4 Things Every Entrepreneur Doesn’t Need To Be (But People Think They Do)

New Line Cinema/Glengarry Glen Ross

To most people, entrepreneurship is unfamiliar territory. It’s challenging, gutsy, and autonomous. Thus, it’s tempting for people to separate entrepreneurs from themselves, thinking of them as “special” or more capable than the ordinary person. Along with this idea come stereotypes, which tend to rule our expectations for things we don’t understand.

But as industries change and develop more rapidly than ever before, entrepreneurship is more accessible to the average Joe. Moreover, we’re seeing individuals of all backgrounds, personality types, and skill sets thriving in very similar ways. So put aside those preconceived notions about running a business. Here is the truth about what you don’t have to be as a successful entrepreneur – and a more realistic replacement trait for each.


Maybe it’s an outdated concept, but you might tend to think of business-savvy folks as cutthroat. They’re in it for the profit, and the bottom line surpasses ethics in importance. This is still true of many major corporations, and probably always will be. But the majority of entrepreneurs are not out to step on people and hoard millions. Plenty are more interested in providing products and services that benefit people, employing quality workers, and generally being productive in life.

Replacement: Rather than being cutthroat, the trait you’ll likely see in a lot of entrepreneurs is strong motivation. Entrepreneurs have to be go-getters who set objectives and accomplish goals efficiently. You won’t see a business owner ruminating endlessly, and failing to make decisions and improve conditions. (If you do, they won’t be in business for much longer.)

Social Butterfly

You might think, “It’s impossible to market yourself if socializing isn’t your strong suit.” While poor communication is certainly a drawback, successful entrepreneurs aren’t always flawless communicators. In fact, there are whole books dedicated to introverts who must uncomfortably market themselves.

Replacement: Instead of being an all-star socializer, entrepreneurs must simply develop the courage to put themselves out in the world. Most of us will never see ourselves as graceful and smooth when we give a speech or lead a discussion – the crucial thing is to do it anyway. Entrepreneurs don’t hide from the world. They display themselves and their talents, regardless of weak spots.


When we see someone with a great idea, whether it’s a restaurant owner, a software developer, or anyone in between, we tend to think: “Wow. I would never have thought of that.” Much like Steve Jobs, these people are forever labeled and revered as geniuses. But in reality, everyone is capable of great ideas, and everyone has them. Most of us simply fail to act on our ideas, or tell ourselves they’re crap before even making an effort.

Replacement: So if they’re not geniuses, what are they? Confident. Not necessarily just self-confident, but confident in their ideas. Seth Godin is widely respected, not because he is the only person with great marketing ideas, but because he firmly believes in his ideas, explains them precisely, and empowers people with them.


Some of today’s entrepreneurs come from a similar background as you. If you sat down and had a conversation with them, you wouldn’t notice anything incredibly extraordinary. They’re just people. Of course, there is an element of luck attached to every little thing that happens in life, so why attach luck specifically to business? Successful business owners are not just lucky, and it’s naive to think so. They’re also likely to be hard-working, problem solvers, persistent, and a slew of other things that bolster their success.

Replacement: So if it’s not luck, what do thriving business owners have going for them? Realistically, it’s probably optimism. The way you frame each situation determines how you’ll behave within it. Jeff Goins’ book, “The Art of Work,” is based on this idea. It tells the stories of several accomplished people, showing how a positive mindset is the only common thread connecting them all.