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Have you ever wondered what makes a successful entrepreneur? To some of us, achieving success in the business world may seem like a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. On the surface, an outstanding entrepreneur exhibits attributes such as drive, ambition, intelligence, and empathy, just to name a few. But what creates these characteristics in a business guru? Upon taking a deeper look, we find an entrepreneur’s personality may have more to do with his or her success than previously thought. Studying personality traits among entrepreneurs helps us understand how they function and how they became successful in the first place.

What is the MBTI?

Just how do you assess someone’s personality? There are a plethora of personality assessments floating around the internet, but arguably one of the most popular is the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.) The MBTI is divided into four main categories—extraversion (E) or introversion (I), sensing (S) or intuition (N), thinking (T) or feeling (F), and judging (J) or perceiving (P). Each one of these functions represents how we perceive and interact with the world around us. These functions can be combined in 16 different ways, resulting in the 16 different personality types of the Myers-Briggs spectrum.

Most Common Personality Types of Entrepreneurs

According to one article in Thryv, an online business magazine, there are personality types which break out into entrepreneurship more than others. The five most common types of Myers-Briggs personalities among entrepreneurs are ENTP’s, ESTJs, ENTJs, INTJs, and ISTJs. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible for someone to fulfill his or her dream of business ownership simply because they don’t fit neatly into one personality type or another. The following types are trends, not absolutes.

ENTPs: “The Adventurous Learner”
Adventurous entrepreneur hiking outdoors
Adventurous entrepreneur hiking outdoors

ENTP stands for “extraversion, iNtuitive, thinking, and perceiving.” ENTP entrepreneurs are known for their adventurous spirit. They make good business owners because they are unafraid to take risks. ENTPs love learning new ideas and strategies to make their businesses thrive. In How You’ll Do Everything Based on Your Personality Type, the author, personality expert Heidi Priebe, says, “Of all the personality types, ENTPs are perhaps the most genuinely open-minded.” These personality types adore an exciting, risky business venture to get the adrenaline pumping. Perhaps most importantly, they are teachable and don’t mind learning from their past mistakes. Without a doubt, the ENTP entrepreneur could be labeled “the curious and creative” type!

ESTJs: “The Big-League Boss”
Smiling founder standing in office building
Smiling founder standing in office building

Like the Energizer Bunny, do you work tirelessly until you achieve your goal, and then some? If so, you may be an ESTJ personality. The ESTJ entrepreneur is constantly pondering how they can move forward with their business. Their drive is second to none. They strive to be the forerunner in their market. The ESTJ business owner is highly competitive and relishes control. In her book, Ms. Priebe also says, “Though they can certainly take orders from people they respect, ESTJs crave power and control over their circumstances–and the idea of being at someone else’s will drives them mad.” While others mistake their competitive nature and gross attention to detail as tyrannical behavior, the ESTJ’s only fault is striving to be the best in his or her field.

ENTJ: “The Progressive Analytic”
Entrepreneurs talking and walking down stairs outside building
Entrepreneurs talking and walking down stairs outside building

Steve Jobs, who was arguably one of the world’s most famous ENTJ entrepreneurs, said, “Sometimes, when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” The most distinguishing characteristic of an ENTJ entrepreneur is his or her analytical mind and an innate desire for progress. ENTJs have the uncanny ability to make executive decisions at a moment’s notice and without hesitation. One of their most remarkable traits is the ability to remain calm under extreme pressure, which makes them invaluable as entrepreneurs. ENTJs are the ultimate executive decision-makers! 

INTJ: “The Cautiously Optimistic Academic”
Founder thinking and taking MBTI entrepreneur personality test on computer
Founder thinking and taking MBTI entrepreneur personality test on computer

The INTJ boasts one of the most paradoxical personalities in the Myers-Brigg spectrum. This entrepreneur is a walking contradiction! Don’t let their introverted nature trick you into thinking they can’t run a business. The INTJ’s inner world is rich with new ideas and concepts they are eager to materialize. In Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type by Paul D. Tieger, Barbara Barron, and Kelly Tieger, the authors say, “They can see possibilities as well as the big picture, and they can conceptualize and design necessary changes within an organization.” INTJs imagine and implement creative concepts, making them indispensable in the business world!

 ISTJ: “The Literal Realist”
Serious entrepreneur looking straight ahead
Serious entrepreneur looking straight ahead

ISTJ entrepreneurs emanate an “all business, all the time” persona, perhaps to the point of appearing to take themselves too seriously. In Do What You Are, the authors go on to say of the ISTJ mindset: “They are bound by their sense of duty and always try to do the right thing, which makes them reliable, dependable, and above all else, responsible.” One notably famous ISTJ entrepreneur is none other than Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos. Bezos said, ” “I’d rather interview 50 people and not hire anyone than hire the wrong person.” Who said introverts can’t rule the world?

So You Want to Be An Entrepreneur…

Despite obvious trends, there are no “best” types when it comes to business ownership. Not “fitting the mould” shouldn’t deter you from starting a business. In Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type by Isabel Briggs Myers, the author says, “People should not be discouraged from pursuing an occupation because they are not ‘the type’.” Later in the paragraph, she goes on to say, “If they still want to pursue it [occupation] and are willing to make the effort required to be understood by their co-workers, they may be valuable as contributors of abilities that are rare among their co-workers.” You may have to work harder than most to realize your dreams, but nothing worth doing is ever easy.

Personality aside, the most important characteristic of an entrepreneur is his or her drive to start a business. Without drive or self-motivation, the daunting task of starting a business is almost impossible. You must keep in mind the “why” in order to get to the “how.” ISTJ business mogul Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” Do you have a unique idea for a business? Why not give it a go? It’s never too late to be what you might have been. And in a world full of stereotyped personalities, why not be a trendsetter?

Do you know your MBTI entrepreneur personality type? Let us know down in the comments.

This article originally published on GREY Journal.

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