Are Successful Entrepreneurs Born Or Made?

Updated Oct 26, 2022.
Are Entrepreneurs Born Or Made

Many entrepreneurs fail in business; only a few become successful. Although there are different entrepreneur types, the results are similar.

Entrepreneurial success is correctly attributed to various factors: having the right entrepreneurial mindset and the essential characteristics and skills.

However, there is a deeper angle to the failed vs. successful entrepreneur debate. Entrepreneurs, social scientists, and thought leaders have debated whether successful entrepreneurs are born or made.

The question “Are successful entrepreneurs born or made?” is so simple on the surface yet profound.

This article will comprehensively answer this age-long question that has divided the world’s best thought leaders.

Let’s get started.

Are Entrepreneurs Born?

The answer to the question “Are successful entrepreneurs born?” is more profound than what meets the surface.

More than being born with certain personality traits, running a successful business requires underlying knowledge on how to apply these traits that significantly determine if you will succeed as an entrepreneur.

Some famous entrepreneurs are Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Warren Buffett. They are exceptional leaders in top leadership positions in their successful businesses and have unique entrepreneurial traits that provide them with the needed edge to succeed.

How many entrepreneurs are there in the world
Source: Oberlo

Personality Traits and Passion

As much as personality traits hugely impact successful entrepreneurs, you can not take the element of passion out of the “are entrepreneurs born or made” arguments.

Pharell Williams is an example of when passion meets nature and how successful and innovative entrepreneurs are indeed born.

His success story as an entrepreneur can be traced back to his love for music and entertainment at an early age which helped him navigate his way to among the top leaders in the entertainment industry with his record label to show for it.

With his traits and the desire to succeed, Pharell Williams has built long-term success in the entertainment industry for himself.

Arguments for “Are Entreprenuers Born”

In the entrepreneurs are born argument, there are two categories of entrepreneurs under this school of thought.

The first is those born into a family that has created a way in the business world for themselves, while the second is those without prerequisite knowledge or resources but full of business ideas.

Although being born into an entrepreneurial family is a seeming advantage for you as an entrepreneur, it does not mean you have to tow the same path, nor does it guarantee your success.

Apart from the entrepreneurial heritage of your family, you would require capital and skills to run the business. Although these requirements are readily available in the family business, passion is equally necessary.


The major drawback of entrepreneurs born into a business family is that they are often restricted in ideas as all their efforts are pinpointed on running the family business. There is little or no time available to start their own business.

Are Entrepreneurs Made?

With the right entrepreneurial mindset, successful entrepreneurs can be made, which goes beyond the business world as this principle is evident across various areas of society.

Most important attributes of entrepreneurs
Source: Forbes

Looking at the education sector, every great scholar in the education system, their success can be traced back to hard work and developments over time. Although successful entrepreneurs are indeed born, no one person is born with all the needed traits that guarantee success.

Building Connections

Entrepreneurship is not a one-person process. Along your entrepreneurial journey, you need to network with like minds and build connections that come in handy when you need people to bounce your new ideas off. Besides, networking may help in team building and seeking funding. You should master this skill, especially if you are a first generation entrepreneur.

A degree of nurture is needed for entrepreneurial success, and how and how you get nurtured distinguishes most entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs are made, and their positive and self-confident attributes shape them to create their businesses out of their dreams and desire to be self-employed.

Steady Growth and Smart Work

Entrepreneurs are not made overnight. They require steady growth in capacity and capability over time and take risks at different points of their entrepreneurial journey.

An entrepreneur's success journey goes back to years of painstaking hard work and maneuvering through life and its challenges which later turned into life experiences that shaped their journey as an entrepreneur.


Apart from the idea and passion that helps make an entrepreneur, education also has a massive role. A previous experience is often the best teacher. It offers exposure to new ideas and ways of doing things.

With education, you get to discover and harness dormant skills and talents that you did not even have an idea you possessed. Through these skills, you become an entrepreneur.

Education helps individuals discover the skills and natural talents they already possess. It allows them to use those skills to become an entrepreneur successfully.

With all the teachings that education has to offer you in your journey as an entrepreneur, one lesson that traditional schooling would not provide you is how to take risks that are necessary at one point in time for self-made entrepreneurs.

So yes, entrepreneurs are made, but it requires a level of education alongside natural talents and skills that you already possess and building valuable connections that help you start and grow as an entrepreneur.

Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made? Successful Entrepreneurs Need These Skills

The entrepreneurs born or made debate has a very distinct viewpoint but one widely used ideology to provide an answer to this age-old question is the one that compares entrepreneurs to athletes.

From this viewpoint, entrepreneurs are not born just like it is for athletes, as no body type or structure makes you an entrepreneur. You might be born into a family of entrepreneurs, but it does not guarantee that you will become a successful entrepreneur.

However, this is not a big deal as many people start and become successful entrepreneurs without any direct link to an entrepreneurial family. This fact is one of the key points against the entrepreneurs' born side of the argument.

As an entrepreneur, you need to possess some unique qualities that require some degree of training and experience, just as it is for athletes to help you achieve your goal of being a successful entrepreneur.

Here are some qualities you would need to become a successful entrepreneur.

1. Innovation

Innovation is at the center of entrepreneurship and is not naturally obtained as innovation comes in the form of an idea of a new product, market, or technology. Most successful companies have innovation for their dominance in their respective industries.

Different innovations come from opportunities, and these opportunities are often disguised as problems. As an entrepreneur, your ability to identify a problem as an opportunity is one of the attributes that would distinguish you and your business.

Finding problems is one quality that everyone has in them. However, seeing opportunities in issues is not natural as it requires understanding and insight to see through the situation.

The most innovative companies over time
Source: Statista

2. Experience

The second quality you would need in your entrepreneurial journey experiences ranks as one of the top factors of success of entrepreneurial leaders.

Experience involves learning business-related skills and terminologies to make running a business in the future easier with the utmost effectiveness and efficiency.

With experience, entrepreneurs have previous experiences to draw from to deal with similar problems. It can also help in forecasting the company's future developments.

Running a business involves simple steps: creating a business plan, coordinating customers, and running and developing the business.

With experience, abiding by these steps is relatively more straightforward as you know what sticking to these laid down steps can do for the company.

With prior employment experience, the first two steps are no longer necessary. Your previous employment experience has helped cover the first two steps, and you jump right into running and developing your business.

3. Knowledge

Knowledge is the third quality of entrepreneurship and is a quality that is not born in a person but requires education to be acquired.

Higher education ranks as one of the crucial factors that define an entrepreneur. You are faced with a series of finance, organization, and operation challenges requiring a level of knowledge and understanding for you to scale through them successfully.

Reading and constructing financial statements is one skill you need in your entrepreneurial journey. It is not a skill acquired as it requires you to study before gaining this knowledge.

Apart from the financial aspect of your business, you need to understand the laws of the country where you intend to conduct your business operations, as well as their regulations on taxes and franchising. It helps you successfully navigate through the business world.

Having the proper knowledge would help entrepreneurs make the right decisions for their business and operate better and more effectively.

4. Communication

Communication is another quality every successful entrepreneur needs to master as business requires you to deal with people constantly. It is one quality you are not born with as you learn and build your communication skills from a very early age.

Entrepreneurs need effective communication to gain customers and generate more sales as they need to be in direct contact with their customers and needs.

Good communication requires adequate preparation. You need background knowledge of the products or services offered and the intended customer base to determine the path your business is expected to take in the future.

The best communication tools for entrepreneurs are, ClickUp, Wrike, Chanty, and Zoom.

Apart from the four qualities highlighted above, some other attributes are essential in your journey as a successful entrepreneur: integrity, passion, teamwork, and leadership.

One notable thing about these qualities is that they are gained from everyday life experiences, and no person is born with them and are not made but acquired after birth.

All these qualities point to the fact that entrepreneurs are made and not born, as no perfect scenario exists for an entrepreneur to succeed without significant effort.

Are You An Entrepreneur?

Every person living in this world has some distinct qualities and traits to become a great entrepreneur, and it all bothers down to the right mindset.

The only thing standing in your way to becoming a successful entrepreneur is your ability to dream big, come up with innovative business ideas, and ensure that you nurture your dream until it becomes a tangible reality.

Every successful entrepreneur is characterized by risk-taking. In your entrepreneurial journey, you need not fear failure as it is all part of the journey and process.

Instead of paying attention to the likelihood of failure, you should stay focused on spending enough time on harnessing and improving your skill sets and identified leadership traits to guide your development as an entrepreneur.

Understudying other successful entrepreneurs would also be handy for you as a young entrepreneur. It helps you build your desire and passion for paving your way in the entrepreneurial world.

Passion as an entrepreneur drives the birth of fresh, innovative ideas, which take the world by storm and put your name out there among the elite and successful entrepreneurs.

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Martin Luenendonk

Editor at FounderJar

Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.