What does it take to be an entrepreneur?

People who are thinking about starting a business often ask me: what does it take to be an entrepreneur? After some probing and additional conversation, they often reveal deeper questions:

  • What if I fail?
  • Are my ideas good enough?
  • Do I have what it takes? Am I enough?

They’re eager to know if entrepreneurship will be a sure thing. No, it won’t. It’s normal to want some assurance, but there are no guarantees.

The most important thing you can do is go in eyes wide open about how challenging it can feel sometimes – struggle is part of the growth process (see How To Accept And Overcome Obstacles As You Start A New Business).

So, what does it take to be an entrepreneur?

After a few years of working with entrepreneurs at the idea stage of their journey, there are a few skills I’ve noticed that are essential to success:

  1. Growth Mindset
  2. Self-Awareness
  3. Clarity
What does it take to be an entrepreneur? | Start and grow your business with confidence


We learn and grow the most when we’re stretched, just a bit outside of our comfort zone. To be successful, you’ve got to embrace this stretch and adopt a growth mindset.

According to Carol Dweck, the godmother of Growth Mindset research, New York Times Best Selling Author, and Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, people with a growth mindset believe: “that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” And, in a fixed mindset: “people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits.”

Adopting a Growth Mindset means:

  • Seeing everything as an opportunity to learn, including our mistakes
  • Embracing the stretch of being outside our comfort zones
  • Persistence in the face of obstacles
  • “What did I learn?”

Holding a Fixed Mindset means: 

  • Not trying new things
  • Not taking on new challenges
  • Seeing yourself or others as unchangeable
  • “I tried that, it’s over.”

Check out Carol Dweck’s TED Talk: “The Power of Believing That You Can Improve.”


I believe that a self-aware entrepreneur is more easily able to adapt to a changing environment, to try new ways of doing things, to grow their businesses – because they are first willing to change themselves.

Improving your self-awareness is as simple as asking yourself questions and reflecting on the answers.

Here are a few to get you started:

  • How do you typically frame the setbacks you encounter?
  • How stretched and challenged do you feel when you think about starting a business?
  • What steps did you take to make you successful today?
  • How did you keep going when things got tough?

Check out my video: Why Every Entrepreneur Needs to be Self-Aware.


There are so many traps and distractions that can leave you disoriented and lost in the weeds when you’re starting a business. It’s enough to make you forget why you started in the first place.

You need clarity on your purpose – why starting and growing a business matters to you. It’s been said that people lose their way, when they lose their why. And, that’s true for starting and growing a business too.

With clarity, you can ruthlessly prioritize to make your vision a reality. You can eliminate busy work and actually focus on what matters.

Check out two of my previous articles on this topic: Start Saying No with 1 Simple Trick and How To Cut The Bullsh*t And Enhance Your Focus.

Stay tuned for more, right here on the 321 Liftoff blog. 

Learn more about my work and how I help my clients start and grow their businesses with confidence.

Subscribe to my blog using the form. And, when you subscribe, you’ll also get a free guide: 5 Steps to Clarifying Your Business Idea, which includes 5 activities to help you stop over-thinking and start taking action.


Starting and growing a business is not a straightforward and linear process. It can feel messy… it zigs and zags… it starts and stops. It can feel frustrating even for the most seasoned business owners. And, that’s ok. It’s also an exciting challenge. It’s going to stretch you. You’re going to learn a lot – not just about business, but about yourself. And, that’s why it’s worth it.

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