You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

5 Myths -- and One Really Big Truth -- About Being an Entrepreneur Think you're ready to own a business? Are you sure?

By Carol Roth

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Do you dream of starting the next Snapchat or GrubHub? With an abundance of business success stories permeating every corner of the media, most aspiring entrepreneurs don't get to hear about the reality of what business ownership is like for 99.99 percent of those who start a new venture.

Here are five of the most common myths -- and one really big truth -- about entrepreneurship you need to know before getting started.

1. You get to do more of what you love.

Everyone thinks that if you love to do something, you will get to do more of it when you run a business. Wrong-o.

When you run a business, you have to do and oversee so many functions -- from marketing to accounting to employees to customer service and more. At the end of the day, you actually spend less time doing whatever it is you enjoy doing. Your job as an entrepreneur is not to do one singular task, it is to run a business.

So, if you love to wear multiple hats and are excited by the idea of managing all aspects of a business, plus you think that it is a good fit for your skills and experience, you are headed in the right direction. If not, proceed with caution.

Related: Not Every Creation or Passion Project Should Be a Business

2. You get to be your own boss.

When you have a job, a handful of people have control over what you get paid, your hours, who you work with and other professional decisions. When you are a boss you have increased the number of bosses that you have exponentially because every single customer has that control. Now, you have hundreds, maybe thousands of people you need to report to, who have control over whether you get paid, when you work, etc.

And if you have lenders, investors, a landlord or a franchise parent company, well, they all have control over you, too. You have now even more people to report to than ever before -- not exactly the picture of being in control.

3. Business is about you.

We have more products and services available to us than we would ever want or need, which makes today's entrepreneurial landscape very different than it was just 50 years ago. If there is a gap in the market that customers are desperate for a solution to and willing to pay for, that's a darn good reason to start a business.

Remember, Ray Kroc didn't pursue McDonald's expansion because he was bored or unfulfilled; he did so to meet a customer need. If you want to do something all about you, seek out a hobby or maybe get a job, but don't start a business. Successful businesses are all about serving customer needs.

4. It's easy!

There is a reason the word "scheme" usually follows the phrase "get rich quick." Businesses take a long time to build, sometimes three years or more to even get their legs underneath them. Business ownership is not a magic bullet for financial security and you should be prepared to be in it for the long haul. It's called "work" for a reason.

Related: Beware of Pursuing ROE -- Return on Ego

5. 'You can' means the same thing as 'you should.'

Just because you can do something, doesn't mean that you should, that you will be successful, or that it is the best choice for you given your goals, circumstances and opportunities. You have to look at the rewards of your opportunity and see if they justify the risks -- both financial and qualitative risks.

Far too many people trade their salary and risk their savings for an opportunity where they are making the same or less money, working more hours and have more stress. In the game-show world, they call that trade a "zonk." Don't get zonked. Make sure that the risk-reward tradeoff makes sense for you and that you have the opportunity to significantly improve upon your current situation or do better than other situations that could be available to you.

And one REALLY BIG truth: The rule of '3.'

This is my way of cheating -- rolling three "truths" into one -- but go with me here. Here's what you can take to the bank: Everything is going to take three times longer than it should to complete (your legal contracts, getting revenue, getting your website up, you name it), will cost three times what you have budgeted and will be three times more difficult to execute than you expect.

Even if you think you are being conservative or realistic, you probably are underestimating the time, money and effort required to make your business a success.

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart, so make sure to proceed with your eyes wide open and a reality check on what you are getting into before you make that leap.

Related: Why Smart People Make Bad Entrepreneurs

Carol Roth

Entrepreneur, TV host and small business expert

Carol Roth is the creator of the Future File™ legacy planning system, a “recovering” investment banker, business advisor, entrepreneur and best-selling author. She is also a reality TV show judge, media contributor and host of Microsoft’s Office Small Business Academy. A small business expert, Roth has worked with companies of all sizes on everything from strategy to content creation and marketing to raising capital. She’s been a public company director and invests in mid-stage companies, as well.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business News

James Clear Explains Why the 'Two Minute Rule' Is the Key to Long-Term Habit Building

The hardest step is usually the first one, he says. So make it short.


Get Your Business a One-Year Sam's Club Membership for Just $14

Shop for office essentials, lunch for the team, appliances, electronics, and more.

Business News

Microsoft's New AI Can Make Photographs Sing and Talk — and It Already Has the Mona Lisa Lip-Syncing

The VASA-1 AI model was not trained on the Mona Lisa but could animate it anyway.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Some Costco Stores Are Now Selling a Frozen Item That Looks Just Like a Trader Joe's Fan Favorite

The Frozen Kimbap is a Trader Joe's cult favorite, and now a version can be found at Costco, too.