If you find one of these people, you're in luck!

They're committed. They're passionate. They're smart. They're innovative. They push you. They hustle. They are a crucial part of any work team.

Who are these sensational people? They are entrepreneurial employees.

For startup founders, business owners, or managers, hiring an entrepreneurial employee is akin to hiring dynamite. Though they are sometimes unwieldy, intimidating, and may even outpace you, you can't argue with their potential and power.

Whether you aspire to be one, or aspire to hire one, here are the top 10 characteristics of entrepreneurial employees.

1. They possess energy.

The energy level of these employees is the first thing you'll notice. They hustle. They work hard.

They may show up late (but work later), and they will always impress you with the intensity that they pour into their jobs.

2. They are committed to personal improvement.

Growing leaders and entrepreneurs are focused on personal improvement. Often, this looks like reading a self-help book during lunch breaks or pouring over Lifehack articles.

Sometimes, this personal improvement seems to be ambition, ladder-climbing, or even opportunism. It all depends on your perspective, though. Any personal improvement that an employee makes is an improvement that the business can benefit from.

3. They make or support risky decisions.

Risk is baked into the definition of entrepreneurship. You'll see this risk emerge in a variety of ways. In less mature forms, it can be wild adventures on the weekend. In its more sophisticated iteration, it can be a vote for a risky decision or coming up with a risky idea.

4. They may not be excellent team players,

Sometimes, the most entrepreneurial employees don't work well on teams. They don't think like other people, and may have trouble understanding or empathizing with alternate points of view. Visions of Steve Jobs come to mind.

Even though they are a strident team member, they are good team creators. Entrepreneurs are seldom lone rangers. They bring the right people together to make magic happen.

5. They love to create.

Entrepreneurial employees thrive when you hand them something to create. At its core, entrepreneurship is about creating something--taking ideas and bringing them to fruition.

6. They prefer loose oversight to micromanaged handholding.

Entrepreneurial employees are best handled loosely.

Your management style may either encourage their entrepreneurial behavior or inhibit it.

  • If you tend to manage your employees very closely (read micromanaging), then you won't see their entrepreneurship as clearly. Instead, you will see their stifled creativity or stiffened behavior as resentment and dissatisfaction.
  • If you tend to manage your employees loosely, then their entrepreneurship will flourish. Entrepreneurs need space to think, create, and do, without the imaginary limits of strict oversight.

7. They seek you out to share their plans and ideas.

Your entrepreneurial employee has ideas that she wants to share with you--ideas for growing the company, expanding into new markets, or inventing new products.

This is a telltale sign of an entrepreneurial employee.

She is trying to put her entrepreneurial vision into play by using the resources of the company, and that's smart. That is the reason why this person will prove to be enormously valuable within the company.

Take a chance with these ideas. Put the ball back in her court, give her some leash, and see what she can do. You might be blown away by the results.

8. They have a side hustle.

According to studies the majority of entrepreneurs start a company because they desire to build wealth.

Many of today's entrepreneurs launch into entrepreneurship by means of a "side hustle"--a part-time or weekend job, perhaps.

Don't fear this or attempt to discourage it. Their side hustle may give them the energy, enthusiasm, and creativity that are fueling their "real job."

9. They want to execute, not wait around talking about it.

Entrepreneurs are doers and thinkers, but they usually finish their thinking long before everyone else does.

Instead, they want to act. Ideas were meant to be executed, not discussed for hours on end. If your entrepreneurial employee gets fidgety during meetings, doesn't show up to meetings, or simply wants to quit talking and start doing, you're seeing the positive signs of entrepreneurial passion.

10. They may threaten to leave. And they might even carry out their threat.

This is the downside of hiring entrepreneurial employees. They linger on the edge, possibly threatening to leave, and daydreaming about the day that they will be free.

That's what drives many entrepreneurs--ultimate lifestyle freedom. If you can give them more freedom in their position, a l4-Hour Workweek (which they have probably read), then you may be able to hang on to them longer.


You may not love your entrepreneurial employee. You may clash with them--desperately at times!

That's the price of having dynamite on your team. There's no managerial law that says you have to be BFFs with your entrepreneurial employees, so don't let this bother you.

If you have them, while you do, make the most of it. They may change your organization, and they may even change the world.

What are the characteristics of entrepreneurial employees that you've observed?