In this article we talk about the link between your personality and success as an entrepreneur.

Whenever you hear the word ‘entrepreneur’, what image comes to your mind?

Are you seeing a person in a suit, going through his business with a phone in his hand? Do you see someone talking to a team or a group of people?

A common assumption about entrepreneurs is that they have to be working all the time, or that they have to be social butterflies. Because of these assumptions, many people understand entrepreneurship as a world for people who are outspoken and confident — the extroverts. Introverts, meanwhile, are consequently seen as weaker business owners because they seem more reserved or more timid than their extroverted counterparts.

The truth is, there is no one picture of what an entrepreneur should look or sound like.

What then does it really take to be a successful entrepreneur?

Because some entrepreneurs seem to have it easier than others, speculations on what it takes to be a successful business owner have circulated the internet for a while. In this article, let’s talk about the link between your personality and success.

Personality and behaviour

Personality is the set of inborn characteristics or lasting traits that influence how we think and how we react to certain stimuli. For example, when someone hurts you, your internal responses will vary depending on your personality. Some people might cry or bottle the emotions in and some people might have the urge to fight back. Regardless of what these responses are, they are all determined by the emotions triggered by individual personalities. These responses — how one acts or carries himself in certain situations — are also known as behaviour. It is how one behaves.

This is why personality matters when running a business. It affects what you do.

According to studies, personality determines behaviour in the workplace and has been reported to be a predictor of work and career success. For this reason, managers and hiring teams value personality so much. It is the best indicator of what one person can and is willing to do in the job. Studies show that managers consider individual personality characteristics as having the same weight as mental ability. After all, success in business (or in any workplace in general) cannot be achieved by someone who is irresponsible or lazy even when their IQ is superior.

The Five Factor Model: what it tells about successful people

For many years, researchers and psychologists have studied what personality traits the most successful entrepreneurs have, and what traits exactly have caused them to succeed.

Finally, in 2004, psychologists discovered The Big 5 personality traits of successful entrepreneurs: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.


People who are high in this trait tend to be more creative and adventurous. They are more imaginative and accommodating to new ideas.


People who are high in this trait are more detail-oriented. They love setting schedules and spending time preparing.


Extroverted people are characterized as sociable, assertive, and even talkative. They love starting conversations and find it easy to connect with people.


People who are agreeable are characterized as cooperative and empathetic. They care about other people and love helping people in need.


People who are high in this trait are more moody and emotionally unstable. They are also more prone to anxiety, sadness, and even irritability.

These five broad traits serve as building blocks to one’s personality and how high or low we are in each trait determines how we react to our environment. A recent study found out that for successful entrepreneurs, high levels of extraversion and agreeableness have a significant effect on their business growth.

Behaviour and success

If personalities indicate your consistent behaviour, your behaviour will predict your success.

So many businesses fail to succeed simply because the behaviour displayed does not support what the business is supposed to be about. Jobs or businesses that require constant interaction with other people, for example, will be more suited with a person with an outgoing personality because their behavior matches the responsibilities in the job. Speaking and connecting with people or customers is something they are good at and enjoy. Similarly, jobs or businesses that require attention to detail will be more suitable for workers or entrepreneurs with a knack for organization and record-keeping.

Behaviour of Successful People

They don’t wait for the perfect moment.

Many people think that everything must be in order before they could start working on an idea. The thing is, successful people don’t wait for the perfect time to start moving. They get to work immediately.

Time wasted on waiting and complaining about unfavorable circumstances is limiting and only delays success.

They keep on learning.

The most successful entrepreneurs don’t know everything. However, they are willing to learn more.

So how do we seek out knowledge? The world’s leading billionaires recommend something very simple: to read.

Here’s how many books these top business leaders read:

Bill Gates: reads 50 books a year

Mark Cuban: reads for 4 or 5 hours every day

Mark Zuckerburg: reads a book every 2 weeks

Elon Musk: used to read for 10 hours every day

Warren Buffet: reads for 6 hours a day

What’s interesting is that the habit of reading and learning is not isolated to these 5 people. A study conducted by self-made millionaire Steve Siebold revealed that 1,200 wealthy people have one thing in common: that their pastime is reading.

The world — your industry and your market — is constantly evolving, and learning for the benefit of your business would mean you will never be left behind. This could mean learning a new set of skills, improving on your current skills, or exploring ways to expand your business.

They enjoy the process and not just the results.

The end goal always looks attractive. Sadly, many people starting out in business are too far-sighted, focusing too much on the results, that the journey gets blurred into a process many consider a burden. 

The modern technology-dependent culture does not help either. Promises of instant results are everywhere and the joy of waiting is no longer celebrated. Gone are the days when patience and perseverance are taught.

When the journey or the process of attaining a goal is seen as part of the objective, you start to become more in control of your progress. Very often, starting business owners rely on their results for their happiness. And when things don’t go as planned, it becomes so easy to be disheartened.

They focus on what is possible.

French football manager Arsene Wenger says, “When you look at people who are successful, you will find that they aren’t the people who are motivated, but have consistency in their motivation.

Some research shows that while some people fold when faced with stress, some thrive. In fact, to many successful entrepreneurs, this stress propels them forward even more as if it were a motivating drive. 

Why is this so?

Successful people focus on what they can do or control and not on what they cannot. Setbacks and gaps weigh us down. When faced with trouble in business, for example, you don’t wallow in guilt and disappointment for a long time. Otherwise, how are you supposed to run it? Instead of wasting (limited) time and crying over spilled milk, successful people get up, assess what went wrong and decide what can be done to improve or continue.

Even after countless studies done on personalities, it is found that there is no definite personality type that determines one’s success in business. This is why our best shot is to understand ourselves better and start working on our strengths and weaknesses.