The entrepreneurial spirit is more than something that only younger people possess. Entrepreneur David Malcolm, an influential real estate professional and community leader in San Diego, believes it’s something that doesn’t go away with age or over time.
When one possesses the entrepreneurial spirit, it’s a mindset that stays throughout life and endures.
“My definition of an entrepreneur is someone who always looks at the world and asks, ‘What can I do that is different, better, new, or all of the above?’” David Malcolm, San Diego entrepreneur, says. “Like Steve Jobs creating the iPhone, he or she can see opportunities that others simply don’t, and they do something about those opportunities.”
Thus, Malcolm’s saying, “Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur.”
Main Entrepreneurial Traits
There has been a lot written about what makes a successful entrepreneur. In many of those writings, there are common themes often cited. David Malcolm says five traits resonate most with him, proving that the entrepreneurial spirit permeates one’s life.
It’s not easy to create something new, and it’s not for the faint of heart. The only way that entrepreneurs can push through the challenges is if they’re passionate about what they’re doing.
“Entrepreneurs need to have the passion that creates the drive to succeed, even in the face of outsiders’ skepticism, occasional stumbles or failures, and uncertainty,” David Malcolm says. “This kind of passion comes from deep inside. It shows up early in life and doesn’t dissipate over time.”
What’s missing? What can be improved on? Why does this work this way? What can be done to achieve something new?
The 5 W’s — who, what, when, where, and why — are often associated with children learning the world, especially the “why.” This is something that, for entrepreneurs, doesn’t go away as they mature, though.
Questioning why something is the way it is and what can be done to improve upon it persists in entrepreneurs. While it may drive others a little crazy sometimes, it helps lead to inspiration and insights.
Entrepreneurs generally have an optimistic outlook on everything at the beginning. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be able to see the world of possibilities they could bring to the table.
With entrepreneurs, this optimism is very hard for someone else to deflate for longer than a very short period. This helps the entrepreneur to keep pushing through and trying different things as they work their way through any new challenge.
Being an entrepreneur and taking risks goes hand-in-hand. But, unlike in others, being a risk-taker is an “innate characteristic” for entrepreneurs, explains David Malcolm.
“Some of us are adrenaline junkies who find risk to be energizing and embrace it in its many forms. Others take calculated risks,” he says. “But, those with true entrepreneurial spirit never shy away from risk.”
Persistence is one of the most important characteristics of a successful entrepreneur. This is needed to overcome setbacks, obstacles and sometimes spectacular failures.
Entrepreneurs need to have a lot of ideas simply because most of the ideas they come up with simply won’t be good. In order to find the ideas that will work, entrepreneurs shouldn’t be afraid of failure, which ultimately leads to success.
“A person who gets knocked down, picks herself or himself off the floor, and tries again until she or he gets it right has an indefatigable entrepreneurial spirit,” says David Malcolm.
Examples from the Real World
The COVID-19 pandemic was obviously an enormous crisis that affected everything and everyone. A tremendous amount of innovation also occurred as a result of the pandemic.
A survey polled 124 businesses, with leaders saying that 29% of their current sales, on average, were the direct result of some changes they made since the pandemic began. In essence, almost one-third of all current sales, then, were new sales, coming during the rapidly-changing times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That is a fine example of the entrepreneurial spirit at play.
The Driving Force Behind the Entrepreneurial Spirit
What drives one person may not motivate another, and vice versa. A person’s drive is, in fact, very personal and unique, and so, too, is the entrepreneurial spirit. While there are common traits that many successful entrepreneurs will possess, what makes them want to keep going often differs.
“The struggle to make things better has persisted since humans discovered cooking food with fire and invented the wheel. Some people do it for money or other material rewards. Some do it for fame. Others do it to help mankind, often for very personal reasons,” says David Malcolm. “No matter the personal motivation … I am certain that true entrepreneurial spirit will never be quenched.”
About David Malcolm
David Malcolm of San Diego is an influential real estate professional, entrepreneur, and community leader with over five decades of work experience. Mr. Malcolm is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Presidents Program, a licensed real estate agent and broker, and a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM). He has run and advised multiple public and private companies and held several public offices.