Entrepreneur psychology: the crucial importance of resilience

There are many aspects of your make up that can influence whether or not you might make a good entrepreneur. Being a self-starter is one, being able to organise your own schedule is another, but possibly the most important of all is being extremely resilient.


Even the smallest sole trader business carries with it a great deal of responsibility and risk, and when your business employs other people these factors grow in importance and offer correspondingly higher levels of stress. These risks aren’t just financial, but psychological too and being able to deal with them is a big part of learning how to be successful.

Famous faces

Some of the most famous faces and biggest success in business have all had high profile setbacks and failures to deal with along the way. People like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk all had the inner strength and core resilience that enabled them to bounce back and go on to achieve great things. It isn’t just financial problems that need to be dealt with of course, as often competition in the world of commerce can lead to personality clashes that can be psychologically bruising.

Day to day

This kind of strength and belief in your own abilities is needed on a day-to-day basis if you are to be a successful entrepreneur. However, it is important to remember that in this case the types of hardship that need this response are a lifestyle choice rather than being a reaction to outside forces such as illness or injury which requires a totally different type of inner personal resilience. Having said that, sometimes the stress and pressure of running your own business can affect your health directly or indirectly, so this is something to bear in mind.

How to build up resilience

Obviously some individuals have a natural ability to be resilient, but it is something that anyone can learn. Looking at high profile people who have had to deal with struggling circumstances to build their business is a perfect place to start. For instance, Catherine Hooper had to deal with being at the centre of a storm of negative publicity when her husband’s father Bernie Madoff hit headlines around the world for his business dealings. The fact that Hooper went on to run Black Umbrella, her own successful business that helps people suffering from the effect of natural disasters, is a testament to the way that having self belief and a strong character can get you through the most difficult of times.

Learn as you go 

The world of business is based on learning from mistakes and setbacks and being able to use them to your ultimate advantage. Making changes and adaptations to a way of working is the only way for a successful venture to survive and then move forward, so having similar personal attributes is almost a prerequisite for being a successful entrepreneur.