Dec 14, 2011

3 Things That Make a Great Entrepreneur

Note: This is a guest post by Rob Basso, founder of Advantage Payroll Services, serial entrepreneur and the author of “The Everyday Entrepreneur.” We’re excited to have him on the blog. Also listen to our interview with Rob Basso on the Entrepreneur Addiction Podcast.

3 Things That Make a Great EntrepreneurIn today’s tough economy, people are realizing that while the government can help assist in job creations, two out of three jobs are created by small businesses.

As people are laid off, forced into early retirement or cannot find a job after graduation, more and more people are starting or considering starting their own business.

Now is actually one of the best times to start a small business and almost half a million businesses were created in 2011. Anyone can start a business, but do you have the characteristics and strength that it takes to overcome obstacles and make smart decisions?

As a serial entrepreneur, I’ve experienced not only great success but great failure.

Having started my first business at age 23, I felt compelled to share some of my favorite insights in the The Everyday Entrepreneur with today’s entrepreneurs and small business owners in order to help them succeed in today’s tough economy.

Realizing I wanted to share more than just my knowledge, I interviewed 10 visionary entrepreneurs such as Jeff Hoffman, member of the founding team of, and Ken Davenport, a Broadway producer who revolutionized the way shows are financed by using the crowdsourcing method for his latest Broadway hit, Godspell.

So, what makes a great entrepreneur?

Start Early

3 Things That Make a Great EntrepreneurOne of the interesting things I discovered in my interviews with other entrepreneurs is that we all started young and almost all of us had a paper route as a kid. You don’t see kids delivering papers anymore, but when I was growing up, most paper routes were delivered by kids before they went off to school.

Work Ethic

Another common theme is our work ethic. That trait developed young and carried us through our teenage years, whether it was selling Cutco Knives door to door like Ken Davenport or selling Burpe seeds like Jeff Hoffman, but we were always finding new ways to make money. We were the first ones in the office and the last ones to leave and we were constantly in motion, always looking for the best new product or service.

Take Risks

3 Things That Make a Great EntrepreneurAn important characteristic that we all share is the ability to take risks.

Every entrepreneur needs to be comfortable with the fact that they are the bottom line; it starts and ends with them. Striking out on your own is not an easy decision.

Are you comfortable potentially going without a stable salary? Not knowing when your next deal will close? How will you handle a major supply line issue?

Entrepreneurs take small risks every day, but to win big, you need to take big risks. One of the entrepreneurs I interviewed even compared being an entrepreneur to skydiving. You need to check your parachute, know your jump and be prepared, but you also need to be able to jump out of the plan.

Some basic questions you need to ask yourself before starting your own business:

These are just the first of many questions you need to ask yourself before embarking on your own entrepreneurial journey. Is it always easy? No. Will there be days that discourage you? Yes. But for myself, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Related: Listen to an interview with Rob Basso about his book and advice for business owners.

About Rob Basso

3 Things That Make a Great EntrepreneurRob Basso is the author of “The Everyday Entrepreneur,” a recognized business leader and speaker, and has built a reputation as a successful entrepreneur who is committed to helping others live the entrepreneurial dream.

Rob is the founder of Advantage Payroll Services, founding investor in Empire National Bank, co-creator of the BusyFit DVD, and creator of, a community of aspiring entrepreneurs.

Rob is a frequent contributor on Fox News, Fox Business and other national news programs. He has been interviewed by Entrepreneur and Time magazines, and contributes blogs to American Express OPEN Forum and the New York Enterprise Report. He is frequently interviewed by leading newspapers including Newsday, The New York Times and Long Island Business News. He has appeared in national Associated Press,, and stories. He is also a frequent guest on radio programs across the nation and was recently a guest on the Sean Hannity Show.

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  1. Hi Rob, I’ve also found that the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who put themselves in other people’s shoes and really try to serve their customers or market. That kind of personal motivation propels you ahead.
    Funny that a paper route never really sounded like much fun to me; many entrepreneurs are driven not primarily by money, but rather by the need to build something of their own. (ex. as a kid, I made and sold hair accessories, and did a clown act at children’s birthday parties.)

  2. I just read a similar article and am glad to read through the core components. Being an entrepreneur is definitely a lifestyle and seeing as so many of us start young, it seems somewhat predetermined. I sold glow sticks and made a killing, but felt best in my first real job at 16 in a local nursing home. I’m now tackling public and charter school funding and can’t wait to help grow education and build my next business, which will be my first global business! Big risks? Nah, not compared to the alternative of a life unfulfilled. Thanks for the post, I’m grinning.

    • Jennifer, thanks for stopping by. Looks like you have a full plate of entrepreneur endeavors going on. What was the other article you were talking about?

  3. I’m one of the 500,000 new businesses created this year, but something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. A casualty of the economy, it took the umbilical cord getting cut. Excitement for sure, but the ability to take risks countered by not putting the family in an unsecure position is the trick. Traditional banks want nothing to do with a start up – even with a 10′ pole. Patience, effectively leveraging your network and being well prepared are the keys I’ve found so far and I’m not fully off the ground yet. But one thing is for sure – if you know what your passion is and follow it, God will rearrange the stars to make it happen.

  4. I am currently trying to find start up capital to start my business. And am always searching the web and reading things like this. These types of articles are very inspiring to me. Thank you for the comments posted because it gives me even more drive to find funding for my idea. thanks again, if anyone has any advice or resources please let me know.

    • Daniel, you’ve landed on one of those resources :) Our service is completely free for business owners to find financing. Sign up at the top of the page, and let us know how it goes.

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