9 Characteristics of the Entrepreneurial Mindset

9 Characteristics of the Entrepreneurial Mindset

Unlike the traditional path you might take at an organization or in your career, there is no blueprint for entrepreneurs to follow. That’s because entrepreneurship is a lifestyle choice, not a career. Entrepreneurs aren’t pounding the pavement looking for work. Instead entrepreneurs keep busy trying to create opportunities for themselves, and they’re unafraid of what can happen if their big idea doesn’t take off right away, or at all. 

“Entrepreneurs accept the idea that failure may happen, but they fail forward by learning from their experiences,” explains Ashford University Associate Professor Debra McCoskey-Reisert. “They are willing to take the risks involved and use the same mindset that brought them to their first venture to work on another, or many more.” 

This so-called entrepreneurial spirit is what McCoskey-Reisert and her peers refer to as the “entrepreneurial mindset.” In this blog, McCoskey discusses the characteristics that make up that mindset. 

What Is the Entrepreneurial Mindset?

Through her work with students in Ashford’s online Bachelor of Arts in Entrepreneurship program, McCoskey-Reisert has observed the main characteristics of the entrepreneurial mindset. Successful students, she explains, possess the following nine qualities:

1. Determination

The refusal to fear failure keeps entrepreneurs going. As setbacks happen, entrepreneurs seek solutions instead of focusing on the negative, McCoskey-Reisert says.

2. Focus

Entrepreneurs rarely allow distractions to take their minds off matters at hand. It’s a quality that many Ashford University students develop in school. As busy students, most are required to balance school with the responsibilities of work and family.

3. Drive

Entrepreneurs are driven to make their ideas work, so much so that they develop daily habits in order to remain on track. “Setting goals and keeping them in mind, visualizing success, and exercise is also good to improve thought processes and gain clarity,” McCoskey-Reisert says.

4. Decisiveness

When you’re the head of an entrepreneurial venture, everything falls on you. Time is money, so the ability to make rational decisions quickly can help an entrepreneur avoid wasteful thoughts and actions.

5. Independence

Though networking plays a big part in sharing ideas and gaining perspective, entrepreneurs are very comfortable taking matters into their own hands. The need for independence is one of the reasons why a person who has already enjoyed a long career in business may break from their company to strike out on their own.

6. Authenticity

There is a genuineness to entrepreneurs; they’re not phonies. Even if people don’t always believe in their ideas, you cannot question their passion for what they are hoping to create. 

7. Flexibility

9-to-5 is not really an option for entrepreneurs. They’re thinking about their ideas 24/7, and have no qualms about getting down to work at any time of the day or night. It’s a trait they share with Ashford University students who are perfectly comfortable finishing a paper after the kids have gone to bed, or reading the chapter of a book on their phones during their lunch breaks. 

8. A Thirst for Knowledge

Entrepreneurs have a natural desire to learn, and this is what often drives them to earn their bachelor’s degrees. They have ideas, but they recognize that much more information is needed to bring those ideas to life. Courses such as BUS 435: Small Business Ventures can help you understand the elements needed to operate a business; while BUS 437 Business Plan Development will teach you to develop a guideline you’ll use to launch your business. 

9. Creativity

The ability to think outside the box and improvise when necessary is an essential element of the entrepreneurial mindset. Entrepreneurs can see how something is done and imagine how it can be done better. Ashford University students are able to foster their creative instincts in BUS 365 Creativity and Innovation, a course that challenges them to follow a path from idea to reality. 

Nurturing the Mindset

Ashford’s BA in entrepreneurship nurtures the entrepreneurial mindset in students, McCoskey-Reisert says. The passion that budding entrepreneurs bring to the classroom is embraced, and they are trained in the skills they’ll need to realize their dreams of a sustainable business. 

At the same time, she adds, students realize that the nine characteristics they already possess are key to helping them develop valuable, transferable soft skills. From the moment they log into their BUS 362 Introduction to Entrepreneurship classroom, they begin to see how skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and time management will get them closer to their goal of owning a business and building a brand that belongs to them. 

A degree in entrepreneurship may help you build a foundation by which you can launch your career. If you’re ready to take the first step, contact an Ashford University advisor today.

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Written by Ashford University staff

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