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Today’s Question: What, in your opinion, are some of the most common misconceptions about being an entrepreneur? Why are these misconceptions wrong — and what is the truth that potential entrepreneurs should know?
1. Entrepreneurship Is Easy
Most aspiring entrepreneurs fail to consider the statistics surrounding new businesses. It is easy to romanticize entrepreneurship and to assume that a great idea, sufficient capital, or low overhead costs will lead to financial success. Yet, statistically, 8 out of 10 businesses fail within 18 months and only 4 percent of all companies in North America ever achieve a sales volume of a million dollars.
Building a successful company is a highly complex process, especially when bootstrapping to avoid the debt trap. My biggest advice to anyone about to embark on the entrepreneurial journey is to be realistic. Get ready for a lot of very hard work, and do not let financial gains be your motivator!
— Marina Byezhanova, Pronexia
2. You Get to Be Your Own Boss
Many would-be entrepreneurs believe you don’t have to answer to anyone if you start your own business. Well, if you want to be successful, your customers are your boss, and you have to answer to them.
— Jennifer Moorehead, Science Explorers, Inc.
3. Entrepreneurs Get to Live the Good Life
The biggest, most damaging misconception is that entrepreneurs are living the life of Riley, benefitting somewhat selfishly off of everyone else’s effort, money, and time.
The reality is that entrepreneurship means putting your house, relationships, family, finances, and sanity all on the line with the belief that your crew will still show up in the morning and your customers won’t decide to go elsewhere.
What nobody tells you about leading your own business is that, most of the time, it really isn’t very fun. Sure, there are huge rewards when you land that key client, hire that superstar, make that deadline, or release that new technology. That’s the stuff you brag about in your Facebook profile or on your company blog. But it’s the space in between that kind of sucks – the worry, the anxiety, the late nights, the push, the pivoting. This fear of failure is an absolute requirement. It allows you to push through to success. There really isn’t any avoiding it. You have to be able to embrace the discontent, feel the fear, and go forward anyway.
But that isn’t even the worst part. The worst part is that even if you keep pushing, you still may not survive.
— J. Colin Petersen, J – I.T. Outsource
4. Entrepreneurs Are Born That Way
Lots of people seem to have this notion that the entrepreneurial attitude and skill set comes naturally, that entrepreneurs are simply “born with it.” While that may be the case for some, I would say that for most people, developing what it takes to be successful is a long, hard process.
You can expect to fail a few times, go through a lot of stress, and suffer the occasional crisis of confidence. To become a fully-vetted entrepreneur, you will need to keep pushing yourself to grow and learn. Most importantly, you need to refuse to give up.
Ultimately, in almost all cases, great entrepreneurs are made, rather than born.
— Monica Eaton-Cardone, Chargebacks911
5. To Succeed, You Just Need a Lot of Passion
Most entrepreneurs fall in love with their idea, when instead what they should be doing is falling in love with the customers they’re trying to bring value to. An entrepreneur who is already in love with their idea will often be blind to the solution that will make the business work.
On the other hand, there’s loving the entrepreneurial process of starting a company – this notion that, overnight, you’ll be the next Zuckerberg or Musk. Let’s be honest: most of the time, starting a company sucks. Like most early-stage founders, I definitely don’t love doing paperwork, running payroll, or the anxiety of wondering if we can pay everyone each month.
There are different ways to motivate yourself other than loving what you do or loving your big idea. Love might grow – and it’s a beautiful thing if it does – but you don’t need love up front to start a thriving business. In fact, many great companies are created not out of love, but out of necessity or frustration.
— Chris Platts, TalentRocket
6. You Have to Do It Alone
Many entrepreneurs love to be in control and may find it hard to let go enough to delegate properly. Certainly in the beginning there can be a tendency, or even a need, to do most things yourself.
It is vital that entrepreneurs quickly identify their natural strengths and then do these three things to make their weaknesses irrelevant: choose a business model within which it is easiest for them to add value sustainably; identify the best business development strategies and tactics to suit their talents; and hire people who can excel in their weak areas.
— Una Doyle, CreativeFlow.tv
7. Entrepreneurs Are All Rich
As a certified career coach and career designer, I often meet with people who want to grow a business and be their own boss. One myth many often believe is that becoming an entrepreneur will make them rich. People need a clear understanding of legal (tax) responsibilities and a true knowledge of business expenses to run a successful business. It is easy to look at an hourly rate or cost of a product and not see the interior costs that go into offering those products or services.
I make each of my clients do a cost analysis of expenses prior to even setting rates in order to help them understand what they will really earn once they are in business.Entrepreneurship provides an avenue to unlimited earnings – but not a guarantee.
— Kathy Brunner, Career Designer, Author, Speaker, and Coach