How do you know if you are meant to be entrepreneur? is this learned or is it a personality? Do you really need to be a psychopath?

I'm always having ideas for businesses and products. Some of the products that I've created on paper I've seen succeed after other people idea years later. I'm a little ADHD, I suck at execution and I'm pretty good with the big picture. Both of my parents were entrepreneurs, but not very successful. I've been working at many jobs and I'm not happy, I only feel happy when I push projects that were initiated by myself and when I see some sort of "growth". Doing personal projects are core to my personality, but I always avoid moving forward because of the bad experience I've seen in my family. I've observed that successful entrepreneurs have some sort of psychopathy, so they usually don't feel pressured and they manage to get through obstacles easily because they can seduce and manipulate people (selling). My problem is that I'm a little the opposite, I care a lot about people and I get really stressed under pressure (that's why I think my parents failed). I feel happy when I see things changing (changing the world) and apparently this is one good trait of entrepreneurs, but sometimes I feel biased because in real life I see that people like Steve Jobs tend to be more successful.


Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of different personality traits. You mentioned having lots of ideas and being creative, which is what most people associate with being an entrepreneur. What I've found is that being creative and having great ideas may be well suited if you want to be an inventor but is not necessarily the best trait for an entrepreneur as you clearly are aware from your post.

In my opinion, you need to develop thick skin to bounce back from failure and be incredibly resilient to keep pushing through when things do not go well, and trust me this happens in every business or venture. Having that type of never give up attitude combined with being able to sell yourself, your idea and your product is more important than having great ideas. Plenty of people have amazing ideas but never do anything with them or they start but give up quickly when things don't go their way.

I hope this helps.

Answered 9 years ago

Licensed psychotherapist here. I work heavily with entrepreneurs, start-ups and business owners... The truth is, most entrepreneurs show no more TOTAL psychopathology than folks who get a W-2 for a living.

But, I've found that moderately successful entrepreneurs often have elevated personality traits in one of two areas - narcissism or dependent personality traits (aka people pleasing). They're either strong-willed or service oriented enough to get a business to a stable point quickly.

On the flip side, people with avoidant, schizoid, schizotypal or anti-social traits usually fare poorly for a variety of reasons.

The most WILDLY successful entrepreneurs usually pursue and develop a strong internal self-awareness and are always pushing for new insights into the way they function. They embrace all criticism as valuable data to tweak towards their highest desired outcome (usually profitability).

For what's it's worth, if you truly believe you have ADHD traits (I'm most definitely not providing a diagnosis here!!), you'll do best with entrepreneurial roles that are heavily focused on constantly changing stimuli (like customer service, networking, sales, etc). I'd contemplate staying away from activities that require long periods of focusing on one task (coding, product development, etc).

If you'd ever like to bounce ideas and brainstorm on what might be the best entrepreneurial fit for you, feel free to reach out to me through Clarity to schedule some consulting.

Best of luck!

Ken Clark
Coach, consultant, and therapist to entrepreneurs

Answered 9 years ago

I often struggled with this myself for many years but I do have an answer for these questions. If you are constantly thinking of new innovative ideas for businesses and products then you definitely have a critical characteristic of an entrepreneur. To constantly think of new ways of doing business or resolving challenges is both a gift and a curse at the same time. It is a gift because you are fortunate to have plenty ideas just come to you constantly. But it is a curse at the same time because you can have all of these "shiny objects" and it can sometimes be hard to focus on one at a time. You will always have this creative muscle and you must continue to exercise it daily. From my experience it is not so much, "If you don't use it you lose it" kind of thing. But more so, if you use it, the less difficult it is to continue coming up with these types of ideas. Your brain is constantly working on these ideas subconsciously. Being an entrepreneur is both a personality and something that is learned. It is a personality because you are born with this way of thinking. You would not be you if you weren't constantly trying to solve problems. Both of your parents being entrepreneurs definitely has an impact on you being an entrepreneur too. It is something that develops with us from an early age. You cannot help the fact to want to solve problems (big or little). Again, you were blessed with this way of thinking, but must learn more about what being an entrepreneur really means and how to control it. There is so much to learn about living the life of an entrepreneur. You cannot just come up with these ideas and never execute them. You need to be able to bring them to life. It is not easy, and that is what scares a lot of people. It involves a lot of risk and a lot of failed attempts. Trust me. Being an entrepreneur doesn't necessarily mean you need to be an expert in everything but you do need to know a little about lot. I would say the most important thing you need to understand is how to work your network to assemble a team that can help bring your vision to life. If you have an idea for an app and don't know how to write computer code, find somebody who can. If you have a product idea that you want to patent, but don't know the first thing about patents and the complex legal process, find somebody that does. There is a great book out there called, "The Power of Who" by Bob Beaudine. It is a great read and focuses on the many ways an individual can optimize their network. Own your network and find the answers you need to get over those everyday obstacles! Find a way to go around it, fly over it, dig underneath it, or plow through it. If there is a will, there is a way. That's what makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur. Somebody willing to take risks, and will do whatever it takes to bring the idea to life. I think you need to find yourself a mentor. Somebody that you can trust and share every idea with. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that when I think of something I get really excited about it. I always feel like I need to share it with somebody right away. I have a mentor that I can bounce these ideas off and brainstorm. If I don't, I feel like I am going to explode. It is normal to get excited but my experience is that you have to act quick on these while you're excited about them. Otherwise you will forget about them, or think of something else and then start working on the new idea. You DO NOT want to get in that cycle of starting, stopping, starting, stopping. Because you won't finish anything and it becomes very frustrating having a multitude of ideas but not one brought to life. You do not need to be a psychopath. A little out there, sure. But a psychopath is a little extreme I think. Also, I want to address your comments on selling. You say, "others manage to get through obstacles because they can seduce and manipulate people." This is a common misconception of selling. I consider myself an expert in this field because it is what I do for my day job. I have been in professional sales for 7+ years. A good sales person can show value to their customer. They can show them how their product or service can benefit the business to make it more profitable or efficient. This is something many entrepreneurs may struggle with. They may have passion for their idea and are not quite sure how to sell/show it to an audience without feeling "pushy." This is when a "pitchman" can be useful to help entrepreneurs put together a presentation to really sell their idea. I have many other examples and experiences that can help with your perception on selling and also offer more advice on being an entrepreneur. If you would like to hear more, please feel free to schedule a call with me and I would be happy to discuss in further detail. Thanks!

Answered 9 years ago

To your point about psychopathy and manipulation, I don't think there is really much of a difference between entrepreneurs and corporate management. In both scenarios, a leader is tasked with casting a vision and getting a team of people to rally for the cause and hopefully successfully reach the goal(s).

When it comes to selling, you as an entrepreneur will always have to sell, and in the beginning you will have to be the best salesman. Eventually once you build the business up enough, people can handle the selling for you, whether to customers or building business relationships/partnerships. But out of the gate, you are the one who understands the vision, you created it, so you will have to sell. If you believe your idea/service/product has a true benefit to society, then you shouldn't feel like you are "selling" for any reason other than the good, and shouldn't have any reason to feel guilty. A lot of the time, people will come to you because they believe in your vision and what you are trying to do; customers, business partners, and team members included.

Overall, the game of entrepreneurship is mostly in your head. You really have to work on your thinking because to win at the game is not easy, and most of the time people lose because they knock themselves out. Read books, watch interviews of entrepreneurs, listen to podcasts ... there are tons of resources out their to fill your brain with the information it needs to be educated and headstrong, but most importantly APPLY what you learn. Work on your execution, just DO. You will inevitably start winning.

Answered 9 years ago

Being an entrepreneur is like being a parent. You're never ready or prepared for it no matter how much you think you are and every person has the ability to be a good parent.

The first thing is to shift your mind in how you think of people and entrepreneurs. Who cares what someone else is, did or was. Being an entrepreneur is about blazing your trail and telling your story. If you compare yourself to others then you're always going to be feeling like you don't add up. Embrace your strengths and your life philosophies and let that be the driving force.

Take a journal out and write out your core beliefs. Here's an example of mine...

1) Money is a measurement of how well I have served my fellow mankind
2) Prosperity without purpose is vanity
3) All people are significant no matter how big or how small they are

Since you care a lot about people, let that be your driver.

ADHD is more of a gift than a problem. You have the ability to see big picture concepts because it's how your brain works. Surround yourself with people who are the opposite of you and choose to never get frustrated when they don't see the picture like you do. Instead get inspired to learn to tell the story of the future you see. Great leaders need great followers. Great leaders inspire people to be great followers. Great followers become great leaders.

Answered 9 years ago

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