Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? You probably have many of the key traits of successful entrepreneurs. Somehow, entrepreneurship has built up a mythology that is founded upon legend, anecdotes, movies, and who-knows-what else.
The life of an entrepreneur might seem glamorous and maybe a little ethereal. There’s an allure to calling your own shots, spending nights brainstorming new ways to generate business and making regular visits to the bank to deposit the stacks of cash you’re raking in. But an entrepreneur will tell you this rose-colored version of their day-to-day life is far from accurate.
There are lots of very wrong myths out there about entrepreneurs that may be worthwhile for you to examine as you think about whether you are going to start a business.
1. Entrepreneurs Are Giant Risk Takers
This one is tough, because many people believe striking out on your own with no formal support system—like a steady paycheck—is the biggest risk you can take. What many people interpret as risk-taking, however, is actually just entering into an untested arena. Entrepreneurs, at least successful ones, are not gamblers that go in with no preparation. Rather, they’re methodical planners who only take the leap once they’ve crunched the numbers and believe there is success to be had.
2. Entrepreneurs Are Just Tired of Working for Someone Else
Chances are that many entrepreneurs would cite “an untenable work situation” as the reason for deciding to start their own business. But, remember that any endeavor started from a place of discontent or bitterness isn’t necessarily a recipe for success.
Entrepreneurs all have one universal trait that truly drives them: a passion for their pursuit. Some call it a “fire in the belly,” and others call it a “driving need.” Whatever you call it, this is what drives entrepreneurs to strike out on their own, not a dislike for authority.
3. Men Are Better Entrepreneurs Than Women
This should really go without saying, but this myth is patently false. While there is a disproportionate number of male entrepreneurs, the idea that women are simply not good at it is far from true. In fact, some might even say that women are at an advantage due to their natural ability to build and maintain relationships. This enables them to build on early-stage development partnerships that can keep their businesses growing.
4. Entrepreneurs have cushy hours.
There is nothing cushy about the hours required to get a business off the ground. Entrepreneurs need to be willing to give up a major chunk of their personal and family time — late nights at the office and work-filled weekends are the norm in the beginning. Be prepared to be absent from after work happy hours or weekends of just lounging around.
5. Entrepreneurs have to do everything themselves.
Many entrepreneurs go into it thinking that they need to do everything themselves. This will lead to complete burnout and failure. Assembling the right team and learning to delegate tasks is crucial. The team you surround yourself with is just as important as your idea. The wrong team can nose-dive your business, while the right team will take it to new heights.
6. Entrepreneurs need to be well connected in order to make it.
While knowing the right people is always a plus, it isn’t mandatory to be successful. What you do need is the drive and tenacity to make those connections that your business requires. If you are willing to pick up the phone, send emails, network and kick down doors you can get in front of the right people. Nothing will ever be handed to you — be prepared and willing to work.
7. Entrepreneurs are never stressed out.
It must be nonstop fun having your own business, right? No boss. Make your own hours. It’s the American dream. Not so fast — while there are plenty of positives, there is a lot of stress and responsibilities that an entrepreneur carries on his or her shoulders all the time.
Every decision that an entrepreneur makes not only directly impacts the well-being of his or her family, but also the well-being of the families of their employees. That type of pressure can lead to very stressful situations.
8. Entrepreneurs are their own boss.
Technically, yes, an entrepreneur is his or her own boss — but that doesn’t mean an entrepreneur doesn’t have to answer to anyone. If you take on VC money you have investors to report to. If you have cofounders, you all must remain on the same page. The freedom of being your own boss is often misconstrued.