There are unlimited types of characters in our professional lives.

There's the guy who hates his job and complains to everyone about it, but never does anything to change it. The lady who always wants to start a new business with you but her ideas really aren't that good. Or the young man who flaunts his entrepreneurial flag because he launched a company, but he's really just an employee at his own business.

Everyone plays a role in the professional arena. We're called dreamers, workers, supporters, executives, starters, and entrepreneurs. But the one role we don't discuss often is the failures. The ones who cheat, steal, hide, and break the rules all while expecting they can escape with true success.

Instead of preaching the “what a successful business person looks like” article, I thought I would show you the dark-side instead. The following is a list of personalities who stand out for all the wrong reasons. But be warned: If you don’t know who this person is, it could be you.

The Unfinisher
These people are addicted to starting. They fight hard in the beginning but soon find themselves burned out when the rubber meets the road. They're not necessarily scared as much as they are infected with shiny-object-syndrome. They love excuses and they have five or six unfinished projects going at any given time. But at the core, we all know what the problem is… they lack the discipline and stamina to cross the finish line. An important trait required to succeed in business.

The Selfish Partner
Selfishness might be the deadliest threat to a partnership. These people search for easy going worker-bees who they can walk over, manipulate, and abuse to move their personal agenda forward. There is no win-win. Only one hero. While these people are not horrible in every situation, they are horrible for partnerships.

The Executive Liar
In his pursuit of the corporate ladder, this guy will lie, cheat and steal to get to where he needs to be. For some reason he believes morals and business are separate. When he gets called out, he responds with the classic, “It's just business, not personal”. But we all know, a sleazeball at work is a sleazeball at home. If this guy is your boss, look out he's dangerous. While he won't be there long, you don't want to become part of his wake of destruction. It might be time to consider a career change.

The Fearful Entrepreneur
She's had a dream for years. Her idea is good and we all know she has what it takes to make it work. Or at least give it a solid shot. But she can't. Her desire for security and lack of faith drive her into a corner every time. She can't seem to overcome the unknown and the window of time to chase her dream is closing quickly with every year she ages. She had everything it took to change the world, but fear killed her dream before it had a chance.

What stops you from succeeding business? Or what other personalities fall in this category? Let me know in the comments below.

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98 thoughts on “The 4 Types Of People Who Never Succeed In Business

    • Dale Partridge says:

      Get good at finishing. Start small and simple. Begin reading a book… finish the book, etc. Train your discipline. The only way to do it, is to do it.

  1. CC says:

    I’m the last one, the fearful entrepreneur! I have several ideas that I think are great, but I just can’t work out how to start. Your description is me to a T!

    • Dale Partridge says:

      Haha they were also all me! You can overcome them. You have enough opposition from the world, don’t stand in your own way, too πŸ™‚

  2. Margaret Westendorp says:

    I’m also the fearful type; I started my business as an interior designer in 2012, but I still am too afraid to go out and show my face on the market… If people contact me, it’s alright, but I’m not active in searching for a project or advertising. I hate having to be commercial, because I’m a shy and sensitive person. Word-of-mouth should do (but doesn’t!).

    • Dale Partridge says:

      You can do it Margaret! People are not as scary as we make them out to be. Put yourself out there, be confident – it’s worth the risk.

  3. Shiku says:

    I am the last one and the first one in that order. I am a fearful entrepreneur. But with encouragement I start but never finish. What do I do?

    • Dale Partridge says:

      We are all a fearful entrepreneur. The important thing is to take small steps toward your dream, even if it just means reading a book about how to take that first step, which is always the hardest one!

  4. Matt says:

    Sadly, I am the first one. Too many ideas and too little time, I need to find a way to overcome this problem and gain focus.

    • Dale Partridge says:

      Yeah, I was there too and still struggle with it sometimes. We just have to practice being diligent in the small things, so that discipline will carry over into the big things.

  5. Jordan Chamberlain says:

    Wow Dale, this is GOOD! I definitely fall into the “Unfinisher” Category. I’d be really interested to hear what you have to say about overcoming these unsuccessful business traits? I really feel that everyone has just a little bit of one of these traits, or have had to overcome them in the past. Thank you for making me a better businesswoman!

    • Dale Partridge says:

      Wow love to hear that Jordan, thank you for the high compliment! I’m going to have another article coming out that explains how to overcome some of these obstacles. πŸ™‚ For now, try to figure out what the root of the issue is – then tell a friend. Accountability is so underrated in our culture!

  6. Brooke says:

    Oh these are all spot on! After working for 5 years in the corporate world I have come across each one of these types of people. The one I think is the saddest is the “executive liar”. I am in complete agreement that if you have no morals at work then you probably don’t in any other part of your life. Being that way may get you climbing the corporate ladder at first, but I can’t see it ever being substantial. It’s a surefire way to lead an empty life! And yes, I feel as though if you don’t take a chance on your dreams, you can’t ever make them come true of course. Then there’s nothing but regret and “what-ifs?”. Great article!

  7. Briana Phillips says:

    Dale, these are so good! I am glad you started with identifying the issue. Often times these are hard conversations to have. I relate most to being an unfinisher and am trying to move out of the habit by working with finishers to complete projects. I would love to hear your thoughts in a follow up article on how to work on and improve each of these negative business mentalities.

  8. balemos says:

    Whats stops me in business has always been the same…fear. Am I giving up something right now that will prove to be “better” than what I left for? As of late I am really realizing that with that attitude, i’ll be the same old dude every year. Ive been making steps to relieve this. So Ive been a strong fearful entrepreneur with a side of unfinisher Because of the influences in my profession though, and through following the ideas of influencers, I am seeing changes.

  9. Martin Leung-Wai says:

    Great post! 1. definitely connected with me. Now I am grateful to just focus on taking action and let the work speak for itself. “When you start something, finish it.” That is a reminder when I discern on an opportunity that I know I must commit and get it done to the best of my ability. Thanks Dale. You’re an inspiration.

  10. Tamar Hela says:

    This is a very good post–super insightful. I think that unfinishers can get too much of a bad wrap, however. What I’ve found from personal experience, is that you bring the “unfinishers” into your planning meetings. You know why? The people who get excited about the start of something are the developers–the best kind of developer there is. They infuse their excitement into the rest of the team and get the ball rolling. In order to finish the project, etc., you pair a person like that with a strategist (I’m more of a strategist myself) and someone who likes finishing (or the behind the scenes) part of the project. The “unfinishers” of the world can often be those who clear the pathway for those who can’t even imagine how to begin something. I think that if unfinishers were developed more and put in the right area of a project, they wouldn’t get such a bad rap and perhaps stick to what they’re great at–getting the ball rolling. πŸ™‚

      • Tamar Hela says:

        You’re welcome. I love working with unfinishers because they are the most excited about projects. Keep networking and see if you can find others who finish well. You might make a great team πŸ™‚

        • Florine says:

          A friend will actually work with me tomorrow to help me finish some coursework due 2013 June. I don’t think I saw myself in this light till I read Dale’s article.

      • Tamar Hela says:

        Thank you! And thank you for all your great posts. I always look forward to your newsletter in my inbox.

  11. Florine says:

    Thanks Dale. I have not been in business but I so want to get into self-publishing for little children. Literacy is plummeting in Guyana where I live. Trouble is I have so many-things written, some keyboarded but things unfinished. I pray for the discipline to change.

  12. Jenna says:

    Dale,
    I’m not one to normally comment on posts, but I can’t help myself with this one! Great post! As I consider opening up my own business, just a small little homemade type of gig, I am always amazed at your great advice! Even more amazing, the fact that you take the time to comment back to people! Absolutely inspiring! Keep on keeping on!
    -Jenna

    • Dale Partridge says:

      Wow thank you Jenna, that means so much! I can’t always respond but I do my best as I really do truly love reading the comments! Glad you enjoy the blog πŸ™‚

  13. Guest says:

    Dale, Great post! As I have spent time in corporate America, i have seen an alarming trend. Those people above are those who get the most attention. They are the ones that the companies focus on stating, well so and so needs more people skills, development, etc… Whatever the case may be. I have seen it all. The sad thing is the company focuses so much on the low performers, that they forget the high performers, aka the work horses. The people that are intrinsically motivated to do a good job no matter what accolades that are given. Some might wonder why the focus is on low performers…that it would be obvious not to do this. The key here is that companies use low performers as pawns for future advancement. If a low performer’s performance is marginally bettered than the the leader can state that they have “improved” the person, thus receiving their own accolades. Conversely, high performers, need little coaching and advisement from leadership…not much of a challenge there.

  14. PatienceFaithReward says:

    Dale, Great post! As I have spent time in corporate America, i have seen an alarming trend. Those people above are those who get the most attention. They are the ones that the companies focus on stating, well so and so needs more people skills, development, etc… Whatever the case may be. I have seen it all. The sad thing is the company focuses so much on the low performers, that they forget the high performers, aka the work horses. The people that are intrinsically motivated to do a good job no matter what accolades that are given. Some might wonder why the focus is on low performers…that it would be obvious not to do this. The key here is that companies use low performers as pawns for future advancement. If a low performer’s performance is marginally bettered than the leader can state that they have “improved” the person, thus receiving their own accolades. Conversely, high performers, need little coaching and advisement from leadership…not much of a challenge there

  15. Nana says:

    Even from Belgium you have followers πŸ™‚ I read every post and yes, i do something with it. Thanks for all your suggetions .

  16. Luluthroughthelookingglass says:

    I always read your posts, but as a business lady I was apprehensive about reading this one; safe to say I don’t think I fall into any of the above categories so I will keep plugging away! I have however, met a few of these people along the way. πŸ™‚

  17. sarah says:

    this is great…i am #4…fearful…but keep moving forward…i would love to see your advice for overcoming these four obstacles! thanks so much for naming what i know is true about myself and what i know i need to change to succeed. πŸ™‚

  18. Tina Maliga says:

    I believe it’s all about finding your niche and running with it. I definitely see the fearful entrepreneur in me but everyday I try to push through and keep reaching for my goals πŸ™‚

  19. Jeremy Adam Walt says:

    Great article . We have to work with realistic goals and plans to transform our vision to a reality . Grat pointers we have to employ to convert .

  20. Zechariah Newman says:

    Great post Dale. I have just found your site and I also live in Oregon. Look forward to learning from you. Blessings to you and yours.

  21. Hoo Kang says:

    I’m a little mix of both the unfinisher and fearful entrepreneur. I hope you’ll share some insights on how to overcome these flaws.

  22. Michaela Ammirato says:

    I think I am the unfinisher. I always have these great ideas, pour my heart into them, then get stuck and don’t know how to push forward alone. Great post, it made me realize I need to just keep pushing. I am my own worst enemy. I CAN do this! πŸ™‚

    • Dale Partridge says:

      We are all our own worst enemy – hands down. The voice we listen to the most is our inner critic! Once we recognize that, we can take steps to beating it. Positive thoughts all the time. Speak life and encouragement to yourself!

  23. Juha Salmela says:

    Lack of experience and resources are my biggest downfalls. Though those are really not obstacles, since you can improve both on daily basis πŸ™‚

  24. Taryn Meyer says:

    I think I am the fearful entrepreneur, however, it’s not so much fear in starting a business then it is I am not sure if it is my true path, well then again some would say it’s the same thing. My strength is creativity but my weaknesses are the basic financial and legal knowledge I am required to have.

    • Dale Partridge says:

      Play in your strengths and learn the bare minimum about the basic financial and legal knowledge that you need to. Anyone can learn anything. You should also seek out mentors and people who are where you want to be.

  25. mia says:

    I guess I’m definitely the unfinisher and the fearful entrepreneur. Sigh. It seems that I always can’t see the clear way to go forward. I need people to push me and motivate me constantly. Please advise me on this.

    • Dale Partridge says:

      You need to define your WHYOLOGY. Why do you do what you do? What’s your passion? What makes you get out of bed in the morning – what do you live for? Freedom? Faith? Family? Whyology is of the utmost importance. Define your goals. Keep them in front of you at all times. Read much. Find a mentor, someone who is where you want to be. Don’t take advice from critics. Lots and lots of advice here. Keep on the blog and even read through some of my older articles – that should help! Find ways to stay motivated.

  26. Rodzilla says:

    I have a technology background. But left a job of many years that I hated. Prior to leaving, I had started learning in a new technology area. So I had the chicken and the egg syndrome when I went to interviews. So I decided to start an online business but utilized sub-contractors to create a work team. But feel like I’m in no mans land. Like most self employed, we wear so many hats. I can’t concentrate on technology, and honestly find myself OK with that. So I’m thinking technology type businesses won’t be the long term solution. Short term maybe. Any tips for people like me? I have done an inventory of what I like or are my passions….but not sure those things would be lucrative. I believe I am determined, focus, and driven….but to where I don’t know. I do have mentors, maybe I need more?

    • Dale Partridge says:

      I do have tips, but too many to list here. Maybe you should schedule a consulting call with me? Click at Work With Me at the top of this page to check more info πŸ™‚

    • BestFrenchCampsites says:

      Good luck with this …but if you have experience in one area market that ! and maybe join up with people with matching skills.. but nowadays there are so many possibilities – its tricky… either to keep learning new skills as IT changes so fast … or just stick with being an expert on what you do know ….

  27. Illahi Bux says:

    you have invoked good points this articles . but some you have missed as well , as per you tag line of blog “Daily positive” , you have to suggest as well how to dig out himself of three character(hater guy,Young Entrepreneur & Lady ) mention above blog avoid failures. i would appreciate effort best luck

  28. Mark Garvey says:

    I am an unfinisher in several areas of my life. I never really intended to become a full time “business” at all. But life intervened and now I am working for me. Part time for 36 years. Full time for 5. Luckily it is a business where there is almost no overhead and popular . So I muddle along

    • Dale Partridge says:

      Ha I’m out of words on this one! It sounds like a good deal but you don’t sound happy “muddling along”..

  29. m. ISONG says:

    Have been doing clothing business for sometimes now. I basically design and take the design to my tailor who makes them for me to sell to my customers. The challenge I have is with deliverying on time as my tailors don’t finish on time. Am considering going to acquire sowing skill which will give me the freedom to make my designs. Should I go in for the training or look out for more tailors.

    • Dale Partridge says:

      Hey there! Sounds like you’d really benefit from a consulting session with me, where we could really dive in deep and give you some practical steps on moving forward (or not) with your tailor. Check out Work With Me at the top of this page and email me if interested. πŸ™‚

  30. Smith says:

    I feel like “the unfinisher” is often the product/result of the “fearful entrepreneur”. The unknowns and risks squash the necessary discipline and stamina. Now that I realize I fall into two of the four categories simultaneously, I think my chances of success in business are nill. Thanks for the eye-opener. I suppose its better to focus on saving/managing money rather than multiplying it.

  31. Heath says:

    Is there a title for “wow, I think I really have a great idea, but how the heck to I start” type? If so, I believe that’s where I’m at (unfortunately).

  32. Bianca says:

    Hi Dave. I’m a follower in twitter who suddenly got curious about who you are. So I
    visited your sites, including Sevenly and The Daily Positive. This
    particular article caught my eye and I believe there is a reason why I
    was brought here. I am 18, and I belong to the fearful entrepreneur. You
    said “the window of time to chase her dream is closing quickly with every year she ages.”
    I have lots of big dreams, and I’m worried that if I don’t chase them
    soon enough, I don’t know, maybe it’d be too late? I believe I should
    wait for God, but sometimes, I think I’m just an 18 year old who is far too driven.

  33. Natasha Jane says:

    I’m a serial Unfinisher. I am finally working on a business that is truly passion and I’m still pushing forward. First time for everything! LOL! Great post!

  34. Melinda Todd says:

    Fear definitely holds me back. Fear of looking like a dang fool. Of failing. Sigh… It is a constant battle.

  35. M says:

    Hi Dale,

    I suffer from two the unfinisher and fearful entrepreneur. I like that you offered solutions in the message you delivered… thank you!

  36. Cecilia says:

    I would say I sadly have a combination of fear and lack of confidence. I am an artist, but working very hard to overcome the fear of rejection. Thank for your short and to the point articles.

  37. Tanya Karla says:

    I am definitely a Fearful Entrepreneur. When I read your description I could feel your words in my stomach because I knew it was true. The fear also makes me an Unfinisher. I start projects and very finish because I’m afraid and lately it has crippled me. It definitely time to make some changes if I ever want to achieve any of my dreams. Thank Dale!

  38. Hayley says:

    That was kind of depressing, I’m either the 1st or last one I guess. Ironic that it then says ‘More positive posts’. Some ‘How to overcome’ tips would be nice!

  39. steve says:

    somehow we are made to believe that financial success is the only success. But the reality is that many very successful people are failures at “who” they are. They destroy as much as they succeed at times.
    There are people, that like themselves, and their simple aspirations. Not wanting to join the race of who shines more. I can’t tell you how many “successful millionaires” I have done work for, only to be a sounding board to their problems. So it’s sad to hear not so “millionaire” people down themselves for having fears and insecurities , as if to say that successful people are not plagued by the same emotions. Is Ivanka Trump more successful then me? She will never know what success is , because its always been handed to her. She could fail at any moment and dad is there. Yet she won’t hesitate to teach us all what it takes to succeed. Now, of course, financial advice is always welcome for those of us who have trouble with it. But stop trying to make people “feel” like less, or that somehow they are lacking because they don’t have private jets and desperately flaunt what they have for the approval from people they do not know. Because after all the drive for success on too many levels”as Howard Hughes put it” has to do more with insecurity then with self worth. Go ahead preach financial guidance, give pep talks for financial success, share strategies, because frankly, highly successful(“financially”) people cannot be without the not so rich surrounding them. So stop assessing a persons whole being based on your ambitions.

  40. Sendy says:

    I get discouraged when I see other people or companies doing what I do and is better!
    I would like to be better as well but I do not how sometimes and I think I can’t

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