Have you ever wondered if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Many of us fantasize about creating and growing our own business, being our own boss and achieving success on our own terms. But the reality is that not everyone has the temperament and skills to make it as an entrepreneur. You might think smarts combined with hard work are enough to take an idea to market.

But when researchers Hao Zhao from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Scott Seibert of the Melbourne Business School did a meta-analysis of 23 studies they found that entrepreneurs and corporate managers (who, could arguably be considered both smart and hard-working) differed on four of five established personality dimensions. So, what are some of the personality traits that are shared by people who enjoy the rigors of starting a business?

Comfort with failure

In his column for Entrepreneur.com, Richard Branson claimed that “failure is one of the secrets of success.” Budding entrepreneur’s need to accept that repeated failure is an inevitable part of the journey and that persistence despite setbacks is what often leads to ultimate prosperity.

Unsure of whether you have the necessary tolerance for failure? Test the waters by freelancing, taking advantage of contractual opportunities or starting a direct sales company on the side. A mini-venture with a platform like Amway or Upwork will give you a pretty good picture of your failure threshold.

Passion for your product

Take a look at your idea. Are you genuinely excited by it? Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that a desire to make money is not enough, but that you must instead be motivated by a passion for your product or service.

The belief that the concept you are investing your time, money, brainpower in will change the world in whatever small way will get you through the tough times and keep you going once the business settles into more of a routine (read: less exciting) phase.


Entrepreneurs must have an uncommon amount of self-belief. This trait goes hand in hand with passion for product and comfort with failure, because believing you have an idea that you are uniquely qualified to pursue in the face of repeated setbacks takes unwavering confidence in yourself.

Think about where your work-based confidence comes from. Do you find yourself excelling more under the expectations or praise of a boss or manager? Or is it more important that you are happy with your performance? Be honest.


Look at your business idea. Are you open to the possibility that it is probably not perfect? Are you flexible regarding the ultimate expression of this concept?

The previous three traits—persistence, passion and self-confidence—can lead to an aspiring entrepreneur’s downfall if not combined with the ability to adapt when necessary. Most final products or services are vastly different than the initial conception and if the entrepreneur had not been open to change and criticism, the business would have been dead in the water.

Want to further assess your competency for entrepreneurship? Jim Clifton and Sangeeta Bharadwaj Bandal from Gallup studied more than 1,000 entrepreneurs and developed the “Entrepreneurial Profile 10,” which allows you to evaluate yourself on their 10 qualities of highly successful entrepreneurs. You can find it here.