4 Qualities You Can’t Have if You Want to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

When it comes to entrepreneurial advice, there are plenty of articles written by successful people in business highlighting the most important qualities shared by famous entrepreneurs. Characteristics like “determination,” “competitiveness,” and “discipline” are emphasized alongside “integrity” and “instinct” and “the ability to listen.”

There’s no arguing that these broad qualities are helpful to have if you hope to succeed in establishing your own business. However, you’re less likely to read about the qualities that can be the most detrimental to your success. There is no “right” way to travel the path of entrepreneurship. There are a handful of characteristics that will actively prevent even the most talented people from achieving their business goals.

It’s important that those who are new to entrepreneurship are aware of the following four detrimental qualities in entrepreneurs and how they can prevent anyone in the startup world from attaining success.

1. Arrogance

In the startup sector, there is a distinct line between arrogance and confidence. Entrepreneurs with real potential know how to walk it. Great entrepreneurs are aware of their personal talents, but they don’t let that knowledge go to their heads. Instead, they use that confidence to apply their talents in the most efficient way possible.

Founders who are arrogant, on the other often use this quality to convince important groups of people that they have the skills and the will to make it in the startup sector. Unfortunately, arrogance can prevent a startup founder from accessing the humility necessary to gain constructive feedback from advisors and colleagues—a key part of developing a well-rounded startup.

Staying confident enough to lead your team but humble enough to always listen to their ideas is key. Allow your abilities to make you arrogant, and you risk missing out on the opportunity to refine and improve your company until it reaches its full potential.


2. Hopelessness

Entrepreneurs are generally optimistic; otherwise, their ventures would never get off the ground in the first place. Hopelessness comes into play in the work of entrepreneur when times are most tough—when the hours are long, the problems are many, and the achievement of any long-term goal is very far away.

Successful entrepreneurs never allow themselves to wallow in hopelessness. Instead, they choose to have courage. They do not give up when things get difficult, and see challenges as an opportunity to get creative and apply their skillset.

Fearfulness is a natural response to making the big decisions that come with starting your own business. True entrepreneurs choose to acknowledge their fear without letting it hinder them from moving forward.

3. Impulsivity

Much like arrogance and confidence, another pair of qualities often confused in entrepreneurs is the difference between impulsivity and daring. In popular culture, entrepreneurs are often portrayed as bold go-getters who never say no to an opportunity. While it takes a hefty dose of bravery to push a fledgling startup forward, there is a marked difference between having the courage to take a big chance and being impulsive.

Impulsivity in an entrepreneur is dangerous ad can completely derail your startup dreams if the wrong set of circumstances occur. Talented entrepreneurs are bold, but they are also conscientious about the decisions they make when promoting the growth of their startups. Organized, efficient, and thorough, the entrepreneurs who experience success know how to make daring and their thoughtful rationalism coexist.

business team personnel

4. Indifference

Above all, if you want to be a truly successful entrepreneur, your heart is going to need to be involved in your work in some way. You may strike it extremely lucky with a brilliant idea and find great success. Even so, a company borne of an entrepreneur’s belief in and excitement about his or her idea is likely to be much more successful than an idea rooted only in a desire to make a large sum of money.

Highly successful entrepreneurs are almost always deeply passionate about their projects. This feeling shines through in their work. Being indifferent about the company you’ve started and what it’s offering to consumers is one of the biggest mistakes that an entrepreneur with big dreams can make.

Ultimately, all four of the qualities listed above are the opposite characteristics of what an entrepreneur has when he or she is gritty—and nothing is more critical to the success of a business than a leader who has grit.

The professional paths people take or the decisions they make while building their businesses will differ. The one universal truth in entrepreneurship is that if you don’t have grit, you don’t have a chance. Actively avoiding the above characteristics can help any entrepreneur, at any experience level, build grit and make real progress toward his or her professional goals.

You can read more about the actual components of grit and why this quality matters here.

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