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  • Matt Phillips

Ten Qualities More Important Than Raw Talent


A few years ago, a colleague of mine made a comment that implied that raw talent was more important than forming client relationships. I was so taken aback by that comment, and since then have decided that I fundamentally disagree with the idea that talent outweighs hard work and other character traits.

In fact, there are lots of qualities more important than raw talent.

Don’t get me wrong, raw talent is VERY valuable. And will probably get you a long way. But there’s a difference between keeping you busy and achieving real success. And there are at least TEN qualities that we feel are even more important than raw talent when it comes to being successful as an entrepreneur or creative professional:


1) Initiative – Going above and beyond to do something your customers didn’t expect can create a greater sense of loyalty. For example, doing extra research for a press release you’re asked to write so that you have compelling facts your client didn’t provide.

2) Persistence / Endurance – Sometimes being an entrepreneur can be exhausting, especially when things aren’t going well. It’s inevitable, and every business will hit a wall at some point. So it’s important than entrepreneurs have the ability to persevere and stick with their goals without giving up.

3) Communication Skills – Thorough and accurate communication saves time and avoids unnecessary frustration. And in the creative industry, it keeps clients coming back if you are good at interpreting what they need and communicating effectively about what your recommendations are, what they need and why, and what you need from them to do a great job. And when customers don’t communicate well, it’s our job to interview them and be able to pull out the information they aren’t volunteering.

4) Drive / Determination – Every business owner needs that innate hunger to succeed, to serve others, to achieve a new goal, etc. There is an inexplicable x-factor that makes entrepreneurs eat, sleep, and breathe their dreams and that drive to adapt and succeed is what leads to successful brands. Call it passion, call it motivation, call it whatever you want. But you’ll definitely need it.

5) Confidence – Every entrepreneur or creative needs the confidence to stand behind their product or service and charge what they are worth. It takes confidence to create healthy boundaries. However, we don’t mean cockiness. Which is a great Segway into the sixth trait…

6) Humility / Servants Heart – The only way confidence is a healthy character trait is when it’s paired with a hefty dose of humility. Having a servant’s heart, knowing when to admit fault, and genuinely wanting to serve your customers and meet their needs is ultimately what makes business owners build reputations and get referrals.

7) Ability to Maintain Boundaries – Whether it’s with your time, your pricing, or your family vacation schedule, it’s important to create and preserve healthy boundaries with your customers.

8) Organization – Regardless of what type of industry you’re in, every entrepreneur and creative will face challenges with staying organized. Depending on your company, though, that may look different. For creatives, organizing files and project deadlines can be a daunting hurdle to overcome. But for retail stores, it might be keeping track of inventory or supply chains. Invest in the tools you need, whether physical tools or digital tools, that you need to be organized. It’ll save you time and make you more money in the long run.

9) Problem Solving – This can look so different for different kinds of entrepreneurs. For some, it might look like figuring out how to cover a busy seasonal shift schedule. For others, it might look like finding new ways to display more products in a small space to maximize your profit potential. Every successful entrepreneur has to be bold about experimenting with problem solving, and being open to trial and error.

10) Hunger for to Keep Learning – To stay relevant in the long run, your business has to keep evolving and adapting to trends, new technologies, customer expectations, etc. Follow influencers in your industry, read lots of books, and keep an open mind at all time. Be willing to admit what you don’t know and go find it. In today’s day and age, it’s easier than ever to keep learning and expand your knowledge.


Honing in on these ten qualities will help you be better off as an entrepreneur, especially if you work in the creative space. Be sure to listen to our podcast by subscribing to Brand Nation from iTunes, Spotify, and all your favorite listening apps.

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