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.
4. Who is the Boss?
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.
7. Work/Life Balance
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
The only 3 things one can invest in any business venture is time, energy & money. One alone will never work. 3 is great, but it takes a minimum combo of any two. No matter how much money one has, they need to take time to answer the phone or Customer Service for an example of two needed and why money alone will not work. Even time and energy will work w/o money. It just takes a little longer.
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!
13. Passion is Pointless
If you think that following your passion is a good business idea, then you are setting yourself up for failure. Often times, entrepreneurs try to turn their passion project into a business, but over 80% of them fail in the first 18 months. Passion isn't what makes a sustainable business.
Solving problems and providing solutions to issues that people are willing to pay for is how you build a business. What is the purpose behind your business idea? Focus on serving a purpose, not passion.
14. Growth Means Less Work
Going into a small business with a team in place, you can't assume that everything will get done. Even though you have a reliable staff, you must oversee everything. Many people get lax when they have built up a team, but that's when you have to work the hardest. You must rely on your team, but don't micromanage. It's a difficult balance, but with the proper processes in place, you will succeed.
15. You'll Have a Great Schedule
If you are a small business owner, you get some freedom to see your children play a sport or pick them up at dance recital. But, the rest of the time you're locked into the office with clients, staff, the computer and your phone. I know that I'm on calls 24/7, 365 days a week.
16. Entrepreneurs Run the Show
Although entrepreneurs technically are their own boss and sometimes do run the show, it doesn't mean they don't have to answer to anyone. Many entrepreneurs start their business with grants and VC money, which often come with strings attached. Start-ups often give up board seats in return for funding, resulting in a loss of total control. When receiving funding from a third party, entrepreneurs must begin considering their opinions and interest, even if it goes against the initial vision.
17. Money! Money! Money!
Starting a business SOLELY because you want to be rich will only bring you disappointment and heartache. There is no evidence that entrepreneurs on average make more money than any other professional. Entrepreneurship is risky and unfortunately, most businesses fail more than they succeed.
18. The Myth: It Cannot Be Taught!
Entrepreneurship is NOT teachable. It's an INSTINCT.
It's "a fire in the belly." You either have it or you don't. Learn what you can at Entrepreneur Centers, programs, schools and courses, but don't be bamboozled into thinking you'll be magically transformed. Based on coaching many hundreds of start-ups and on decades of teaching ABOUT entrepreneurial thoughts and actions, I can assure you that the world is NOT all "Shark Tank" and success doesn't fall from the sky and land on your shoulder!
19. The 24 Hour Work Day
The biggest myth about entrepreneurship is that you have to work 24 hours a day to make the business work. This is false. If you start a business with that kind of vision, you will create a business that is stifling and non-sustainable. From inception, the owner should be thinking about her own mental sanity as a critical component to the model, otherwise the foundation of the organization will not be solid. “Work smart AND hard, (within reason) and have fun!” is my recipe for success.
20. You are Your Own Boss
People always say 'you are your own boss, so you can do whatever you want to do'! Well, if you are selling an item to the public, you have many bosses. I consider all of my customers to be my boss. If I do not please them and connect with them on some level, I will no longer have a job because they will shop elsewhere. And, if I don't show up to sell my product, I don't make any money.
21. Rethinking the E-Myth
A critical error I made in building my business was focusing too much on process & tools and not enough on people. As a result, I became disconnected from my team. It took a few years to manifest, but a wall began forming as trust and respect eroded on both ends. As I took on the account management role recently, attitudes began to change. Working directly with my employees provided me insights into their brilliance, struggles and perspective. In turn, they respected me more. Invaluable insight.
22. Don't Like Rules?
Within my client base, the biggest misconception is assuming it's a natural calling based on the fact that you aren’t able to tolerate authority. I hear people often say, "I don’t like rules or authority figures, I need to work for myself”. I coach many entrepreneurs and it doesn’t work that way. MOST of us don’t like authority, rules or reporting to insecure, seemingly less competent and opportunity-dimming bosses. This sort of intolerance doesn't mean you should quit and take the leap.
23. You Don't Need a Lot of Money
You do NOT need bundles of money to be an entrepreneur. I personally started my company without loans, a budget or even a business plan and 2.5 years later, I am still growing and succeeding. You don’t need money to be an entrepreneur; you need determination and goals.
24. Experience? Not Necessary!
One misconception I hear is that you need industry experience to own a business. I disagree! If you are an electrician, you definitely need an electrical background, but may not have business experience and could fail. If you wanted to start a business in an industry you've never had experience in, business acumen in marketing, strategic planning, and reading balance sheets could be all you need for success. Experience doesn't necessarily equate to success and vice versa. To your success!
25. No Freedom in Entrepreneurship
An unusual misconception about entrepreneurship is that it will give you freedom. If anything, it ties you down more. You have more responsibility and accountability. I thought I wouldn't have to dress up, or wake up at a certain time, or have company protocols, or be “fake” with clients - I could just be myself. Wrong! Especially as a woman in business. When I don't look pretty or refined, my bank account suffers. Capitalism is a game and you have to play it strategically at every level.
26. Inheriting a Business Not Easy
As a second generation business owner, I can tell you that inheriting a business is no easier than starting from the ground-up. All levels of entrepreneurship require hard work, dedication, willingness to learn new skills, and a constant evaluation of objectives and needs.
27. Time/Money: Can You Have Both?
My father was a New York City cop. He was always around for holidays and family functions. My uncles owned a small home heating oil business. They were always late for family functions and sometimes, just plainly absent. Growing up, I had my cousin’s hand-me-downs. I used to complain about not having shiny, new toys. My father would say, "You can have time or money. Not both."
I learned that my father was incorrect. If you delegate and install systems in business, you can have both Time and Money.
28. Unlimited Vacation - I Wish!
People think that because you own a business, you get to take unlimited time off. They want you to take Friday afternoon off at a moment’s notice or just fly up for the weekend and fly home on Monday. Because you own the business, it’s almost like they think you don’t work, when in fact I have never worked more hours in my life than I do now. I have 31 employees working for me full-time, and yet certain family and friends still think I can just leave the office whenever I want to.
29. You Must Wear All the Hats
It's true that during start-up, you might be making your own copies and sweeping the floors. However, smart entrepreneurs quickly learn to delegate, barter with others, and hire out for tasks outside their core talent area. The myth that entrepreneurs should always operate as a one person show leads to frustration and burnout. You need a support network. This should include professionals and folks for moral support. "Many hands make light work" has been a truism since the 1500s for a reason.
30. Unlimited Freedom Guaranteed
While being an entrepreneur allows for more freedom in one's life from the 9-5 routine that so many live daily, that freedom does not necessarily mean you will have more time for everything else. While that might hold true, remember you will be responsible for the overall success of your business, which could include personal sacrifice, longer hours at the office, and working harder than you have in the past. Like most things in life, your "freedom" will come at a cost; that will be guaranteed.
Myles Miller of LeadUP
31. Not Just for Entrepreneurs
Too often, people categorize themselves as employees or entrepreneurs. By doing this, those who might be great business owners lose out on the joys and opportunities that entrepreneurship brings.
Jumping in and starting a side hustle, contract gig, or freelancing work can often spark a new fire where the day-to-day grind of an employee job bereft of passion often runs them down.
And, earning extra side money when you want it that can pay down your debts or build a vacation fund is cool, too!
32. Your Time is NOT Your Own
Too many people say they want to become entrepreneurs because they want a flexible lifestyle. This is a bad reason for going into business. The successful entrepreneurs I know (including me) say that their business often runs their time and life. Don't kid yourself and think that becoming an entrepreneur will provide you with unlimited free time. That's a very quick way to go out of business.
33. The 'Superhuman' Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs get painted as having a special skill set, like an eccentric inventor or mad scientist. It can seem that they're superhuman, only needing 3 hours sleep and never giving up in the face of the most fierce challenges.
In reality, entrepreneurs are more like gold prospectors. You need the basics, such as some tools and a map, but the one that strikes gold isn't so different to one that doesn't.
There's a lot of luck involved related to situation, location and timing.
34. Entrepreneurship is Dark
The most widely spread misconception about entrepreneurship is that it's not filled with dark moments. There are so many fake entrepreneurs out there that use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snap to post pictures of themselves on "private planes" and with wads of cash. That's not entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship is deciding you aren't going to take a paycheck so you can keep an employee. It's about outgrowing relationships and starting new ones.
35. Your Product is Truly the Best
Early on, most entrepreneurs naively believe that their brand new, shiny product or service is the best. In fact, there’s a very high probability that it isn’t. If your product or service DOES happen to be the best, even for one nanosecond, you can bet that somebody else is working on an even better solution. Always be looking for ways to improve and differentiate your creation.
36. Know What Biz You're in
A lot of wannabe entrepreneurs start a business for the wrong reason- they're in love with the inventory. Think customers, not products or services. Example: some years ago, a friend who was a fishing fanatic started a retail shop selling fishing gear. The business flopped because he failed to understand that the retail business is all about inventory turns, shelf space, discounting, and promotional events, not the stuff you happen to be selling.
37. Overcome Negativity!
The biggest misconception about starting a business is not everyone will be supportive. Expect some negativity. When I was telling friends and family that I wanted to create a medical device to help women overcome pelvic pain, they gave me funny stares and not much input. But, I knew that there was a need, so I pushed forward with the idea. Now, three years later, my startup has helped over 4,000 women. Just because people do not understand your vision does not mean you will not be successful.
Tara Langdale-Schmidt of VuVatech
38. Freedom at Last? Maybe...
The biggest myth about entrepreneurship is that you have all this free time and flexibility with your schedule. While it's true that you are the ultimate boss, I've often found good entrepreneurs are always working and trying to do more to increase their bottom line. Many entrepreneurs work early morning to late evening, on weekends and while on vacation. There's never a time to just "coast", but that's what makes being an entrepreneurship special and not for the faint of heart. I love it!
39. Don't Stay Small
The biggest misconception I see when it comes to entrepreneurship is that you can provide better service if you stay small and only work with a small group of clients. This isn't true - going bigger allows you to hire more people, bring in more resources, and better equip yourself to properly serve your customers. Staying small is a mistake.
40. Friends/Family Love Your Biz
The biggest myth is that your friends and family think your new venture is incredible, but they're just being polite. Or, they'll tell you it's terrible because they don't want to see you fail. Either way, when it comes time to open the doors, don't expect them to become regular customers.
What friends and family are good for is emotional support. Being an entrepreneur is a roller coaster of emotions and you need them to be your cheerleader when you feel like quitting.
41. Not a Get Rich Quick Scheme
The reality is that starting a business is not a get-rich-quick alternative. My new businesses took three years to turn a profit. I drove a drive junk truck and used any surplus money to pay off debt or reinvest it in the business. My focus was on creating a company with a strong financial base for future expansion.
For me, money isn’t everything. I also feel that being a good role model for my children is very important, so that they see what hard work and dedication is.
42. Friends Will Always Support
Entrepreneurs believe that they will be able to turn to their friends for support. When they realize that this is not the case, it can be a very disappointing and humbling experience. The unfortunate truth is that some of your closest friends and family members will not believe in your vision, or will be unwilling to support it. People who see you as their equal may not want to be your customer. Sell to customers who NEED your product and don’t limit yourself to your small personal network.
43. Good Customer Service
Everywhere you go, businesses were shouting that they have great customer service. At the time when I started my company (2008), customer service numbers were at an all time high, yet customer loyalty was at an all time low. I quickly learned that you can't just focus on offering good customer service, but needed to create loyal customers in order to get them to come back and refer their friends. Satisfied customers shop around. Loyal customers come back again and again, and they refer others.
44. The Boss of Me
The biggest misconception about entrepreneurship is that you work for yourself, therefore you are your own boss. This is simply not true! If you're good at what you do, you work for thousands, millions or maybe even billions of people. So, all of your clients or customers are your boss.
45. No Boss? Not Really
The biggest misconception about entrepreneurship today is how over-romanticized not having a "boss" is. The reality is that when you are an entrepreneur, you have multiple bosses. Sure, you may not have to be in an office and at any given time, you can be where you want, doing what you want. But, if that is your attitude, then your entrepreneurship won't last long. Successful entrepreneurs work far harder than employees and are tougher on themselves than any boss would be.
46. Entrepreneurship is Lonely
People think that entrepreneurship involves working with a lot of people and feeling very popular. While it's true that as a founder, you work with employees, clients/users, investors, mentors, and more, I've found that it often feels extremely lonely. Nobody goes through the same problems or knows how you feel as an entrepreneur. Nobody is as invested in the company as much as you and your co-founder. Nobody knows how much it means and how much pressure you're under.
47. Time Flies With Great Ideas!
Myth: That you will achieve your goals and targets in no time at all. As an entrepreneur, and someone who is inclined to big picture thinking and actions, I often under estimate how long it will take me to achieve a goal. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen, it just takes longer than I expect. For those entrepreneurs who are big picture (many, but not all are) this is a great misconception we walk into our business with, in the beginning. Having someone to balance this generally helps.
48. Too Hard to Be Your Own Boss?
It's too hard to start my own business. Or, being your own boss is only for rich people!
Not true! All it takes is discipline, organization and any product, service or idea that still has room for one more player. Anyone can do it. It doesn't need to be a new or radical idea. Just be determined. If you aren't organized, hire someone to organize you. If you aren't disciplined, hire someone to keep you on task. If you aren't a sales rep, hire someone to do sales!
And then, NEVER GIVE UP!
49. Biggest Myth
You will have unlimited amounts of time.
I have owned my business since 2001, and I have yet to work a week less than 50 hours. You own your own business, steer your own ship and you're responsible for your own destiny. You cannot complain to the boss because you are your boss. You will work for weeks straight and have absolutely nothing to show for it because a client has decided not to go with your proposal. If you do have the opportunity to go on vacation, it's almost always a working one.
50. Entrepreneurs are All-knowing
There's a myth surrounding entrepreneurship that leaders are all-knowing and all-powerful, capable of Herculean feats without the help of others. Myth busted: the biggest lesson I've learned is that it's vital to my health as a leader to admit I can't carry the torch alone. Leaders should be defined by their interactions with others, but also by how they self-regulate, manage their own stress, and their willingness to bring others into the fold to manage pieces of the business.
Amjad Hussain of Algomus
51. If You Build It They Will Come
We believe that when we bring our offer to market, everyone will show up to buy & they will tell all their friends who will be there the next day to buy & soon, we will be the next Starbucks. This rarely happens & yet we attach ourselves to it. If I invent the new mouse trap, if I provide this service far better than anyone else out there… then I will make millions. It takes a lot of work to get humans to change their behavior. It requires awareness & desire. Creating both is expensive.
52. Freedom of Entrepreneurship
I first started my company in 2004, leaving the corporate world behind because I valued my own personal freedom more than climbing the corporate ladder and answering to executives. However, instead of having one boss to answer to, I now have to answer to all of my employees, across three growing businesses. Your employees are probably the biggest factor in your business's growth and you have to support them. The bigger your company gets, the more bosses you will end up having.
53. Work on, Not in Your Business
I think that the biggest misconception is that if you work hard, you'll achieve success. The actuality of working hard, is that you must work "on" the business, not "in" the business. This comes as a big "what the" moment for techies, and others, that love the work. But, to scale and be successful, working on the business means driving sales, marketing, and recruiting. You must always be looking for the next client or employee, because the next one of either that you lose could be detrimental.
54. Ownership Doesn't Equal Big $$
The biggest myth about entrepreneurship is that owners go home with huge money. Some owners might fit that profile, but many of us end up making less than some of our employees. We love the fight, the struggle, and the ownership, but the compensation is rarely on par with any of that. One of my favorite sayings is that "entrepreneurs work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week." We shoulder a risk and responsibility and use it to fuel our addiction to going all in. And I love it.
55. My Big Entrepreneurial Myth
The primary small business myth entrepreneurs should avoid is that every small business needs a mobile app.
The reality is there are very few businesses that will effectively engage their consumers on a dedicated mobile app.
56. You Can Be an Introvert
Before I went into business, I thought I couldn't succeed because I was an introvert and entrepreneurs were slick, outgoing salesmen.
Wrong! First, entrepreneurs are not like that. If anything, we introverts are a bit over-represented in the ranks. Second, salesmen are not like that. The best ones aren't high on the extroversion spectrum, because extroverts don't listen as much as a good salesperson needs to. Third, selling is a great skill to have, but you can hire sales talent.
57. Life After the Sale Is Easy
Myth: Building a business is hard but after selling the business, life becomes easier when you are living off the proceeds. Not today! In a low interest environment, most entrepreneurs, who are not great investors to begin with, find that preserving and growing wealth after a sale is actually harder than creating wealth was.
Michael Sonnenfeldt of Tiger 21
58. You Need a Lot of Money
It's a myth that you need a lot of money to launch a business. Most companies can get started with little capital. Young startups should focus more on minimizing their costs than taking out a loan or trying to raise tons of money from outside investors.
59. Myth Busting PR Exposure
For an entrepreneur, getting PR coverage through media exposure in newspapers, magazines, or on radio and TV doesn't necessarily cause people to go out and buy your product, or sign up for your service. This valuable exposure can really help you build your name, reputation and brand, but it needs to be marketed, as lasting success is always a cumulative effort. Sharing your information with customers on your website or blog, or by posting it to your social media can ensure much better results.
60. Biggest Misconception
The biggest misconception about entrepreneurship is that it’s some sort of exclusive club reserved for the elite. To succeed on your own, you just need a good idea, motivation to succeed, and sometimes, a little bit of luck.
61. It's Not a Constant Struggle
Most people perpetuate the myth that entrepreneurship is a constant struggle. This isn't untrue, but it's myopic - being an employee is also a constant struggle! To warn someone that they'll face challenges owning a business is useless and undermines the experience they've gained in their careers.
As a business owner, you control your path and your success. Employees have to put faith in their bosses that they won't be laid off. Entrepreneurs only have to have faith in themselves.
62. Entrepreneurship Isn't a Job
The biggest myth is that it's another type of job that you're swapping your existing job for. That isn't true for three reasons. First, you'll now do everything. In your old job, you did finance or marketing, but not both. Secondly, the hours are horrendous. There are no 9-5 entrepreneurs. This is a big deal a lot of people don't see and understand. Third, there is no direction. Every job has a boss; entrepreneurial endeavors don't. It's a complete change to how we are raised.
63. Lose the 9-5, But Be on 24/7
Some people think that becoming an entrepreneur means you can ditch the 9-5, but you need to be available 24/7 for your business. This is usually false. Most entrepreneurs tend to work 9-5 (at least), but can mentally unplug and schedule time off like everyone else. A smart entrepreneur can setup their business so they have regular hours and are only ‘on call’ for emergencies.
64. Build Something Entirely New
A big misconception about entrepreneurship is that you need to build something completely novel. More often than not, innovation comes from small improvements over time to existing products and services.
65. It's Easy Being Your Own Boss
I think a big misconception is that it's easy being your own boss. In my experience, you have to be even more self-disciplined as an entrepreneur. You need to set an example for the rest of your team, which can be challenging because you are in charge of holding yourself accountable.
66. Why 90% of Businesses Fail
The one biggest myth about entrepreneurship I've encountered is this: if you are good at something, then you should start a business doing that. This is very dangerous advice. If you are good at baking, you should NOT open a bakery on a whim. Just because you know the technical work behind a business does not mean you know how to RUN that business. Being a good baker and running a bakery business are two VERY different sets of skills, and if you have one set but not the other, then you're doomed.
67. CEOs Must Be Highly Outgoing
One of the biggest myths regarding great leaders is that they need to be outgoing. For example, Pixar's Ed Catmull is known for driving extraordinary success with a low key leadership style.
The most important traits in good leaders are: 1. having a vision 2. the ability to communicate that vision, and 3. the drive to accomplish goals.
It’s not just Catmull. Think about Charles Darwin, Larry Page, Albert Einstein and Warren Buffet. They are all successful leaders who are also introverts.
68. Entrepreneurs Know Everything
A lot of people think that entrepreneurs have all the answers. Even very successful business owners have doubts and weaknesses. A big part of being an entrepreneur comes down to your ability to surround yourself with the right people and build a cohesive team.
69. Don't Believe the Hype!
Owning your own business does NOT afford you a "cushy" lifestyle with plenty of freedom and flexible hours like many seem to think. Starting your own business means working long hours, evenings, weekends and missing out on a ton of social engagements in the process. It requires an obsessive focus, putting everything else on the back burner. Those who are truly meant for entrepreneurship will end up sacrificing even their closest personal relationships to make sure that the job gets done.
70. Entrepreneurship is Hard Work
A lot of people confuse entrepreneurship with passive income.
When people hear I am an entrepreneur, they tell me I probably have a lot of free time to do whatever I want, as if entrepreneurship equals passive income. When in reality, it is exactly the opposite. For me, entrepreneurship stands for the opportunity work for yourself, to test your limits, to pull a 20 hour work day and be fine with it, as you know what you work for - your own dreams and future.
71. Most Business Owners are Poor
I have to say the biggest myth is that owning a business will make you more well-off than having a normal job automatically. Once you start out, you pay yourself the bare minimum to eat and scrape by working around the clock. So, around 70% of business owners work for less than minimum wage. Yes, many people do become wealthy running a business, but they are the exception and not the rule, and it takes a lot of hard work to get there.
72. Mindset Over Business Plan
The one common myth that I heard was that most successful entrepreneurs have a well-developed business plan and idea before taking action. I had a fairly basic business plan on the type and price of services that my skin clinic would offer. My approach was to adjust the services and prices based on the success I was receiving. I learned that the most important thing is developing the entrepreneurial mindset at the start, rather than a well-developed business plan.
73. Calculated Risk Takers
One of the biggest myths about entrepreneurs is that we're risk takers. The reality is that the chances we take are calculated ones. An entrepreneur always has a handle on what they can afford to lose in any given moment to come out one step ahead. As we grow, we also leverage the talents and expertise of others. Their growth strategies help scale our businesses within the parameters of not losing too much. It's these very calculated small steps forward that result in entrepreneurial success.
74. It Will Be a Sure Thing
Just because you have a great idea or product, starting your own business will be a sure thing.
75. The Entrepreneurial Myth
The biggest mistake I made during my first run as an entrepreneur - expecting other people to care as much as I did. Understand that - for everyone except the founder(s) - people you hire will support you and want the company to succeed, but they will never quite internalize everything you've gone through. So, cut them a break and don't impose your emotions as much as I used to.
76. Want to Get Rich?
The biggest myth is that you have to be an entrepreneur in order to get rich and that you can't get rich working for other people. In fact, the exact opposite is true. If your primary goal is to become wealthy, you are far more likely to reach that goal working your way up the ladder at someone else's company, saving, and investing wisely, than starting your own business. The reality is most businesses fail and their owners are left with either nothing, or worse, a large amount of debt.
77. It's Not That Flexible!
I thought I'd have tons of flexibility as an online entrepreneur. But, I was wrong! I still have to meet hard deadlines in my service-based business, which often means working way more hours than at a traditional job. If I do take time off, I have to make it up in the evenings or on weekends. There's no paid time off when you're self-employed!
78. Importance of Fundraising
The biggest misconception is that the most important part of starting a company is raising money. I think it’s more important to have a sustainable business model, where you provide or build a product or service that people are willing to pay for. A lot of people act like raising money was their goal and they celebrate a fundraise as if it were the victory. The victory is building a sustainable business model and accomplishing that makes fundraising easy.
79. You Need a Business Background
Many assume that a business degree is the key to success, but formal training is less important than passion and creativity. Many top modern business leaders studied subjects completely unrelated to traditional business— when they finished college at all. If you’re doing something in tech, for example, I’d recommend studying engineering. A business background won’t hurt, but you’ll be better-served by something that will directly impact your project.
80. Myth: You Have to Do it All
The biggest myth I’ve encountered is that early on, I need to do it all by myself. I identified a few key areas where I needed immediate help and I sought help as soon as I had the money to. This helped me focus my energy on areas that needed more of my personal attention and expertise, like building relationships with clients. If I had tried to roll up my sleeves and do it all by myself, the business would’ve suffered. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help I acquired early on.
81. All Entrepreneurs are Founders
One myth is that all entrepreneurs are founders of the companies they run. In fact, many business owners actually acquired existing companies. If you dream of running your own business, have management skills, ideas on how to grow and improve a company, and a strong work ethic, then acquisition can be a viable way to become an entrepreneur.
82. Learn to Sell!
The biggest of all myths about entrepreneurship is thinking that your work will be mainly to manage and coordinate people to achieve an objective. When in fact, your most important role will be to be a *salesperson*. Because, all you must do is sell- from selling your product or service to your customers, to selling your project to an investor. And, you even sell your dream to your future employees and partners. Always remember: If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you must first learn to sell.
83. The Romance Vs. the Reality
There's no denying it. Being an "Entrepreneur" is cool... until you realize "Entrepreneur" is not a job title, but a 24/7 mindset. Like true love, you are always thinking about your business. Remember rapture? Acting swooningly? At long last, l-o-v-e. You're inseparable. In fact, business comes first.
Anyone who thinks that entrepreneurship is about creating a job for yourself, think. Hard. You don't ever go home. The reality is your business is "home". The romance? You gotta love it, 24/7.
84. "Follow Your Dreams." And?!
Follow your dreams!
What a nothing burger. An unseasoned one, at that.
What I wish I knew at the beginning is avoid bright, shiny things. All expertise is NOT created equal. I also wish I knew all the necessary moving parts required for seamless online success (e.g., a highly-optimized website, automated systems/funnels that incentivize purchasing, relationships with key influencers who could bring necessary traffic to & engagement with my content, etc.).
Live & learn so you can earn!
85. You're Not the Boss
Entrepreneurs - and business owners - don't work for themselves. They work for their customers. Without customers, the business is out of business. And, since marketing is how businesses win customer awareness, interest, purchases, satisfaction and loyalty, marketing is the business lifeline; the bridge between business and out of business. Ask: when's the last time your customers gave you a raise - with more or more expensive purchases. If you don't like the answer, strengthen your marketing.
86. Entrepreneurs Do it Better
A myth about entrepreneurs – they are not inspired by a grand or divine vision to create the new. Rather, they are driven by experiential insights to create something better. They see what others don’t - opportunities to create relative advantage. They do what others don’t – they act. Then, they frequently endure what others can’t – they fail until they succeed.
87. Toughest Job You'll Ever Love
You will never work harder or more than you do as an entrepreneur! But, because it is for your vision and dream, you will never love it more, too. People who start businesses thinking it is less work will be disappointed. There is always more you can be doing to build your business and your brand, so it is hard to turn it off, trust me. And, you do not need to be on every social media site- just be strong on the ones you are on. I started a global marketing firm 16 years ago.
88. Find Strength in Vulnerability
As a four-year entrepreneur, I've found that the biggest misconception about being an entrepreneur is the amount of vulnerability it takes to succeed. You have to be willing to let go and abandon your favorite ideas to follow where the customer leads. You can't be beholden to any one path and must be willing to ask for help when you need it. Pride and stubbornness will sink a business as fast as bad ideas and lack of cash flow. The key to success is opening up to others.
Brian Waters of findCRA
89. Biggest Entrepreneur Myth
One of the biggest myths about entrepreneurship is entrepreneurs don't have to work more than 40 hours a week. Entrepreneurs usually have to work more hours than 40 hours a week in order for their business to get off the ground. Many pull late nights and early mornings, giving up spending time with family, friends, and even personal time.
90. A Dose of "Healthy" Denial...
The biggest myth is the belief that you’re somehow immune to the unforeseen challenges others have faced - that you can simply bypass them. Ironically, it’s this “denial” that's key to achieving success. In reality, model inputs change, supply side issues arise overnight, global events impact foreign exchange. You’ve got to be ready for anything and everything. Unexpected obstacles are a universal truth in the entrepreneurial realm. But, overcoming them makes success that much sweeter.
91. You Wish!
I'll never forget my goodbye tour. I called all my contacts and associates in government and industry to tell them I was leaving CAA to work for myself.
This one fellow, a civil servant, said to me: "I wish I could do that!"
Of course, he could. But, he wouldn't. Firing the boss means taking a risk. But, anybody can take that risk.
Myth: You can't do it.
Fact: You can.
92. Passion and People Rule!
People often think that if they don't have expertise in a given field, then they cannot create a business... totally false! What's needed is two things: passion for the business and an ability to draw in the help you need. I became the largest publisher of animation art from television commercials and also the top rubber duck manufacturer in the world. I did it all from home with no background in either area. But, I was totally consumed with passion for it and found the help to create my dreams!
93. Biggest Entrepreneurial Myth
I believe one of the biggest myths regarding entrepreneurship is that your time is totally your own. Being your own boss doesn't necessarily mean you can do everything you want, when you want. You have to work with clients and their deadlines. While you can structure your business such that you work certain hours during the day, within those hours may be strict deadlines that you have to meet to stay in business.
94. Not Learned in a Classroom
One of the biggest myths is that it can be learned in a classroom. Almost every business school is launching an entrepreneurial program, which in my opinion is the wrong approach. Entrepreneurship must be learned by doing. Universities are going to have to take an entirely different approach if they are going to prep the next generation of business people.
95. Debt is a Dream Killer!
Myth: Large purchases require debt.
Truth: Risk is increased exponentially, mistakes are magnified, and cash flow is destroyed by debt payments. Budget for large purchases. If you can’t save the money, you won’t be able to make the payments anyway.
Four things we do at Ramsey Solutions to avoid debt:
1. Pay cash
2. Rent until we can pay cash
4. Buy used
96. Biggest Misconception
The biggest misconception is that if you have a great product, you will make money. While that is a key piece of the puzzle, the vast majority never get past this phase. An execution strategy - both go to market and operational - is what makes entrepreneurs successful. Some bad products make money, rarely does a poorly executed one do so.
97. Pay Yourself Back? Nope
Entrepreneurs often, very often, expect investors to allow the entrepreneur to repay themselves any money they have put into their company. In other words, if the entrepreneur has loaned the company startup capital, they expect to pay themselves back with the investors' money. In my 25 years of assisting entrepreneurs with their companies and business plans, I have NEVER seen this happen.
98. (Ad)venture of Geniuslink
The one biggest myth or misconception about entrepreneurship that I've heard is the "work really hard and be done sort of thing". That's not the reality at all, instead, "it's an ultra marathon".
I thought I would be in this for a few years - five years max, but we've been at this for seven plus years now and the end is nowhere in sight. I've heard, now that I'm listening, that it's often a ten year (ad)venture.
99. Lean Can Win
The greatest myth in business is that you have to have money. You’ll see startups requiring seeding money and replenishments only to end up bankrupt. In my experience, you only need to be smart about your money. I’ve done and learned everything from end to end to save on freelance costs. Instead of going to traditional companies, I've opted for tech startups with improved and scaled services, yet affordable rates for my legal, finance, logistics, and manufacturing needs.
100. Learn to Embrace Patience
We've all heard it, "Build it and they will come." Well, it doesn't exactly work that way. Almost nothing happens overnight and success doesn't come without hard work, hustle, dedication and a whole lot of patience! Plan your entrepreneurial journey for the long haul and plant seeds along the way. Give all you have to give, meet everyone you can meet and slowly, those kind acts and relationships will pay off. If you're expecting overnight success, you're setting yourself up to be one sad puppy!
101. That it’s a Job…
…or a substitute for one.
It’s a LIFE.
It's hard to keep business hours or switch off for vacation.
Entrepreneurs are people who strive to realize a vision. They're many different personalities, but all have a common streak: rarely satisfied. Whenever they achieve a goal, they’re on to the next one.
You need to be that driven to overcome all the obstacles.
It’s no coincidence many entrepreneur success stories begin with ‘I quit my job’ or ‘dropped out of college’.
It's never just a job.
102. It's Important to Unplug
One of the biggest myths about being an entrepreneur is that you always have to be "on". Being an entrepreneur occupies a lot of time and brain space, and you need to be exceptionally passionate about your business and its future. However, you also need to find balance or you’ll run yourself into the ground. To do this, I’ve made sure to train my team so that I feel comfortable with Tigris in their hands when I take some time for myself. Finding balance takes preparation, but is possible.
103. Keep on Doing You!
I think one major misconception about entrepreneurship is thinking that the people you start the journey with will always be there.
The people you thought you could count on can turn out to be a huge disappointment and change right before your eyes and admiration can turn into jealousy real quick.
It’s important to stay true to who you are and recognize people when they show themselves.
Separate yourself from negativity as quickly as possible to remain focused on your goals.
104. We're Not All Experts
As an entrepreneur, not being an industry expert in the field of my startup forces me to build empathy for the users of my product, because I am learning with them. I am experiencing it like they are, so it helps me see my product without insider bias. You don't have to be an expert to see an opportunity. In fact, being an expert will prohibit you from seeing the company or product the same way your users do, which could cause you to overlook simple solutions and make bad bets.
105. You Can Ignore That Advice
As an entrepreneur, one of the best things you can do is know when to ignore things. Ignoring the barrage of advice you get from customers on what you should and should not be offering, making, selling, etc. contradicts what we are told we should do. Customers cannot possibly know what is best for the big picture of your business; they are simply concerned about what is best for them at the time. So, weigh the value of customers' suggestions against the overall direction of your business.
Do you know any entrepreneurship myths or misconceptions that weren’t included? Please share your thoughts below. And as always, many thanks to everyone that contributed to this article!