The Mindset of an Entrepreneur


In order to achieve success, an entrepreneur must cultivate a certain mindset in order to lead and expand their business. Whenever we think of entrepreneurs, we think of innovators such as Richard Branson or Alan Sugar. We understand their dedicated laser focused drive to be successful and think outside the box, but when it comes to the mindset of an entrepreneur, what else is involved?

Having a Street Mindset

Barbara Corcoran is a renowned billion-dollar real-estate mogul who started out with $1,000. Just like Alan Sugar, who heads the UK version of “The Apprentice,” she was asked to be a reality TV star in an ABC series similar to “Dragon’s Den,” known as “Shark Tank,” in which she could invest in entrepreneurs’ cutting-edge ideas, and make a fortune along the way.

Before contracts were signed, Corcoran was let down by the producer, Alan Burnett, who informed her that he had decided on someone else. Devastated at the news, Corcoran turned the negative into  positive. She had trained her mind to get past obstructions quickly, rather than being bogged down in self-pity, so she emailed the producer. She informed Burnett that the greatest luck she has experienced in business has come on the tails of rejection, and cited a number of similar scenarios during her career in which she transformed obstructions into her best opportunities. She told him that the role was a perfect fit for her, and asked him if he would allow her to compete for the job, told him she had booked her flight, and hoped to be on it. Since at time, she has been a star on one of  television’s most successful shows, and made a fortune in investing in its entrepreneurs.1

Corcoran has some excellent advice for those in business: she has determined that entrepreneurs need to have a street-smart mindset as well, and when something goes wrong, they should not blame themselves. As Business Insider was told during its interview with her: “Every one of my successful businesses is run by entrepreneurs who are so good at taking a hit and getting back up. They just don’t feel sorry for themselves.”2

Corcoran’s perspective is shared by others. Author and President of Well Said, Inc., Darlene Price, states that at all costs, entrepreneurs must avoid thinking and saying “that’s not my fault.” She notes that: “while no one likes to feel blame, a great leader absorbs the hit, demonstrates accountability, and rallies the team toward a solution instead of blaming previous management… other departments, or the economy, [and says]”let’s talk about what we’re going to do next to ensure success.”2 It is easy to imagine Richard Branson doing just this, and this advice on changing your mindset so you take responsibility for your own failures, and are not downtrodden, is certainly well worth following.

Think of Yourself as an Outsider

As Vincent Petryk, the CEO of J.P. Licks American ice cream chain, states: “Entrepreneurs aren’t always accepted.”4  He notes that although they may be regarded as demanding, quirky and opinionated, these traits are not necessarily bad. Petryk also makes the point that these types of entrepreneurs often work harder because they are dismissed for being somewhat different. So being regarded as an outsider is actually an asset.  Petryk himself went against the grain by not purchasing his ice-cream from the usual suppliers. He went out on a limb, and developed highly successful innovative desserts himself.4

Listen to Your Instincts

The Kauffman Foundation conducted a survey in which 98% of people who started a limited company  and worked to get their business off the ground, said that: “the willingness to take risks is the usual stepping stone to entrepreneurial success.”4 Moreover, when it comes to taking on new employees, they said they trusted their gut-feelings. Being an entrepreneur, means that you are constantly being faced by new challenges. Much of the time, you will find yourself in the middle of untapped territory, and you may not find any information or research to help you make a good decision; and this is where your gut-feelings come into play. Entrepreneurs generally follow their instincts when they are confronted with a risky situation.4

Be Fearless

Host and chef of Food Network’s Restaurant, Robert Irvine, says that: “where most avoid risk, entrepreneurs see potential.”3 Generally speaking, entrepreneurs are not scared to use their credit cards to the max, and they also borrow money on their homes in order to acquire the necessary funds for a new project. Irvine note that on some levels, these people are supreme optimists, as they have a steadfast believe that their financial investments and the time they have put in, will be rewarded.3

Forget Asking Permission

Stephane Bourque, CEO and founder of BC-based Incognito Software, Vancouver, says that: “Entrepreneurs are never satisfied with the status quo.”3  He realised that he was not a good fit for the corporate scene when his innovative and more effective methods of getting things done, were met with unwanted disapproval from his bosses. He now says: “I wish my employees would get into more trouble,”3 as it means that they are looking for chances to ameliorate the company’s operations or improve themselves.3

Having a Concept

Barbara Corcoran believes that those who may not necessarily have an elaborate business strategy, but always have a concept, are more inclined to possess an entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, she is not at all fond of those with ‘beautiful’ business plans. Her advice is to: “Invent as [you]go,” rather than spending time writing a plan at your desk… She believes that those who study business may be prone to over-analyzing situations rather than taking action.”3

Being  Resourceful

CEO of  Zappos, serial entrepreneur, Tony Hsieh, recalls that in his younger days, “MacGyver,” was one of his most watched television shows. He says that he loved it because MacGyver was always in the position where he lacks the resources he had to have, yet ultimately, always found a way to ensure everything worked out. And this is what entrepreneurship requires, a resourceful mindset that somehow makes do with the limited resources that a business actually has.3

Feel Scared

Barbara Corcoran notes that: “many entrepreneurs judged as ambitious are really insecure underneath.”3  She says that when she evaluates anyone with potential investments, she wants a person who is extremely scared. This is because people who are scared of failing may become hyper-focused, and as a result, be determined to do whatever is necessary for success. So if you feel vulnerable, change your mindset and harness the power of being extremely focused so you are propelled into achieving the goals you have set yourself.3

Expect Failure

Research carried out by the University of Southern California, and Duke University comprised 549 company founders who were known to be successful. They stated that their success was primarily down to being able to learn from their mistakes. Failure teaches us hard lessons on what needs to be done to succeed. It is very unusual for an entrepreneur to hit the jackpot the first time around, and the pathway to success is full of mazes and pitfalls. Moreover, regardless of how good the planning may be, you will always make mistakes along the way. There are some entrepreneurs who are adamant that they’ll succeed the first time around, and so they give up without having another go. As they did not anticipate the possibility of failure, they failed.4

Learn to Delegate

A savvy crew of top managers keep Richard Branson’s businesses on track. He stimulates his team members so that they go after their innovative ideas, and offers them the necessary the tools for success. In fact, “he attributes Virgin’s growth during the early days to his ability to delegate and let go.”4 Every entrepreneur has to realise that as much as they may like to, they cannot run their business on their own. Finding and trusting the right people to make great ideas happen, is what it is all about. In order to meet their target goals, entrepreneurs have to find first-class team members so that they have time to concentrate on other business matters and new ideas themselves.4

Always Be Curious

We are living in a dynamic business world, so a thirst for knowledge is essential. You should always update your knowledge and learn new skills. Research involving former Stanford students has indicated that those with a broad spectrum of roles in former jobs are more inclined to go on to be   entrepreneurs. And while not every entrepreneur is an expert, those who are successful always possess a wide skill set.4


  1. Zipkin, Nina (2015). “Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran: ‘All the Best Things Happened to Me on the Heels of Rejection.” Entrepreneur.
  1.  Shontell, Alyson & Lebowitz, Shana (2017). Business Insider. “The most successful founders Barbara Corcoran invests in share one personality trait.”
  1. Turner, Marcia Layton (2018). “12 Signs You Have an Entrepreneurial Mindset.” Entrepreneur.
  1. Newlands, Murray (2014). “Cultivating The Mindset of a Successful Entrepreneur.” Entrepreneur.

About Author


Wife, mother, grandma, blogger, all wrapped into one person. Lover of coffee, crime shows as well as humor. Loyalty, honesty and positivity is what attracts me to a person as that is what I try to project to others. Hard working and driven to a fault helps me help others and in turn helps myself in my daily work and life.

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