Are You Smart Enough to be an Entrepreneur?

One of the biggest challenges for many business owners, before they start their business is wondering if they’re “smart enough” to be a business owner?

They’re used to corporate America where they have a team and they’re doing what they do within an existing system. Or they read the covers of popular business magazines and think everyone must be Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey or Sarah Blakely. They all learned and became who they are.

When starting your business, it’s often “just you”.

Sure you build the team and network – but often it’s just you as the leader of your company.

The challenges with money, rejection, family life, health and more – rests on you.

It can be daunting. Entrepreneurship is hard.

In a Reddit group someone asked if they had what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Here’s an overview of the helpful comments.


From the insights shared in this discussion, it’s clear that feelings of inadequacy and questioning your abilities are extremely common for prospective entrepreneurs. As one commenter wisely stated, “Nobody is ever ready to be a parent. Nobody is qualified to be a boss. And nobody meets the qualifications to be an entrepreneur.”

The truth is, you don’t need to be a genius or have an extraordinarily high IQ to start and grow a successful business. Determination, grit, resilience, and a willingness to learn are far more critical traits for an entrepreneur than raw intelligence.

Not the Smartest Person

As several people pointed out, some of the most successful business owners readily admit they are not the smartest people in the room. What sets them apart is their ability to solve problems, willingness to work incredibly hard, readiness to learn from mistakes, and resourcefulness in overcoming obstacles with limited resources.

One commenter beautifully summarized the two key skills of an entrepreneur: “Problem-solving and being resourceful. If you have the ability to swiftly solve problems and be resourceful with limited time, money and manpower, you have what it takes.”

The fears around not being “smart enough” often stem from analysis paralysis – the tendency to over-analyze and overthink until inaction becomes the default state. As one contributor advised, “Turn off the noise. Sit, breathe, rest, think and dream. Then once you think of something you can execute on NOW – start.”

You Don’t Know Everything

The general consensus is that very few entrepreneurs start out knowing everything they need to know. The most successful ones have a growth mindset, embracing the journey as a constant learning process. As you start putting one foot in front of the other, you’ll make mistakes – that’s a given. But failing forward and learning from those missteps is how you’ll grow.

Many people emphasized taking an experimental approach when first starting out. Test your ideas on a small scale, validate your concepts in a low-risk way, and then iterate and expand from there. As your commenter said, “Favor action over planning.”

Entrepreneurship is Not for Everyone

The path of entrepreneurship is not for everyone, and that’s okay. But if you find yourself constantly drawn to the idea of starting your own business, despite the risks and challenges, then take that first step. As one contributor summarized: “If you’re resourceful enough, you can literally have others do the problem-solving for you. You don’t need to have an IQ over 140. Smarts mean nothing. So ask yourself – can I solve problems and am I resourceful? If yes to both, then what are you waiting for? The time is now!”

Don’t Let Self Doubt Hold You Back

So instead of letting self-doubt and fears hold you back, take an experimental approach. Start small, learn from mistakes, develop a growth mindset, and most importantly – take action. As Michael Jordan once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Take that shot, miss a few times, make adjustments, and keep shooting. That’s how you’ll find success as an entrepreneur.

Marie Forleo’s book title, Everything is Figureoutable, says it all.

Surround yourself with a good community – be it in a free Facebook group or a mastermind. Sign up for good podcasts, YouTube channels and audio books. Attend events. Keep learning, make small mistakes and keep getting better.

Relaed articles:

How To Get Anything Done by Going from Goal to Action(Opens in a new browser tab)

The Best Strokes of Life – Five Ways To Overcome Life’s Roadblocks(Opens in a new browser tab)

Is Entrepreneurship Hard? What To Know Before You Start.(Opens in a new browser tab)

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