Psychology of Entrepreneurship – “Entrepreneurial Alertness”

Remembering June 18th, 2021, was full of joy, excitement, and enthusiasm, but also fear of the unknown….asking myself… will I make it… am I good enough…. can I become a successful entrepreneur?

Of course, I’ve practiced entrepreneurial skills over the last 16 years and built dozens of businesses, but being out on my own, with my guidance as the highest power was a WHOLE new level of responsibility!

A year in, I have grown, my clients have grown, and I have made an impact in my own life through impacting the lives of others… the journey from Vice President to CEO of my own business is a transformation that is now part of WHO I am AND whom I am becoming…

I knew my experience was transformational most definitively in psychology, mindset, and belief systems so I got curious and decided to do a little research…

Here’s what I’ve found….


What makes someone capable of being an entrepreneur? What are the characteristics necessary for an individual to become successful in building a new business? Some say it is the ability to recognize and think in advanced and uncommon ways to identify solutions and innovative business opportunities. Let’s talk about it.

To start, entrepreneurship is defined as the identification and exploitation of business opportunities within the individual–opportunity nexus (Shane & Venkataraman 2000). 

Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone. This kind of lifestyle and drive requires a lot of patience, but also requires intense critical thinking skills. To be able to identify gaps in markets and trades and be successful enough to profit takes a special kind of alertness.

Kirzner (1979) defines Entrepreneurial Alertness as the ability to notice business opportunities without searching for them. So, in essence, one who is hyper-aware of situations regarding supply and demand without sitting and devising. They are problem solvers with quick intent to assist societal lack meanwhile supporting themselves.  

According to Kirzner, economic markets are in a continuous state of disequilibrium with local variations in prices. These discrepancies in prices are opportunities for business and recognizing entrepreneurial gains.

“Entrepreneurs are the people in the economy who are alert to these discrepancies; they buy products when prices are low and sell them when prices are high. Through the entrepreneurial discovery of business opportunities, entrepreneurs become equilibrating forces in an economy” Frese & Gielnik 2014).

“General mental ability and creativity are cognitive capacities that influence how people process information, that is, how people comprehend and make associations between information. Comprehending information and making new associations between information are central processes underlying business opportunity identification” (Mitchell et al. 2007, Shane 2000).

Entrepreneurship requires motivation for the benefit of society while offering solutions to a problem – whether niche or widespread. It is essential to possess the power of entrepreneur alertness to observe holes in the economy and bring about either additional or new ideas to the table. 

Can the traits of an entrepreneur be self-taught? Who’s to say? Some may be born with these abilities, but I’m always a believer in hard work and determination to get to your dreams. It is always about the journey and not the destination, and the journey to entrepreneurship is one heck of a ride – and SO worth it.



All info was inspired and used from the article “The Psychology of Entrepreneurship” by Michael Frese and Michael M. Gielnik. All citations are correct and provided at the end of the post.


Frese, Michael, and Michael M. Gielnik. “The psychology of entrepreneurship.” Annual review of organizational psychology and organizational behavior 1.1 (2014): 413-438.

Kirzner IM. 1979. Perception, Opportunity, and Profit. Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press

Mitchell RK, Busenitz LW, Bird BJ, Gaglio CM, McMullen JS, et al. 2007. The central question in entrepreneurial cognition research 2007. Entrepr. Theory Pract. 31(1):1–27 

Shane S, Venkataraman S. 2000. The promise of entrepreneurship as a field of research. Acad. Manag. Rev. 25(1):217–26

Are you interested in learning if you have what it takes to become CEO of your own Business? I invite you to download my free guide 5 Characteristics Every CEO Must Have To Succeed


Kelly Daubach, CPC, ELI-MP

Executive Business Coach for Corporate Executives

Helping corporate executives find clarity amidst the “great resignation”

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As a certified, professional business coach, my mission is to help corporate executives reach their fullest potential as entrepreneurs and business owners. And my superpower is to build businesses from scratch. I look forward to digging into the details to uncover your passion, purpose, and help you with a smooth transition from corporate to business owner!

The purpose of the discovery call is so I can learn more about where you are at in your transition from corporate executive to business owner, assess your needs, allow you time to ask questions and discuss a strategy of how “The Corporate Executive to Business Owner Playbook” can get you where you want to be. Once I better understand your needs, if I think I can help you, we will discuss partnership opportunities.

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