Many people think they aren’t smart enough to be an entrepreneur, but there doesn’t seem to be much proof that you need to have a high IQ to live this way. We’ve all heard of first-time entrepreneurs who dropped out of school and went on to start successful businesses, and many sources say that “street smarts” (experience) tend to beat “book smarts” (intelligence) every time.
From another point of view, there are different kinds of intelligence, and everyone has strengths and weaknesses in all of them. It does seem that the most successful entrepreneurs are those who have a wide range of interests, skills, and experiences (i.e., “street smarts”), and that being an expert in one field is not as important.
Related: Surprising Qualities of Successful Entrepreneurs
Here are brief descriptions of the eight most common types of intelligence, which cover most people’s abilities, in order of how useful I think they are for entrepreneurs:
1. Language Proficiency
People who have a lot of linguistic intelligence are very good at using words and languages. Most of the time, they are good at reading, writing, and telling stories. Good entrepreneurs need these skills to lead a team, sell their ideas to customers and investors, and write business plans.
2. Interpersonal Intelligence
These are the things that make up social skills. Entrepreneurs with good social skills get along better with everyone they deal with. They can understand how other people feel, what drives them, and how they act, which helps them get their support and negotiate well. They enjoy helping people.
3. Intra-personal Intelligence
Intrapersonal intelligence is the ability to understand your own strengths, weaknesses, and motivations, as well as how to use this knowledge to plan and make decisions. Entrepreneurs who want to be happy and satisfied must be able to find advisors and partners whose skills complement their own.
4. Logical-reasoning Intelligence
Logical-mathematical intelligence is the ability to think logically and do the math. Entrepreneurs use their strengths in this area to find a balance between their passion for a specific solution and the steps and money they need to build, roll out, and grow their businesses.
5. Naturalist Intelligence
This kind of environmental and cultural understanding comes from a sensitive, ethical, and whole-world view of the world and its many problems. I think good entrepreneurs use this to find new markets first, predict world trends, come up with effective marketing campaigns, and narrow in on specific demographics.
6. Spatial Intelligence
Spatial intelligence means being able to think in three dimensions and see things in your mind. Having an active imagination and being able to picture things in your mind are also core skills. It’s easy to see why this is important for entrepreneurs in marketing, solution design, and product branding.
7. Kinesthetic Intelligence
This intelligence means having a sense of timing and perfecting skills by coordinating your mind and body. Entrepreneurs who are also good at making new things and coming up with new ideas are especially good at this. Strengths in this area also lead to being a good leader and being able to speak well in public.
8. Musical Intelligence
The ability to recognize pitch, rhythm, timbre, and tone is a sign of musical intelligence. This skill is important for any business that has anything to do with music, either directly or indirectly. It also helps entrepreneurs be better listeners, plan events, and come up with marketing plans. Most people who are good at music are also smart.
Every person who wants to be an entrepreneur needs to look at both their intelligence and their mindset. The best way to think is to see challenges as exciting instead of scary, setbacks as chances to learn, and obstacles as things that can be overcome with hard work and persistence.
Don’t let anyone, including yourself, tells you that you aren’t smart enough to be an entrepreneur if you have this mindset and even a few strengths in the multiple intelligences listed above.