So, you want to do your own thing?

Here is what you need to know about true entrepreneurship

By Andró Griessel



Entrepreneurship is defined as someone who starts a business and accepts the financial risk for it.

All the companies that we know today, including large corporations, were started by an entrepreneur at some point. Not all entrepreneurs are created equal, of course, because not everyone who works for themselves qualifies to be considered an entrepreneur.

For example, someone who decides to work for themselves (or takes over an existing family business) but does not manage to significantly grow or improve the business over a period of a decade or more, does not meet the actual definition of an entrepreneur.

Today’s article is also not about the type of “entrepreneur” who starts a variety of businesses and then sells them.

The entrepreneur I refer to, and whom we want to take a closer look at, is the person armed only with an idea and often very little money, trusts themselves enough to put the little they have at stake and then build that opportunity into something much bigger.

Over the past 20 years, I have had the privilege of following the journey of several successful entrepreneurs. Here’s what I learned and what some of these entrepreneurs had to say about entrepreneurship.

If you are a successful entrepreneur yourself, you will recognise many of these qualities. If you aspire to be one, it will be good to make these characteristics your own.


It’s not primarily about money

The circumstances under which and reasons why successful entrepreneurs start their businesses, differ. Almost without exception, however, the pursuit of wealth is not the primary driving force.

The driving force behind starting their businesses often stems from their need to solve a problem, from a belief that they can offer a product or service better than what is currently available, or sometimes simply from necessity due to an unexpected event in their lives.

Without exception, creating wealth eventually follows for these entrepreneurs (and this is why we call them successful). However, it is the by-product of a greater vision and its relentless pursuit, and not the pursuit of prosperity itself.


They acknowledge the role others play

When one hears the word entrepreneur, the image of a “lone ranger” easily comes to mind. However, successful entrepreneurs, almost without exception, recognise the role of other people in their success. They fully understand that they are not an island, and no one makes it on their own.

Relationships with other people, be it customers, staff, original partners, your spouse, or a mentor, are a golden thread that runs through everyone’s story.

To start with anything, you need people who believe in you or your product. Without it, your chances of success are slim.


They set very high standards

Perfectionism, or a tendency to set exceptional standards, is a feature of successful entrepreneurs.

However, these standards are first and foremost set for themselves, and the entrepreneur is often the hardest working person in their business. Their reluctance to settle for “average” and their need for constant improvement are some of the main drivers of their success.

People who buy their product or service benefit from this mindset and are typically loyal to this type of business’s service or product, resulting in a thriving business instead of a failed one.


A mindset of problem-solving based on optimism and belief in yourself

Successful entrepreneurs simply see problems as obstacles that need to be overcome. They are not necessarily extreme optimists, but without exception, they are not, by any means pessimists or people who complain.

They are problem solvers who are resilient with a huge dose of perseverance.

It is then also this well-developed internal locus of control that gives entrepreneurs the courage not only to take the initial risk of starting a business but to take calculated risks throughout the life of the business on a relatively regular basis.


Calmness makes them restless

Complacency is a trait that is rarely encountered in a successful entrepreneur. They are usually restless, especially if their company is doing well.

They are focused on innovation, progress and the improvement of their product or service and are constantly thinking, reading, and learning about it, consistently continuing their research.

They realise all too well that their environment can change or be disrupted at any moment and are usually a step or three ahead of their competitors, due to their ability to think strategically and because they do not sit back when things are going well.


They have the ability to trust others

The ability to trust others or delegate control is a huge differentiating factor between successful entrepreneurs who build sustainable businesses, and sole proprietorships that exist for only one generation.

Truly capable entrepreneurs have the maturity to realise relatively early on that they cannot be everything to everyone and that they do not have all the necessary skills in all areas of business to take their business from its infancy to adulthood themselves.

At a relatively early stage, they are therefore inclined to invest significantly in human capital at the expense of their short-term financial gain.


Understand the difference between business- and personal success

Successful entrepreneurs realise there is a difference between a successful business and a successful business owner and focus on the success of the business, rather than their success.

This mindset is the golden thread that runs through all the characteristics as there is an ethical code of conduct that normally goes with it.

Truly successful entrepreneurs leave the world a better place than they found it because for them it is about improving a product or a service for other people.

Ultimately, their mission is one of service. I have a lot of respect and admiration for the type of entrepreneur described above. These people generally have an enormous positive impact on society.


Whenever you come across such businesses and individuals and their products and services, you can embark on the journey with them.


Andró Griessel is a certified financial planner and managing director of Woodland Wealth. Contact him at:


Although all possible care has been taken in the preparation of this document, the factual correctness of the information contained herein cannot be guaranteed. This document does not constitute advice and anyone who intends to take any financial action based on this document is strongly advised to first consult with his/her personal financial advisor. Woodland Wealth is an authorized financial service provider with FSP no. 5966.

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