What happened to all the other qualities we look for when starting a new venture, like experience, hard work, and perseverance? Are they any less important? Can we do without them as long as we, as entrepreneurs are independent energetic visionaries?
It is true, there is one characteristic an entrepreneur will need to have and that is independence. To start a new venture—be it large or small, not for profit or specifically aimed at making a lot of money—you need the ability to think and act on your own feet, not needing or willing to wait for others to show you the way. As a matter of fact, your own independence will convince others to work with you and for you, and make them willing to be dependent on you as their leader.
Independence is not something you learn, you can improve it, but it is an essential part of your personality. It is being yourself in mind and spirit, and not how others would want you to be. It is how you act, making you own decisions, and take full responsibility for them, and not rely on others.
The other attributes given to the entrepreneur, are important but not essential. Conversely, attributes normally not associated with the word “entrepreneur” are often key. Perseverance, for example, is as essential as independence.
The fact is that failure is not uncommon among new ventures. It should be noted here that in the French language, where the word “entrepreneur” comes from, it means both “contractor” as well as “undertaker.” I say this not to be discouraging, but rather to provide a reality check, and a topic we will cover in another letter. But for now, in short: no energy, vision or courage can save the enterprise in trouble, only perseverance.
Thus, when everything is in place—the plan, the money, the people—and you start to create your new venture/empire, you can’t count on vision alone. You must have the necessary assets, not just energy. Sure it takes courage, but, more importantly, it takes hard work. And when things do not go as planned, which is bound to happen, persevere. Persevere, persevere, persevere. Because it is your commitment to persevere that truly makes you an entrepreneur.