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3 March 2016


The 5 characteristics of Entrepreneurial Spirit –
“Entrepreneurial Spirit isn’t something you are taught, it’s something you must develop within yourself”.

That’s according to Matt Ehrlichman, a serial start-up entrepreneur and currently CEO/Founder of Porch, a visual web platform that focuses on home-improvement projects.

He writes:

There are some characteristics in work and life that you just can’t teach. They form from within and, over time, they become part of who we are.

One of those characteristics is the entrepreneurial spirit.

It develops in the individuals who demonstrate a true passion for building something great from nothing and they are willing to push themselves to the limits to achieve big goals.

As an entrepreneur, these are the people you want to hire and surround yourself with. I’m a firm believer that you don’t need to own a multi billion-dollar business or start the next Facebook to exhibit the qualities of having the entrepreneurial spirit. It’s something you exhibit every day in how you approach your life and career.

Below are five indicators that demonstrate that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and thriving in someone.

1) They are in-tune with their passion

Think of the last conversation you had with someone about something they were deeply passionate about. It doesn’t matter if the subject is completely uninteresting to you, the conviction in their voice and the authentic enthusiasm they have for it is captivating. Passionate people know what it’s like to dive deep into a subject and completely understand it. This is something we look for when hiring at my business. When people are genuinely passionate about the problems that your company is trying to solve, they will be energized by any challenge that stands in their way.

2) They are always questioning how it can be done better

Mark Twain once said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” The average person rarely considers how ordinary things can be made better or improved – those with the entrepreneurial spirit can’t help themselves. They are continually questioning why things are done the way they are and aren’t afraid to go against the majority to make changes. It’s impressive in an interview when a candidate has real well-researched questions for the business and suggestions and ideas on how existing products or service offering could be improved.

3) They are optimistic about all possibilities

To be entrepreneurial by nature is to be optimistic. People with the entrepreneurial spirit don’t spend time thinking about what they can’t do, but instead ask themselves, “Why can’t I?” When starting up, the odds of success are strongly against you, so you really need people who are optimistic more than ever. Look for candidates that get excited by the idea of aggressive challenges and big goals. They are the ones will push the boundaries of what was once thought impossible.

4) They take calculated risks

In addition to optimism, entrepreneurs are predisposed to a high tolerance for risk. But it doesn’t mean they jump blindly into action, it’s instead the opposite. Those with the entrepreneurial spirit make calculated moves while understanding that there are never any guarantees of success. It’s also the ability to work autonomously and be decisive. The playbook isn’t always clear, so it’s ideal to be able to stay agile and adapt in a high degree of ambiguity.

5) Above all, they execute

I can’t count how many times I’ve had aspiring entrepreneurs come up to me for advice on their untested ideas. My response is always to go out and act on your ideas first to get real feedback. That’s because ideas are meaningless until they are acted on. Those with the entrepreneurial sprit realize that execution is everything when it comes down to success or failure. Hire the people that have the drive and endurance to execute at all times, no matter what the circumstances.


A very interesting read. I’m sure many of our entrepreneurial board level candidates from across our network will agree with Matt’s points, and also have a few characteristics of their own to add to the mix.

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