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Are Successful Entrepreneurs Born or Made?

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Communication is another quality every successful entrepreneur needs to master as business requires you to deal with people constantly. It is one quality you are not born with as you learn and build your communication skills from a very early age. Can we learn to trigger dormant entrepreneurship genes? Right now biologists and geneticists are working on things like how temperature affects the genes of fruit flies. But basic biological evidence suggests that there are things that can trigger someone to be an entrepreneur.

  1. There have been many studies attempting to answer this question, and they’ve landed on each side of the argument.
  2. Apart from the entrepreneurial heritage of your family, you would require capital and skills to run the business.
  3. While most of us fear we would be in the latter camp, the entrepreneurs of this world would undoubtedly have a go at the first option.
  4. This can be anything from graphic design to engineering skills, musical skills, and so on.
  5. Although successful entrepreneurs are indeed born, no one person is born with all the needed traits that guarantee success.

This article will comprehensively answer this age-long question that has divided the world’s best thought leaders. I was particularly impressed by twin studies and what happens when you observe their behavior when they’re raised together vs. being raised apart. A good deal of entrepreneurial behavior is genetically determined.

They seek out mentors to help them, and they have the determination to keep going no matter what. I did a little research of my own and looked at what some of the most successful entrepreneurs on the planet have to say about the born or made debate. Not only that, but I also discuss real research on the topic and explore the key characteristics of a truly successful entrepreneur. Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made?

Their application of traits, passion, tenaciousness and yearning for knowledge is at the core of their success — a very special place where nature meets nurture. The first is that some people are simply born with the skills and personality traits needed to be successful entrepreneurs. They have natural charisma, risk-taking ability, creativity, and more. There have been many studies attempting to answer this question, and they’ve landed on each side of the argument. An important distinction here is that identical twins share 100 percent of the same genetic information, while fraternal twins share 50 percent. Ever meet someone so successful in their field of business that it seems like they were born to do it?

Studying at Bolton

Significant portions of personality traits critical to entrepreneurs, like the willingness to take risks and the ability to tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty, are heritable. Because here is the key — whether born or made, every successful entrepreneur must have both conviction and commitment to the work, perseverance, and effective communication skills. All this and the essential ability to take and endure risk. These are the brave souls, born and made, who dive into the entrepreneurial cosmos. Along the way, every successful entrepreneur has learned new traits, making mentorship an absolute must. Every entrepreneur on the planet had some type of mentor or network of people that they could turn to for advice, learn from and bounce ideas off of.

What traits and skillsets do you need to be a successful entrepreneur?

I run an entrepreneur accelerator in the U.K., Australia and the U.S. We’ve had over 2500 entrepreneurs join our cohorts and since 2010 I’ve interviewed thousands of entrepreneurs who have applied for a position on the program. “For me it’s about someone who starts a business, however small, which isn’t on top of an existing corporate platform. It is a very broad church.”

As much as personality traits hugely impact successful entrepreneurs, you can not take the element of passion out of the “are entrepreneurs born or made” arguments. However, it goes a bit deeper than simply being born with certain personality and aptitude traits. The ability to apply those traits the right way and in the right space is what makes an entrepreneur successful. Secondly, successful entrepreneurs have a passion for what they do, beyond making money. Money is a great way of keeping score but if it’s only about the money the game of entrepreneurship will find a way of weeding you out. Many entrepreneurs make serious money after 10 years of struggle, if money is the only driver, a decade is an awfully long time to be waiting for your rewards.

What did you think about entrepreneurship education vs. natural ability before doing research for your book? I think my view, being an academic, was that we can teach [entrepreneurship] and do it well. I was a bit surprised at the scientific literature that suggested heredity has a good deal to do with personality and behavior. When I began to look at the literature, are entrepreneurs born or made virtually every reputable scientist sees it as interaction of heredity and environment. Perhaps the most straightforward way genes influence our entrepreneurial tendencies is through personality. People who have inherited traits such as extroversion, creativity or an openness to new experiences, for example, are more likely to go into business for themselves.

International students

Oprah Winfrey would have made a terrible fund manager and Warren Buffet would have made a boring talk show host. Richard Branson would have failed as a software developer and Bill Gates would not have been able to run a cool music label. Prof Morgan adds that entrepreneurs who get such training “are more likely to pay attention to detail, and to place their start-up on a more secure footing”. “I would say the simple answer is 70% born, 10% nurture, and 20% trainable,” he says. Perhaps you set up your own company, dedicate your life to it, and through drive and determination make a fortune.

It’s crystal clear what Lord Alan Sugar believes, but what has Gary Vaynerchuk got to say on this topic? He believes that you need to have the hustle and drive to succeed, which you are born with. You cannot be taught those things, according to Gary Vaynerchuk.

Therefore the core skill of an entrepreneur is influence – enrolling people into using their time, creativity, expertise or resources in a way they hadn’t initially thought of. Fortunately, this core skill is a learned behaviour that you can and must develop. For UK business coach and turnaround specialist Peter Ryding, successful entrepreneurs are predominantly born that way. But some entrepreneurs are born with innate skills and engaging personalities.

In some ways we can say there is a certain element of entrepreneurs that are born, not made. If entrepreneurship comes from an interaction of heredity and environment, how much of it do you think is truly genetic? Short people don’t make it often in the NBA, just like certain kinds of genetically hard-wired individuals don’t make it as entrepreneurs, and others do. In reading the genetic literature, we found that up to 60 percent of critical personality characteristics are heritable.


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