6 Must-Have Personality Traits for an Entrepreneur

2016-12-01T19:13:48+00:00September 11th, 2015|Startup Culture|

Entrepreneurs solve problems by creating new products or new ways of doing things. It takes a very special person to do this well—one with very specific personality traits. Based on personal observations and interviews, I’ve come up with six must-have traits for success as an entrepreneur.

Agile learner:

I recently wrote about the agile mindset of entrepreneurs and their ability to learn and pivot quickly. That ability to pivot gives them a leadership edge over corporate executives. According to The Korn Ferry Institute, three main attributes are associated with agile learning: tolerance of ambiguity, intellectual curiosity and emotional intelligence, each of which is a key predictor of leadership success. This video, featuring turnstone’s general manager, expands upon the notion of agility in business.


Interestingly, academics are now finding that success is less about IQ—though that certainly is part of the formula—and more about grit. Grit, as it turns out, is the quality that allows people to accomplish their goals. Angela Duckworth, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, pioneered a study on grit. She found that successful people are more likely to agree with survey statements such as “setbacks don’t discourage me.” Entrepreneurs are determined and tenacious.


Entrepreneurship is an emotional roller coaster. Resilience keeps entrepreneurs from falling down when times get tough. Resilience, as it turns out, is a one of the defining skills and behaviors of people who make it, according to Jeffrey Pfeffer, author of Power, and echoed by Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, writes Denise Brosseau, author of Ready to be a Thought Leader? How to Increase Your Influence, Impact, and Success.

You can’t go down for the count when you get dealt a blow. Sure, you may teeter, but the key to successful entrepreneurship is dealing with disappointments and setbacks and staying standing. Staying power is a hallmark of the best-performing companies of every size.


In today’s fast-paced world, entrepreneurs need to be flexible or risk having their companies wither into nonexistence. For those of you old enough to remember, there was a time when the only way you could see a movie was in a theater. But times changed. Eventually we watched movies on broadcast TV, then cable TV, VCR, DVDs and now, streaming on your mobile device. Advances in technology are causing companies to move on. To adapt or perish. It takes flexibility to keep up with a rapidly evolving landscape, and entrepreneurs are focused on doing just that.


Entrepreneurs see opportunities where others see problems. They aren’t swayed by naysayers. It takes belief in one’s abilities to blaze a new trail.  


Entrepreneurs are passionate about their businesses. That passion helps them get past the many rejections they receive when seeking money and customers. That passion pushes them forward and encourages them to think outside the box. To read more about passion and how it impacts founders and business leaders, click here