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Although entrepreneurship has become increasingly popular in recent years, the truth is that not everyone is suited for the entrepreneur life. While entrepreneurship comes with more freedom than employment, to be a successful entrepreneur you have to be incredibly disciplined.

Entrepreneurship is not as glamorous as it looks in the media, especially in the beginning stages. It often takes years of hard labour, dedication, and no recognition to have a truly successful business. This partly explains why plenty of entrepreneurs give up and return to employment. Statistics show that 40 per cent of startups failures is due to a poor fit, followed closely at 38 per cent by lack of time and involvement.

It takes a rare kind of tenacity to make it as an entrepreneur. If you are considering quitting your regular 9am to 5pm for entrepreneurship, you might be wondering if you have what it takes. Here is a list of some of the most important traits for entrepreneurship:

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You’re a visionary

Entrepreneurs are people who think on a big scale. They are experts at dreaming big. They think of ways they can change the world for better by providing a needed service or product. Where a normal mind sees limitation, an entrepreneur sees opportunities.

Entrepreneurs are often seen as a little crazy because of their big, “impossible” dreams. The most successful entrepreneurs are those who bring entirely new products or improve old ones and bring them to the market. Most people might dismiss your dreams as impossible daydreams, but being a real entrepreneur means having the conviction that you can turn your dream into reality. Vision is the energy that drives an entrepreneur. It is what makes them dare to explore, challenge, insist, keep pushing, and have the determination to succeed.

You also need to have a vision with which you can share with your immediate team, including business partners and employees. An entrepreneur with a clear vision is able to instil the same enthusiasm, drive, and perseverance in his team. Without a vision, any business venture is likely to fail.

You’re a people person

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To succeed in the business world, you need to be very good with interpersonal relationships. While being an introverted loner does not rule you out as a potential entrepreneur, lacking people skills could greatly hinder your success.

The most successful entrepreneurs are those who have charisma. Charisma is what makes an entrepreneur a persuasive and convincing salesperson, an inspiring leader, and a good business partner. An entrepreneur spends a significant part of their life negotiating, either with investors, venture capitalists, bank managers, clients, and customers.

Do not be worried if you are not fully confident with your people skills right from the beginning. Like any other skill, interpersonal skills can be developed over time. A good place to start is by learning to truly listen to people and care for them. By simply listening, people perceive you to be more charismatic and engaging.

You take action

You might have a great idea, but unless you are willing and able to work on it, it is worth absolutely nothing. There are literally millions of people who have great business ideas, even if nothing ever comes of these potentially revolutionary ideas. You probably know a few such people.

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A natural entrepreneur is not someone who sits on their ideas. Entrepreneurs are self-starters who take action. If you are the kind of person who needs a supervisor to be productive, entrepreneurship might not be the right path for you. As an entrepreneur, you will not have anyone standing over your shoulder and telling you to get things done. There is no one to tell you when to start working and when to clock out. You will have to be very disciplined to avoid tempting distractions.

You’re persistent

A successful entrepreneur is someone with a “never say die” attitude. Even if you have a great business idea, other people might not see its value. You will hear “no” and meet discouragements that make you wish you had never started.

At those moments, you will need to draw on your inner strength and perseverance. If you are the kind of person who gives up easily, your business will join the statistics of failed startups. As an entrepreneur, you have to be ready for things to not go as planned. Certain people and government regulations can become roadblocks on your way to success. Instead of giving up, you need the resolve to push through, no matter how frustrated you feel.

You’re a risk taker

Are you the kind of person who has to carefully weigh all pros and cons before making a decision? As an entrepreneur, you need to be more of a risk taker. Entrepreneurs have to take calculated risks every day, while employees just have to implement those decisions.

But although every decision needs to be calculated, entrepreneurs cannot afford to spend a long time analysing every decision. Stalling can lead to something known as analysis paralysis – where you are so terrified of making the wrong decision that you put off making any decision at all. Analysis paralysis can eventually kill a business.

A good entrepreneur considers the factors that matter most to make decisions rapidly. The key to be a successful entrepreneur is not just to make the right calls, but to also take enough action that your wins outweigh your losses. 

You’re creative

Creativity is not just for artists and writers. Successful entrepreneurs are also very creative thinkers. One study found that while 47 per cent of the general population is creative, the percentage jumps to more than three quarters in entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs have to think outside the box to find solutions to ordinary problems. They have to create new products, improve old ones, find creative ways of marketing and are not afraid to experiment and learn from experience. A good entrepreneur only adheres to rules and principles when they add value to their business or personal lives.

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Entrepreneurship Pauline Muindi
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