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6 Common Traits of the Successfully Self-Employed

By Leslie Kuban

Whether you’re driven by a lifelong dream to own your own business or a nagging distaste for working for someone else, you’ll find plenty of company on the entrepreneurial yellow brick road. Freshbooks estimated that by 2021, 24 million Americans will be self-employed.

According to recent news from Guidant Financial, “2020 has the opportunity to be a fantastic time to access growth capital or additional funding – or the financing to start or buy a brand-new business.” This is very good news for those contemplating going into business for themselves.

If you find yourself wondering should I stick to what I know or venture out and bank on myself, it’s definitely time for some self-reflection. Perhaps a more pertinent question to ask before you quit your job and head to the bank for a business loan is,

“Am I really cut out to be a successful business owner?”

Let’s look at 6 common traits among the successfully self-employed:

  1. Self-Directed. Successful entrepreneurs set their own goals and do not need someone prodding them to take the necessary steps to achieve those goals. They’re often their own best accountability partner.
  2. Competitive Spirit. It’s a competitive world and those who excel truly enjoy the game of getting out there and playing. But it’s not necessarily competition in the sense of, “I win so another must lose”. It’s more about competition with oneself, enjoying a challenge and possessing self-belief.
  3. Sales Skills. If you own a business, you are in sales. Selling potential employees on why they should want to work for your business. Selling your vendors on offering you credit. Selling the bank on financing your proposition. Selling your customers on the value that you offer and why they should trust you versus your competitor. The good news is you don’t have to be a “natural born” salesperson to succeed in selling. It’s a skill that can be learned and there are many excellent sales training and coaching programs available. What you need is the drive to succeed.
  4. Delegate Early. A new business owner can quickly get overwhelmed with all the roles and responsibilities that come along with being the chief.  Nobody is good at everything and nobody can do it all. Successful entrepreneurs quickly define the various roles needed for their business to scale and thrive. They then outsource or hire others with greater talents in those areas.
  5. Never Comfortable. There is always something to learn. Especially as the speed and magnitude of change continues to accelerate. Successful business owners recognize they cannot sit back on their heels and expect things to stay the same. They’re always looking out on the horizon for what’s coming.
  6. Embraces Mistakes. Painter Bob Ross always said, “there are no mistakes, just happy accidents.” An “avoiding failure” mentality is counterproductive. Successful business owners expect to make mistakes. Many express later they are grateful for those mistakes as they were the catalyst to impactful learning and greater success.

Perhaps you checked all six or maybe there are a few where you might need some coaching. If you need help assessing your entrepreneurial aptitude, take this free readiness assessment and immediately receive your 11-page profile report.

Regardless of where you are on your entrepreneurial journey, spending some time reflecting on your strengths and weaknesses will benefit you and your business in countless ways.

Tune in for my next post to help answer the question, “Which type of entrepreneurship am I cut out for?” and our upcoming webinar on

Leslie Kuban is a nationally recognized franchise industry expert, CFE (Certified Franchise Executive) and Market President of FranNet; a locally owned and operated franchise consulting firm. Leslie and her team have helped more than 500 individuals achieve their dreams of business ownership through a no-cost, educational and coaching process.

Leslie is one of 15 industry contributors to the Amazon bestselling book on franchising, More Than Just French Fries.

Connect with Leslie to start a conversation today.