possess the traits outlined above? Be honest with yourself – and keep in mind the mantras, “Know thyself” and “To thyself be true,” and stay focused on the real prize, personal fulfillment.