There’s a popular notion that the entrepreneurial spirit is something you either have or you don’t – and if you weren’t born with this trait your chances of running a successful business are slim.

It’s true that researchers have often found similar personality characteristics among those who go into business for themselves. For example, entrepreneurs are frequently described as:

  • Risk takers who aren’t dissuaded by the prospect of the unknown
  • Confident in their abilities and what they can offer others
  • Persevering in their desire to keep going even in the face of obstacles
  • Able to handle uncertainty and ambiguity
  • Possessing an independent streak and a willingness to challenge the status quo

Another school of thought, however, says that while these characteristics are often seen as essential for an entrepreneur, there are many successful ones who don’t always fit this mold. That, in fact, entrepreneurs can be “made” if given the right tools and educational exposure. The idea is that although certain traits may lead someone to choose entrepreneurship, ultimately other factors play a significant role in determining how successful he or she is, and those skills can be taught. Examples of this include:

  • Learning where to see opportunities when they are not always apparent to others
  • Learning how to expand on a knowledge base one already has
  • Learning how to write a business plan, develop a marketing strategy, and manage the day to day operations of running a business
  • Learning how to communicate an idea, sell, and close a deal
  • Learning one’s own deficiencies and figuring out what or who can help overcome them

What’s the takeaway? While there may be something to the idea of a “born entrepreneur” don’t rule yourself out if you don’t check every box for the type of personality often associated with this role. Your greatest asset as an entrepreneur could be the commitment you give to learning everything you need to know about becoming your own boss.


Susan Bryant is a writer and editor who enjoys working on diverse subject matter and collaborating on interesting projects. She can be contacted at