by Gino Wickman, author of “Entrepreneurial Leap: Do You Have What it Takes to Become an Entrepreneur?“
Taking the entrepreneurial leap is like jumping out of a plane. It’s scary, exciting, half-crazy, exhilarating, risky, and rewarding.
Entrepreneurs create most of the jobs, are a driving force in the economy, possess a large portion of the wealth, and spearhead much of the innovation that changes the world.
The fact that you’re reading this means that you think you might be an entrepreneur-in-the-making.
The intention of this article is to give you a clear understanding of the characteristics of an entrepreneur so you can determine if you possess those traits.
More than three decades ago, I was right where you are. As an entrepreneur-in-the-making, I was different from others. I felt uncertain, lost, confused, insecure, and out of place. Looking back, I would have appreciated having insight like this to help me identify that I was an entrepreneur-in-the-making.
Since then, I have built and sold two businesses, in addition, I’ve sold over one million copies of my books that help entrepreneurs and have over 70,000 entrepreneurial companies running on the system I created, EOS (the Entrepreneurial Operating System).
In the words of Hall of Fame speaker Danielle Kennedy, “We teach what we needed the most.” That is why I’m writing this article and wrote my book “Entrepreneurial Leap“ to teach you what I needed the most back before I took my leap.
As Aristotle said, “Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation.”
It’s now time to see if your natural characteristics and “talents” are those of an entrepreneur. The objective is to see if the descriptions of an entrepreneur resonates with you.
If 80 percent of what is described here defines you, there’s a good chance you are an entrepreneur at heart.
An entrepreneur is an idea generator, a dreamer. You have lots of ideas, both good and bad. No one gets it right all of the time. You are very creative and great at coming up with solutions and improvements, either by creating something new or improving on something that already exists. You are a learner. You are curious. You enjoy discovering new things and learning about them. You want to grow, reach, push the envelope. You are more comfortable with the discomfort of stretching than the contentment of the status quo.
You see the big picture. You are able to connect the dots, an ability that’s almost a sixth sense. You have street smarts and common sense. Your mind-set is one that’s always thinking about the future. You make decisions from your gut, and they are usually proven right, or you push hard to make them right.
You are a great strategic thinker and very persuasive. When you lock in on an objective, nothing stops you. You win people over with your passion and excitement for the project at hand. You are inspirational to those around you, whether selling them something or getting them to follow you and your thinking.
You are also passionate and obsessive. When you get focused on an idea, a problem to solve, a product to create, or something to build, you have unlimited energy. Once you see an image in your mind, there is no stopping you, regardless of whether what you see is actually possible or not. You are an optimist, and every cloud has a silver lining. This is a common entrepreneurial trait.
An entrepreneur has a strong work ethic. You can outwork almost anyone. You lose track of time when you are focused on accomplishing a goal. You are driven, ambitious, and self-motivated. A fire burns inside you, and you have a tremendous sense of urgency. A hunger. A desire to be successful. You are relentless.
You are financially motivated and want to make a lot of money. Not because you are greedy, but because you want to provide for your family, yourself, and others. You have a burning desire to be financially independent. It’s unfortunate that wanting to make a lot of money sometimes has a negative connotation. In the early 1900s, many people wanted to be millionaires, and becoming one was respected. My experience is that most entrepreneurs want to make a lot of money, and most are extremely generous with their money. As marketing guru Joe Polish says, “Entrepreneurs solve problems for a profit.”
You have the toughness to stick it out. Angela Duckworth, in her book “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance“, defines grit as “passion and perseverance in pursuit of long-term goals.” She makes the point that “success rarely comes about because of intelligence, IQ, or even talent. Grit is the determining factor of success. I’ve never met a true entrepreneur that didn’t have grit. With it comes tenacity, commitment, a strong will, dedication, stubbornness, obstinacy, determination, resiliency, and persistence.”
You tend to be dominant and can be overpowering. With your strong ambition, you are naturally competitive. Winning is important to you. You are hungry and want to be the best, so you are goal-oriented and have a clear sense of urgency.
You have a strong business acumen. You may not necessarily understand a financial statement, but you see the big financial picture. Simply put, you know how to make money and have typically demonstrated this ability since a young age.
Let’s look at an example of this characteristic. When Joe Haney, the founder of Sterling Insurance Group, was 13 years old, the concrete wall that separated his family’s house from their neighbors fell into their yard. It caused quite a big mess. Joe’s dad offered him $2,500 to clean up the huge pile of broken concrete, and Joe agreed to do it. Being an entrepreneur-in-the-making, Joe realized he could hire his friends to do the job and still make a nice profit.
When Joe’s dad came home from work the next day, he saw Joe’s friends removing the collapsed wall and asked Joe, “Why aren’t you doing the work?” Joe replied, “I am.” Joe’s dad laughed with frustration and pride, as he knew he had an entrepreneur-in-the-making on his hands.
If you’re an entrepreneur, your mind works like Joe’s. You see opportunities to make money. Not only that, but you tended to sell stuff in your younger years, be it lemonade, candy, T-shirts or whatever.
An entrepreneur is a risk taker, which means that once you see the opportunity, you will take the leap knowing there are no guarantees. You are not afraid to challenge the status quo and be a change maker and disrupter.
You are a rebel by nature and take great pride in that. You are not a rule follower. A stop sign to you is merely a suggestion. At the same time, you take total responsibility. While you are not afraid to take the ball and run with it, you are totally accountable for the outcome. You blame no one else if there’s a fumble.
To summarize the above description, an entrepreneur has six essential traits. These are as follows:
- Problem Solver
- Risk Taker
If you think you might have what it takes to become an entrepreneur, please visit www.e-leap.com to take the free Entrepreneur-in-the-Making Assessment, download a free chapter of “Entrepreneurial Leap” or order a full copy, which is a complete how-to manual for helping an entrepreneur-in-the-making get a huge jump-start on taking their entrepreneurial leap.
Gino Wickman, author of “Entrepreneurial Leap“, has had a passion for entrepreneurship for over three decades. His purpose is to help entrepreneurs get everything they want from their businesses while giving them freedom, the ability to be creative and make an impact on the world. He has built, ran and sold two companies. He is the author of six books which have sold over one million copies. He created EOS (The Entrepreneurial Operating System®) which is being used by almost 100,00 companies worldwide. He also delivers workshops and keynote addresses.