There are so many preconceived notions and expectations that we have about entrepreneurship that are just plain false.
But, unfortunately, business owners are still subjected to these misconceptions on a regular basis (and believe a lot of it themselves!).
So, we have asked the incredible CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs to shine a light on what they think are the biggest entrepreneurship myths and misconceptions.
Their answers are presented below in no particular order.
You may notice some similar ideas listed, but I kept them separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.
1. What a Boss Really Does
The biggest myth about entrepreneurship is that the boss sits back, while others do all the work and make him rich. This is far from the truth. An entrepreneur is the hardest working person in the company. When you start a business, you are risking everything. You are betting on yourself to be successful, to come up with a great idea and take it to market and prove that it is as great as you thought it was. You have to work an unlimited number hours until you are successful enough to hire help.
2. Myth About Entrepreneurship
The biggest misconception about being an entrepreneur is that if you build it, they will come. It sounds crazy, but tons of us enter the land of entrepreneurship with the hope and understanding that once you’re up and ready to go, the customers will be ready, too. You have to get involved, join networking groups, sponsor events, have one-on-one’s, lead/join a board, attend conferences, mixers and repeat. If you build it, they will come, but you have to get out there and make them want to come.
3. Are Entrepreneurs Free?
I started off as an entrepreneur way back in 2004-05. My purpose was to be rich, independent and free. Little did I realize that it can snatch away your entire freedom and personal life. Managing people, customers, processes, it’s all a challenge and instead of a 9 to 5, one ends up working 9 to 9. It’s hard to get that physical and mental balance as an entrepreneur, because you have so much at stake. One small mistake can set you back by several years.
Be your own boss is touted as a major incentive for entrepreneurs. As the business owner, your bosses are multiplied by the number of clients you have. The safety and comfort of a superior vanishes when you are sought out as the final authority for all issues big and small by clients and your team. The key to client satisfaction and increased productivity is to create and manage a collection of bosses with the confidence and support to get the job done.
5. We Only Care About Our Profits
The biggest myth about entrepreneurs and business owners is that they only care about their own profits. In reality, we are much more focused on creating value for our customers. If your customers don’t feel like you provide value, they won’t be customers for long, which means that you won’t have a business for very long. Profits are only possible if customer value is a priority.
6. We Can’t Do Everything
Many entrepreneurs think that they need to do everything themselves. But, doing everything on your own will lead to burnout and possible failure. Business owners need to form a strong team and delegate. By delegating, entrepreneurs will have more time to focus on growing the company.
The biggest myth in entrepreneurship is that you are running your own business, so you have more control over your time. Ha! Starting a business is like having a baby. When they are infants, they need 24/7 attention. As they get older and you have systems in place, support in place, you will regain some of your life. The balance is in being happy because doing what you are doing brings you joy, even if it is 90 hours a week the first few years.
8. It Ain’t Always About Money
If one can dream it, one can achieve it. Forget tomorrow and start today.
9. You Have a Cushy Schedule
Freedom and independence. That’s what we hear about when thinking about becoming an entrepreneur. But, that is far from the truth. To be a successful entrepreneur, you are accountable to so many more groups than if you were an employee. You must be available 24/7. You can’t just “shut it off” when you come home. Entrepreneurs do have the freedom to dictate their own schedule, but that may mean that you are working at 3 a.m. or on a vacation.
10. More Flexibility & Other Myths
I think most people believe that you get to make your own hours and you have more flexibility. This is totally not true because no one cares about your business like you do, so you have to work longer and harder than your employees. I know our families think it’s no big deal to “take a day off” – “you’re the boss’ but it doesn’t quite work that way. We are covering for employee vacations, sick days and shortfalls. If we didn’t, there would be no business!
11. Don’t Believe the Hype
One big myth about entrepreneurship is that being an entrepreneur will instantly make you this sexy, wealthy figure of success. This is how most media portrays entrepreneurs and it is a huge misrepresentation. Can you make lots of money? Sure. Will it happen overnight? No way! You are the sales, the marketing, and everything else that comes with the package. The rewards are great when the wheels start turning, but you’re really drinking the Kool-Aid if you think the perks come right away.
12. Nights and Weekends? No Way
Perhaps the biggest myth about entrepreneurship is that you have to work nights and weekends forever. While this is definitely true at the start if you don’t want it to take forever to find success, eventually you’ll find efficiencies that make it so you can take a break. An important efficiency to consider? Hiring help. You may find it hard to part with some of the money you earn, but working with employees can free up time for what you’re best at and can make the most money doing!
Carol Roth is a national media personality, “recovering” investment banker, dealmaker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation.
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