Successful Entrepreneur Statistics to Know

By James Mitchell

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If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, are you following in the footsteps of the greats who came before you? There’s no one “right way” to be an entrepreneur, but the most successful seem to have a few things in common. For starters, they notoriously get up very early (as do creatives). For many, about 4 a.m. seems to be the magic hour, and that makes sense. It’s quiet, your email probably isn’t getting bombarded, and many find inspiration in the dawning light.


Does this mean you have to force yourself to get up in the middle of the night if you’re a night owl? Of course not. Listen to your body, especially if waking up at 4 a.m. means you’d only get a couple of hours of sleep. Consider the statistics of successful entrepreneurs and interesting knowledge that you may or may not adapt and adopt to fit your lifestyle.

According to a Kauffman report, 75 percent of successful entrepreneurs were ranked in the top 30 percent of their high school class. It’s no surprise that success early in life can and does lead to success later in life. Regardless of what you think about standardized tests, high school can prepare students to learn the system and abide by traditional regulations.

Kauffman also reports that just over 80 percent of successful entrepreneurs were “unable to find traditional employment.” This, of course, can go many directions. Some people are truly cut out to be business owners and feel shackled by the confines of classical employment. Does that mean everyone out of a job or who can’t hold one is a billionaire entrepreneur in the making? Of course not (but it does help soothe the wounds of failed interviews!).

What Makes a Successful Business Owner?

With over 90 percent of successful entrepreneurs armed with at least a bachelor’s degree, it’s clear that education—including formal education—is important. While exceptions like Steve Jobs are what headlines and movies focus on, that’s not the norm. Kauffman also found that 69.9 percent of respondents were married when they founded their business, pointing to the importance of success both personally and financially. Plus, 59.7 percent had at least one child, which just goes to show that family life can fit into small business ownership success.

In Richard St. John’s book The 8 Traits Successful People Have in Common, he found that being passionate about what you do naturally leads to working harder while simultaneously having fun. If you’re not in love with your business or idea, why would anyone else be? Choose a business, industry, or project that will keep you engaged. Otherwise, it’s going to be nearly impossible to sell that vision to anyone else. It sounds obvious, but many hopeful business owners go after the seemingly easy or lucrative approaches, such as franchising with a company they don’t love. Let your passion guide you.

St. John also points out that successful people fail a lot, but they’re persistent and see these failures as learning opportunities. They’re incredibly focused, and entrepreneurs especially are always coming up with new ideas.

Although sometimes entrepreneurs are thought of as eccentric or standoffish, and often socially awkward, that doesn’t appear to be the norm. The Carnegie Institute of Technology reveals that 85 percent of financial success is thanks to what they dub “human engineering.” In other words, the better you can relate to others, and the more people like your personality, the better you can lead and make negotiations. Just 15 percent of such success is attributed to technical savviness.

Achieving success in business or any other part of your life is your own personal adventure. Don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to and keep an eye on what others have done. Maybe it’ll inspire you, or maybe you’ll know right away that what works for others might not work for you and that you’ll need to blaze your own trail.

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