The 5 Traits Every Entrepreneur Must Have

November 20, 2019

Diamond Case Team

For an episode of Planet Lex: The Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Podcast, Howard Tullman (JD ’70), Executive Director of the Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship and former CEO of 1871 Chicago, and Governor J.B. Pritzker (JD ’93), co-founder of the Pritzker Group, discussed what it takes to pursue innovation in business. During the conversation, the guests shared insight into how a legal education contributes to an entrepreneurial mindset. “When we talk about entrepreneurs at law school, the law schools are still focused on the gladiator litigator model, which is ‘one person is going to triumph,’” Tullman said. “And frankly, the world is different today. The world is about collaboration and it’s about a different set of team-based skills.”

Still, having a legal background can help entrepreneurs be efficient and effective, Pritzker said. “A mindset of the law helps to drive the entrepreneurial spirit,” he explained. “There a lot of people who have a desire or a need to go create but may not be able to organize and head down a single road in order to get things done.”

For anyone who wants to pursue an entrepreneurial career, Tullman says there are five must-haves:

1. Passion. Being an entrepreneur is hard and lonely, Tullman says, so passion for the work is critical.

2. Dedication. “You have to do literally the hard work,” he says. You’ll be putting your sweat —and a lot of your time — into your endeavor

3. Preparation. Entrepreneurship isn’t just the excitement and glitz you see on shows like Shark Tank. Before any project takes off, you’ll need to take time to prepare.

4. Perseverance. “It’s a bumpy, long and hard road,” Tullman says. You’ll need to stick with it.

5. Desire to Make a Difference. “You have to want to do something that is more than making money,” Tullman says. “You have to want to make a contribution.”