Twenty Traits That Make For A Successful Entrepreneur.


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A successful entrepreneur has certain traits that contribute to making him or her successful. Here is a list of twenty of them:

Creative Commons License photo credit: Michael Lewkowitz

1 Focuses on solutions and not problems
2 Takes responsibility instead of blaming others.
3 Finds opportunities in crisis and refrains from complaining.
4 Enjoys being in the present and learns from the past.
5 Makes promises and keeps them no matter what.
6 Focuses on achieving rather than making excuses.
7 Listens well and does not try to talk at every chance.
8 Faces fear accepts it and takes the plunge.
9 Is action-oriented.
10 Learns from failure.
11 Knows how to plan and set goals.
12 Believes that personal development is a priority.
13 Is a life-long learner.
14 Is humble.
15 Is a hard worker.
16 Always is ready and leaves nothing to fate.
17 Is a leader and not a follower.
18 Believes in himself/herself.
19 Has passion for what he/she is involved in.
20 Always gives more than he/she takes.
Obviously there are considerably more traits that contribute to success. If you would like to add your favorites, please leave a comment.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jim Smith
YCHANGE International
Jim Smith mentors entrepreneurial start-ups and counsels small to mid sized companies that are looking to expand or are under performing or under capitalized.


  1. The traits listed are excellent – however, what is # 16, and what would 17, 18, and 19 be ??
    (sorry , I am OCD).
    I would add that having a passion for what you are doing (or being a passionate person) would be a great trait.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I would say that #20 is first and foremost! That is a good mantra in business and in life!!

    Looking forward to reading more!


  3. This is a great list Jim. I especially like #1 & #2. Make you goal to come up with solutions for problems and be willing to point the finger at yourself first, before blaming someone or something else.

  4. You also must clearly understand what you are getting into as an entrepreneur.

    I wrote an ebook that shares the 50 Ugly truths about starting your own business and you can download a copy from my blog at .

    Great advice I plan to share with my clients

    Mark Allen Roberts

  5. This is a great list….here are just a few more:

    Positive attitude.
    Personal brand (body language, speech, appearance) demonstrates passion.
    Focus on helping others. Generous.
    Differentiation from the competition.
    Marketing state of mind is 24/7/365.
    Excellent communicator.
    Go the ‘extra’ mile.
    Supports and encourages others.

  6. Thanks for laying this out in a format that makes a busy entrepreneur read it easily! And to top it off I am proud to say that, according to your article, I have what it takes… 🙂

  7. Awesomely kind of you Dawn.
    Thanks and I am sure you have what it takes. The fact that you spent the time to interact tells me that you are very customer oriented and that is a big plus.

  8. Sorry. They took a walk while I was trying to edit a spelling error and in my haste I didn’t see them slip away (LOL). They are back and you’ll notice that PASSION was one of them. How right you are!!!

  9. Thanks for the list. I would add that a successful entrepreneur understands that it all starts and ends with the customer.

  10. Clyde:

    I totally agree. No matter how great your company or product, if there is no buy-in from the customer you won’t succeed. The customer is really the Alpha and Omega of a company.


  11. BTW, did I tell you that I’m a Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach?

    The points made in this discussion can be found in tips, teaching, and books on Guerrilla Marketing.

    I am also a counselor and instructor with the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers. Virtually all of these topics are foundations for all of my classes on marketing, selling, customer experience management, and tradeshow/event marketing.

    The reinforcement is appeciated!

  12. We share some of the same background. I am also a counselor for the Mt. Hood SBDC here in Oregon and use these in my classes. BTW, the old saying still holds true, there is nothing new under the sun. (smile!) I am not versed in Guerrilla Marketing. I term my style of marketing “Gutter Marketing” Where the rubber meets the gutter LOL!!!

  13. Nice list but some are admirable rather than entrepreneurial traits.

    Some entrepreneurs use complaining as their goad to themselves and their team to get it right. Not my style, but it works for some.

    Some very successful people make promises but don’t keep them – not admirable but it hasn’t stopped them being successful. And even the most upright have to occasionally break a promise when it’s the lesser of two evils – which calls for ethical judgement, a essential nuanced skill for any leader.

    And lastly, I know plenty of successful entrepreneurs and Humble isn’t a word I’d use to describe most of them; they may not self-aggrandize, but they exude self-confidence and capability.

  14. Hi Jim:

    The full spectrum contains all the colors and so it is with entrepreneurs. I don’t think that the complainers last long and those that don’t keep promises most likely are having miles to go before they sleep.

    I take humble to be the opposite of arrogant or contemptuous and I think you’ll agree that there is no permanent place for the latter.

    But you are right. These are admirable rather than entrepreneurial traits and I guess I’m hoping that entrepreneurs either start out or hopefully end up as admirable human beings.

    Thanks for the comment.



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