At first, entrepreneurs and artists seem like they would occupy opposite ends of the personality spectrum. You may think of entrepreneurs as type-A, outgoing opportunity-seekers while artists are sensitive, dreamy introverts. However, those who choose to pursue an artistic or entrepreneurial career tend to actually possess many of the same personality traits, meaning that the title of “artist” and “entrepreneur” may not be so vastly different from each other. While there is no standard personality type for either profession, here are five characteristics that both artists and entrepreneurs tend to possess.
While creativity is the most obvious trait of an artist, it is also a crucial skill for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs need to see the world through a different lens than everyone else– that is how they envision and innovate new ideas that inspire their businesses. Entrepreneurs are always thinking about how to create something that makes the world better or makes something that already exists better. Just like artists create artwork that is original and unique to their creative self, entrepreneurs create big ideas that are unique to their own perception of the world.
2. Openness to Experience
Out of the “Big Five” personality traits, the one that both entrepreneurs and creatives share alike is openness to experience. The openness to experience personality trait entails originality, imagination, daringness, having a broad range of interests, and preferring variety in the day to day instead of fixed routines. Recent research has found that openness to experience is the number one predictor of creative achievement. This is because those who are more open to experience are seeking the positive rewards found in new experiences, instead of fearing failure, humiliation, and rejection that can also come with new experiences. Those who are more open to experience are simply exposed to a greater amount and variety of stimuli, which results in higher brain plasticity. Researchers have also found that entrepreneurs are consistently more open to experience than managers. They hypothesize that entrepreneurs are more attracted to constantly changing experiences and novel challenges, which ultimately leads to more creative business decisions and more original business models.
Both entrepreneurs must have passion in order to succeed in their career. As both professions are unconventional jobs that require long hours, many rejections, and long periods of failure. These conditions make it extremely difficult to put in the work it takes to be an artist or entrepreneur, especially if it doesn’t appear to be paying off. That is why passion is so important– it motivates entrepreneurs and artists to do the work they need to do. Passion is the quality that fuels the drive, patience, and persistence that is crucial for the long-term success.
Both artists and entrepreneurs must have a vision– it is their vision that ultimately motivates their passion and their drive. Some of the most successful entrepreneurial startups, such as Google, Facebook, and Tesla, were birthed from a clear, yet highly ambitious, vision. Their entrepreneurial vision gave them something to be passionate about, which drove them to their success in the end. Similar to entrepreneurial vision, artistic vision is equally important to a successful career in art. Research have found that creative people actually visually perceive the world differently than others, which leads to the originality and uniqueness of their artwork. The artist’s own creative vision, like the entrepreneur’s, gives them something to be passionate and driven about.
Risk-taking is a necessity for entrepreneurs. The whole process of starting a new business entails business risks, but also deeper risks. When entrepreneurs put their vision and ideas out into the world, they are running the risk of failure, rejection, and humiliation. However, no successful entrepreneur has ever made it by playing it safe. Big ideas come with big risks– it is simply the nature of entrepreneurship. Risk-taking is vital to a career in art, as well. The profession of art naturally comes with risks, as the field is fiercely competitive and the risk of not becoming successful is omnipresent. Further, artists do not make a steady or stable income, which brings about financial risks. But even within the process of creating, artists run a high potential for failure. Art is so personal and subjective that the potential for risk is higher, and the painfulness of failure is more intense. Many artists have different relationships with failure, yet it is something that all artists must overcome in order to be successful.
Why is it important that these two groups are not so different after all? Research has shown that the direction the art world is moving in is an entrepreneurial one, which makes it all the more necessary for artists and creatives to develop their entrepreneurial and business skills. Since the title of “entrepreneur” is often one artists reject– as they believe business and art should not mix– traditional art schools fail to prepare their students with the necessary skills they need. Luckily, organizations such as Visual Arts Reimagined provide consulting and training services for young, emerging artists that are looking to further develop these crucial skills. And, after all, artists and entrepreneurs are not so different– the two titles go together naturally, just in time for the age of the artist-entrepreneur.