Honestly, I feel like I spent most of my early 20s trying to undo the mindset I was taught in school – you know, “get good grades, fall into line, get a good job…”
But what about entrepreneurship?
Looking back, it frustrates me how my teachers were so concerned with students getting good jobs, but never even mentioned the possibility that we could start a business instead.
This is even more frustrating when you consider where most jobs come from: People who decide to carve their own path, start a business, and employ others…
After a few years of trying – and many failed businesses – I finally learned how to think like an entrepreneur.
The payoff? Good money, fun work, constant travel, and freedom. Not bad, right?
If you want to learn how to develop an entrepreneurial mindset so you can build a successful business, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll explore 20 essential entrepreneurial mindset characteristics.
But first, what does it mean to have an entrepreneurial mindset, and why is it important?
How to Think Like an Entrepreneur: 20 Entrepreneurial Mindset Characteristics
If you want to learn how to build an entrepreneurial mindset, you need to know how successful entrepreneurs think. So, let’s take a closer look at 20 essential entrepreneurial mindset characteristics. Entrepreneurs are:
This is one of the most important aspects of the entrepreneurial mindset.
Entrepreneurs don’t follow the crowd or look to others to be given instructions. Instead, they listen to their gut and carve their own path.
As Apple’s founder, Steve Jobs, said, “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”
The independent mindset of successful entrepreneurs stems from taking full responsibility.
Entrepreneurs don’t blame others for their life situation – they empower themselves by taking responsibility for improving it.
Failure, success, life circumstances – it doesn’t matter what it is. Even if something isn’t your fault, by taking responsibility for it, you’re empowered to improve it.
A key part of the entrepreneurial mindset is abundance.
Entrepreneurs know they can improve a situation, make more money, and create new opportunities.
The sky is always the limit.
As a result, entrepreneurs don’t hoard money or knowledge. They’re open, generous, and understand that “you get what you give.”
The author and entrepreneur Robert Kiyosaki once wrote, “I have never met a rich person who has never lost any money. But I have met a lot of poor people who have never lost a dime.”
Entrepreneurial thinking is goal-orientated.
In other words, successful entrepreneurs don’t have wishes and dreams – they have goals and plans.
So, when creating an entrepreneurial mindset, set SMART goals – goals that are:
Not Afraid of Failure
When learning how to think like an entrepreneur, you need to look at failure differently to most people.
Entrepreneurs don’t fear failure – they appreciate it.
Each “failure” is simply a stepping stone to learn from, helping to move you closer to success. As the famous inventor Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Failing at something certainly doesn’t mean that you’re a failure – just that something didn’t work out as you’d hoped, and you need to try again.
Stanford University psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck studied failure and said, “For 20 years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.”
Specifically, she found that there are two main types of mindset: fixed and growth.
Someone with a fixed mindset believes that who they are is relatively permanent and they can’t change very much.
The entrepreneur mindset is growth-oriented.
Entrepreneurs believe that they can grow as people, learn new things, and develop new skills. They believe that – with some consistent effort – they can shape themselves into whoever they want to be.
The best-selling author and entrepreneur Hal Elrod said, “Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development because success is something you attract by the person you become.”
In other words, personal growth tends to create success. So, keep trying to improve yourself.
The most successful entrepreneurs aren’t worried about looking cool – they just want to succeed, and they know that learning from feedback will help speed up the process.
Dr. Carol S. Dweck said, “Why to waste time proving over and over how great you are when you could be getting better?”
In short, don’t look for validation, seek feedback.
Most people spend their spare time seeking entertainment, whether it’s social media, Netflix, gaming, reading novels, or hanging with friends.
However, entrepreneurial thinking is more concerned with learning and development. For example:
Instead of watching TV, entrepreneurs may take an online course to help them move toward their goals.
Instead of gaming, entrepreneurs will often spend hours tweaking their sales funnel.
And instead of scrolling through social media, entrepreneurs are more likely to listen to motivational podcasts or read business books.
As the entrepreneur and speaker Jim Rohn said, “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”
If you want to learn how to think like an entrepreneur, you need to think long-term.
The famous billionaire investor Warren Buffett said, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
Successful entrepreneurs know that big goals take a long time to achieve. So, they start with their goal and work backward, reverse-engineering every step of the way. In other words, “If I want this, I need to do that. But to do that, I need to do this,” and so on.
They keep working and are patient when it comes to rewards – they know that the tortoise always beats the hare.
Many people struggle with self-acceptance. When you don’t like something about yourself, it’s easy to devalue or even hate yourself.
But if you develop a growth mindset, you know you can always change and improve.
So, successful entrepreneurs accept themselves as they are, warts and all. They know who they are is transient, and they’re working on becoming the person they want to be.