Starting your own business can be an anxiety-filled venture.  So much depends on you, and there are so many responsibilities to oversee, that it would make anyone more than a little nervous.

The good news is that many of the traits that drove you to become an entrepreneur are the same traits that often lead to business success.  Take a look at the following list and see how many of these traits you have.  (I’m willing to bet that if you’ve decided to give your own business a go, you’ve already got quite a few of them!)


There are plenty of ups and downs in starting your own business, and it can get tiring and discouraging.  This is where your love for your business will get you through many a long night or a bad bit of news.

If you’re not head-over-heels in love with your business—if it isn’t something you feel called to do and eager to get up for in the morning—then you should ask yourself why you’re really doing it.  Are you just sick of working for someone else?  (If that’s the case, maybe you can still start a business, but in a field you are passionate about?)  Are you doing it because it’s a hot market right now and you want to jump in on the action?  (So are plenty of other wannabe entrepreneurs.  Most of them will drop out once things get tough.)


Entrepreneurship isn’t for the faint of heart.  Those ups and downs I mentioned?  All the passion in the world won’t help you through them if you don’t also have a dogged determination to see things through.  If you can accept the fact that things won’t always be easy, but keep plugging ahead in spite of it, you can ride out the downs and start creating more and more ups for yourself and your business.  Stick-to-it-iveness goes a long way.

Willingness to Learn and Adapt

In today’s ever-shifting digital landscape, new technologies and social platforms are coming out at a dizzying rate.  You don’t want to get caught up in chasing every shiny new strategy that comes along, but you should be open to learning new things when it becomes clear that it’s time for your business to evolve in order to survive.

Maybe that means learning how to use Facebook and Twitter to promote a small business.  Maybe that means taking professional courses and attending seminars.  Whatever it is, if you’re open to learning new things and incorporating them into your business, you can continue to thrive no matter what new shiny things crop up next.


Ambition is different than passion.  Plenty of people have passion but no ambition, which is why so many people talk about how they’d love to write a novel/own a restaurant/go skydiving, but they stay comfortably put on their couches.

Ambition is drive.  It’s that restless, hungry energy inside of you that makes you want to change things, to improve things, to push yourself to the limit and test the constraints of what can be done.  And it’s what makes some of the most successful entrepreneurs a force to be reckoned with.


When you’re an entrepreneur, the great thing is that you’re your own boss.  The bad thing is also that you’re your own boss.

When you don’t have a manager or supervisor checking your timesheets every day, the job of keeping yourself on task falls to you.  You need to be able to set deadlines, stick to deadlines, keep your records organized, and resist the urge to take a day off when things get tough just because technically no one will care if you do.

Many entrepreneurs are fiercely independent; that’s what led them to go into business for themselves to begin with.  So if you find yourself tempted to slack off a bit because you can “get away with it,” just imagine what it was like when you did have to clock in and account for every minute of your day.  Be glad you’ve earned the freedom to work on your terms.  Then remind yourself that working on your terms still means working, and hard.

A Bit of a (Healthy) Ego

We’re taught that it’s best to be humble and not to brag about our accomplishments.  But when you’re your business’s only advocate, you’d better be willing to get out there and promote yourself from the rooftops.

Of course, there’s a difference between marketing yourself and shoving your business down people’s throats.  Being pushy and too used-car-salesman-y will only turn prospective customers off.  If you’re not quite sure how to walk the line between selling and shoving, there are plenty of great resources available to you, including blogs like Copyblogger and books like Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.  Chances are if you’ve taken the leap into entrepreneurship, you’re pretty certain you have what it takes.  Now, you just have to get out there and show other people that.