You may have often wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur and whether you are an Entrepreneur-In-The-Making?

In this unique article from expert and author, Gino Wickman, you’ll discover precisely what it takes to be an entrepreneur and discover all the characteristics you need to have.

This is an exclusive excerpt from his book Entrepreneurial Leap – and it includes a few “tweaks” for purposes of this article.

what does it take to be an entrepreneur

Taking the entrepreneurial leap is like jumping out of a plane.

It’s scary, exciting, half-crazy, exhilarating, risky, and rewarding. 

Entrepreneurs create most of the jobs, are a driving force in the economy, possess a large portion of the wealth, and spearhead much of the innovation that changes the world. 

The fact that you’re reading this book means that you, or someone you know, thinks you might be an entrepreneur-in-the-making.

If you are, this book will show you the incredible possibilities that are available, so you can live the life you were born to live. 

Three decades ago, I was right where you are.

As an entrepreneur-in-the-making, I was different from others. I felt lost, confused, insecure, and out of place.

After I graduated high school, my friends went off to college to get their degrees; I wanted to get to work and go make money.

Looking back, I would have appreciated having a book like this one—first to help me identify that I was an entrepreneur-in-the-making and, second, to show me the path to becoming one. 

In the words of Hall of Fame speaker Danielle Kennedy, “We teach what we needed the most.”

That is why this book was written, to teach you what I needed the most back before I took my leap. 

I come from the future—your future. I work with entrepreneurs who are years ahead of where you are now.

You can learn a lot from their experiences as you set off on your journey. 

This book is devoted to helping you understand your true skill set, your genetic code.

It will give you a clear path to fully realize your entrepreneurial potential, regardless of your age. You’ll read stories of people taking their leap at fifteen, twenty-five, thirty-five, and fifty-five. You’re never too old to realize your full potential.

Know Thyself and You Can Easily Answer the Question – What Does It Take to Become an Entrepreneur

As Aristotle said, “Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation.”

It’s now time to see if your natural characteristics and “talents” are those of an entrepreneur.

This chapter will give you a big-picture context. The objective is to see if the descriptions of an entrepreneur resonates with you.

You are going to apply the 80% rule. If 80% of what is described in this chapter defines you, there’s a good chance you are an entrepreneur at heart.

That’s only the first step, though. In the following chapter we’ll define an entrepreneur’s six essential traits.

At that point the 100% rule will take over. It’s all or nothing from then on. You either have those six traits or you don’t. Let’s begin now and see if entrepreneurship is your calling.

As the words inscribed above the entrance to the Temple of Delphi in ancient Greece put it: “Know thyself.”

what does it take to be an entrepreneur

The Characteristics of an Entrepreneur 

An entrepreneur is an idea generator, a dreamer.

You have lots of ideas, both good and bad.

No one gets it right all of the time.

You are very creative and great at coming up with solutions and improvements, either by creating something new or improving on something that already exists.

An entrepreneur is a life-long learner.

You are a learner. You are curious. You never stop learning.

You enjoy discovering new things and learning about them.

You want to grow, reach, push the envelope.

Entrepreneurs Never Settle for the Status Quo

An entrepreneur is more comfortable with the discomfort of stretching than the contentment of the status quo.

When something works, entrepreneurs ask how it can be done better or more efficiently.

Entrepreneurs See the Big Picture

You see the big picture. You are able to connect the dots, an ability that’s almost a sixth sense.

When you see the big picture, you start with the end in mind.

You’ll also begin any new project with an exit strategy.

Entrepreneurs Keep Up and Have Street Smarts and Common Sense

If you are an entrepreneur, you have street smarts and common sense.

Your mind-set is one that’s always thinking about the future.

You make decisions from your gut, and they are usually proven right, or you push hard to make them right.

Entrepreneurs are Strategic Thinkers and Very Persuasive

As an entrepreneur, you are a great strategic thinker and very persuasive.

When you lock in on an objective, nothing stops you.

You win people over with your passion and excitement for the project at hand.

Entrepreneurs are Inspirational, Passionate and Obsessive

You are inspirational to those around you, whether selling them something or getting them to follow you and your thinking.

You are also passionate and obsessive.

When you get focused on an idea, a problem to solve, a product to create, or something to build, you have unlimited energy.

Once you see an image in your mind, there is no stopping you, regardless of whether what you see is actually possible or not.

Entrepreneurs are Optimistic and Find the Good in Any Difficult Situation

You are an optimist, and every cloud has a silver lining. 

This is a common entrepreneurial trait and you’ll always go the extra mile to find the best in bad situations.

Entrepreneurs Have a Strong Work Ethic

An entrepreneur has a strong work ethic and can outwork almost anyone.

You lose track of time when you are focused on accomplishing a goal.

You are driven, ambitious, and self-motivated.

A fire burns inside you, and you have a tremendous sense of urgency.

A hunger. A desire to be successful. You are relentless.

Entrepreneurs are Financially Motivated as Part of Their Passion

You are financially motivated and want to make a lot of money.

Not because you are greedy, but because you want to provide for your family, yourself, and others.

You have a burning desire to be financially independent.

It’s unfortunate that wanting to make a lot of money sometimes has a negative connotation.

In the early 1900s, many people wanted to be millionaires, and becoming one was respected.

My experience is that most entrepreneurs want to make a lot of money, and most are extremely generous with their money.

As marketing guru Joe Polish says, “Entrepreneurs solve problems for a profit.”

Entrepreneurs are Resilient and Have Grit

You have the toughness to stick it out. Angela Duckworth, in her book Grit, defines grit as “passion and perseverance in pursuit of long-term goals.”

She makes the point that “success rarely comes about because of intelligence, IQ, or even talent. Grit is the determining factor of success.

I’ve never met a true entrepreneur that didn’t have grit.

With it comes tenacity, commitment, a strong will, dedication, stubbornness, obstinacy, determination, resiliency, and persistence.”

what does it take to be an entrepreneur

You tend to be dominant and can be overpowering. With your strong ambition, you are naturally competitive.

Winning is important to you. You are hungry and want to be the best, so you are goal-oriented and have a clear sense of urgency.

Entrepreneurs Have Strong Business Acumen

You have a strong business acumen. You may not necessarily understand a financial statement, but you see the big financial picture and will get help when you need it.

Simply put, you know how to make money and have typically demonstrated this ability since a young age.

Let’s look at an example of this characteristic.

When Joe Haney, the founder of Sterling Insurance Group, was 13 years old, the concrete wall that separated his family’s house from their neighbors fell into their yard. It caused quite a big mess.

Joe’s dad offered him $2,500 to clean up the huge pile of broken concrete, and Joe agreed to do it. Being an entrepreneur-in-the-making, Joe realized he could hire his friends to do the job and still make a nice profit.

When Joe’s dad came home from work the next day, he saw Joe’s friends removing the collapsed wall and asked Joe,

“Why aren’t you doing the work?” Joe replied, “I am.” Joe’s dad laughed with frustration and pride, as he knew he had an entrepreneur-in-the-making on his hands.

If you’re an entrepreneur, your mind works like Joe’s.

You see opportunities to make money. Not only that, but you tended to sell stuff in your younger years, be it lemonade, candy, t-shirts or whatever.

Entrepreneurs are Risk Takers

An entrepreneur is a risk taker, which means that once you see the opportunity, you will take the leap knowing there are no guarantees.

You are not afraid to challenge the status quo and be a change maker and disrupter.

You are a rebel by nature and take great pride in that.

You are not a rule follower.

A stop sign to you is merely a suggestion.

At the same time, you take total responsibility.

While you are not afraid to take the ball and run with it, you are totally accountable for the outcome. You blame no one else if there’s a fumble.

Does this sound like you or someone you know? 

Packed with real-life stories and practical advice, Entrepreneurial Leap is a simple how-to manual for BIG results.

Should you take the leap toward starting your own business? Find out today and let tomorrow be the first step in your new journey, whatever shape it may take.

How can you help an Entrepreneur-in-the-Making in your life?

In addition to directly helping entrepreneurs-in-the-making, Entrepreneurial Leap is also designed for anyone that has an entrepreneur-in-the-making in their life. It will help you help them.

If you are a parent, relative or spouse of an entrepreneur-in-the-making, Entrepreneurial Leap will help you understand and encourage them.

If you are an educator, mentor or coach of entrepreneurs-in-the-making, this resource is intended to make your work a little easier.

Visit to take the free Entrepreneur-in-the-Making Assessment, download a free chapter, and order your copy of Entrepreneurial Leap today.

Gino Wickman, author of Entrepreneurial Leap, has had a passion for entrepreneurship for over three decades. He loves helping people find out anwers to the question: What does it take to be an entrepreneur?

His purpose is to help entrepreneurs get everything they want from their businesses while giving them freedom, the ability to be creative and make an impact on the world. He has built, ran and sold two companies.

He is the author of six books which have sold over one million copies.



what does it take to be an entrepreneur

He created EOS (The Entrepreneurial Operating System®) which is being used by almost 100,00 companies worldwide. He also delivers workshops and keynote addresses. 

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