The Only Common Trait Among Successful Entrepreneurs

Gary Vaynerchuk said something very interesting in a talk awhile ago.

He pointed out that the only thing that makes us an entrepreneur is calling ourselves “entrepreneurs.”

He noted that we don’t treat that title the same way we treat other similar titles. Take a basketball player as an example. When someone tells us that they’re a basketball player, one of the first questions we ask is, “Are you a professional basketball player?”

When someone tells us they’re a ballet dancer, we wonder, “Are you a professional ballet dancer?”

When a person says that they’re a rapper, we ask, “Are you a professional rapper?”

He thinks that one day we’ll get to a point in which we have to ask an entrepreneur, “Well, are you a professional entrepreneur?”


The difference is in the money.

The vast majority of companies need to make money in order to have a shot at being successful.

That might seem like a no-brainer. It should be! But it’s not. I see more than enough startups running around town who are looking to raise money before their first dollar comes in. It’s not uncommon. Usually, these kind-hearted folks don’t know they’re going backwards in the process; that it’s often best to have customers’ money before investors’ money.

But these are the people calling themselves entrepreneurs. They’re also the ones who will have to say no when someone asks if they’re a professional entrepreneur.

While money might separate “entrepreneurs” from “professional entrepreneurs,” money isn’t exactly the distinction between successful entrepreneurs and the rest of us.


Money is the common thing, but not the common trait.

There have been tons of studies and books and stories about the common traits of successful entrepreneurs, and I feel as if I’ve read all of them! If you've read one then you've read them all.

We’d love to know what makes people successful. Some of us want to even believe that entrepreneurship is genetic. Up to this point, there’s no proof of that.

I’ve heard some say that you have to be extroverted in order to become a successful entrepreneur. I’ve also heard that there are more successful introverts than extroverts.

I’ve heard some claim that you have to be incredibly generous to become a success, while others subscribe to a more cutthroat mentality.

The list of opposing views can go on and on, it seems. So what is true?


The only common trait among all successful entrepreneurs.

To tell you the truth, I don’t know which side–or scientist–is right about entrepreneurial traits.

But here’s something I do know: each and every successful entrepreneur had incredible perseverance.

Whether they were introverted or extroverted, generous or cutthroat, or any other number of opposing stances, the successful ones persevered.

While perseverance doesn’t promise success, it’s absolutely necessary for success.

So, persevere.