What Trait Makes Entrepreneurs Successful: Grit Or Talent?

I’ve often asked myself the above question, and, as an entrepreneur of over two decades, I often discuss this matter with friends, family, and colleagues. I don’t think there is a single trait that makes entrepreneurs successful. Instead, it mixes two crucial characteristics and the blindfolded lady of luck.

Speaking from my point of view, as a digital marketing and esports business owner, I find that there are two definitive entrepreneurial traits. However, other ancillary characteristics such as dedication and attention to detail can make a good entrepreneur great.

However, I feel the two main traits, grit, and talent, are the most important. Let’s get into a bit more detail as to what these two traits mean and why you need to do what you can to develop these traits if you want a successful career as an entrepreneur.

Talent

I do not doubt that talent plays a significant role in anyone’s success. It doesn’t matter what you do. Whether you are an athlete, a lawyer, or a software programmer, your talent can significantly influence how far you get.

Talent can determine your success in your role as an entrepreneur. Without skill, it would be complicated to differentiate yourself from the masses. Something has to make you stand out.

In your drive to create a great product or service, you should have talents that are well-matched to your project. When I started IronMonk and Team 33, I used my analytics, UX/content optimization, and social media marketing abilities.

I wasn’t born with these talents. I got into this field because I believed it had great potential. And I have always had a great interest in everything around the world wide web. So, the good thing about talent is that you can learn it. It started with learning CSS and HTML, and I learned other internet-related skills over many years.

You can teach yourself just about anything, but, of course, you need some foundations. By this, I mean a liking for the skill, and if you have an intrinsic aptitude, all the better.

I don’t think it is so easy to just be doing something solely to make money. I was attracted by the potential I saw in the businesses I set up, but I also love what I do. If you can choose, go for something that has money-making potential but that you also love doing.

Grit

What Trait Makes Entrepreneurs Successful

What exactly is grit? As I see it, determination is about staying power or perseverance. It’s the capability to continue when others give up. You can be good at something and even considerably like it. But when you come across too many hurdles and let yourself be pushed into giving up, then your level of grit is too low.

Grit is a personal trait. However, I believe that, like many other aspects of life, it can be learned. Through experience, you can teach yourself how to be grittier.

Although it may not come so easy for some, for others, it may simply be part of their personality. Yet it is still a trait we can teach ourselves—think of the last time you gave up on a project. What made you finally make that decision? How could you have done things so that you would have continued?

Asking yourself these questions can help you find the answer to persevering when things get tough. As the adage goes, when things get tough, the tough get going. In over 20 years of experience, I’ve had my fair share of setbacks. So, in 2008 when I set up IronMonk, I was determined not to drop my project.

If I hadn’t learned from my previous experiences, I might have given up in the early stages of my new enterprise. But I stayed the course, bore the brunt, and continued pushing forward. So, for me, grit is more about being able to continue despite the hurdles you come upon.

When things seem impossible, there may be a way around it rather than over it. Without grit, people will find a reason to give up. However, the spirit tells us we can proceed further, although sometimes we may need to change course slightly or adopt a new strategy.

From what I have seen, grit is also about being able to adapt while keeping your core goal in focus. Often you might come across situations that need a new approach. You may think that it’s just not possible to do. However, it may just be a matter of finding a different way.

Developing grit isn’t easy, but it’s often necessary. For me, it involves a slow and gradual process of blocking out my desires in the present moment to appeal to what I need in the long term. It may be the case that I’m feeling lazy and don’t want to go to the gym, but grit involves acknowledging that impulse yet going to the gym anyway. Going to the gym will give me more energy in the long run, so I go.

Even though it’s tempting to listen to your immediate desires, I recommend trying to appeal to your long-term needs first. This is how grit develops over time, at least for me. For some, this constitutes “building character”, but, for me, it’s simply a matter of building grit, drive, and determination.

I believe talent and grit are just as necessary for people to succeed. And I would add that only having one may not cut it. If you have loads of determination but little or no talent, it will be much harder to succeed.

The same goes if you have loads of talent but no grit. You could be skillful but fall by the wayside at the first hurdle. That’s why I insist that you need both of these critical skills to succeed, and my experience, if I may say so myself, attests to this necessity.

By Mia

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