Myths That Can Hold New Entrepreneurs Back
Starting a business can be tough, but your approach can make things tougher. Have the right thinking in place to set yourself up for success.
Myth: As an entrepreneur, I’m the boss.
Reality: As boss, you do get to set the agenda. However, you’ll also be on call and accountable to a range of different people, including employees, customers, the IRS, venture capitalists, angel investors and partners. Chances are, you’ll be scheduling your personal obligations around your clients’ needs. Remember: as a small business owner, your first responsibility is to your clients, not your own personal freedom.
Read more: The 5 Myths About Entrepreneurship
Myth: I'll be able to set my salary.
Reality: Yes, and no. Cash flow is key for any business, especially a fledgling one. Many entrepreneurs can’t afford to pay themselves much, if anything, for the first few years. More than one in ten take a second job while they are working on their business. To figure out if you can afford to pay yourself, put together a monthly and yearly budget for your personal and business expenses. Projecting what you’ll need to survive while you build your business can ensure you plan appropriately, giving your company its best chance at success.
Read more: Small-Business Myths Busted
Myth: Entrepreneurship is a young person’s game.
Reality: Wunderkinds like Mark Zuckerberg might make you believe that great innovators peak early. But really, most entrepreneurs are age 40 on average, and more than 60% are married or have at least one child, according to research from the Kauffman Foundation. Experience has its advantages. Studies show older entrepreneurs have better success rates than their younger counterparts.
Read more: Are You Too old to be the Next Mark Zuckerberg?
Myth: Entrepreneurship will save me from a job I hate.
Reality: You might be bored or hate your boss, but those aren’t reasons to start a business. You might not have found the right company or team. What sets the staffers apart from the small business owners is passion. If your passion to start a new venture is overpowering your need to have a steady paycheck, you might have the temperament that founders need to get started and to push through a startup’s hardest days.
Read more: The 10 Most Shockingly Untrue Entrepreneurial Myths, Exposed
Myth: I need to find a ‘unicorn’
Reality: Game-changing, truly unique business ideas are called ‘unicorns’ for a reason – they’re rare and nearly the stuff of fantasy. Some of the most powerful inventions build on technologies that already exist, making entrepreneurship open to anyone with the passion to pursue that idea.
Myth: All entrepreneurs thrive on risk.
Reality: Entrepreneurship isn't a series of Hail Mary passes and shots in the dark. It's about careful, calculated risks and a comprehensive understanding of your market and industry. Great entrepreneurs are comfortable with discomfort but they aren’t reckless. The best business people know their industry well enough to understand how to think big while making small bets pay off.
Read more: How to Overcome the Myths of Entrepreneurship
Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.