Successful Entrepreneurs Aren't (Necessarily) Geniuses


Who Are Successful Entrepreneurs?

One of my good friends is in this cohort of Y Combinator - a good step for wannabe successful entrepreneurs.  I was so excited I dreamt about it the night I found out.

Another of my friends just closed an oversubscribed pre-seed round.

In fact, a lot of my friends are becoming 'successful' entrepreneurs.  One of my peers finished at Techstars in New York several months ago, and another couple are in Techstars Boston right now.

I'm extremely excited for means a lot for them, for the Montreal startup scene, for my Founder Institute peers (the group from which most of these people have come), and for my own personal network.

But perhaps the most profound realization that this has imprinted is that successful entrepreneurs aren't smarter than anyone else.  Sure, they're definitely smart people.  But I'm pretty smart too, as are most of the other people I went to McGill with, or a large percentage of the students/people anywhere else in the world.

It's been known for a long time that IQ isn't a good predictor of success.  Other things, like EQ (emotional intelligence) and perseverance play large factors.

But particularly as an entrepreneur, you can easily get lost in those iconic successful entrepreneurs - Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, the list goes on - and you wouldn't be wrong in thinking they're extremely smart.

But you don't have to be a genius to be a successful entrepreneur.

When I think of all my friends and peers who are experiencing success, it's not their intelligence that immediately comes to mind (though it follows quickly).  It's a motivation, a drive, a persistence, and an ability to get things done.  Abilities like networking, quick thinking and persuasive personalities are more important.  They're always selling, whether it be product or themselves, or both.

I've said it before, but it's been clear to me that persistence is the key to entrepreneurial (and most other) success.  Taking the entrepreneurial plunge is a good first step, but reaching success requires more.  Just know that genius-level intelligence isn't one of those requirements.