What Makes an Entrepreneur Successful

In the landscape of entrepreneurialism, success is often defined by how much money a person has made or how famous they have become. Rich lists such as that published in The Times each year play into the mindset that success is always equal to financial gain or celebrity status. While financial returns can be a major factor in defining what makes an entrepreneur successful, the subject is nuanced. Being an entrepreneur is about embodying a mindset. It is navigating challenges with resilience and ingenuity, very often while in the public eye.

For me, entrepreneurial success is a moving target. What I once saw as pivotal achievement markers have been dwarfed by what has followed. Was I less successful in my early career? No. The goalposts have simply changed. And that is true for all entrepreneurs who often strive for different goals once an objective has been achieved.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula, several key factors consistently contribute to visionary entrepreneurs’ triumphs. I believe there are also common attributes found regularly among the entrepreneurial elite.

I will explore what sets successful entrepreneurs apart in this blog, using real-life examples. The hope is that you can harness these qualities to chart your own career path.

In my deep dive into what makes an entrepreneur successful, we’ll cover the following topics:

  1. Defining Success
  2. Common Entrepreneurial Traits
    – Vision and passion
    – Resilience and adaptability
    – Risk-taking
    – Continuous learning
    – Discipline
  3. The importance of mentors
  4. Entrepreneurs I admire
  5. A final thought
  6. Feeling inspired


Success is a multifaceted concept that can be defined in several ways, depending on individual perspectives, values, and aspirations. At its core, success is the achievement of goals. However, it is not solely determined by wealth, fame, or status but encompasses a broader spectrum of personal, professional, and emotional fulfilment.

For some, like me, building a business was about finding a career that fit with my lifestyle and aspirations. After a divorce, there was nothing in the job market flexible or lucrative enough to support me and my young family. And harness my creativity. The answer? I created something for myself. While my turnover then was nothing like it is today, the fact that my business was able to support me and my children to live life to a good standard and crucially, with flexibility, was to me, success.

What a person counts as success can change over time. How I outlined success in my early career looks vastly different from my definition now.

For some, success may mean reaching specific milestones in their careers. Securing a dream job. Launching a successful business. Exiting a business. Or making significant advancements in their field. For others, success is measured by the quality of their relationships, the impact they have on their communities, or the legacy they leave behind.

Ultimately, success is a deeply personal journey that encompasses not only tangible achievements but also factors such as happiness, learning, and fulfilment.

What is clear is that the entrepreneurial elite often won’t settle for achieving one goal or even view success as a final destination. Within an entrepreneur, there is often an overarching desire to strive for more.

For more on this topic, Forbes has some thought-provoking ideas on what some entrepreneurs count as success markers outside of financial gain.


Or how about the thoughts of some real entrepreneurs on the topic? https://teach.ceoblognation.com/2018/09/16/22-entrepreneurs-explain-what-success-means-in-entrepreneurship/



So, as we ask what makes an entrepreneur successful, we need to look at what successful entrepreneurs have in common.

In my work as a mentor to students at the University of Central Lancashire, and in lectures at Manchester Metropolitan University this is a topic that is often raised. And several common traits always arise.

Some of these are outlined below:

Vision and passion – at the heart of every successful entrepreneur lies a compelling vision and unwavering passion. Some may wish to solve a global issue while others are driven by a sense of purpose and conviction. All will genuinely believe in their idea, business, or concept.

Resilience and adaptability – setbacks, obstacles, and unexpected twists and turns will always pepper the journey of an entrepreneur. What sets the successful ones apart is their ability to bounce back from failure and adapt to changing circumstances. Instead of viewing challenges as insurmountable roadblocks, the most successful visionaries see them as opportunities for growth, learning, and evolution.

Risk-taking – entrepreneurship involves taking risks and stepping into the unknown. Successful entrepreneurs are not afraid to embrace uncertainty or venture outside their comfort zones. Boldness. Willingness to take calculated risks. The ability to seize opportunities. All traits that will help an entrepreneur to carve a forward path with determination.

Continuous learning – successful entrepreneurs are lifelong learners who prioritise personal and professional growth. They remain curious, open-minded, and adaptable. A thirst for knowledge and developing skills is often intrinsic to their nature. It’s what helps them to stay ahead of the curve.

Focus and discipline – In a world filled with distractions and competing priorities, successful entrepreneurs exhibit a laser-like focus in pursuing their objectives. They prioritise tasks, manage their time effectively, and remain committed to their long-term vision, even when faced with temptations to stray off course.

For more on the traits that make an entrepreneur successful Forbes is a treasure trove of inspiration and insight: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2022/12/01/8-traits-that-make-a-successful-entrepreneur/



Mentorship plays a pivotal role in fostering entrepreneurial success.

It’s a given that anyone building a business will encounter challenges. A mentor’s wealth of experience, insights, and wisdom offers invaluable perspectives that can help entrepreneurs navigate complex decisions and avoid common pitfalls. Beyond imparting practical knowledge, mentors often provide emotional support, encouragement, and accountability. A good mentor will fuel the entrepreneur’s resilience and determination.

Throughout my own career journey, I have been lucky to receive the advice of various mentors – the best was to always ‘build a brand’.

Another key benefit of mentorship is the doors it will open to valuable connections, resources, and partnerships. All are essential for growth. My view is that being an entrepreneur is not a lone journey, but the culmination of relationships built over time. This is one of the reasons that I now give my time freely to those following in my footsteps through initiatives such as the University of Central Lancashire Entrepreneurs in Residence programme. Find out more here https://www.liz-taylor-consulting.co.uk/index.php/press/events-professional-becomes-entrepreneur-in-residence-at-university-of-central-lancashire/



I’ve met more than one or two trailblazing entrepreneurs during the making of my Events That Made Me podcast. People that I admire and am in awe of in equal measure. Many are women. Some were from backgrounds where there was little financial backing or opportunity to network. They all present bravery, tenacity, and the unwavering determination to succeed.

Jo Malone – what I love about Jo’s story is that she perfectly illustrates the journey of an entrepreneur who cannot stop creating. Building a business to the point of exit might be good enough for some. Selling to Estee Lauder for an undisclosed sum meant she may never need to work again – surely that’s the definition of success? No. Jo began the entire journey again and is now the proprietor of her second fragrance empire Jo Loves…

Jennie Johnson – a journey demonstrates the power of an idea that just won’t go away. If you have a clear vision in your mind of what your business should look like, listen to Jennie’s story as a powerful motivator to bring it to fruition.

Lynda Plant – a hustler from day one, Lynda led the charge to grow her own family business from a market stall to a multimillion global textiles brand. And she started at the tender age of fourteen.

You can read about their advice for those wanting to follow in their footsteps in this blog: https://www.liz-taylor-consulting.co.uk/index.php/2022/03/07/advice-from-four-of-the-uks-top-female-entrepreneurs/

Listen to the entrepreneurial journeys of these three and more on my Events That Made Me podcast.



In conclusion, while the journey of entrepreneurship is fraught with challenges and uncertainties, the qualities that define successful entrepreneurs can serve as inspiration and guidance for aspiring innovators.

What makes an entrepreneur successful is vision, passion, resilience, adaptability, risk-taking, continuous learning, focus, customer-centricity, and persistence. For me, the traits that embody the spirit of entrepreneurship.

By embracing these qualities, anybody can chart the path to success and make their mark on the world. Greatness lies within reach for those who dare to dream. Take action, and never give up on aspirations.



Find a wealth of advice and inspiration for founders and visionaries: https://www.entrepreneur.com/