As an entrepreneur, I’m fascinated by the myths that people tend to believe. Somehow, entrepreneurship has built up a mythology that is founded upon legend, anecdotes, movies, and who-knows-what else.
Here are few of those myths.
Myth #1: Entrepreneurs don’t quit
Whoever came up with this idea that quitting is bad, and that entrepreneurs don’t quit?
Quitting is what makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur.
First, most entrepreneurs have to quit their day job in order to become an entrepreneur. That’s the crucial quitting point.
Most entrepreneurs I know have also quit some entrepreneurial venture. If an entrepreneur starts a crappy business and knows it, then she’s going to quit.
Elon Musk quit. Steve Jobs quit. These people are rockstar entrepreneurs, but they stepped in and out of jobs. This completely shatters the myth of the entrepreneur who never quits.
Successful entrepreneurs need to quit sometimes.
There’s nothing wrong with quitting something stupid. Let go of it. True success is knowing what to quit and when to quit.
Let’s get rid of this stigma that “entrepreneurs never quit!” and maybe we’ll see some entrepreneurs finally break free of their shackles, and start some companies that succeed.
Myth #2: Entrepreneurs know exactly what they want, and how to get it.
Maybe some entrepreneurs have a laser-focused goal and a clear plan for getting there.
But that’s not normal. In fact many entrepreneurs have no clue how to achieve their entrepreneurial passions.
Entrepreneurship is a process of trying, failing, trying again, and succeeding, trying again, and trying again.
Many times, entrepreneurs just don’t know what to do. They follow their gut, but that’s hardly a plan.
Myth #3: Entrepreneurs are their own boss.
Nobody is their own boss. Everyone has someone they report to.
Let’s dispense with the idea that someday you’ll be an entrepreneur in complete charge of your entire existence.
In many cases, your business becomes your new boss. It’s ruthless, demanding, heartless, requiring 15-hour workdays, and zero vacation time. If you are running a consulting business, your clients are your boss. If your startup gets funded, your investors become your boss.
So much for the no-boss paradise.
Oh, and while you’re at it, entrepreneurship is not necessarily going to produce a utopian work-life balance, either.
Myth #4: Entrepreneurs have to be connected.
Have you heard this saying? “It doesn’t matter what you know; it matters who you know.”
To succeed as an entrepreneur, do not believe that.
Then how do you explain first-generation immigrants who comprise a huge percentage of entrepreneurs? Immigrants often come to a new country with no connections and no network. They are more likely to become successful entrepreneurs.
Unconnected entrepreneurs formed the business-building backbone of the United States. The same legacy endures for modern entrepreneurs as well. Sergey Brin (Google Google), Liz Claiborne (Claiborne), Andrew Grove (Intel), William Mow (Bugle Boy), Andy Bechtolsheim and Vinod Khosla (Sun Microsystems), and Jerry Yang (Yahoo!) are just a few of the foreign-born entrepreneurs who started huge businesses that everyone recognizes.
Entrepreneurs who realize that connectedness is a myth are forced to rely upon their own grit and determination, not some star-studded safety net. That powers them forward to start companies, and successfully run those companies.
Myth #5: Entrepreneurs are usually rich.
Nope. Some entrepreneurs might become rich, but they certainly don’t start that way.
In fact, even once the business is up and running, entrepreneurs aren’t the fat cats that most people think they are. According to a study from American Express in 2013, the average salary of the entrepreneur was $68,000. SimplyHired pegs the annual income of an entrepreneur at $111,000.
That may be rich by some standards, but it’s not enough to support the private-jet posh lifestyle. By contrast, some fresh MBAs are being handed $200k salaries right after they step off the graduation platform.
Entrepreneurship is not for the rich, and it might not even result in riches, either.
Myth #6: Entrepreneurship requires huge funding.
Some people have this idea that in order to start a business, you have to have a pile of cash.
In order to get the pile of cash, you have to wheel and deal with angel investors, venture capitalists, and investors who ride around in chauffeured Rolls Royces.
The reality? Most of an entrepreneur’s “funding” is from his own back pocket. As Guy Kawasaki explained, most startups cost about $25,000 to get off the ground. What about VCs? They mostly put their money into tech and biotech.
And what about the immodestly rich investor who’s going to bestow millions of dollars on your good idea? It’s a myth. Most angel investors are ordinary people who make ordinary amounts of money. 32% of them are on an income of $40,000 or less. At that level, you can forget the Rolls Royce.
How does an entrepreneur get bankrolled? A lot of times, they don’t. They bootstrap. They growth hack. They build massive blogs with huge followings. They pull a line of credit. They eat ramen noodles.
Some entrepreneurs will get lucky and funded, but it’s definitely not a prerequisite for the trade.
Myth #7: Entrepreneurship is fun!
If I’m laughing, it’s my bitter laugh. There’s a true/false dichotomy to this myth. Sure, entrepreneurship is fun. I love what I’m doing, and just about every other entrepreneur does, too.
But let me tell you something: Entrepreneurship is really hard, almost unbearably so at times.
The ups and downs of entrepreneurship parallel the ups and downs of ordinary life. There are the good times. And there are the bad times.
The difference with entrepreneurship is that the bad times are a lot badder, and the good times are a lot better.
But fun all the time? No.
Myth #8: Entrepreneurs always take huge risks
In order to denude this myth, I need to tell you something about risk.
In our culture, we’ve ruined the whole idea of risk. Today, “risk” is buying a house, or stepping into an elevator, or driving to work in a car, not investing in a 401k, or — heaven forbid — quitting your day job.
Are all those things truly risky? If so, then life is risk.
A few centuries ago, “risk” was a whole lot more. Like deciding that you were going to go around the world in a wooden boat, and leaving life, family, riches, and the “safe” life behind. (Hat tip to Magellan.)
Entrepreneurs are risk-takers according to our conventional jacked-up ideas of safety. But maybe the entrepreneur’s risk-taking is nothing more than a tilt toward the unconventional, a good idea, and dissatisfaction with the status quo.
The entrepreneur’s risks are not the reckless actions of a devil-may-care upstart. They are decisions that are calculated, data-driven, dream-backed, and pursued with teeth-grinding determination.
Risk? Not hardly.
I believe that if someone aspires to entrepreneurship, he or she should immediately stop believing these myths.
As much as we love to categorize and list the strengths, characteristics, or traits of successful entrepreneurs, it’s an exercise in folly. By their very definition, entrepreneurs are mold-breakers and disruptors.
To be a successful entrepreneur, maybe the first step is to let go of everything you always believed about entrepreneurship.
What are some common myths that you’ve heard about entrepreneurship?
Article source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/neilpatel/2014/10/17/popular-entrepreneurial-myths-debunked/