If you search for the word entrepreneur online, names such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Raja Al Gurg and Oprah Winfrey appear.
As inspiring as they may be, aspiring entrepreneurs might question whether they had some special code embedded in their DNA. Is entrepreneurship for everyone? And what do these entrepreneurs have in common?
From my experience, most successful entrepreneurs have certain common traits that help them realise their goals in the face of adversity and ambiguity. If you have some or all of the following characteristics, entrepreneurship is meant for you.
You don’t take no for an answer
Entrepreneurs are not quitters. An acquaintance of mine understood that entrepreneurship is not suitable for her after she realised that rejection hurt her. It was embarrassing for her to hear the word “no” from clients, and she took it personally. When you venture into entrepreneurship, many doors may be shut in your face, and you would hear the word “no” more than you like to.
But successful entrepreneurs don’t stop. When one door closes, they look for another, and if there aren’t any doors, they would tear down a wall and build one. They are stubborn and persistent. We have a saying in Arabic that goes along the lines of: “Persistent knocking unlocks a welded iron lock,” and I think this saying describes entrepreneurs best.
You are disciplined
As great as it is to become your own boss, entrepreneurship requires a lot of discipline. It can be challenging to stick to a particular set of working hours and plans when you are the boss. But it’s very important because if you don’t stick to your plans, your business could fail.
You are hard working
Building a business is no easy feat. Most entrepreneurs put in more hours into building and developing their business than they did when they were employed. Dedication and hard work are key steps in the direction of success.
You love to learn
Entrepreneurship humbles me more than anything else I have pursued. There is always something new to learn. You will never know it all and everyone has something to teach you. Have an appetite to learn from others. Be curious and make the most of every piece of information.
You embrace failure
No one likes to fail. It’s painful, embarrassing and can set you back greatly if you don’t look at it as a learning opportunity. If you read the biographies or interviews of successful entrepreneurs, you will notice that they failed at least once, and when they did, they didn’t let it stop them in their tracks. Successful entrepreneurs embrace failure. Once you accept failure as an expected part of your entrepreneurship journey, everything becomes easier.
You are flexible
Do you go with the flow? Or do you find it difficult to accept change? If your answer is yes to the first question, then you have what it takes to deal with the unexpected changes that come with managing a business. Throughout my entrepreneurship journey, I’ve had plans cancel at the last minute and client deals that never go through. I've also had to deal with an unexpected pandemic. But what has helped me go through the ambiguity and unexpected turn of events is being flexible. Be flexible and go with the flow. When change draws upon you, learn about it and see how it can benefit you. Don’t resist. Most companies that resisted industry changes didn’t survive.
You are a risk taker
Last but not least, entrepreneurs are risk takers. They realise that the biggest risk is not taking a risk at all. When they jump, they believe that they will fly, and that’s what sets them apart from the rest.
Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and communications consultant based in Abu Dhabi