What is entrepreneurial spirit, and do you have one?
Let's find out.
But first things first: It's worth noting that you don't have to be a successful business owner to have a strong entrepreneurial spirit. Heck, you don't even need to have started a business. And you also don't need to be an extrovert or a reckless risk-taker.
So, what does it mean to have an entrepreneurial spirit?
The true signs of entrepreneurial spirit can be found in how you think and how you approach situations in life. In this article, I'll be your tour guide as we explore 10 characteristics of entrepreneurial spirit and how they manifest.
Let's jump right in.
Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Hire yourself and start calling the shots.
Do you sometimes feel awkward because you feel like you see the world a little differently from most people? Are you constantly questioning things? "Why do we do things this way?" "Wouldn't it be more efficient if we did things differently?" "What's the point of doing this?"
Questioning the status quo may irritate parents, teachers, and bosses, but it's a surefire sign of entrepreneurial spirit.
Why? The act of questioning comes from a place of curiosity.
Entrepreneurs are always trying to understand the world — and in doing so, they often stumble across innovative solutions to everyday problems that many people would never think of.
For an example of entrepreneurial spirit, take Uber.
The founders of Uber questioned the status quo and saw problems: Paying in cash is awkward and inefficient. Hailing a cab in the rain isn't fun. Calling a taxi company to arrange a pickup is slow.
Then they thought of a new solution — why not order taxis with an app? We can then connect to countless drivers for faster pickup, pay automatically to save hassle, and track every ride for increased safety.
So, if you want to know how to increase entrepreneurial spirit, take some advice from the writer Mark Twain: "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."
Do you feel like you can always make more money, find new opportunities, and progress somehow? Are you optimistic, even when others try to convince you that something is 'hopeless,' 'pointless,' or 'will never work'?
Endless hope and a belief in abundance is a sure sign of entrepreneurial spirit.
Entrepreneurs feel like anything and everything can be changed, improved, or transformed given enough time. They look to a better future — and then try to understand what step can be taken today to make that future a reality.
In other words, entrepreneurs don't see problems — they see possibilities.
As a result, people with a strong entrepreneurial spirit often take full responsibility for their circumstances — even if the situation isn't their fault. They know that by taking responsibility for an issue or situation, they empower themselves to do something to change it.
As the media mogul Oprah Winfrey said, "I don't think of myself as a poor deprived ghetto girl who made good. I think of myself as somebody who, from an early age, knew I was responsible for myself, and I had to make good."
Do you believe 'you are who you are' and can't change? Or do you think you can grow and change into whoever you want to be?
Heck, someone with an entrepreneurial spirit reading this article might say to themselves, "Well, I don't seem to match many of these 10 characteristics right now, but I just need to practice them so I can develop an entrepreneurial mindset."
In short, entrepreneurs have confidence in their ability to learn and grow. That's why Roy Ash, the co-founder of Litton Industries, said, "An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew, hoping he'll quickly learn how to chew it."
People with an entrepreneurial spirit don't just want to learn about business — they want to learn about life and become the best version of themselves.
They intuitively understand what the Roman emperor and stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius once said: "Our life is what our thoughts make it."
As a result, they know the only thing holding them back is themselves.
So, whether they want to improve their relationships or sales skills, they start by practicing self-awareness. For example, the entrepreneur Arianna Huffington said: "Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it, the more natural it becomes not to let my fears run me."
If you live by the saying, "Failure is just feedback," you likely have a very strong entrepreneurial spirit.
People with an entrepreneurial spirit don't fear failure — but not because they have buckets of courage and fearlessness. They simply understand what Henry Ford, the Ford Motor Company founder, said, "Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently."
When something doesn't work out, entrepreneurs know that it doesn't mean they, personally, are a failure. All that's happened is they've gathered some invaluable feedback that will help them increase their chances of success with the next attempt.
Do people think of you as a risk-taker, while you view yourself as cautious?
Entrepreneurs are often viewed as reckless or courageous for taking such scary risks. However, when asked about these risks, they'll usually have a well-thought-out reason for taking the leap.
For example, most people automatically start searching for a job after their studies — anything else is risky, right? Well, people with an entrepreneurial spirit are more likely to consider all their options. Perhaps they'll travel, take a job in a relatively new industry, or explore business and side hustle ideas.
People with an entrepreneurial spirit know that the biggest risk is missed opportunities. As Tom Preston-Werner, the co-founder of Github, said, "When I'm old and dying, I plan to look back on my life and say 'wow, that was an adventure,' not 'wow, I sure felt safe.'"
Are you decisive and quick to take action? Do you step out of your comfort zone to make things happen? If the answer's "yes," perhaps you have a strong entrepreneurial spirit.
Entrepreneurs have a bias for taking action.
For example, aspiring entrepreneurs often have lots of ideas and like to plan everything in minute detail. On the other hand, successful entrepreneurs are usually more concerned with testing their ideas in the real-world — today.
As Scott Belsky, the co-founder of Behance, said, "It's not about ideas. It's about making ideas happen."
As a result, people with an entrepreneurial spirit often get a lot done when they put their mind to something. They haven't got time to procrastinate or overthink things — they're too busy rolling up their sleeves and getting to work.
They also tend to be goal-oriented — once they set their sights on achieving something, they pursue it with dogged determination.
Do you embrace big goals and challenges with excitement? Are you always looking for a way to make "impossible" things work? These are good signs of entrepreneurial spirit.
Taking risks, testing ideas, stepping out of your comfort zone, growing, learning — these are all challenging things to do. Consequently, people with an entrepreneurial spirit tend to embrace and enjoy challenges.
Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, said, "My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long University education that I never had — every day I'm learning something new."
Challenges are like playgrounds for entrepreneurs. Challenges provoke curiosity, excitement, and thoughts like, "I wonder how this will play out!"
For these reasons, people with an entrepreneurial spirit often take on big goals — in their personal and professional lives.
Are you driven to achieve your goals? Do you work hard to become more productive and focused? If you're nodding your head "yes," you almost certainly have a strong entrepreneurial spirit.
Perhaps the most important characteristic of entrepreneurial spirit is drive. Entrepreneurs have an intrinsic motivation that compels them to explore their interests and achieve their goals.
They're focused and tenacious.
Take it from Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, who shared this entrepreneurial spirit quote: "I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance."
For example, people with an entrepreneurial spirit in the workplace never do the bare minimum just to get by. Instead, they go above and beyond and are never satisfied with anything other than their best effort.
Are you quick to work with others on a project? Do you enjoy the camaraderie of teamwork? If so, it's another sign that you have a strong entrepreneurial spirit.
Entrepreneurs know that successful relationships are the foundation of all success — whether in relationships, business, or health.
Divine Ndhlukula, the founder and managing director of DDNS Security Operations Ltd, achieved phenomenal success with this knowledge, saying, "Success depends on employees. For me knowing and connecting with my employees is very important."
This is why entrepreneurs are quick to collaborate with other people.
For a classic example of entrepreneurial spirit, consider Richard Branson who founded the Virgin Group, which now consists of more than 400 companies — there's no way he could have achieved such a feat without an incredible ability to collaborate.
What does entrepreneurial spirit mean?
Entrepreneurial spirit is a set of characteristics that determine our attitude and approach to life. It's a mindset that questions the status quo, seeks growth and understanding, and embraces challenges and opportunities.
Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit?
To find out, consider whether you embody some of these characteristics of entrepreneurial spirit:
Ultimately, everyone has an entrepreneurial spirit to some degree. Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, explains: "All humans are entrepreneurs not because they should start companies but because the will to create is encoded in human DNA."
Do you feel like you have an entrepreneurial spirit? Do you want to develop one? Leave a comment below to let us know!