Seven Highly Likely Traits of an Entrepreneur

Sanil Sachar, Founder, TruSoxAn entrepreneur’s life is a fairytale. But the entrepreneur is neither the prince, nor the princess. I’m often asked what it’s like to be an entrepreneur and my analogy remains the same. ‘It’s like sitting on a roller coaster. There are ups and downs, and you don’t know when they’ll come but the one guarantee is that these surprises will keep your adrenaline rushing!’
While it is a magical experience to work in a startup, where you want to impress all your stakeholders, with the same ease the prince and princesses accomplish their happily ever after tales, the other side of the coin is also extracted from a fairytale.

Just like one set agenda is never sufficient to reach your goals (tip – there is nothing known as “too many contingency plans”),an entrepreneur’s mindset also has several erratic seasonal changes. While we all might want to be like the protagonists, living a happily ever after startup story, we’re always a part of the fairytale because at any given time, you’ll find yourself to be one of – The Seven Dwarfs. Which are you currently?

Happy– And you should be! You’ve started something that is yours.

This is the first sentiment about being “your own boss” because you’re venturing as the owner of an idea you believe in. Being courageous is enough reason to be happy and content. While being happy is the first emotion that you experience, there will be several interferences that will come your way for this happiness to take a back seat. But it should always remain the goal for you to reach. For yourself, your employees and your customers (and investors).

Dopey – Just like the character that doesn’t speak; this phase where you are silent about your venture, appears for two reasons. First, when we are so in awe of our idea that we see no flaw in it and second, when we are too protective to reveal it to anyone. Both these phases take away the possibility of obtaining the most valuable contribution to any new venture and that is, feedback.
This phase is closely linked to the entrepreneur becoming reserved about their idea, leading to the next characteristic.

While it is important to be secretive about your methods, staying hush about your plans can only cause self-inflicting damage

Bashful – Almost overnight, the startup and its founders become coy, a bit like introverts about their idea. While it is important to be secretive about your methods, staying hush about your plans can only cause self-inflicting damage. Working in a startup can be a lonely profession. There is only so much a few minds can tackle, which is why having a set of mentors who specialize in your field of work is a key differentiator between startups that get stuck in the next phase and those that succeed. Take help strategizing, learning from your mentors successes and mistakes.

Sneezy – While it’s a given that hard work is a necessity, you will also be overworked (courtesy – a small team and several responsibilities). This period is when you’re allergic to your own idea. Here, your problems seem wider than the goal. The remedy for this isn’t to stay away from them, rather to walk towards the issues and clear the dust causing you to sneeze. There might be self-doubt during this phase as well. While you set ambitious goals. Don’t expect to reach them tomorrow. Set realistic short term goals, leading to the ultimate aim. Self-doubt is bound to make you reconsider your decision but here’s a quote that keeps me going, ‘When you think about quitting, remember why you started.’

Grumpy – When nothing is working in your favor. You’re seeing more money flow out rather than in, there aren’t enough employees for the work and there isn’t enough capital to employ (catch 22 conundrum!), time management issues, and the list goes on and on. Troubles are bound to come and being peeved about it is a natural reaction but your actions shouldn’t be based on this emotion.

Doc – Similar to the character which plays the leader, this is the main characteristic that you need to incorporate to solve any problem that comes between your start up and its successes.It’s important to understand perspectives. Your employees and partners won’t necessarily be at the same characteristic as you. Which is why understanding view points and incorporating feedback will help drive your business. You will need to be the ring leader, the visionary, the doc to cope with each of the phases. The above are only six of the seven dwarfs. Primarily because if you’re an entrepreneur you’re going to be the seventh, at all times!

Sleepy – Self-explanatory! If you have a startup, then sleep is yesterday’s memory, and the only dream you have is the goal that made you start.

If you’re willing to play all these seven roles, then you’re one step closer to your happily ever after entrepreneurial story!