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Personality Testing for Entrepreneurs

written by: Heidi Wiesenfelder•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 4/1/2010

Wondering if you would be successful as an entrepreneur? Personality tests provide insight regarding the extent to which you display characteristics associated with successful entrepreneurs.

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    About Personality Tests for Entrepreneurs

    If you are wondering whether you should take the plunge into entrepreneurship, start by determining whether you have an entrepreneurial personality. You may have heard that entrepreneurs should be good at taking risks or make quick decisions, but these personality tests for entrepreneurs will help you find out how closely your style matches that of successful entrepreneurs. offers an entrepreneurial personality quiz based on the work of Thomas Harrison of Omnicon Group. In his book, "Instinct", Harrison describes eight techniques you can try to bring out latent traits if you are not a born entrepreneur. The quiz consists of 30 questions, which cover five key areas: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

    These characteristics are known as "the big five" or the OCEAN model (due to the acronym created from the five names), and the first two in particular show ties to entrepreneurial ability. You can take Forbes' personality test for free online. Results are very brief, and indicate how many of your 30 answers match those of born entrepreneurs, and provide basic advice such as "What are you waiting for? Start raising capital!" or "You're no natural, but if you recognize your deficiencies you can make it work."

    Another personality test based on the big five dimensions provides greater detail about your results on the five dimensions. To take this test, you provide some demographic information and then answer 45 questions on an agreement scale, where your responses range from "Strongly Agree" to "Strongly Disagree". You have the option to rate another person simultaneously, which can help you in evaluating whether you are judging yourself appropriately.

    Note that the data you provide may be used by researchers and students, so you can help add to the body of knowledge in this field. No personal information is required, and your responses are anonymous. Take the Big 5 Personality Test here, then review your results on the five scales. Scores are provided in the form of percentiles, which represent the percentage of people whose scores you exceeded.

    Pay particular attention to your first two scores. Individuals who succeed as entrepreneurs tend to score highly on the first scale, meaning they are open to new experiences rather than closed-minded. Successful entrepreneurs also tend to be highly conscientious rather than disorganized.

    Another test of entrepreneurial style is based on the work of Bill Wagner, author of "The Entrepreneur Next Door". The 60 questions cover your interactions with other people, your overall life view, and your work style and preferences. The test assesses characteristics such as independence, networking ability, and tendency to abide by rules. You can take the entrepreneurial style test for free, and receive a portion of the results containing introductory information and an interpretation of one of your scores. The cost to receive the full results, however, is $14.95.

    Another option is the highly comprehensive Business Career Interests Inventory, created by Dr. James Waldrop, former Co-Director of Career Development at Harvard Business School (HBS), and Dr. Timothy Butler, Director of MBA Career Development Programs at HBS. Its 280 questions cover personal attributes, occupational preferences, subject matter interests, and preferred activities. After you take the assessment online, you will immediately be able to view your score on the Entrepreneurial Attributes Scale, along with an interpretation of your score in terms of your similarity (or lack thereof) to people who enjoy entrepreneurship. The test itself covers other areas as well, and CareerLeader offers a full assessment program to explore your business-related interests, values and abilities.