I had an interesting discussion with one of my clients recently. She’s been in business for six months and is ready to quit. (I have permission to share her story.)
“I give up. Starting a business is so much harder than I thought it would be, so much more time-consuming. I was hoping to be making a profit by now! There are so many things to do and I’m totally overwhelmed. People don’t seem to want to buy my products and I feel totally rejected. I don’t think I have the personality to be self-employed.”
Hmmmm…interesting. Are there really personality traits that separate born-entrepreneurs from people who can’t hack it?
I’d say yes, some personality traits do matter.
I’ve been self-employed in one way or another since 1981. I’ve known many self-employed people, and have been coaching and mentoring them for years. And over the past years, I see a pattern in successful entrepreneurs versus those who pack up and exit their business.
Here’s my must-have list of personality traits for the successfully self-employed (in no particular order):
- A sense of humor about yourself.
- Willingness to do the dirty work (the tasks that you hate to do).
- Willingness to learn new skills.
- A deep desire to be independent.
- Willingness to take acceptable and calculated risk.
- An ability to deal well with people.
- A passion for what you do or sell.
- Resourceful and creative.
- Willingness to ask for help.
- Willing to do the personality “foundational work” to help yourself and your business.
Notice that I didn’t list any business skills here. You can always learn the business skills you need, or hire someone to do the work for you who does have the business skills you lack.
This list is about who you are and what habits you have. Changing your basic personality style will take effort. That’s why #14 is so important: are you willing to do the groundwork, the personality foundational work, to set the stage for your success?
Naturally, there are some personality traits that are business killers, but that’s another blog entry! 🙂
For you, what’s the most important personality trait you have, that helps when you own your own business?