There are lots of myths around entrepreneurs. One of the most well-known ones that even entrepreneurship researchers and policymakers also believed in for a long time is that “Entrepreneurs have a certain type of personality and characteristics”. From this came the view that entrepreneurs are born and if you don’t have those generic characteristics such as being bold, persistent, risk-taker, self-confident, goal-focused, autonomous, decisive, with a highly developed intuition and a sense of personal destiny, you probably won’t become a successful entrepreneur. Actually, the list of characteristics is endless and nobody will match this entrepreneur profile completely.
But later on, the role of personality traits in the decision to start a business and to maintain it successfully has been discussed controversially in entrepreneurship research and practice. Nowadays, it is believed that entrepreneurship can be learnt. Indeed, some personal traits like being a natural leader can help people through starting a business but such traits neither guarantee the success of those who have them nor guarantee the failure of those who lack them. The entrepreneurial skills and capabilities such as business planning, opportunity recognition, strategic management and so on are the critical factors for being a successful entrepreneur and indeed can be learnt.
To make my point clearer, think about these two highly successful entrepreneurs: Harland Sanders, the founder of KFC and Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft. Harland Sanders was from a middle-class family, had experienced several professions with mixed success and started his business in 65 during the great depression period in traditional restaurant industry. Bill Gates was from a highly-educated high-status family, started his business when he was under twenty and joined a revolutionary industry. You barely can find similarity in personality, background or life of these two entrepreneurs. The things these two men had in common was having an idea and a vision and following it vigorously. Everyone is able to learn and apply these skills and formulas. Your personality, family background, education etc. can’t hinder your way to entrepreneurship. Everyone can be an entrepreneur.