The Leaders Advisory Blog

To unite the two most crucial parts of business: the results that come, and the people who create them.


By Tony Walmsley

Some say that a true entrepreneur is born and not made. Some say you shouldn’t start a business, because then they real off a load of stats about how many people fail.

What is an entrepreneur? What is an entrepreneur’s personality? Is there such a thing? Is there a ‘type’ that is more suitable for entrepreneurship?

If you are thinking about starting your own business then you may be asking the same questions. You may be wondering if you have the right personality for entrepreneurship.

In researching this article I discovered there are three types of entrepreneur. No, wait a minute, four types. Ah, hold on, 5 types of entrepreneur. And so it goes on. I stopped at the suggestion of 8.

Take the word entrepreneur away and you can easily find any number of variants; 16 personalities. 12 types. 4 colours. 9 Vices. 5 Drivers. You name it, there are labels, boxes and titles we can identify with if we want. Then what? The value is in knowing what to do with the information you have. Insight without action is just noise.

Data + Application = Competitive Advantage

Have you already labelled yourself in some way that either supports you saying yes, or no to taking a leap into business? Even if you feel driven, or would love to do that which others think you can’t, are you still saying no?

What I want to suggest is that successful entrepreneurs sit across the entire personality spectrum. There are over 7 billion people on the planet, each as distinct from the other in personality as there are fingerprints, or DNA. It starts with you. It starts with understanding you.

You only need to look at the most well known entrepreneurs to see that they have very different personalities. ‘The Dragon’s Den’ gives a glimpse into just how different people can be, with no limit on how successful they are in business.

Over many years. I started, stopped, explored, wondered and maybe even procrastinated at times. Until I understood meaningful difference and that doing it your way is the way. The key is working out what your way is.

Entrepreneur Personality and Motivation


Let’s look at motivation. Coming from a professional football background, where motivation is a commonly misused term, there is a misconception that some personality types are more motivated than others. That some players are team players, and some are not. You may be thinking about people in your team that fit that judgement?

There are core things that drive us (motivation) and core things that hold us back (fears). The challenge is to not let the fears get in the way if we want to be fulfilled. Here I focus on the motivation side of this constant tension.

Being right, or wrong for entrepreneurship, lacking the motivation to start your own business, has nothing to do with your personality type

Some people are predisposed to taking more risk than others, perhaps driven by adventure over security. So a tech start up, with constant change and fast scalability could be a great model for one, and a fixed asset and process driven fast food franchise could be more suited to another.

The challenge of working out what motivates you, then starting or evolving your business model to align with that, is what will attract clients your way.

Motivation is very much influenced by personality so you should take time to understand your own personality and figure out how you are driven. When you find this level of understanding you can tap into it and make it work for you.

Here’s another example. If you are in the sales environment a common assumption is that ‘all salespeople are driven by money’. A consequence of this is that money on the table is the perceived way to motivate, at a significant cost.

Here’s the thing. Most people are motivated by different things and a smart sales director will have this level of understanding. An investment into a deeper understanding could be a wise investment.

How many high earning sales people do you know that left well-paid jobs? Did you find out the real reason? Chances are, what drove them out is the opposite to what could have driven them to stay, had it been known.

You find very motivated people across the entire personality spectrum so there is no such thing as an entrepreneur personality, just a need to work out how motivation can vary across the infinite differences.

Move Your Starting Blocks

It takes courage for a new manager to step into a role where they do not known any of the existing staff. For entrepreneurs, the challenge is to turn the unknown into the known as quickly as possible.


Start with you……

The secret is to run your own race. That may mean moving the start line in a sprint to give yourself a chance of success. You might choose an ultra-marathon over the 400m. You have to know yourself to be yourself.

As a leadership coach and business consultant taking time to figure out the optimum environment and relationship makeup that works, in context, is everything. It is where value and competitive advantage co-exists. Without it you are on a path to proving the doubters right and no-one wants that.

To define yourself as an entrepreneur and to build a business that works for you, figure out what motivates your personality type then do more of it. Figure out what drains your energy and avoid doing as much of that as possible.

Simple really.

The Leaders Advisory is a Performance Coaching and Leadership Development organisation that uses applied psychology to help companies improve their engagement, productivity, and wellbeing. Tony Walmsley, founder is a Performance Coach and Profiling Specialist with a 30-year history as a business leader, professional football manager and coach educator.

Written by Tony Walmsley