The Psychology of Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs can be found everywhere in the world that people are trying to enter the economic and social mainstream of society.  I am defining entrepreneurs as people who create, start or manage a new business.  They take the financial, psychological and social risks of a start-up; they devote their time and effort hoping that they will be rewarded.

The stats of entrepreneurs are interesting:

  • The generation of the 21st century is the most entrepreneurial since the Industrial Revolution.
  • 80% in the U.S. are between ages 18-34.
  • Women are 3x more likely than men to start their own businesses.
  • Millions of people try to start their own businesses each year.


There are dozens of studies that examine different types (team, female, retiree, fatherless) of entrepreneurs. I’ve got a reference at the end of this post so that you can investigate this topic further BUT, let’s look at some of the common personality characteristics of entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs are:

  • autonomous – self directed
  • self-sufficient
  • risk-takers (they don’t see the risks as great)
  • believers that own decisions matter (internal locus of control)

Entrepreneurs seem to be able to:

  • take cognitive leaps (understandings) about opportunities before all the data is in
  • identify opportunities long before others are able to see them
  • connect the dots, search, be alert and recognize possibilities (mental short-cuts)

Tomorrow, I’ll write about the dark side of entrepreneurs.

A comprehensive article, “Entrepreneurship Research and Practice” was written by Robert Hisrich, Janice Langen-fox, and Sharon Grant and appeared in the American Psychologist, September 2007, volume 62 #6, pp. 575-589.

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