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Entrepreneur Personality Traits – 3 Unique Differentiators

If you’re an entrepreneur, you may wonder why you feel different from non-entrepreneurs? Entrepreneurs tend to be interesting and unique characters. Although they are everyday people, they often differ in expressing personality traits when compared to other people. Kerr et al. (2017) compiled literature pertaining to entrepreneurs’ personality traits and how they differ from the general public. Some of the common personality traits that tended to be higher among entrepreneurs than others were need for achievement, openness to new experiences, and self-efficacy.

Need to Achieve

Entrepreneurs tend to express a “need to achieve” more than non-entrepreneurs (Isenberg, 2011). They look for a gap in the current market and develop a solution in hopes of filling that gap – and achieving success! This concept assumes that entrepreneurs often challenge what is current in order to improve it – what Isenberg (2011) referred to as the “contrarian view”. Whereas a non-entrepreneur may be more likely to maintain the status quo. This implies that the entrepreneurs, unlike non-entrepreneurs, can get stir crazy with the norm.

New Experiences

Openness to new experiences is a personality trait that tends to be higher among entrepreneurs when compared to the general population (Antoncic et al., 2015). This makes sense, doesn’t it? Entrepreneurs crave new experiences. They are constantly looking for opportunities to develop new ideas and solutions!


Believing that you can accomplish your idea is important as an entrepreneur. This means that you must believe that you can be innovative and take risks. Thus, the entrepreneur should have high self-efficacy! Self-efficacy in innovation and risk-taking was found to be higher among business founders than non-founders (Chen et al., 1998). Cassar and Friedman (2009) likewise reported that individuals who expressed higher self-efficacy were more likely to become entrepreneurs than individuals with lower self-efficacy. No doubt people have their own ideas on how to develop a new and innovative solution, but the higher probability to act on the idea is where the entrepreneur stands out. Acting on the idea requires faith in the solution and the individual. If you believe, you can achieve, says the entrepreneur!


So, how would you rank yourself in the need to achieve, the desire for new experiences and self-efficacy? Of course, all entrepreneurs are unique, but it does take a higher amount of those three ingredients to be a successful entrepreneur.

Remember to be self-aware, embrace what makes you different and leverage those traits to reach your goals. 


Kerr, S., Kerr, W., & Xu, T. (2017). Personality traits of entrepreneurs: A review of recent literature. Harvard Business School, 14(3), 279–356.

Isenberg, D. (2011). The entrepreneurship ecosystem strategy as a new paradigm for economic policy: Principles for cultivating entrepreneurship. The Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project. Retrieved from

Antoncic, B., Kregar, T., Singh, G., & DeNoble, A., F. (2015). The big five personality-entrepreneurship relationship: Evidence from Slovenia. Journal of Small Business Management, 53(3), 819–841.

Chen, C., Greene, P., & Crick, A. (1998). Does entrepreneurial self-efficacy distinguish entrepreneurs from managers? Journal of Business Venturing, 13, 295–316.

Cassar, G. & Friedman, H. (2009). Does self-efficacy affect entrepreneurial investment? Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 3, 241–260.

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