Top 11 personal qualities of an entrepreneur - Phil Drinkwater Coach

Top 11 personal qualities of an entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur is not at all a bed of roses, it is actually one of the most challenging paths one can follow. Let us discuss the top 11 qualities an entrepreneur needs to have in order to create success.
What we'll cover

Why you should pay attention to this list

So you’ve had a new idea and you think it can make you a fortune, or maybe you’re a serial entrepreneur and love the cut and thrust of this startup world?

We regularly hear that the most important elements of being a great entrepreneur are getting up as early as Tim Cook and having a positive mindset – without really explaining what a positive mindset really is. Are these the personal characteristics you really need to be a successful entrepreneur?

If there’s an entrepreneurial mindset, what exactly is that? For entrepreneurs, these are not just buzzwords. They are personal qualities that contribute to their success.

Once you start to explore the various elements of an entrepreneurial mindset, it starts to become obvious that none of them alone is enough to create success.

However, if you combine these several things together, you can greatly increase your chances of success as an entrepreneur.

It’s important to understand that being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone. If you find that you’re missing some of these qualities, you might look for a business partner who can bring some of the missing elements. It’s better to own a smaller percentage of a successful business than all of a business that never makes it off the ground.

Here’s the list:

  1. Persistence
  2. Optimism
  3. Determination
  4. Emotional intelligence
  5. Results-oriented
  6. Confidence
  7. Risk-taking
  8. Vision
  9. Self-motivation
  10. Patience
  11. Problem solving

What is an entrepreneur?

Let’s define first what an entrepreneur is. The entrepreneur is an individual who invents a product or a service that will improve people’s lives, and then markets it to them. A true entrepreneur often has a number of small businesses – possibly an online marketing service business, some investment or properties, and some dropshipping or products. This is a very common situation.

Entrepreneurship has grown as a career choice considerably with the advent of information on running and growing businesses, particularly on YouTube. The internet is awash with recommendations … and this article is one of them! The passion they have for growing businesses and making money is unparalleled and the incentive to get started is stronger than ever.

Budding entrepreneurs who are new to this world may not understand the challenges they will face, and they should take a read through this article to ensure it meets their personal qualities.

The difficulties entrepreneur face

The reason an entrepreneurial spirit is essential is down to the difficulties that are faced when starting a business. Entrepreneurs can expect to face the following difficulties:

  1. Work-life balance issues; the entrepreneur can find themselves working 24/7.
  2. Financial risks; entrepreneurs have no safety net, so they must take a risk with their finances – which could see them in serious debt if they fail
  3. Difficulty in recruiting staff; the risks of a new business can be too much for some potential employees who desire security above all.
  4. Job insecurity; an entrepreneur find their business failing at any moment, which gives no security.
  5. Relationship difficulties with family & friends; the work-life balance problems described above can cause difficulties since people desire your time, and you’re giving that to your business instead.
  6. Difficulty in raising finance; if they do not have any capital themselves to work with, entrepreneurs can find it difficult to find people who will lend to them due to the risky nature.

…. and many more besides!

What are the qualities of highly successful entrepreneurs?


Persistence is the ability to continue in spite of setbacks and failure. Persistence is an important factor for success because it makes you keep on going when things get rough, which is a major part of being an entrepreneur.

It’s not always easy but you need to look at what’s most feasible and perfect for the long haul instead of instant gratification. It takes conviction, patience, endurance and intelligence to lead you to success.


Being optimistic means having a positive outlook during stressful times and understanding that there may be obstacles ahead but you’re prepared for them with your skills and perseverance. The traits of optimism include: having a positive attitude towards the future, focusing on good things and being able to handle the negative aspects of life well.

Optimistic entrepreneurs believe in the mission they have, and they are able to stay positive in all of life’s ups and downs.


Determination is all about putting your mind to an objective and achieving it even when you face stiff competition from others who want the same thing as you. It’s not even necessarily about determination alone – it can be more about perseverance and taking action.

Determination allows you to persevere in the face of adversity and gives you that extra push when everything looks bleak.

Emotional Intelligence

This may seem like an odd choice, but understanding your own emotions and those of your customers and clients can be a significant benefit. Emotional Intelligence is about being able to be in tune with what you or your customer is feeling at any given situation, and that can definitely help you achieve your goal.


A good entrepreneur has a laser-like focus on results. They’re always looking for ways to improve their business and build their rankings – at the expense of wasting time and resources on anything that’s not doing well. They have no fear of taking risks in order to get better results.

The best entrepreneurs are always focused on the end result … period. Ambitious entrepreneurs are only thinking about how they can be number one, whether by creating new products or new markets or both.


Arguably king of the list is confidence, which is defined as the inner belief in a person’s abilities to do something. It should be noted that a confident person is not necessarily an arrogant person. Confidence is important because it gives you the strength to go on with your plan, whether good or bad or bad things are happening around you.

You will need the confidence to stay calm and not give up easily. You need trust in yourself and your vision. You need to listen to yourself and your voice above all others.


Confidence goes hand in hand with a risk-taking attitude. While you can be an entrepreneur without this, you will feel the benefits by not closing significant amounts of doors if you are risk-averse. Risk-taking means that you are not afraid to take wild chances, which is what it takes to start a business. People who are risk-averse are always playing it safe and not taking chances.


Strategic thinking is necessary for any entrepreneur and vision plays a major role in this. The entrepreneur’s vision will help them stay one step ahead of the competition and help them generate new ideas for business ideas and grow their existing business into something much bigger.

They are always thinking of ways that they can better their business and ways to help it grow. Their open creativity is essential in the early stages of growing a business so the entrepreneur can generate different paths for their business to travel down, and evaluate each of them.


It’s true that the entrepreneur is motivated primarily by ambition, but you’re going to need a lot more than that to build a successful company, especially when working late nights and weekends.

You’ll have to be able to motivate yourself in order to be productive even when the going gets rough. You will have goals for yourself and your business and continue on regardless of whether you really feel like working.


Patience is an important virtue for an entrepreneur. They’ll need to be able to work and think slowly, as well as wait for the results to come in without getting discouraged. Patience also means not putting pressure on yourself at all times, knowing that everything will fall into place eventually. Stay patient no matter what’s happening in your life and pull through with a lot of determination and persistence.


Possibly the most important entrepreneurial personality trait for business success is a problem-solving attitude. If every little bump along the road causes you to run for the hills, then you’re going to struggle at this career. Problem-solving is the ability to identify and resolve troubles in a process or situation.

This could involve recognising a problem, coming up with ways to solve it, weighing the consequences of each of those resolutions, and implementing one or more solutions. These critical thinking skills will be essential with growing your business. Intelligent people are able to identify problems more easily than others while creative people have more diverse ideas for solving problems and can come up with new ways of tackling issues.

What happens when you’ve built your business?

As your business grows through the stage of being a small business, the skills and personal qualities you require to continue change. Your creative thinking may not be needed any more since the path for the business has already been defined.

The successful entrepreneur should recognise when it’s time to put a CEO in place and move onto the next exciting project. With a strong start, the rest of your career is up to you to define. Don’t hold back on the enjoyment you get from entrepreneurship by putting yourself into a managerial position that you might detest.

A CEO will have the skills necessary for the next stage of the business journey, such as strong communication skills, excellent soft skills to motivate your employees, how to go about hiring managers and staff, being a great leader and – potentially essential to some businesses – understanding the wider business world, such as how to build with external finance.

If you don’t have these skills, you will hamstring your business and stunt its growth. Successful founders should be honest with themselves and take the hit to their ego; be happy that you’re still the business owner. That’s OK.

Are you ready to start?

The two most important considerations in order to start are having a good idea and planning. A great idea is something that fills an unmet need or want by the market, or something that will provide more value than earlier offerings. A market must desire what you have. It’s usually sensible to do some market research initially, to ensure that you don’t spend hugely on a product which will never work (remember the Sinclair C5?!)

And then there is the plan. You need to have a well thought out plan on how to execute your business idea which includes an executive summary, business description, marketing strategy and financial plan.

Are you finding these characteristics a struggle?

If you’re struggling with the elements of being an entrepreneur, reach out to me and let’s discuss how you can move forward. While a few of these are inborn qualities, many of them can be improved with coaching.

So don’t give up!

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