Work Hard

12 traits you’ll find in every entrepreneur

Thinking of starting your own business? See if you’ve really got what it takes…

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 19.05.2021

In Partnership with Learn Smarta

We must be the luckiest people in the world, because the North East is absolutely awash with incredible independent businesses.

From facials to fry ups, haute couture to homeware, we’ve got it all – and the excellent entrepreneurs to back it up, day after day, year after year.

If anything, the success that we’re seeing out on our local streets has meant that entrepreneurial spirit is at an all-time high. But being our own boss is easier said than done – how do we really know that starting our own business is right for us?

Well, it turns out that all of these brilliant business owners actually share some common traits. 12, to be precise. And, thanks to the ingenuity of Learn Smarta Tutor Tracey Edmondston, we can now share them with you lovely lot.

Sure, you remember Learn Smarta – the qualification-standard course that takes you right through the basics of starting up your own business. Learn Smarta promises to help you have all the skills you could ever need to be a top-class business owner at your fingertips, especially as it gives you the opportunity to take advice and confidence from real business experts as well as join a community of like-minded entrepreneurs, with whom you can share experiences and support.

But when you’ll definitely get the most from courses like Learn Smarta is if you already know you’ve got what it takes to really smash the whole being-your-own-boss thing. Because it isn’t for everyone. Who it is for, is for anyone who has the following traits…

(Spoiler alert – there’s a quiz at the bottom!)

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‘They say that if you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life,’ says Tracey. ‘Because people who do something they’re passionate about don’t think of it as work. They love it, live it and breathe it. They don’t mind putting in extra hours or working at the weekend. They believe in their business and they’ll do everything they can to make it a success.’


‘If you’ve got a brilliant business idea bubbling away, you’re already tapping into your creativity,’ Tracey reasons. ‘Creativity is a vital skill for everything, from product development and problem solving, to marketing and managing your time. Creativity adds individuality and value to your business by bringing your unique perspective to bear.’


‘When you run your own business, you can’t wait for someone else to tell you what to do,’ Tracey says. ‘It’s important to use your initiative and take a proactive approach to work. Entrepreneurs are self-starters that go out there and make things happen, rather than waiting for work and opportunities to come to them.’


‘Running your own business means wearing a lot of hats,’ explains Tracey. ‘Often you’re CEO, marketing manager, accountant, cleaner and chief tea maker. So having a strong work ethic is essential if you’re going to tackle your to-do list with energy and good humour. And when you have staff to share the load with, working hard sets a great example and encourages others to do the same.’



‘Being strategic is a sure-fire way to increase your chances of success,’ Tracey says. ‘Having a strategy means knowing what you want to achieve and the steps you’ll take to get there. It helps you focus on priorities that drive your business forward and eliminate anything that doesn’t.’


‘When you’re used to working for someone else, the freedom of self-employment can be both liberating and daunting,’ Tracey reasons. ‘With days, weeks and months stretching out ahead of you, self-discipline is essential if you’re going to be productive and achieve your targets. Self-discipline means knuckling down and doing everything your business needs to succeed, not just the parts you enjoy.’



‘Successful entrepreneurs make decisions quickly and confidently,’ says Tracey. ‘They’re not reckless. But they understand the value of making a choice and following it through. They are focused on action and outcomes, rather than endless deliberation. They make informed decisions based on available information. And if they make a mistake, they make a decision about how to fix it.’



‘Cash is the life blood of your business,’ Tracey explains. ‘You don’t need an accountancy degree to succeed. But you do need to understand the importance of financial planning. Budgeting and managing your business cash flow will help you prosper. Business owners who just hope for the best often fare the worst… Check out our blog post on budgets, cash flow and pricing for more advice.’




‘You’ll experience knockbacks along the way,’ says Tracey. ‘But your determination to succeed will propel you onwards towards your goals, even when the going gets tough. The most successful business owners learn from their mistakes. Reframing failure as opportunity is one way entrepreneurs bounce back…often bigger and better than before. They are resilient and know that the fastest way to fail is to give up. So they don’t!’


‘Successful entrepreneurs are always learning and never assume they have all the answers,’ Tracey says. ‘They know that investing in knowledge will pay dividends. Informal networking, training and conferences all help them stay ahead of the game. Great leaders appoint skilled staff that they listen to – and learn from – daily.’


‘Your customers are the heart of everything you do,’ reasons Tracey. ‘Or they should be! Without customers to buy your products or service, you have no business. Savvy business leaders know that meeting and exceeding customer expectations is their fast track to business success. They focus on improving products and processes to keep customers coming back.’


‘We can all picture a confident entrepreneur striding purposefully through life, head held high,’ Tracey says. ‘And whilst that is true for some business owners, it isn’t for everyone. Maybe you’re taking your first tentative steps into self-employment and you’re not really sure what you’re doing. Hearing that successful entrepreneurs are “confident” isn’t very helpful at this stage! So don’t worry if you’re not feeling confident right now. Harness the qualities described above and confidence will follow.’

Still wondering if you’ve got what it takes? Try Transmit Startups’ personality quiz to test your appetite for entrepreneurial life.

Feeling inspired? If you’re ticking every box so far and want to take your entrepreneurial ambition to the next level, you can register your interest for the Learn Smarta course on the Smarta website, or find out more on their Facebook page or Instagram

Due to incredible (but not unbelievable) popularity of the course, they’re already onto the second cohort of Learn Smarta inductees, who will start on Tuesday 1st June. We’d suggest registering your interest nice and early as spaces are bound to fill up fast!

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