The Entrepreneurial Mystique: 5 Common Misconceptions About Starting a Business
There are many good reasons to begin your entrepreneurial quest, just probably not the ones you are thinking of.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
I've never wanted to work for myself because I didn't want to have a jerk for a boss. In spite of this, I have co-founded two companies, been a partner in two others, and have hustled my way through enough gigs to honestly be called an entrepreneur.
I find that a lot of people who have never tried living the life of an entrepreneur yearn for the supposed utopian existence that can only be found through working for oneself. Unfortunately it's not all it's cracked up to be and many entrepreneurs are unsuccessful simply because they have unrealistic expectations of the entrepreneurial life. So before you storm into your boss's office and call him or her everything but a child of God, you might want to consider these myths associated with entrepreneurship:
1. I will be my own boss.
Many people go into business expecting that ownership will confer magical powers that will allow them to tell the world to go to…well elsewhere. The truth of the matter is you will need business more than the average customer needs you. And while you can yell "no soup for you" and bar a person from your establishment, you can't really convince all your competitors to do the same (every time you bar someone from your business you lose a customer and give them to the competition.) The reality is, owning your own business is a humbling experience where you find yourself working for EVERYONE.
2. I'll get rich quick.
The biggest determinate between getting rich quick and eking out a subsistence living is luck, so if you're looking to get rich quick, my advice is to buy lottery tickets. Building a clientele takes time and patience and is much harder than many people think. You can do everything right by a customer 99 times and then screw it up once and have them drop you like a hot potato.
Related: 7 Sins of Newbie Entrepreneurs
3. It will be easy.
Perhaps the biggest misconception about owning your own business is that it will be easy. I know many people who retire and decide to realize their dreams of owning a bar or a restaurant. After all, they love to cook and seriously, how hard can it be? Even someone who has spent most of their lives working in a given business seldom masters ALL aspects of the business, and in most cases they learn about their deficiencies too late.
4. All I need is a million-dollar idea.
The world is full of people with great ideas, but to be a successful entrepreneur takes far more than a "can't lose" idea. Some great ideas take decades to catch on while other never earn the entrepreneur nickel one. Ideas without action are really just wishes.
5. I will set my own hours.
Customers need you to keep regular hours - no one wants to get a recorded message that their plumber has decided to take a two-week vacation when they have raw sewage seeping up through the basement carpet. This is not to say that you can never take a vacation or close early, but whenever you do you had better provide your customers with a viable option or they may stop being your customers and you will end up having more free time than you can afford.