What Effective Teachers and Successful Entrepreneurs Have in Common

Teachers and entrepreneurs have more in common than we might think. The same characteristics and principles required to run a classroom are quite similar to those needed to build and grow a business.

The Teacherpreneur is the new wave of entrepreneurial success.

If a teacher believes in something, their passion-no matter the modality-has the potential of yielding excellent results!

Teachers are lifelong learners that are motivated, smart, passionate, and mission-driven professionals. All of these traits are needed in order to be a successful entrepreneur as well.

The quote “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach,” does not apply here!

Jack Ma, the founder of the globally renowned Alibaba Group, worked as an English lecturer before launching his highly successful online company. In 2016, he was listed among the wealthiest tech billionaires by Forbes, with his company providing innovative tech solutions to millions of consumers.

Being an entrepreneur takes courage, effort, resilience, and the grit to create your destiny. Successful entrepreneurs take their work seriously, invest in improving themselves, adapt to current market and customer needs, are ready to take risks and are always learning.

If you applied the same characteristics to an effective teacher, you would find that they would comfortably fit. Teaching requires the same level of improvisation, dedication, and adaptation.

Most importantly, teachers have more at stake than just profits–they are dedicated to improving their students’ well being and also to contributing to the school’s overall progress.

Here are some of the shared traits between effective teachers and entrepreneurs:


Highly Tuned Sales Skills

sales skills

Picture, for a second, a modern-day high school classroom. You enter the class and stand in front of about 40 teenagers.

You’re ready to teach them something that they might not have any interest in learning.

We are talking about students whose lives are filled with their Twitter feed and Snapchat, among other things. Others are just dealing with the trauma and excitement of simply growing up.

Their focus is definitely divided, and in the battle for grabbing their attention, you’re most likely losing to social media.

The teacher in such a classroom must sell their lessons as something that is useful, interesting and worth paying attention to.


Related: How to Adopt a Powerful and Positive Sales Mindset


Remember that these kids do not have the patience of an adult consumer who often still listens to pitches or presentations even when they might not render immediate value.

Effective teachers don’t merely teach; they make the students believe in their abilities. They make the learning process fun and more meaningful.

While content is crucial, research shows that the most significant factor that determines student achievement and success is the teacher.

Like a great teacherpreneur, Steve Jobs had almost mystical powers of convincing coworkers that they could achieve the impossible. He sold everyone, from colleagues and investors to customers, on revolutionary ideas and convinced them that they could do better and should expect more.


Related: 8 Simple Productivity Hacks for Ambitious Teacherpreneurs


Both Teachers and Entrepreneurs are Great Communicators

great communicators

To succeed as an entrepreneur, you must have excellent communication skills. You will need to present your ideas to potential investors, make an outstanding first impression when networking, and you must also instill trust and confidence in your investors, partners, and clients.

Entrepreneurs also have sharp conflict management, negotiation, and mediation skills. They understand the importance of catering to even the most demanding clients by focusing on the broader vision and letting go of their egos.

Similarly, teachers must be competent communicators to convey their expertise and facilitate better student learning and comprehension. They create enthusiasm towards the subject, thus removing any inhibitions and fears that students may have.

From incorporating teaching aids, such as video conferencing and computers, to dividing the class into small teams, teachers are always working to increase interaction in the class.

Furthermore, good teachers also need to apply various presentation skills like confident body language and verbal skills to leave positive lasting impressions in the students’ minds.

Related: What We’ve Learned From 15 Teacherpreneur Case Studies

Fundraising Traits

Fundraising is almost synonymous with the word entrepreneur. For most innovators, the initial capital gained through funding activities, like crowdfunding, helps to convert their ideas into working businesses.

Likewise, exceptional teachers realize the importance of using all resources available to make their kids succeed. Public funding only covers the necessary things, but art projects, field trips or even a warm jacket delivered quietly to an impoverished student usually makes a huge difference.

Teachers know that they need to leverage resources ranging from the school administration to the parents and local business owners. They are always ready to ask for contributions when necessary and are skilled fundraisers who can customize the pitch to different audiences while highlighting the value of the proposition.

Additionally, exceptional teachers go even further and use their own money to supplement classroom resources. Several studies show that most teachers, with very little fanfare, spend up to $500 to make sure their students have everything they need.



Understanding What the Customers (or Students) Want

An entrepreneur must find ways of truly understanding consumer behaviour to succeed in the current business landscape. Once you know your customers, you will be able to do better-targeting campaigns, position yourself for future relevancy, and also provide better service.

A great teacher is naturally empathetic and can deliver the learning content in ways that the students need and understand. It is the ability to tailor the product, i.e. the knowledge, to suit the needs of every student.

In class, teachers must continuously listen to the students and know how to separate the moans and groans from the honest feedback. They understand that the customer is not always right and that they must find a balance – they cannot be pandering to every whim!


Teachers and Entrepreneurs Have the Ability to Adapt

ability to adapt

One of the reasons attributed to the fall of Nokia was the fact that it overlooked America when developing its products. The company failed to change its business plan, and today the once giant phone company is hardly a marginal player in the market.

Successful entrepreneurs are those who are willing to modify, improvise and switch their business strategy as they continue learning more information about their audience. Similarly, teachers also know when they need to be flexible and work outside the prescribed curriculum.

In a classroom of 30 students, nearly half the kids may be bored or lost at any one time. You can get questions that take the lesson in a completely different direction than initially intended – not to mention the fact that you need to factor in other issues like budget cuts, sick kids, and snow days.

A teacherpreneur knows when to adapt to suit different circumstances and they usually do it very quickly.


Related: The Real Cause of Nokia’s Crisis


Caring and Passionate Traits in Both Teachers and Entrepreneurs

It is clear that Elon Musk genuinely cares about the future of the planet and preventing climate change. Just consider the fact that Tesla gave away its patents to other car companies to help in promoting the vision of more sustainable electric cars.

It is this kind of passion and care for others that drives a teacherpreneur to succeed. For most teachers, money is the last thing on their mind.

They work because of an inner desire to improve their students’ lives. They work tirelessly to develop customized lesson plans and are always working on improving themselves for the benefit of their kids.

An effective teacher is profoundly passionate and cares about seeing their kids becoming successful. Students can feel this infectious trait and become more motivated to perform better in their classroom activities.


Related: How I grew my audience by launching a 99c mobile app – Jarrod Robinson


Teachers and entrepreneurs undoubtedly share the same mindset.

If you’ve been toying with the idea of becoming a teacherpreneur, submerge yourself or dip your toe in. Either way, you might find yourself more at home than you think!

Want to learn how to automate, delegate, be more productive, enjoy life and boost your profit? Check out our high-level mastermind for educators.

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