There’s a common misconception that inward-looking personality types like Enneagram Type 5s don’t make good entrepreneurs.

But this stereotype is wrong.

While Type 5s tend to avoid building relationships and can appear withdrawn and introspective to outsiders, that doesn’t mean they can’t succeed at building a business. In fact, Fives possess many of the skills needed to be an entrepreneur, including independence, focus and in-depth knowledge of their chosen field.

Here are seven of the traits that can help Type 5 Enneagrams become entrepreneurs and make them well-suited to this demanding job.

1. They’re naturally independent

Self-sufficient and naturally independent, Type 5s will usually feel very comfortable working for themselves or starting a business. 

One of the essential traits of an entrepreneur is to be a self-starter. There’s no one else setting your schedule for you or checking up on whether or not you’ve done your work for the day. That means you need to be able to be your own boss and hold yourself accountable.

This is one thing that Type 5s never struggle with. They’re naturally curious, motivated and self-reliant so they don’t need anyone to tell them what to do.

2. They have excellent focus

Any entrepreneur will tell you that one of the biggest challenges when you work for yourself is staying focused. It can be easy to get distracted by "life admin" and day-to-day tasks to the point that you forget to do any actual work on your business.

For Type 5s, this is unlikely to be a problem. Why? They have an excellent ability to focus on things that interest them. They can spend hours working without distraction on a passion project or exploring a new theory and this is a really valuable skill they can use as entrepreneurs.

The trick is to make sure that a Type 5 is interested in the business they’re setting up. If they have a genuine passion for their business idea, they’ll have no issues staying focused and committed to it. Pick the right idea and the rest will follow.

3. They become experts in their chosen topic

When you’re setting up a business, you need to know what you’re talking about. You have to become an expert in your field in order to sell yourself and your products or services. This is where Type 5s really have the upper hand.

This personality type excels at gathering in-depth knowledge on certain topics. In fact, Fives are often pioneers in their fields. This means they should have no problem becoming an expert in their new business and convincing clients they know their stuff. They may even find opportunities to become thought leaders in their industry, being asked to comment on key issues and debates for publications, podcasts and more.

4. They’re non-conformist

Type 5s don’t feel the need to follow the crowd. This means they make their own rules and come up with their own ideas – two essential traits to be a successful entrepreneur.

For many people, it takes confidence to abandon a corporate career and start out on your own. For Type 5s, this type of shift doesn’t seem like much of a leap. They’re used to not conforming to the general expectations and standards of the society around them, so they don’t care too much about giving up on an "ordinary" job for something riskier and more uncertain. 

5. They’re level-headed

There will be times in the life of any entrepreneur when things start blowing up and going wrong. Whether it’s unhappy clients, a product that doesn’t work, a licensing problem, or anything in between, there are always going to be bumps along the road.

The secret to the Type 5 personality is their ability to stay calm and unfazed, even in times of uncertainty. They have a special skill of being able to analyze a situation rationally and think before they act. This makes them well-suited to entrepreneurship where success often depends on how well you tackle challenges that come your way.

6. They’re good at staying detached

As well as their ability to stay level-headed, Type 5s also possess a unique ability to remain detached from other people. They often withdraw from relationships and spend a lot of their time in their internal world rather than in social environments.

While these might sound like negative traits for an entrepreneur, they can actually be really useful. Thanks to their ability to be detached, Type 5s don’t take things too personally. They don’t stress about social norms like other personality types. A Type 5 knows that if a client or customer has a problem with them, it’s nothing personal. 

At the same time, they’re able to view their business and even their employees in an objective way. If someone isn’t pulling their weight or is creating a negative dynamic in their team, they have no qualms about taking action. That might mean issuing a warning or even letting them go.

7. They love freedom

At their core, Fives love to have freedom and autonomy in their lives. These are essential ingredients for a happy Type 5 and they can’t handle being smothered or controlled by others. 

As the Investigator type, Fives love to spend hours working alone, learning new things and advancing their own projects. This makes them well-suited to entrepreneurship. They don’t have to worry about anyone breathing down their necks and they’re free to make their own decisions about when they work, what they work on and where they take their business next.

Looking to become an entrepreneur?

There’s no reason why Type 5s can’t become entrepreneurs, they just have to play to their strengths in order to succeed. While this personality type may not be the best at networking or building interpersonal connections, they have a wide range of skills in other areas. Their ability to focus, remain level-headed, and not follow the crowd are all traits that can be a huge asset when running a business.

Elizabeth Harris
Elizabeth is a freelance writer and ghostwriter. She’s an anthropologist at heart and loves using social theory to get deeper into the topics she writes about. Born in the UK, Elizabeth has lived in Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Dubai before moving most recently to Budapest, Hungary. She’s an ENTJ with ENFJ leanings. Find out more about her work at