Starting from the vantage point that explaining success at creating a venture should be the unique contribution—or at least one unique contribution—of entrepreneurship research, we argue that this success construct has not yet been adequately defined and operationalized. We thus offer suggestions for more precise conceptualization and measurement of this central construct. Rather than regarding various success proxies used in prior research as poor operationalizations of success we argue that they represent other important aspects of the venture creation process: engagement, persistence and progress. We hold that in order to attain a better understanding of venture creation these constructs also need to be theoretically defined. Further, their respective drivers need to be theorized and tested separately. We suggest theoretical definitions of each. We then develop and test hypotheses concerning how human capital, venture idea novelty and business planning has different impact on the different assessments of the process represented by engagement, persistence, progress and success. The results largely confirm the stated hypotheses, suggesting that the conceptual and empirical approach we are suggesting is a path towards improved understanding of the central entrepreneurship phenomenon of new venture creation.