Career Attributes

  • $59,686
  • 4.0
  • Business Management And Administration
More Attributes

What is an Entrepreneur?

An Entrepreneur is a specialized type of Chief Executive. Also known as: Business Operator, Business Leader, Innovator, Disruptive Innovator, Business Entrepreneur, Social Entrepreneur, Serial Entrepreneur, Lifestyle Entrepreneur.

The word entrepreneur refers to a person who has identified a need and has an innovative business idea to fill that void. Entrepreneurs are willing to take on the many risks of implementing their idea, and also take on the role as leader of their company or organization. They assume full responsibility for the execution, success, or failure of the business. A modern day interpretation may associate being an entrepreneur with innovative and creative ideas for online use, and with someone who can use the power of the internet to fill a niche.

While the stereotypical image of an entrepreneur is of someone building a business from the ground up, there are other options as well, such as buying or adding to an existing business (for example, a franchise owner) or taking over a family-run business.

What does an Entrepreneur do?

An entrepreneur working on her computer at a coffee shop.

Entrepreneurs develop, design, produce, market, and eventually sell businesses with the end goal of financial profit. They own and operate everything from small shoe stores to tech startups. There are entrepreneurs behind every business in the country, no matter what the size and scope (think Coca Cola, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, McDonald's etc).

Owning your own business can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling. However, being an entrepreneur also means undertaking a lot of risk and initiative, and inevitably comes with a fair amount of stress and angst. Business owners are most likely to be the first ones at the office and the last to leave, and often put in extra hours in the evening along with forfeiting many of their weekends and holidays to make sure things are running as smoothly as possible.

Entrepreneurship demands having initiative and a strong determination to succeed. It also requires an immense amount of confidence, tenacity and independence. This may mean making hundreds of cold calls and writing email after email in order to find investors or clients. It may mean learning how to generate social media buzz through online marketing campaigns. Or it may mean negotiating with manufacturers to determine production costs for a product.

There are various types of entrepreneurs:

A business entrepreneur is someone who has an idea or product for the business world. It is usually a new or different idea, something that has not been seen before, or something that provides a new twist or improvement for an existing sector.

A social entrepreneur is someone who has innovative ideas for social change, or new solutions to social problems, and dedicates their time to bringing these ideas to fruition. This might include issues of inequality or poverty; an example would be to create a new charity to address these issues.

A serial entrepreneur refers to someone who has a lot of ideas and constantly starts up new companies or enterprises to implement these ideas. Generally a serial entrepreneur will have had good success or successes with previous ventures, allowing him/her to start up new ventures.

A lifestyle entrepreneur refers to someone who starts up their idea or venture based on a sport, hobby or pastime they are passionate about. For this type of venture, usually large start-up costs are required. Often people who have been successful in the business world and have some of their own money to invest might make this transition.

Find your perfect career

Would you make a good entrepreneur? CareerExplorer's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!

80% Match?
Take the free career test

What is the workplace of an Entrepreneur like?

Generally the workplace will be office-based, but it may vary. The size of the workplace will depend on the size of the venture and may start at home or in a small office and grow to a large corporation. For some ventures, the workplace will be dependent on the specific idea or industry, for example, a sporting venture may require a sports facility and this would serve as the workplace.

What personality traits do successful entrepreneurs have?

When people dream of being an entrepreneur, they may see themselves as owning and being the boss of a successful and profitable business which offers them the freedom to work how and when they want. Unfortunately, this isn't reality (if it were, everyone would be an entrepreneur).

The truth is that most of us are not cut out to be entrepreneurs, for while it can be incredibly rewarding, it involves an enormous amount of work and takes a lot of grit, determination, and tenacity. The Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that about 20% of new businesses fail in their first year, and about 50% fail in their fifth year. Despite these odds, thousands of new businesses launch every year - some will be extremely successful, some will be able to sustain themselves, and others will fold.

So then, what does it take to run a successful business? When you take a look at the entrepreneurs that run successful businesses, there are a handful of traits that these individuals all have in common. Let's take a look at a few of them:

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines vision as “the ability to see: sight or eyesight, something that you imagine, a picture that you see in your mind, something that you see or dream”. When it comes to being an entrepreneur, vision provides the drive and the courage to explore, to push, to perform, and to have the determination to keep going and eventually succeed. Successful entrepreneurs can articulate the purpose and goals of their business and describe the who, what, where, when and why.

Vision also creates the culture and framework within an organization which is a key component when facing the inevitable ups and downs, and when tenacity and resilience is needed from the founder, the co-founder and the immediate team. Successful entrepreneurs also need to be able to hold onto their vision by not only remaining fully engrossed with their business, but by also surrounding themselves with individuals that will empower them to grow and to push themselves outside of their comfort zone.

Entrepreneurs are individuals who have put their lives and their family's lives on the line to pursue a business idea that has about a 50% chance of succeeding over five years. Taking this path is incredibly challenging and competitive, and requires both determination and motivation. This determination and motivation comes from a drive, deep within, to succeed.

Each entrepreneur's drive is unique to themselves - it could be a drive to make money, to help others, to have autonomy, to create a team of like-minded individuals for a cause, to be competitive, to leave a legacy, or to simply take a risk. However, drive without passion isn't enough to have a successful business.

Undoubtedly, entrepreneurship involves having both vision and drive. However, without a true passion and love for what they do and who they serve, entrepreneurs will find it very difficult to overcome the challenges of starting and running a successful business.

Passion is what pulls entrepreneurs towards a mission, and is what creates the drive they need to have in order to succeed with their business. When an entrepreneur is really passionate about what they do, throwing in the towel and quitting isn’t an option, even when the stress becomes overwhelming and the challenges seem insurmountable.

Passion is what provides entrepreneurs with an alternative and futuristic view of the world, what drives them forward relentlessly, and what is needed to inspire and solidify each employee's commitment to the company.

Young entrepreneur sitting on a skateboard and looking at his computer.

Starting any business requires an entrepreneur to have the confidence to take their first step. But confidence needs to take on an even deeper meaning for entrepreneurs. Exuding a solid and quiet confidence (not to be confused with arrogance or egotism) as an entrepreneur is a very powerful character trait. It establishes feelings of trust and respect amongst employees and investors, and is a determining factor in being able to successfully negotiate and close deals. It can also be tapped into during difficult and challenging times when it is needed the most.

It is easy to have confidence when doing things one is good at or comfortable doing. However, entrepreneurs can only innovate and improve when they open themselves up to uncertainty, accept that things are not always going to be set in stone, and understand that there is always a place for learning and growth. At the end of the day, building confidence as an entrepreneur is something that can be worked on everyday through learning what's best for the business, by taking ownership of the things that can be controlled, and through taking calculated risks.

Humility & Empathy
Nobody likes dealing with egomaniacs - there's nothing more off-putting than people who view themselves as being better than others. Entrepreneurs need to make a conscious effort to keep their feet on the ground during even the most successful accomplishments.

Humility is often mistaken for low self-esteem, however humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking less about yourself. Practicing humility involves being perceptive, self-aware, kind, and empathetic. Entrepreneurs that make it a daily practice to embrace these traits - and are honest about both their strengths and limitations - will reap rewards in the long run.

The golden rule is simple - always treat people the way you want to be treated. The most successful entrepreneurs are able to give credit where credit is due, ask for help where help is needed, admit when they are wrong, and listen to constructive criticism. This makes for a more honest, compassionate and giving person, and ultimately makes for a respected and trusted leader.

Entrepreneurs can reach higher levels of success by keeping an open mind, by being willing to consider different viewpoints, and by giving new processes a try. Welcoming new ideas and perspectives can ultimately help business owners find better solutions to problems and be open and available to more opportunities that may benefit them in the long run. Being open-minded goes hand-in-hand with being humble, as being able to see past personal ingrained beliefs and letting go of one's ego can allow an entrepreneur to pivot quickly and take advantage of opportunities that may not have been part of an original plan.

Many entrepreneurs have room for improvement when it comes to being open-minded, as overcoming the need to be in control can be hard to do. Admitting to not knowing it all can procure a somewhat vulnerable feeling. However, developing an open mind can result in a strong sense of self without being confined by personal beliefs or the ideologies of others.

An effective entrepreneur and leader needs to be able to make a decision quickly yet effectively. An entrepreneur taking too long to make a decision due to their fear of making a wrong decision is a huge negative for any organization. Not making a decision is a decision in itself. Uncertainty, procrastination, and indecisiveness can only create anxiety and insecurity within an organization.

A leader is better off saying 'yes' or 'no' more often than 'maybe', even though some decisions won't end up being the right ones. Being decisive does not mean being impulsive or careless - it means being able to consider all pertinent facts relating to the decision-making process without over-analyzing or delaying a decision unnecessarily.

What entrepreneurs do need to spend time on is figuring out their long-term vision. A clear vision of the future will make all the smaller day-to-day decisions that much easier, as each smaller decision is either moving the company in the right direction or will end up being an important lesson to learn in order to achieve the vision. A clear long-term vision will also serve as a guide and a filter - with this foundation, many questions will answer themselves, which is faster than time spent engaged in an exhaustive mental debate.

The world of entrepreneurship is guaranteed to have downfalls and obstacles along the way. The defining characteristic of a successful entrepreneur is their level of optimism and how they turn these downfalls into something positive.

“All of my best successes came on the heels of a failure, so I’ve learned to look at each belly flop as the beginning of something good,” said Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group and Shark on Shark Tank. “If you just hang in there, you’ll find that something is right around the corner. It’s that belief that keeps me motivated. I’ve learned not to feel sorry for myself, ever. Just five minutes of feeling sorry for yourself takes your power away and makes you unable to see the next opportunity.”

Optimism helps entrepreneurs deal with problems more effectively by focusing on the solutions rather than dwelling on issues. Optimism supports creative thinking and the generation of new ideas, produces a tendency to act, boosts confidence and persistence, and makes it easier to bounce back after failure.



Title Company Location Info

Further Reading

  • 8 Successful Entrepreneurs Give Their Younger Selves Lessons They Wish They'd Known Then

    Many of today’s success stories learned lessons later in life that they wished they had known as they were beginning their careers. The eight investors and entrepreneurs below share the advice they wish they had gotten in their early twenties.

  • 10 Tips For First-Time Entrepreneurs

    I'd wake up at 5 a.m. excited by a fresh idea, I’d turn down social plans so I could work nights and weekends, and the chalkboard wall in my kitchen was starting to look like a scene fresh out of A Beautiful Mind...

  • How Entrepreneurs Come Up With Great Ideas

    At the heart of any successful business is a great idea. Some seem so simple we wonder why nobody thought of them before. Others are so revolutionary we wonder how anybody could've thought of them at all.

  • 23 Things Every Entrepreneur Must Know

    1. The best way to predict the future is to create it...

  • Tony Robbins On The 7 'Forces' Of Business Mastery

    Constantly evolving. Constantly improving. Constantly adding value. These are ideals that Tony Robbins lives by. And strives toward. And encourages others to strive for, too -- in their work and their personal lives.

Similar Careers

Collections With This Career

ESTP Careers
People with the ESTP personality type are full of life and energy, making them natural group leaders. They live in the moment and crave immediate results for their efforts. Read More
CTE Careers
Career Technical Education (CTE) is preparing students of all ages to help drive America’s success and vitality, providing students with the academic and technical skills, knowledge and training necessary to succeed in future careers and to become lifelong learners. Read More
Jobs for people who are interested in Business
Discover careers for people who are interested in Business. Read More
Careers for Business Management And Administration majors
The most common careers people pursue after attaining a Business Management And Administration degree. Read More
Jobs for people who need Independence
Discover careers for people who need Independence. Read More
Careers for Computer Science majors
The most common careers people pursue after attaining a Computer Science degree. Read More
Careers for Graphic Design majors
The most common careers people pursue after attaining a Graphic Design degree. Read More
Careers for Human Resources majors
The most common careers people pursue after attaining a Human Resources degree. Read More
Careers for Marketing And Marketing Research majors
The most common careers people pursue after attaining a Marketing And Marketing Research degree. Read More
Careers for International Business majors
The most common careers people pursue after attaining a International Business degree. Read More
Careers for ADHD
People with ADHD need careers where they can think on their feet, be creative problem-solvers, and multitask like crazy. Here are some examples of careers that harness the innate skills and strengths of ADHD minds. Read More
Careers for Over 50
Workers over the age of 50 may feel that the only choice they have is to “stick it out” until retirement. Quite the opposite is true, however, and some choose to spend the remainder of their working years in a new career. Read More
Careers for Free Spirits
You know you must pay the bills but you don’t want to live a life without adventure, constant change or new experiences. Maybe your aspirations—mixed with your aptitudes—are more suited for a bohemian career path. Read More
Jobs that require Leadership
A collection of careers that require strong leadership skills in order to be successful at. Read More
Top Jobs for Business Degree Majors
Not sure what to do with your business degree? Here are some of the most popular careers for graduates in your field. Read More
ENTP Careers
ENTP personalities love to brainstorm, think big, and argue to prove a point, but they will avoid getting caught doing the 'grunt work' at all costs. Read More
Top Jobs for Economics Degree Majors
Not sure what to do with your economics degree? Here are some of the most popular careers for graduates in your field. Read More
Top Jobs for Communications Degree Majors
Not sure what to do with your communications degree? Here are some of the most popular careers for graduates in your field. Read More
ENTJ Careers
ENTJs are natural born leaders, possessing both charisma and confidence. They project authority in a way that easily draws people together behind a common goal. Read More
Top Jobs for Finance Degree majors
Not sure what to do with your finance degree? Here are some of the most popular careers for graduates in your field. Read More

Find your perfect career

Would you make a good entrepreneur? CareerExplorer's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!

80% Match?
Take the free career test

Career Attributes

  • $59,686
  • 4.0
  • Business Management And Administration
More Attributes