Key Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs – What Really Drives Success?

traits of successful entrepreneur
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While a killer business strategy can definitely help you with your business, there’s another critical piece of the puzzle that is required to run a successful venture – YOU.  

I’m talking about the personality traits that fuel your actions, frame your decisions, and define your approach to your business.

Today, let’s dive deep into the personality traits of successful entrepreneurs. I’ll also share some quick tips on how you can develop them.

What Are the Common Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs?

Trait 1: Resilience

traits of successful entrepreneur - being resilient. box placed like stairs and an arrow bouncing on each upward.

Let’s talk about resilience. It’s a word we often hear, but what does it mean? 

Most people think resilience is about “bouncing back” after setbacks. But “bouncing back” sometimes sets the bar too high, especially if facing enormous challenges. 

What if you can’t return to how things were before, like if you’re dealing with a significant personal loss or a health issue? 

Here’s a different angle. Resilience is about moving forward, not just returning to where you were. It’s about learning, growing, and finding your new normal.

How to Be Resilient

Here are some things you can do: 

  • Be Proactive. Don’t wait for problems to show up; anticipate challenges and have plans to tackle them. A proactive mindset helps you adapt more quickly when things are unexpected.
  • Build a Supportive Group. Surround yourself with supportive people. Create one where you can be yourself—where you’re encouraged and inspired.
  • Use Adversities as an Opportunity for Self-Discovery. When you face challenges, avoid asking, “Why is this happening to me?.” Instead, ask, “What can I learn from this?” It can change your perspective and help you grow.

Trait 2: Vision

Now, this isn’t about having a 20/20 eyesight. It means having a vivid picture of where you want to go and what success looks and feels like. 

It’s more than just setting goals; it’s about knowing your ultimate destination. This mental map can motivate you, shape your decisions, and pull you forward.

Now, you might be thinking, “That sounds great. But is there any proof this works?” 

Research shows that your brain can’t distinguish between something you’ve experienced and just visualized in vivid detail. 

So when you “see” your future success, your brain chemistry changes, recording it as a real memory. This reinforces your commitment to making that vision come true.

Tips for Cultivating Your Vision

  • Write It in Detail. It’s not enough to think about your vision in life vaguely. Write it down in as much detail as you can. Engage all five senses: What does success look, feel, smell, sound, and taste like? The more vivid it is, the better.
  • Act Daily. Don’t underestimate the power of cumulative action; those small steps can accumulate into something big before you realize it.
  • Expand Your Knowledge. The more you know, the more precise your vision becomes, and the better equipped you are to reach it. Read, attend workshops, consult with mentors—do what you can to broaden your perspective.

Trait 3: Adaptability

Adaptability means being like water, flowing through obstacles, filling gaps, and taking the shape of whatever container life pours you into. 

If resilience is your shield and vision your compass, consider adaptability your tool in navigating uncertain terrains.

One great example of adaptability in practice is the year 2020. The pandemic flipped the world, but it also served as an illuminating case study on adaptability. 

While many businesses sadly shuttered their doors, others pivoted in inspiring ways. Restaurants became grocery services, fashion brands started producing masks, and gyms went virtual. 

This shows adaptability can be the line between sinking and swimming when unexpected tides roll in.

Your Action Plan for Adaptability

  • Daily Reflections. Take a few minutes each day to reflect on your actions and decisions. Did something go differently than planned? Instead of panicking, consider it as a valuable data point. It can teach you what to do or what not to do next time.
  • Weekly Check-ins. Set aside time each week to review your strategies. What’s working? What’s not? And most importantly, what can you tweak or change? This habit will train your mind to look for new opportunities or adjustments.
  • Embrace ‘The New’. Start by going out of your comfort zone in small ways: try a new dish, read an article outside your field, or change your morning routine. These small shifts can accustom you to bigger life changes. 

Trait 4: Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence, also called emotional quotient (EQ), is a trait that’s often overlooked but incredibly essential. 

If you’re scratching your head, don’t worry; it’s simpler than it sounds. Emotional intelligence is your knack for understanding and managing your emotions and those of the people around you. 

It’s like having an emotional radar that helps you navigate social complexities in your business and life. And here’s something fascinating. A study has shown that EQ might be even more critical than IQ in achieving success.

Contrary to popular belief, business isn’t just numbers and strategies; it’s also relationships and human interactions. 

EQ allows you to connect with your team and your customers on a more profound, emotional level. This connection can be a game-changer, influencing everything from team morale to customer loyalty. 

Developing your EQ should be a priority if you aim to join the ranks of successful entrepreneurs.

Ways to Develop Your EQ

  • Pay Attention to Your Behavior. Self-awareness is the first step in boosting your emotional intelligence. Be conscious of how you react in different situations, especially stressful ones. 
  • Keep an EQ Diary. Write down moments when you felt emotionally charged—frustration, joy, or any other feeling. Reflect on these instances at the end of the week. You’ll notice patterns and triggers, helping you become more emotionally attuned.
  • Listen with Empathy. Open your ears and heart to other people’s perspectives, especially if they disagree. Don’t perceive differing opinions as attacks. Instead, see them as opportunities to learn and grow.

Trait 5: Discipline

You might have heard that motivation gets you started, but discipline keeps you going. This isn’t just a feel-good quote. It’s the raw truth. 

Discipline is like the engine that powers you as an entrepreneur after the initial excitement has dimmed. It’s what builds consistency, and without it, there’s no room for life or business growth. 

One of the pitfalls in entrepreneurship is waiting for the “right time” to work. But many successful entrepreneurs know they can make every moment the “right time.” 

They don’t sit around waiting for a wave of motivation to sweep them off their feet. Instead, they plunge into their tasks with discipline, turning every second into an opportunity for progress. 

How to Build Your Discipline Muscle

  • Start with small steps. You’d be amazed by how doing small tasks can train your mind for more enormous challenges. Little things add up, so take them seriously. 
  • Follow through. This is how you cultivate a reputation for reliability, a crucial asset in the business world. 
  • Take a rest. Schedule breaks to recharge both mentally and physically. Remember that rest is just as essential in your pursuit of discipline. 

Trait 6: Curiosity

key traits of successful entrepreneurs - curiosity

This is the last but no less significant ingredient we’re adding to the traits of successful business leaders.

But why is being curious included in the list? Because it’s the driving force behind creative and innovative thinking. And you need that if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur. 

The good news is you already have it in your system. You are an entrepreneur because you’re naturally curious. You have plenty of business ideas and love trying and doing things. But being curious doesn’t end there, and you have to exercise it as it’s more like a muscle. 

Practice being curious in different ways. Do you have a team? Ask them what they’re struggling with or what would make their work easier. 

Your clients are a gold mine for insight, too. Take an interest in their pain points and dreams. Staying curious about these various dimensions of your work can make you a more effective leader and adaptive and innovative entrepreneur.

Quick Tips to Stay Curious

  • Stay Informed. Keep up with industry trends, emerging technologies, and anything relevant to your business.
  • Ask Questions. Questioning is the gateway to discovery, whether in your business or life. 
  • Embrace Uncertainty. Here’s a tougher one—learn to be comfortable with uncertainty. Curiosity often leads to uncharted territories, and that’s where innovation thrives.

Cultivate These Core Traits to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

Keep the acronym “CRACED” in mind as a quick reference guide to the personality traits of successful entrepreneurs: 

  • Creativity
  • Resilience
  • Adaptability
  • Curiosity
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Discipline

These traits will act as both a mirror to evaluate your current standing and a roadmap for what you can further cultivate to reach long-term success. By developing them, you’re already on your way to leaving your unique mark and growing a sustainable business.

We’re rooting for you! 

Let’s Hear Your Thoughts

How many of the six traits above can you confidently say you already have? And which are you keen to develop further? We love to hear from you, so feel free to comment below!

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