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What are the Traits and Skills Necessary for Success as a Self-Employed Entrepreneur?

Key Points

  • There have been many changes to the Labour Market/Labour Force over the past 5-10 years.
  • There are now many more work options available to suit varying wants and needs, including those for self-employment and/or
  • One can apply the skills of an entrepreneur to becoming self-employed or working for someone else.

Starting a Business

Creating your own business from an idea requires a high degree of motivation and a certain tolerance for taking risks. There are no guarantees in taking an idea from a vision to reality, but it does require an ability to analyze and evaluate the potential risks, and based on a carefully calculated plan, take a certain leap of faith.

Possessing the right traits and skills alone will not guarantee success; do you have the right combination of attributes that makes you more likely to successfully own and operate a business.

The characteristics that appear most frequently among successful small business owners include: high level of motivation, strong creative and lateral cognitive abilities, excellent emotional intelligence and a strong technical knowledge in their chosen business field.

Motivation Consists Of:

Responsibility, enthusiasm, initiative, persistence and health.

Cognitive Abilities Consists Of:

Originality, creativity, critical and analytical thinking.

Emotional Intelligence Consists Of:

Emotional stability, ability to relate to others and respond appropriately, consideration, cooperation and professionalism.

Communications Skills Consist Of:

Verbal comprehension and expression, and written comprehension and expression.

Technical Knowledge Consists Of:

The individual’s complete level of understanding and expertise which results from accumulated experience and training. This technical expertise is often what sets you apart from your business competition and is the foundation of creating a unique market niche.

Self-assessment quizzes can be a useful tool to evaluate your entrepreneurial skills and characteristics.  It is important to keep in mind that the results of free online quizzes may not be as accurate as assessments administered by professionals.  The following quizzes are best used as guides to measure your obvious strengths and challenges with regards to entrepreneurship, and to point out skills you may need to focus on developing.
Please complete 2-3 independent entrepreneurial assessments, to discover qualities that successful self-employed people tend to possess. These qualities include family support (both emotional and financial), adaptability, problem solving ability, and persistence, to name but a few. This information will help to become aware with what is involved in becoming successfully self-employed. The companion workbook will help you to develop a well-thought-out business concept.


Keirsey Temperament Sorter

Assess your temperament online using the Kiersey Temperament Sorter.


BDC Entrepreneurial Self-Assessment

A tool presented by BDC to help you measure your entrepreneurial potential.  This quiz evaluates your entrepreneurial traits, motivations, aptitudes and attitudes.


ETHOS Self-Employment Assessment

Our own self employment assessment. Simply fill out the form completely and submit; a copy of your results will be sent to your email!


Women’s Enterprise Centre

Are you a Future Entrepreneur? Downloadable PDF and Handout.


Business readiness quizzes helps you to identify key areas such as your business suitability, industry and business experience, market, legal requirements and finances.

After you answer the questions in this 5 minute quiz, you will receive a personalized action plan of information and resources to help you understand and be prepared for some of the issues you may face when starting and running your business.

Click the link to start:


Business Readiness Quiz

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • Have you ever worked in a business similar to what you are planning to start?
  • Would people who know you say you are well-suited to be self-employed?
  • Do you have support for your business idea from your family and friends?
  • Have you ever taken a course or seminar on starting and managing a small business?
  • Have you discussed your business idea, business plan or proposed business with a business coach or counselor, such as a faculty advisor, Small Business Development Center counselor or other economic advisor?
  • Do you have a relative, friend or mentor who is an entrepreneur?


Many studies have identified the traits and skills common in successful business owners. Although entrepreneurs may come from a variety of social-economic backgrounds, they share a common desire to work for themselves, along with other traits, such as assertiveness and a high degree of self-confidence. It makes sense – if you’re investing a tremendous amount of your own money and time, you need to feel strongly that success is achievable.

Next Steps

Think you might not be ready for self-employment now?

Consider where you are in your life, what kinds of responsibilities you have, as well as resources available. For many people, although entrepreneurship is a desire, the timing may not be right. Self-employment programming has shown that close to half of participants have been over the age of 45, many of them retired. For those who discover that self-employment is not a viable option at this time, knowledge of other work options available and/or a review of some services may be helpful (Career Planning Workshop, etc.).

Tip: You can't move on to the next lesson in the workshop until you've marked the current one complete. When you click "Mark Complete" you'll automatically be taken to the next Lesson!