6 Traits of Successful Startup Founders


Only 20% of businesses survive past their first year of operation, and half of the remaining fail within 5 more years of operation.

It takes a special type of person to be able to take a business off the ground successfully, as the vast majority tend to fail.

Starting a business takes a lot of time, it may take a large monetary investment, it takes precision and skill, not just blind hard work, and due to these factors, starting a business is risky for anyone who does not have the right personality traits.

Now you may be wondering, what traits does a successful entrepreneur have? Keep reading to find out.


  1. Passion

First and foremost, an entrepreneur needs passion to start a successful business. Without passion and the desire to start something in the first place, a business will never get off the ground.

The business has to be one of the founder’s deepest desires and goals. For example, their deepest desire could be having the freedom that comes from owning a business, it could also be the actual business itself if they start a record label because they love music, or it could be the passion and desire to help people if they start a non-profit.

If the founder’s business is not in line with one of their deepest desires or goals, they will not be able to motivate themselves to set aside time to work on the business or to devote their full mind and body to its success.

Being all-in and completely passionate about their business idea is one pre-requisite to rising above the majority of business failures and having a successful startup.


  1. Perseverance

Without perseverance, any founder’s business will fail.

The point is, all businesses fail, even the successful ones. It is being able to see the failure as a learning opportunity and move forward without repeating the same mistakes that separate the successful business owners from those who stop after their first failure.

The ability to keep going, even after losing everything, or after being rejected hundreds of times, separates the wheat from the trough of entrepreneurs.

The Starbucks founder exemplifies this trait as he was turned down for a loan over 200 times when he was trying to get funding, and now Starbucks is more than just a household name, it is one of the most successful and profitable businesses in the world.


  1. Breadth of knowledge

A successful startup founder needs to have the breadth of knowledge in addition to the depth of knowledge in one subject area.

This is because a small business starts out with limited capital and often has only 1 employee, the founder themselves. The founder will need to start out directly running all business functions, including sales, marketing, online technology, and more.

A small business owner will have to do all the sales calls even if they are not a salesperson. They will have to create their own website, even if they do not think of themselves as being tech-savvy. Every single business function will have to be performed by them at first, until their business grows enough to be able to hire other more specialized employees to take over the other business functions.

It’s necessary for them to be able to do a wide range of tasks well, or their business will not succeed.

This includes having common sense and knowing what to focus on and when.


  1. Prioritization ability

You can be busy all day, but if you are busy working on the wrong things, you will never get anywhere.

A successful founder is someone who is able to clearly see what tasks need to be done, when they need to be done and why.

They are someone who is able to look at a complex amount of data and get straight to the root of the problem or success.

Someone who may make an ok employee, but not a great entrepreneur is someone who spends all day responding carefully to emails, attending every meeting and taking copious notes and rushing around like a chicken with their head cut off attending to everyone who needs a second of their time.

The successful entrepreneur, however, will carefully block out his or her schedule, and intentionally decide what tasks need to get done first.


  1. Emotional Control

Successful entrepreneurs have strong emotional control. This means they are able to handle their own emotions, displaying only what is appropriate publicly, as well as having a strong emotional foundation which they can build calm productive emotions onto.

These are the people who are able to not yell in anger at clients or express other inappropriate emotions, even if they are feeling them.

They also have a calm emotional base and are able to make rational decisions not based on anger, desperation or other negative emotions.

Emotional control is often overlooked, but it is very important in the success of a founder’s business.


  1. Self-motivated

Self-motivation is a trait all successful entrepreneurs have. This is because at the end of the day when starting a business, the only person a founder has to answer to is him or herself.

An entrepreneur is their own boss, whether they like it or not.

They have to motivate themselves to get up each day and be productive. There is no time clock, no boss peering over their shoulder or pestering them to get things done.

In normal 9-5 employee jobs, there are plenty of external forces that make the need for internal motivation nill. Employees come in each day, and if they are late, they are admonished, punished, and even fired if it happens consistently.

It is the same with tasks if an employee has a task, it has a deadline often reinforced by their boss, and if they fail to complete it, they will be reminded until they do.

If an entrepreneur fails to complete an important task, there is no consequence, except that the task does not get done and their business is more likely to fail.

It takes an incredible amount of self-motivation to be able to be productive each day without any external forces forcing the founder to get certain tasks done.

Successful entrepreneurs have very different internal traits than normal 9-5 employees. Do you share any traits with successful entrepreneurs? Let us know in the comments below!