What does the word “entrepreneur” mean to you? Do you think it describes someone who owns and manages a business?
While that may be the case most of the time, just because someone owns a business (or wishes to) does not automatically make them an entrepreneur. In fact, some would argue that “business owner” is just a job title, while “entrepreneur” is a mindset.
So, what does it mean to be an entrepreneur? And can you really be one if you’re not a business founder or owner?
Often, a business owner starts a business because an opportunity presents itself, or they don’t want to work for other people, or perhaps they have another reason. An entrepreneur, on the other hand, questions the status quo and envisions a world where customer pain-points no longer exist. Take the example of the founders of Airbnb. When they realized that a tech conference coming to San Francisco had asked attendees to make arrangements for their own stays since all hotel rooms in the area were booked, they noticed a gap and found a way to solve that problem.
Since entrepreneurs are always thinking of solutions to common problems, they typically build companies that can one day run without them — by successors, or through automated and effective systems such as timely deliveries, automated recurring billing, regular upgrades and more.
That said, anyone can be an entrepreneur, including employees. All you need is an entrepreneurial mindset, which is essentially how one approaches mistakes and challenges. It is about an innate need to improve one’s skillsets and to try repeatedly.
The Entrepreneurial Mindset
These are 10 common entrepreneurial traits, most of which can be applied to a variety of situations that go beyond business ownership:
1. Entrepreneurs understand themselves and the world around them: Successful entrepreneurs are always working on themselves to develop a process of deep understanding regarding who they are, solidifying their beliefs in their abilities and value to others. This allows them to become experts in their area of choice. They believe that those who value and understand themselves have a greater ability to value and understand other people.
2. They are clear about what they want to do: People who are successful in life tend to care about their paths more than the average person. They take the time to analyze their lives by looking closely at their purpose and vision. They build mental images that help them on the journey. While many people are going with the flow, successful entrepreneurs put their mission, goals and vision down on paper.
3. They know how to prioritize their time: Successful people know how to prioritize and protect their time by planning their days, weeks, months and even years in advance. They understand that time is the most valuable asset anyone owns.
4. They are outcome-oriented: Regardless of the obstacles, successful entrepreneurs keep going, mostly because they have complete clarity regarding the end result.
5. They believe in facts: Most people make decisions about their lives and careers based on assumptions and emotions. However, successful people strive to make their decisions based on fact-based thinking, which is rooted in data.
6. They work to provide service and value: Successful entrepreneurs practice the Law of Reciprocity, which essentially states, “If you do something nice for me, I’ll do something nice for you.” Successful entrepreneurs are consistently working to make themselves valuable, which attracts the personal associations that ultimately lead to greater success.
7. They are open to learning: Successful people are always gaining experience and educating themselves, which leads them to the goals they set. They recognize the importance of acquiring better skillsets, which offers them a greater self-worth and confidence boost.
8. They are focused: Successful entrepreneurs develop the ability to concentrate and focus in order to maximize their resources — an extremely important characteristic when it comes to entrepreneurial and life success.
9. They know how to achieve success by association: Entrepreneurs understand that by having someone who can accelerate their advancement with either some other resource or some knowledge base, they can achieve success by association.
10. They can take personal responsibility: Successful people never blame others for what happens in their lives. In fact, they look at all the trials and challenges as learning experiences. This helps them maintain control of their lives.
By adopting these traits, anyone in any role can adopt an entrepreneurial mindset. This can help propel you further in your career no matter what you choose to do.