Am I An Entrepreneur? How Personality Affects Career Success

Is there an entrepreneur inside of you waiting to escape? Have you been laid off and are thinking about starting your own business? Are you ready to make your first million? Do you know that you can build a better mousetrap? Do you want to work at home, be your own boss? There are countless reasons why people want to start a business. Some people who want to start their own business jump right in. They are risk takers. Others are more thoughtful planners who analyze the market and develop a comprehensive business plan. And still others have the dream but never take the plunge. How do you know if starting your own business is right for you; if it is what business and where do your begin?

The Right Stuff:

Do you have the “right stuff” to be an entrepreneur? Google “am I an entrepreneur” and countless tests and quizzes and assessments pop up that intend on answering that question for you. The assessments will have you check answers to questions that ask you if you are: Extrovert or introvert? Social butterfly or Loner? Risk taker or Low risk profile? Goes by the book or writes my own book? Self-starter or likes direction? and so on.

But before you quit your job because you got a high score on one of the tests, or are devastated because you don’t have the entrepreneurial personality recognize these assessments are only a place to begin making a decision. The good news is there are truly no right answers to these tests. They are only as meaningful as the accuracy of your self-assessment, the type of business you want to open, and your business, financial and lifestyle goals. Assessments are a good place to start but they are only the first step. A successful entrepreneur may benefit from certain personality characteristics, but also requires a vision, business knowledge, a good customer value proposition, and of course passion,passion, passion.

Almost anyone with vision and passion for a business can succeed – if they are clear about their personality style and strengths and look to others for support in the areas where they lack expertise.

Entrepreneurial Personality: Steph Korey

Author of The E-Myth Revisited and successful entrepreneur Michael Gerber has been reported as saying, “We’re born with that (entrepreneurial) quality and it defines our lives as we respond to what we see, hear, feel, and experience. It is developed, nurtured, and given space to flourish or is squelched, thwarted, without air or stimulation, and dies.” Does this mean any personality can be a successful entrepreneur – I say yes!

Results of a survey of successful entrepreneurs was published in a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article “So You Want to Be an Entrepreneur” February 23, 2009. The report described a list of traits many entrepreneurs have in common (an online version is available.) Yes, it is probably true many successful entrepreneurs are risk takers, make up their own rules, and possess the traits on the WSJ list. However, the article does not differentiate the traits of entrepreneurs who start different types of businesses. Certain personalities are a better match for an innovative technology start up and others will be more successful in a service based business (a business where your time is translated into dollars.) Why? Many service based businesses, such as professional speaking, coaching, nutrition counseling businesses, or web design and development require less of a financial risk and may be more suitable for certain personalities.

Coaching tips for aspiring entrepreneurs:

Online assessments: Check out a couple of the online quizzes and assessments. If you score high in entrepreneurial traits you may find a traditional job is not satisfying. So what are you waiting for? If you discover your traits do not seem to match those of the typical entrepreneur, yet you really want to start a business, ask yourself what is getting in the way and what can I do about it? Who can help?

Timing: Don’t abandon your dream if there are barriers to starting your own business right now. I wrote my first business plan in 1983 and didn’t become an entrepreneur until 2003. Its never too late.


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