6 Dangerous Lies Entrepreneurs Tell Themselves
Entrepreneurs are liars.
No, they don’t necessarily make it a habit to lie to their spouses, friends or the police. But entrepreneurs lie to themselves on a daily basis.
And it’s killing their businesses.
It’s time to put a stop to the lying and come clean. If confession is good for the soul, consider this post to be Sunday Morning Mass.
Here are the some dangerous lies entrepreneurs tell themselves:
1. "People are going to love this."
One of the greatest traits shared by most entrepreneurs is their overwhelming optimism in their products.
And yes, this optimism is needed.
However, many entrepreneurs lie to themselves and believe that they know what their customers, clients or users will love. The truth is, an entrepreneur can only make educated guesses and then test the hypothesis in action.
What you think the customer is going to love could be completely wrong, and the longer you hold onto this lie, the more your business will struggle.
2. "I don’t have time to read."
Many entrepreneurs are so focused on building the mechanics of their businesses, they lack the time to grow personally through reading. Yet there is a reason that the most successful CEOs in America read dozens of books per year: because reading helps you get new ideas and drive the “big picture” of your business forward.
Everyone has time to read, and this lie entrepreneurs tell themselves is simply keeping them working “in” their businesses rather than “on” them.
3. "I'll just work longer and harder."
Hard work is necessary for building a successful business.
The lie often told, however, is in believing the only solution is to “work harder.”
Instead, successful entrepreneurs understand that putting in longer hours doesn’t mean the business is suddenly going to improve. Instead of running to “work more” when things become difficult, they look at the core of the problem and seek to create more systems to deal with it.
Difficult times are inevitable when growing a business, but it’s a lie to believe more work is always the solution. Working smarter is far more important than working harder.
Related: 3 Lies You Heard on 'Shark Tank'
4. "I can work on all these ideas at once."
There are a lot of ways to make money in today’s world. While this would seem to be a great thing (and it is), it can cause some major problems for entrepreneurs who continually have new ideas.
Yes, most of your ideas will work. The lie, however, is telling yourself you should work on them.
As Gary Keller discusses in his book, The One Thing, “Extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make your focus.”
What are you focusing on?
Focus first, and crush that task before moving onto another idea.
5. "My family will be there later. After all, I’m doing this for them."
Entrepreneurs tend to focus heavily on their businesses at the expense of their families.
They tell themselves, “It’s OK -- I’m doing it for my family,” but that lie only leads to divorce, messed up kids and depressing nights in front of the tube with a TV dinner.
You only get one life. Don’t miss it trying to build a better one.
6. "I can do this better myself."
Most entrepreneurs are capable to handle most of the tasks in their businesses. They can sign new contracts, sell their products, fix their computers, create marketing campaigns and take the trash out at the end of the day.
However, just because an entrepreneur can do something doesn’t mean they should. The lie they tell themselves is simple but damaging: I can do this better myself.
And yes, they probably can.
Outsourcing is difficult because no one cares about your business with the same care that you do. However, the small gains an entrepreneur achieves by doing the work themselves will hurt their businesses in the long run. The competition will sail past, while the hard-working liar is taking out the trash.
Successful entrepreneurs, on the other hand, focus on the tasks that only they can accomplish and delegate the rest to others who can knock it out of the park.
Everyone knows a lie can damage your reputation, but it’s the lies we tell ourselves that can cause even more damage. By recognizing these lies and confronting them with the truth, an entrepreneur can improve their business, life and financial position forever.
What about you? What other lies do entrepreneurs tell themselves that I didn’t include on this list? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Brandon Turner is a real estate entrepreneur and the VP of Growth at BiggerPockets.com, one of the web’s largest real estate investing communities. He is also the author of The Book on Rental Property Investing, The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down and several other books. Buying his first home at the age of 21, Turner quickly grew his real estate portfolio to over 40 units using a variety of creative finance methods. He and his wife Heather live in Grays Harbor, Wash.