Unhappy in your job? It’s possible you’re an entrepreneur.
January 1, 2019 7 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You’re sitting at your desk one day, and a light bulb goes off for a business idea. After a couple of days spent contemplating the idea, you decide it’s not worth pursuing.
While the idea might not have been as great as you initially thought, the reality might be that you’re uncertain if you are cut out to be your own boss. After all, starting and running a business isn’t for the faint of heart.
You may actually have what it takes to be an entrepreneur but you have been focused on providing for your family or just need a little spark to ignite that fire. If you’ve been on the fence about entrepreneurship, see if you have the following traits.
1. Your “business mind” began spinning at a young age.
Think back to when you were young. Were you the type of kid who was making money with a side gig? That’s one of the most common denominators linking successful entrepreneurs.
For example, Daymond John created customized pencils for girls in his first-grade class. Mark Cuban sold trash bags in his neighborhood as a 12-year-old. Richard Branson bred and sold parakeets. Juliette Brindak designed a website at age 16 that went on to be worth $30 million.
Simply put, the gears of an entrepreneur’s “business mind” start spinning at an early age. If you’ve always been looking for ways to make money, you’ve probably been an entrepreneur your whole life — you just didn’t realize it.
2. You’re a self-starter.
Entrepreneurs are known for carving their own paths. They don’t follow others, wait for permission or let distractions get in their way.
Reflect on your life. Did you start an organization in college? Have you volunteered for a local charity? When there’s a project to complete at work, have you been the person to take the reins and rally the troops?
These are signs that you have a get-it-done personality, which is essential to making your vision a reality. This is a very good sign you’re an entrepreneur.
Related: 15 Traits of Unstoppable People
3. You think like MacGyver.
Back in the ’80s, there was an amazing TV show called “MacGyver“ — there’s a reimagined version currently on-air. The series was about Angus “Mac” MacGyver, who was a troubleshooter with unconventional problem-solving skills. One time, he made a hot-air balloon out of a soccer ball, kerosene, newspapers and cotton.
Entrepreneurs are also troubleshooters who develop innovative and out-of-the-box ideas to solve problems. They are resourceful and think quickly on their feet.
4. Losing gets you fired up.
No one likes to lose. But there’s a big difference between entrepreneurs and everyone else — they’re motivated by setbacks.
They don’t make excuses, complain or give up. Instead, they use setbacks as motivation. Take Gary Vaynerchuk,for example. He loves losing. It sounds a bit out there. But, as he explains, “I’m obsessed with losing.” The reason? “I love losing, because I know what you’re thinking about my loss, and I can’t wait to stick it in your face when I come back.”
5. You’re driven by passion.
Passion: It drives us to take risks and pursue our dreams. For entrepreneurs, this also means focusing only on the goals they’re passionate about. It encourages them to see those goals through — regardless of distractions or hurdles.
If you’re the type of person who works out when you’re in pain or completes a project at your current gig before the deadline, you’re driven by passion.
6. You are easily bored.
Do you find yourself easily bored? Some people might think that’s a problem. There’s nothing wrong with being bored with activities that don’t use your abilities or aren’t challenging.
That’s why throughout school, you couldn’t stand most of the classes you attended. They either weren’t difficult enough or you just couldn’t sustain any interest — you knew you wouldn’t be using the information presented to you.
7. You’re able to delay gratification.
Few successful entrepreneurs experienced overnight success. The reality is that it may take years, if not decades, for entrepreneurs to develop and launch a business. Even after they start their business, it takes a decent amount of time to start turning a profit. It takes many around three years, but this can vary.
Because of this, entrepreneurs must be patient and willing to delay gratification. At the same time, they can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
8. At work, you’re a super connector; at home, you’re a loner.
When you’re at work, are you a rock star? This means you excel at your job, and people flock to you. When you get home, are you more of a loner?
That’s not exactly shocking. Entrepreneurs place a huge emphasis on their work. Even bigger on having productive habits at work. It’s their priority — even at the expense of close personal relationships.
Richard Branson has said that “Business is all about personal contact. No matter how heavy your workload is, do not allow yourself to work in your cubicle or office all day, every day — for your own well-being and the health of your business, you need to get out and about, meeting people and developing relationships.”
9. You can spot trends.
When entrepreneurs are out and about, they’re taking stock of what’s going on around them. It’s not some strange safety precaution. It’s because they’re looking for trends and analyzing what customers are demanding.
Take Beanie Babies, for example. The craze started when a community in the Chicago suburbs started trading the stuffed animals. After it went national, Peggy Gallagher noticed it hadn’t reached Germany. Gallagher contacted a distributor in Germany and placed an order for $2,000. She brought the box of hard-to-find stuffed animals back to the States and made an impressive $300,000.
10. You go big or go home.
“We’re often told not to ‘bet the house’ on anything,” writes Lauren Elmore, president of Firmatek. “It’s generally good advice. But the best business advice I’ve received is actually the opposite: Bet the house on it.”
“Betting the house is the best piece of advice I’ve received because it’s not a singular thing to do,” explains Elmore. “It’s a way of life and a mentality that promotes taking risks and giving everything you have to make it work.”
Of course, just because you go all-in doesn’t mean you do so carelessly. Entrepreneurs minimize risks by surrounding themselves with the right people, being resilient and addressing their fears to let them go.
11. You’ve had a history of losing jobs.
Have you bounced from job to job because you got fired? Don’t be embarrassed. You’re just too creative, driven and self-motivated to work for someone else.
I’d even say you may be a bit selfish — why should someone else reap the benefits of your hard work and talent?
12. You’re never satisfied.
In school, did you best your classmates in academics or sports, but still feel disappointed? Do you have more sales than your colleagues, but it’s still not enough?
You’re constantly striving for more because you realize victories are short-lived. That’s why you see a lot of entrepreneurs start a thriving business and move on to another — they want to tackle new challenges and setbacks.
You may not have made the entrepreneurial leap yet, but if these 12 traits sound familiar, it’s more likely a matter of “when,” not “if.”