Successful Entrepreneurs

What It Takes to Become an Entrepreneur

Written by Chukwuma Asala for Gaebler Ventures

What exactly does it take to be able to succeed as an entrepreneur? This article will examine the mindset necessary for someone to succeed on his or her own in business.

The best thing about being in business for yourself is this: your financial future is now in your hands.

What It Takes to Become an Entrepreneur

The worst thing about being in business for yourself is this: your financial future is now in your hands.

Most people dream of being the boss with no worries, no stress, a balcony overlooking the beach, lemonade and sunglasses in the sun, trade winds coming from the east with sun tan lotion so you can bake as long as you want, etc.

But if this is the reality that awaits us, why are so few people not ready to take the big first step and go out on their own?

The reality is that becoming an entrepreneur is much tougher than working a job and people inherently know this. Most people are not ready to leave the security of a job and move into the more exciting adventure that is entrepreneurship. It offers no guarantees and as such the income potential is limitless. So it takes a totally different mindset to become an entrepreneur.

Let's take a look at some of the characteristics of successful people in business.


Most entrepreneurs are visionary thinkers; they have a dream that is going to require a number of years to achieve.

They are committed to seeing their dream come to reality and as such understand that showing up to work every day is not just for a paycheck but is bringing them one step closer to what they really want. If you're looking to become an entrepreneur you must begin with the end in mind or you shouldn't even bother getting started. If you start anything for the wrong reasons you will eventually quit for the wrong reasons.

Know what you want when you want it, and what you're willing to give up to get it. Knowing the sacrifice you're willing to make is more important.

Long-Term Thinkers

This goes hand in hand with the first characteristic. Entrepreneurs understand that they are in business for the long haul and whatever temporary setback they face is simply just that: a temporary setback.

Their focus is always on their long-term goals for financial independence or freedom or whatever they may be shooting for. If the dream is big enough, setbacks will be seen as little speed bumps along the way that you have to slow down for just so you don't ruin your vehicle but the second you get past them you can put your foot on the gas and keep on trucking.

Mentally Tough

Entrepreneurs understand that they are different from the masses and as such never seek approval from them but can still handle critics. When most people tell them that they're working too hard that means they're on the right track. And furthermore, when people criticize their product or idea they get even more excited because that means they're on fast-track. A famous quote states that "if people aren't criticizing you it probably means you're not about to do anything great."

Entrepreneurs understand that when you stick your head above the crowd and do something different you're liable to get tomatoes thrown at you. This is part of the job description and does not diminish the belief they have in what they are doing.

People-pleasers, people who worry what everyone else thinks about them, never become successful entrepreneurs.


If you are going to be a successful entrepreneur you will eventually have to develop and possess leadership qualities.

People will only follow leaders stronger than themselves and so your business and the people working for you will be a reflection of your leadership. Successful entrepreneurs are obsessed with personal growth, which is why their organizations always seem to be growing rapidly.

If you can get on a personal development program of books and tapes, you will be well on your way.


Enthusiasm is a character trait that every successful business owner possesses.

To become a business owner you must develop a genuine enthusiasm for your product or service. Enthusiasm is contagious and produces excitement in those around you.

You cannot transfer enthusiasm because this comes from passion. You can however transfer excitement. If you promote your value to others with passion and enthusiasm you will soon have a following of many excited people who eventually become committed to the vision for your company. And if you're not an enthusiastic person, just act enthusiastic!

Eventually it'll become part of your personality.

Key Takeaways for Would-Be Entrepreneurs

The biggest takeaway is that becoming an entrepreneur takes less educational intelligence and more emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to control your emotions regardless of the outcome.

Business is not steady. It never grows as fast as you want it to and never will. While becoming an entrepreneur, you will experience more emotions than you probably ever have your entire life but that is what makes it so worth it.

Entrepreneurship is tough enough to keep the weak ones out, but simple enough that anyone can take a shot at it. If you think you have what it takes then I encourage you to go ahead and take the first big step.

An old Chinese proverb states that "the best time to plant a tree is 25 years ago. The second best time is now." Don't waste time, do it now, because your dreams and goals are yours to claim this lifetime. Good luck!

Chukwuma Asala is an international student from Nigeria who is studying to earn an MBA from the State University of New York in Albany. He has analyzed more than 20 industry case studies throughout his education thus far, and hopes to bring some of his business knowledge to

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Additional Resources for Entrepreneurs

Lists of Venture Capital and Private Equity Firms

Franchise Opportunities


Business Glossary


Conversation Board

Do you know somebody who is not cut out at all to be an entrepreneur? Why do you think that about that person?

  • ABAHO Ernest posted on 12/7/2009
    ABAHO Ernest
    Dear Chukwuma Asala, I must confess that this article has redirected my view toward self employment. Actually, it has made me think that realising financial independence is through entrepreneurship. Thank you and please, keep up the spirit of sharing your entrepreneurial orientation and ideologies.

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