21 Traits That Make Entrepreneurs Resilient and Successful

Being an entrepreneur can be both the best and most trying experience of your life. However, if you crave independence and strive for innovation and creativity, then you’ve definitely chosen the right path!

While all entrepreneurs do things differently and implement a variety of strategies, there are a few staple ideas that can lead to success. Let’s take a look at input from 21 entrepreneurs who have achieved success by following these traits.

1. Willpower

2. Sense of Urgency

3. Being Open to Change

4. Resilience

5. Relentless Belief

6. Understanding Your Market

7. Being Able to “Rough It”

8. Consistency

9. Humor

10. Continued Learning

11. Not Afraid of Rejection

12. Grit

13. Will Get “in the Trenches”

14. Emotional Intelligence 

15. Confidence

16. Hiring Smart People

17. Will to Win

18. Growth Mindset

19. Ability to Listen

20. Wear Many Hats

21. Make Mistakes

1. Willpower

“Starting a company means devoting upwards of 100 hours a week and probably not paying yourself for a year or more. There are constant distractions, and it’s the business owner’s job to stay focused, remain prudent with funding and stay on-task. It’s very hard to remain motivated without an income, so willpower is crucial to separating successful entrepreneurs from unsuccessful ones.”

Calloway Cook, Illuminate Labs

2. Sense of Urgency

“Entrepreneurs have a common trait when it comes to being resilient go getters – they all have the same sense of urgency. Life is fragile, and it is short. We only have so much time on Earth, and everything we value and treasure could be taken away at any moment. While this realization can be distressing, it should also impress upon us that we have no time to waste. Successful entrepreneurs are almost always in a hurry; they have things to do, and they need them done quickly so they can move onto the next thing that needs to be done. Failure or not, they still have a lot of things to do and a short time to get them done. It is this sense of urgency that drives the Bill Gates and Elon Musks of the world.”

Ken Eulo, Smith & Eulo Law Firm

3. Being Open to Change

We live in a constantly changing world, and this applies to the business world as well. The key to being a successful entrepreneur is an openness to changes and flexibility. It’s important to understand that changes are inevitable and learn to adapt to them quickly enough so that you won’t miss out on opportunities. Things do not always go as planned, and you may have a brilliant idea, but in reality, it isn’t effective. So, as an entrepreneur, you should be flexible enough to make adjustments when there are changes in circumstances to make that idea feasible. You should be ready to learn from mistakes and modify your plans, trying new approaches to improve your business.”

Eckhard Ortwein, Lean Case

4. Resilience

“After you have been an entrepreneur for a few years, you are basically unemployable back in the corporate world. Odds are you left the corporate world for a reason, and that likely had to do with the freedom to do things your own way and take control of your destiny. Once you have been doing that for a while, you are simply not wired to go back to the politics and bureaucracy of someone else’s company. So, when downturns and setbacks hit, the fallback isn’t to go try to get a job somewhere. It is to buck up and figure a way to get through it and be successful. You have no choice to be resilient and press on.”

Jeff O’Hara, PRA Business Events New Orleans

5. Relentless Belief

“A relentless belief is a trait I’ve seen from others and in myself. With this belief, getting up at 5 am is easy and accelerating. This also encourages others to join you and help you achieve this vision that you’re working towards. I’ve learned from past failures that to go from startup to success, you need the help from others. And your ability to inspire others to work alongside you, and get inspired by your belief, is something most successful people have in common.”

Per Englund, Go CryptoWise

6. Understanding Your Market

“With these times, it is important to have certain characteristics as an entrepreneur. One of the most ideal characteristics to have is to understand your market. The market is always changing, especially in the COVID-19 time. Understanding why it’s changing, who your market is, and what needs to be done to reach your market and adjust to their needs is key to being a successful entrepreneur.”

Sabrina Akselrod, Onedesk

7. Being Able to “Rough It”

“I grew up in the Rocky Mountains of Canada in the wilderness. We lived for five years off-the-grid relying on solar power back when solar power was very new and lacked efficiency and capacity. We definitely “roughed” it for many years of my childhood. It taught me to be resourceful, never waste and be resilient through tough times.

Tough times in my entrepreneur years pale in comparison to my childhood. My ability to re-frame by comparing my challenges and lifestyle to my childhood make dealing with adversity much easier. Plus, I always know if things go really wrong, I still know how to rough it until I’m back on my feet.”

Kean Graham, MonetizeMore

8. Consistency

“One trait that makes entrepreneurs resilient and successful is consistency, meaning the ability to show up and do work every day – no matter the current results or feedback. When an entrepreneur is able to show up every single day and put in the work no matter what, this allows them to bounce back from disappointment and lack of results more easily, making them more resilient than the average person. Putting in the work every single day also allows them to do what is needed to be successful. Often, people think they need to push intensely but then get burnt out after one or two days. People who are consistent in moderation over a longer period of time will get much more done and be more successful than those who are more intense, but pause after less time.”

Stacy Caprio, Accelerated Growth Marketing

9. Humor

“Humor is one of the most important traits for a successful entrepreneur to have, especially the ability to laugh at yourself. I’ve made some really silly mistakes and being able to look at myself honestly, laugh, forgive myself and move on always creates an opportunity to move forward faster. Once I’ve identified a mistake (which is hard to do because you’re not sure what works until it works), if I get stuck ruminating on it, I’m stuck. But if I laugh at how ‘obvious’ the answer was once I see it, that makes things easier. You have to keep things light if you’re going to keep going, and entrepreneurs who reinvent the wheel are playing a game of absurd comedy.”

Kerri Feazell, Concurrent Productions 

10. Continued Learning

“The most important trait is having an unquenchable thirst for learning. As cliche as it sounds, the internet has literally made it impossible to not have some way you can always be working on your business. The endless ability to acquire attention from customers from all channels (i.e. social media, having an email newsletter, creating a podcast, etc.) gives you something to work on basically all the time. However, what makes you resilient and successful requires committed prioritization. Fragmenting your attention between multiple projects doesn’t really get you anywhere on any of them. In short, what makes an entrepreneur successful is a balance between having a hunger for learning and responsibly prioritizing projects.”

Amir Atighehchi, Habit Nest

11. Not Afraid of Rejection

“Successful entrepreneurs don’t fold at the first sign of rejection. Instead, they make it a motivation. The first rejection might sting, but the more your ideas get denied, the more you’ll earn confidence. That is, if you frame these failures the right way. Instead of finding faults in yourself and your projects, you can take the mentality of someone who is eager to one-up the rejector, and who is willing to give it their all to prove the rejector wrong. Let your failure enrage and excite you, and push you to work harder. Who knows, you might just land the opportunity or more!”

Willie Greer, The Product Analyst

12. Grit

“Successful entrepreneurs possess grit. This is a combination of persistence, passion, and resilience. Grit is a passion to achieve long term goals and having mental toughness and courage to keep trying again and do better than before. Grit is the inner will to do and the desire to be the best that you can. It pushes you to achieve your goals. Grit helps you create new boundaries and explore new goals.” 

Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com 

13. Will Get “in the Trenches”

I’m a firm believer that a leader has to be, on some level, in the trenches, and your team needs to be aware of that.. Whatever sacrifices you’re asking them to make, you need to be willing to take on yourself. If you act like you’re above them, if you lord your power over them or ask them to make sacrifices you won’t make yourself, they’ll only resent you, which will make it infinitely harder to get everyone going when the going gets tough. You’re the leader of a team, and that makes you part of it.”

Liz Elting, Elizabeth Elting Foundation

14. Emotional Intelligence

“I believe the single most important trait an entrepreneur can possess is emotional intelligence. The ability to be compassionate and empathetic, and to be mindful of personal thoughts and feelings, allows you to navigate the unforeseen waters of entrepreneurship with clarity, even when forging through the unknown. Emotional intelligence fosters trust in yourself, and it’s that inner dialogue that keeps you moving forward. This sense of self awareness is also what allows you to pivot or make changes when needed, and to be confident in your decision making. Additionally, understanding the needs of others, and placing people first, fosters loyal and long-term relationships and partnerships. At the end of the day, businesses and enterprises are run by people, and the ability to understand and be compassionate is what helps to unite a team to build something great.”

Casey Dworkin, Sylven New York

15. Confidence

“I believe that an entrepreneur who possesses confidence is more likely to succeed and overcome the numerous challenges they’ll face throughout their career. They need to believe in their abilities and be prepared to fight for what they want. Their confidence will be evident in their demeanor, how they talk about their work, and the way they interact with colleagues. Entrepreneurs should always pride themselves in their work, while continuously striving to be better.”

Monica Eaton-Cardone, Chargebacks911

16. Hiring Smart People

“A humble recognition that not only do you not know everything, but that you shouldn’t try to know everything, can propel you and your business farther than you think. When your business expands beyond just you and a small core team of passionate founders, it’s impossible to keep track of everything – and to bounce back from setbacks or pivot when necessary. Instead, hire smart people who know more than you in their specific areas and trust them to do their jobs; that frees you to focus on your area of genius, in which you can really excel and thrive – while building resilience by creating a team with multiple capacities and capabilities that can flex with whatever the world and the current business climate throw at you.”

Kate Sullivan, Constellation Careers

17. Will to Win

“I believe to be successful as an entrepreneur, you need to have a will to win. That decision to be your best no matter what hits you is rare, I have learned, and is highly necessary to win on any higher level. Inner confidence helps provide the fire to continue through the rejection and hard times. People succeed because of the internal rather than just the external circumstances around them.”

Angela Bradford, World Financial Group

18. Growth Mindset

“Successful entrepreneurs exhibit a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset. They look at failures as stepping stones and opportunities to learn what went wrong and what to do differently next time around. While they may feel bad about a failure just like anyone else, they’re able to bounce back from it pretty quickly. They know it won’t be their last failure, but that what’s important is to grab the lesson, pick up, dust themselves off and move on.”

Tehzeeb Lalani, Scale Beyond Scale

19. Ability to Listen

“The one thing I have noticed about successful entrepreneurs is their ability to listen. They are hungry for knowledge and consume it like not many of us can. This comes from drive and willingness, which is why you see them participating in webinars and debates to welcome critique and work on them.”

Shayan Fatani, PureVPN

20. Wear Many Hats

“As an entrepreneur, you need to wear many hats and as it turns out, you only have one head. Whether your flipping through hundreds of invoices, outreaching new clients or physically reinstalling your network infrastructure, knowing how to multitask is essential for entrepreneurs. Knowing how to multitask will allow you to grow as an entrepreneur, knowing that you can quickly juggle priorities and deal with unexpected situations. So in my opinion, multitasking is encoded in the DNA of every successful entrepreneur and is an indispensable trait to have when running your own business.”

Tom Winter, DevSkiller

21. Make Mistakes

“If you’re not making mistakes, you need to be asking yourself, why not? Is it because you’re not trying anything new? Relying on tried and tested methods to get by? Perhaps you’re just not innovating like you once were? The fact is, making mistakes is a huge factor in personal and financial growth.

Yes, tons of mistakes can be costly and lead to issues, however, if you take each mistake as it comes, learn from it, internalize it and build upon it, this is how you can ensure that you keep up in a world that feels like it changes every week.

So ask yourself, am I making no mistakes because I’m perfect, or is it because I’m no longer innovating and growing?”

Mark Webster, Authority Hacker

Author: Angela Ash

Managing content and publicity even when she sleeps, Angela also writes poetry, plays the piano, travels, loves on her two feline fur balls and can even beat Mickey Mouse at Disney trivia