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The 6 Qualities That Make a Successful Young Entrepreneur 

Every young entrepreneur is different, and every entrepreneurial journey is unique. You might invent a new product, provide a needed service, or build your small business doing something else entirely. Whatever it is you set your mind to do, we know you want to succeed.  

But no matter what your field of interest is, there are certain qualities that all entrepreneurs need to become the very best. Below, we’ve listed 6 personality traits to develop now so that you can become the best young entrepreneur you can be. We’ve even got tips on how to get started training yourself – as well as what to look out for so you don’t lose yourself. 

1.      PERSISTENCE 

This is at the top of the list because your entrepreneurial journey will almost certainly contain setbacks, challenges, and major obstacles. Those times when you feel like giving up are the times when you need persistence the most. You may not achieve success with your first idea, your first attempt, or your first year. But you’ll 100% never achieve anything without persistence. 

How to develop persistence: 

  • Take things one step at a time 
  • Remember your “why” 
  • Take breaks when you need them 
  • Try different approaches and solutions 
  • Remember that starting over isn’t the same as quitting 

Look out for: 

  • Neglecting your health 
  • Ignoring warning signs of burnout 
  • Confusing persistence with pride 
  • Alienating your friends and family 

2.      INSPIRATION 

Whatever inspires you, let it be your guide on your entrepreneurial journey. No law or rule says all entrepreneurs need to have an advanced degree in business or finance before they get started. Whether you’re looking to start a babysitting business or make extra money through gaming, use what already inspires you. 

How to develop inspiration: 

  • Brainstorm a list of activities you enjoy 
  • Brainstorm what motivates you (helping others, making money, etc.) 
  • Create an action plan to achieve your goals 
  • Ask friends and family to tell you about times when you seemed happy 

Look out for: 

  • Unrealistic expectations (“I want to cure cancer!”) 
  • Not focusing enough 
  • Reaching beyond your capacity (time, money, energy) 

3.      CREATIVITY 

While this trait may seem obvious, it’s worth remembering that entrepreneurship is all about creativity. You need to stay creative, not only in coming up with your business ideas but in pretty much all areas of running your business. As a founder and CEO, you’ll need to come up with ideas for: 

Without creativity, you’ll get bored quickly. So will your customers. 

How to develop creativity: 

  • Stay curious 
  • Look at how others in different fields solve problems 
  • Let yourself be bored once in a while (put away those devices and turn off the tv!) 
  • Use every tool you already have, I.e., what are some cool words you’ve learned in AP French that could be elegant names for your business? 

Look out for: 

  • Being too out-of-touch with reality 
  • Losing focus of your goals 
  • Being “ideas-only” and not following through 

4.      SELF-CONFIDENCE 

Ah, that elusive trait that some people seem to be born with, and others…not so much. But what is self-confidence, exactly? The University of South Florida defines it as 

“…an attitude about your skills and abilities. It means you accept and trust yourself and have a sense of control in your life. You know your strengths and weakness well, and have a positive view of yourself. You set realistic expectations and goals, communicate assertively, and can handle criticism.” 

Being self-confident means destroying imposter syndrome, learning how to speak in public, and impressing potential investors with your amazing sales pitch.  

How to develop self-confidence: 

  • Look at everything you’ve already achieved, whether it’s leading your team to a state championship or your favorite family asking you for more babysitting. 
  • Give yourself a pep talk as if you’re talking to your best friend 
  • Ask your friends to list things they love about you 
  • Take a moment to notice when you do something awesome 

Look out for: 

  • Arrogance 
  • Putting others down to feel better about yourself 
  • Ignoring your own weaknesses 

5.      RISK-TAKING 

There’s an old proverb that goes, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” In other words, if you’re too scared to take certain risks, then how much of a reward can you expect? Young entrepreneurs are ideally suited to risk-taking, as they are young, passionate, and energized. You have everything to gain and nearly nothing to lose by putting yourself out there and taking risks. Who has ever achieved greatness by playing it safe? 

How to be more of a risk-taker: 

  • Acknowledge that failure is a probability 
  • Try to recognize your emotions and set them aside when making decisions 
  • Understand what you’re getting into 
  • Remind yourself that this may be your only shot 

Look out for: 

  • Making decisions without thinking about the consequences 
  • Allowing yourself to be pressured into taking risks 
  • An inability to cope with loss or failure 
  • Blaming others when your risks don’t work out 

6.      EXECUTIVE FUNCTION 

This one is tricky, especially for neurodivergent young entrepreneurs. However, it is a skill that anyone can learn and develop. Sometimes it takes outside help or hacks to learn how to prioritize and focus. But executive function is what will allow you to keep track of your schedule, timelines, deadlines, and goals. For the future Fortune 500 CEOs of the world (YOU), executive function is what will keep you organized during your entrepreneurial journey. 

How to develop executive function: 

  • Stick to healthy routines 
  • Eliminate procrastination habits 
  • Take advantage of apps that keep you focused and on track 
  • Look for creative ways to accomplish your goals 

Look out for: 

  • Becoming so focused on one thing that you lose track of other obligations 
  • Losing flexibility and creativity 

If you already have all these traits within yourself, congratulations! (Please tell us what that’s like.) But if you are like the vast majority of humans on this planet, you might recognize at least one trait that’s worth working on. As you look inside yourself and find ways to develop creativity, inspiration, or executive function, remember not to be too hard on yourself. Entrepreneurship is not about perfection – it’s about progress. 

Young entrepreneurs who attend high school in Florida may be eligible for a Kantner Foundation college scholarship. Click here to learn about what we offer and how to apply. 


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