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But there are a lot of them, and they're successful. Want to join them?

The age of the entrepreneur appears to be here.

The 2015 Kaufman Index found that more new business owners are popping up now than ever before. The Index reported that 310 out of every 100,000 adults in the U.S. started new businesses each month. That’s a significant increase that shows no sign of slowing down. This means more people than ever before believe and have aspirations of being a successful entrepreneur.

Everyone asks me who makes the best entrepreneur; young or old, man or woman, big city dweller or small town resident. The truth is, the ideal entrepreneur is really about traits like hard work and smart planning. If you have those traits, you have a greater chance of success as an entrepreneur. Here’s why.

Why demographics don’t matter

Age has been one of the ways people have tried to illustrate that there is an ideal entrepreneur, especially noting that those in their younger years fare better. However, an Entrepreneur magazine article illustrated some interesting facts related to age and the ideal entrepreneur. The article noted research from the Kauffman Foundation, Founder Institute, and Duke University that concluded the average age of an entrepreneur is 40 when they launch their startup; with people over the age of 55 more likely to create a high-growth startup than those under 35.

The article also listed a wide range of wildly successful entrepreneurs who started incredible companies: “The ages, from youngest to oldest: Facebook (20), Microsoft (20), Apple (21), Google (25), Twitter (30), Amazon (30), Tesla (34), Oracle (35), Netflix (37), Zynga (41), Walmart (44) and McDonald’s (53).”

Then there’s gender

The Kaufman Index did find that there were more men in entrepreneurial roles than women. That equity between genders was more apparent in 1996 than it is now. However, the Index concluded that this was not a predictor of the ideal entrepreneur but solely based on opportunities provided to both genders. Numerous female entrepreneurs have proven to be incredibly successful over the years. That illustrates different qualities are what drive success for entrepreneurs rather than their gender.

Similarly, race, ethnicity, and immigration also provide some insights into entrepreneurship. Yet, the insights are mostly about illustrating that numerous immigrants have been incredibly successful as business owners. They take advantage of the wide number of resources that stimulate new business creation currently in the U.S. If anything, the pattern again shows that it’s personality. Not demographics that drive success of any immigrant that opts for entrepreneurship.

Finally, there is the belief that location does matter for an entrepreneur’s success. Just as it is a factor for other things like real estate value and school quality. However, numerous online businesses prove it doesn’t matter where in the world you start; as long as you do it correctly. While some may point to the need to get your startup off the ground in places like Silicon Valley; if you are dealing with a tech-based idea. There’s no proof that it has to start there. This is true. And has been proven, because numerous new startup clusters have appeared elsewhere in the country. Also around the world while others continue to go it alone in their hometowns.

Traits are the determining factor

So, if these various demographic components don’t determine the ideal entrepreneur, what does? It’s more about personality traits and what drives the individual that can actually serve as the basis for entrepreneurial insight and success. Here are some of the shared personality traits of some of the most successful entrepreneurs:

  • They are passionate. Many never bore with what they are doing. They always strive to do more, make improvements, and get the most enjoyment out of it.
  • They are risk takers. Not afraid of failing. Ready to face uncertainty head on. In fact, the ideal entrepreneur is even excited by some risk. However, they do not dive in without first evaluating the risk. They assess, and re-assessing whether it’s worth it.
  • They believe in themselves and have elevated levels of confidence. Think Elon Musk who has the self-belief to think he can do anything. Which is why he’s taken on things like the electric car, the self-driving vehicle, and rocket ships that return to Earth. Others don’t believe these things are possible. However he’s completely confident he will succeed.
  • The ideal entrepreneur is disciplined, works hard, and is completely dedicated. They’re more likely to be almost stubborn in their focus and determination to work around the clock.
  • They can adapt. Be flexible. They understand that change is very necessary. The ideal entrepreneur can even pivot in what they’re doing if their idea is not quite right for what the market demands.
  • The ideal entrepreneur is effective at money management. They realize it takes time to succeed so they must be careful in terms of how they spend.
  • They are constant planners with everything in their lives. However, these ideal entrepreneurs also realize they can’t plan everything because the unexpected often happens. That’s when they defer back to their adaptability trait and the backup plans they had tentatively sketched out.
  • The ideal entrepreneur understands the value of connections and goes after all networking opportunities. Whether for themselves or others. They see networking as a way to acquire more knowledge, experience, funding, talent or business.

Focus on you

Don’t look at your gender, ethnicity, location or age to determine if you have what it takes to be the ideal entrepreneur. Instead, consider the personality traits you have and hold, and see if they match this list. You can learn many the above traits and adopt. If being a successful entrepreneur is all you think about, consider how you can most closely align yourself with this description and go for it either as a part-time entrepreneur or as a full-time one!

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Meet the Author

John Rampton

John Rampton


Rampton is an entrepreneur and connector who advises several companies in the Bay Area.

Career and Business

Gen X, millennials, small business

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