11 Traits You’ll Need if You Want to Succeed as an Entrepreneur

What’s one trait that’s key to succeeding as an entrepreneur and how can aspiring entrepreneurs work to cultivate it?

Entrepreneurs having a discussion

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

1. Knowing When Not to Take Advice

When you’re a young entrepreneur, you are a sponge and will take advice anywhere and from anyone. That’s great early in entrepreneurship, but as you progress you’ll have to begin to be more selective with advice you take. Unsolicited advice starts to come from everywhere and not all will work for you. You have to be comfortable making decisions against what you hear.

Jason Khoo, Zupo

2. Persistence

As an entrepreneur, it is important to remember that a head start and deliberate practice is the key to eventual success. Entrepreneurship is grueling, and it is easy to feel exhausted from constantly fighting fires during the early days of a startup. I remind myself daily that this is a journey to be measured in decades, not years, and that each challenge encountered will hopefully be a one-time event.  

Saurabh Shah, InstaLend Corporation

3. Self-Trust

Trusting yourself is a trait that any successful entrepreneur must have. If you don’t trust yourself to be making the right decisions for your business, you will inevitably spiral into feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy, and your confidence will dwindle. The energy you put behind tasks, products, launches and sales may end up feeling desperate or diluted, which your audience will pick up on. 

Jenn Cino , fit. period.

4. Flexibility

Aspiring entrepreneurs need to learn the value of flexibility when it comes to owning a business. Many things won’t go as planned or might take longer than you expected, and that’s OK. The goal is to stay focused and keep a consistent routine so you can continue growing your brand despite the hardships and unforeseen circumstances.

Jared Atchison, WPForms

Learning Co-founder

5. The Desire to Improve

Improving your business is an extension of improving yourself. Those with the desire to consistently make progress toward their own goals, regardless of the required tasks, have an invaluable tool that is ultimately responsible for the business’s success. The successful entrepreneur has the proclivity to improve, and the hyperbolic effect this has on their success brings even further success.

Carmine Silano, CheerSounds Music

6. Patience

We all have been where we know we can knock a project out quickly to implement some necessary change. However, empowering the team to work through the challenge will build a better base for your company long term.  

Marjorie Adams, Fourlane

7. Curiosity

Curiosity is essential. Ask questions of your team, of your customers and of yourself. Growth is fueled by a commitment to learning. Educate yourself about what is working in your business and what can be working better. Pursue opportunities to learn not just about your industry or your company, but also about whatever else sparks your interest; all of this generates inspiration for your business. 

Lindsay Tanne, LogicPrep

8. The Ability to Manage Multiple Tasks or Roles

Successful entrepreneurs are those who can manage multiple tasks and roles to run their business. You need to understand finance, know how to market your product, support customers and much more. However, don’t try to multitask to manage different things. Instead, use time blocking to create blocks during the day when you focus on specific jobs with complete dedication to get things done.  

Blair Williams, MemberPress

Digital team leader

9. Leadership

For this, you need to have excellent communication and management skills. A leader is extremely confident about their own skills and understands and values their goals. You should also be able to promote a positive work environment and be able to keep your employees happy.

Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite

10. Grit

There isn’t one skill that’s strong enough to bear the weight of entrepreneurship like grit. But many often have a limited view of grit. It’s more than just grinding out the long hours. It’s really first about solving problems no matter what’s thrown your way, and if grinding ridiculous hours is what it takes, then do it. There’s intelligence and talent, resourcefulness and patience under grit too.

Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS

11. The Ability to Learn From Failure

If I’ve learned anything from Covid, it’s that when I failed, I needed to get back up and keep trying. As we adjusted our business to Covid restrictions and changing customer needs, I found that the try/fail process is where creativity and innovation were born! As a CEO, I tried to create a culture where failure wasn’t shameful, and that’s made all the difference.  

Shu Saito, All Filters