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4 Research-Backed Signs You’re Meant To Be An Entrepreneur

4 Research-Backed Signs You’re Meant To Be An Entrepreneur

While about 43% of American kids and adolescents say they plan to start their own businesses, just 13% of adults in the US are engaged in entrepreneurial activities.

So what are the qualities of individuals whose entrepreneurial ambitions survive the transition to adulthood?

To find out, researchers at Tufts and Stanford universities spent three years studying more than 5,000 college-age students to pinpoint the traits and behaviors of aspiring entrepreneurs.

The researchers recently published some findings from the Young Entrepreneurs Study (the YES Project) in The Wall Street Journal. According to their results, there are four main indicators that you could be a budding entrepreneur:

1. You’ve got a high level of self-control.

Self-control is related to other qualities such as drive and initiative. In the study, college students who described themselves as “self-starters” were 1.5 times more likely to be aspiring entrepreneurs than those who didn’t. And students who had already launched a new club or rallied people around a specific cause were almost twice as likely to have entrepreneurial intentions.

One important component of self-control is persistence in the face of failure. For example, one student interviewed won an online business competition in high school by trying out different strategies for selling used electronics until he found one that stuck.

2. People around you support your business goals.

As many as 45% of aspiring entrepreneurs had a parent who had started a business, compared to just 29% of other students. Others had family members, friends, or mentors who had started their own businesses and encouraged them to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions.

For instance, the researchers interviewed one woman who said her father’s friend had launched a successful restaurant business without any relevant knowledge or experience. From him, she learned to push on despite seeming resistance.

3. You think creatively.

More than three-quarters of aspiring entrepreneurs exhibited high levels of innovative thinking, compared to just 47% of everyone else. “These creative thinkers found novel ways to accomplish everyday tasks, choosing to build a better mousetrap rather than taking a tried-and-true approach to problems,” the researchers write.

4. You have a strong interest in business.

Many aspiring entrepreneurs were already looking to develop their business skills as students. Others were taking business courses even if they weren’t majoring in business.

Having an interest in business is also strongly linked to financial awareness. The study found that aspiring entrepreneurs were twice as likely to have a high level of financial awareness; for example, they might actively seek out opportunities to invest.

Author: Shana Lebowitz
Shana Lebowitz is a Strategy reporter for Business Insider. Before joining BI in April 2015, she covered mental health for Greatist and personal finance for LearnVest. Shana studied English and psychology at Brandeis University and received her master’s degree in English literature from Columbia University.

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