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What does entrepreneurship require?

Kirjoittanut: Kiia Räty - tiimistä Kaaos.

Esseen tyyppi: Yksilöessee / 2 esseepistettä.

Matias Mäenpää
Anssi Kiviranta
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 4 minuuttia.



After years of being interested in entrepreneurship and business-world, I have noticed some things that all the best entrepreneurs have in common.  


When you Google the words “what does entrepreneurship require”, you will find endless articles about this topic. And the list of the qualities goes on and on. Investopedia (2019) says that you have to have good communication and sales skills, capability to focus on the end goal, learn along the way and create a business strategy. National University (n.d.) says that you have to have curiosity, passion, dedication and ability to tolerate risks, but you also should be good in time management and leadership.  


Of course, our opinions differ on these. Someone emphasizes different qualities than others. An entrepreneur needs both soft and hard skills, and here are my personal observations: 




This is the most important one. What happens when you fail? What keeps you going? Where do you get the motivation to continue after you embarrass yourself and let others down? Passion! You have to have a big passion for it! Have you met an entrepreneur who doesn’t have a passion for what they do? What were they like? Exactly. And compare that one to the ones who love their company and what they do.  


I have met many entrepreneurs and read endless books and articles about this topic. What does it take to become a successful entrepreneur? Miljoonan taalan kysymys, like we would say in Finland. One of the best advice I have heard, is that you cannot get discouraged by failures. When you fail, you have to learn and continue forward. We all know that it leads nowhere if you just stay home and feel bad for yourself. I don’t know a single entrepreneur who hasn’t failed once or twice or tens of times. We all fail. It’s inevitable. The question is, how do you handle that failure. Do you let it eat you alive or do you accept it and start to think of ways to continue and move on?  


In times of failure, you need motivation to keep going. And I think the best motivation is passion. You just have to love it enough to keep going, no matter what. Like Investopedia (2024) said, you have to keep an unwavering eye on the end goal. Remember where you are going and why you are doing this.  


2. (At least some) hard skills 


By hard skills, I mean the actual theory that you need to know. Being an entrepreneur is not a walk in a park. Yes, there are people who have learned almost everything along the way, but I don’t think that’s the smartest, safest or the most effective way of doing things. Before starting an actual company, you should know a thing or two about: 

  • Sales & marketing 
  • Leadership 
  • Finance 
  • Business law 
  • Management. 


It’s very interesting to look into different entrepreneurs’ backgrounds. Some have high academical degrees in their pockets, but some have never liked school and therefore they just started doing and learned along the way. Either way is fine in my opinion, but it’s another story to compare which is more effective path. But if you just have enough motivation and passion, I think you can do (and learn) anything.  


3. Hard work 


Again, being an entrepreneur is not a walk in a park. It requires motivation and dedication. And time. I think we all have seen how busy entrepreneurs are, especially “solopreneurs”. Handling a fully functioning business requires hard work and skills. I read a book in Finnish called EXIT (Mäenpää & Kiviranta, 2019), which told the stories of many successful entrepreneurs, who eventually were able to sell their companies (= they made an exit). All the stories were impressive, but the success didn’t come from nowhere. Some of them worked multiple jobs at the same time and some weren’t able to pay themselves because they had to pay their employees. In the beginning you have to be able to live with financial stress and very little to no income.  


I think the statement “hard work” is pretty obvious to us all. To become talented and successful in anything, you have to practice and work hard, right? But the question is, what keeps you going when you are tired and your motivation is close to zero? Yes, we circle back to the passion and keeping our eye in the end goal. What are you working towards so hard if you don’t have a vision? 


4. People skills  


This is perhaps my favorite one. People skills, what do I mean by this?  


I think that the best entrepreneurs know people. They know how to be with people, talk to people, and most of the time they really like being with people. Having good communication skills can open so many doors, which is why networking is very important for an entrepreneur. Knowing people and having a good network can be so beneficial. Of course, you can survive with a smaller circle, but that definitely makes your career as an entrepreneur harder. 


I have observed that networking plays a huge role at least in Finnish business-world. Knowing the right people just makes things easier. People are more likely to do business with you and help you, if they know you from somewhere, or if they have met you at least once before. This can also bring up different opinions, but what I’ve seen is that the most successful entrepreneurs know how to communicate well and be around people.  


“The key is not to get discouraged by failures.”





Investopedia. 2024. 5 Skills Every Entrepreneur Should Have. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/080615/5-skills-every-entrepreneur-needs.asp  


Mäenpää, M. & Kiviranta, A. 2019. EXIT. Leap Investors Oy. 


National University. N.d. Skills Needed to Be an Entrepreneur. https://www.nu.edu/blog/skills-needed-to-be-an-entrepreneur 


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