There’s nothing more exciting than the idea of running your own business and being your own boss! Many of us have had this dream.

Wāhine Māori have always had an entrepreneurial spirit partly because it’s in our DNA, partly out of necessity – we need to provide for our whānau – but also because we love to start businesses. We are creators, dreamers, inventors, and “do-ers.”

And there’s something about being in Aotearoa that leads people to ask, “I’m sure I can do something better, or create something that has never been done before?”

But, dreams aside, not everyone has the right personality to start a business. So before you decide to take a leap of faith into entrepreneurship, it’s best to take stock of your personal strengths, personality traits, and ideal way of working and living.

Do you have what it takes to start a business?

There are many characteristics of a successful entrepreneur, and not all successful business owners are alike. But in general, if you want to start a business, you should possess some or all of the following traits:


  • Resilience: Things are not always going to go your way. There will be days where you feel frustrated when deals fall through and customers disappoint you when no one will return your calls or respond to e-mails when unexpected expenses suddenly start piling up. Running your own business is not always sunshine, roses, and glory. Sometimes it’s a hard slog. But if you have a sense of inner resilience, you’ll be able to get through the rough spots and bounce back.


  • Confidence: Do you believe in your business? Are you passionate about the value that you offer to your customers? Are you certain that people need what you’re selling, and are they willing to pay you a profitable amount of money to sell it to them? Confidence is not just about the stories you tell to others (like the 20-second “elevator speech” to describe your business to people you meet). It’s also about the “self-talk” you give to yourself. If you tell yourself that your business is worthwhile, that your success is imminent and growing, and that you’ll be able to handle whatever challenges come your way, then reality is likely to follow.


  • Faith: Starting a business is a leap of faith – but it’s not just one “leap.” You have to keep leaping. This is not about religion but as a business owner, you need to have faith that the universe will provide, that you will attract opportunities, and that there will be more ups than downs along the journey. Faith is the antidote to fear.


  • Drive: Are you willing to work as hard as it takes? Do you see yourself working 12 and 14 hour days (or longer) when the business needs you most? Are you prepared to work 14 days straight (or longer) without a day off, not because you’re desperate for money but because you love what you do and you’re committed to your business’s success? Do you hunger and thirst for work – not just for money, but for the feelings of accomplishment and fulfillment that come from a job well done and from winning the game of business?


  • Love of Details: Running a business is not only about doing the stuff you love and serving your favourite customers or clients. Sometimes it requires you to get familiar with technical details, legalese, and various unglamorous tasks that you never knew existed. If you want to start a business, you’ll need to choose a business structure and get familiar with the relative merits of a sole trader, partnership, or limited liability company. You’ll need to navigate the ins and outs of how to register a business. And once your business is registered and running, and the money starts rolling in, you’ll need to learn all about the wonderful world of small business taxes including GST, ACC, insurance, etc. These details are not a sideshow to the “real work” of your business – they’re a full part of your business. If you can learn to relish these details, and enjoy learning new things about previously esoteric subjects like accounting, receivables, and provisional quarterly tax payments, you’ll be a happier and more successful business owner.


Starting a business is an amazing journey that can create big benefits in your life, as well as your career. But before you begin your journey, give some thought to whether you have the right personality traits and emotional strengths to see you through.

Here are some links to help you decide whether the entrepreneurial life is for you or not. The first two assessments are free and there’s a small fee for the Clifton Strengths but it is totally worth it. I invite you to invest in yourself.


  1. MyersBriggs –
  2. DISC (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Compliance) –


Arohanui, nā Awhimai


I am a leadership and business coach. I help women unlock the leader within so they can win at work, succeed in life, and lead with confidence.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash