Whether it’s big offices and lots of free time shown in movies and TV shows or the classified ads that shout to you to be your own boss, the allure of creating your own product and building your own business is something you see daily. In reality, entrepreneurship is just like any other job. There are advantages and disadvantages to being your own boss, and having knowledge about the myths that surround entrepreneurs can help you decide if it’s the right path for you to take.
Myth 1: You Have to Have Money to Make Money
Everybody knows that Donald Trump started his businesses when his father gave him a small loan of a million dollars. Stories like this are why so many people believe that every entrepreneur had an inheritance or some other backup funding to get started. That’s not the case for many entrepreneurs.
In reality, many people who start their own businesses do so on very little funding or by going into debt in the form of taking out a loan. In fact, about 53 percent of all new companies start with the help of a small business or personal loan.
Myth 2: Owning Your Own Business Will Make You Happier
Sure, many people find they are happier when they quit answering to a boss at a corporate job and decide to run their own business, but many others who decide to go this route allegedly decide it’s not for them. They don’t like the risks, hurdles, or other uncertainties that come with trying to get a business off the ground.
The vast majority of startup companies fail within the first five years and quite a few of those failed companies have owners who decide to go back to the traditional corporate world and find they are happier knowing they have a solid income without constant worry of a failing business.
The key is self-awareness. Not everyone can be a business owner, and it’s your job to know whether you’re an entrepreneur or someone with entrepreneurial tendencies.
Myth 3: A Good Product or Service Is Destined to Be Successful
In a perfect world, a solid product or service and great customer relations would make for a thriving business, but the truth is it doesn’t always work this way.
There are several reasons a good idea can die before it becomes successful. More often than not, it’s because it wasn’t marketed properly. If you do not have a background in marketing, consider hiring someone to help you promote your business. While this won’t guarantee success, it does make it more likely.
Many entrepreneurs also overestimate just how much people will want their product. This is especially true if you want to go into an industry that’s already saturated. If there are already three prominent cleaning companies in your city, a fourth probably won’t make much money. On the other hand, even completely unique ideas with no market may not make it off the ground if you don’t have the right connections to help you get started.
Myth 4: Starting a Business Isn’t Hard
Wannabe entrepreneurs with stars—or dollar signs—in their eyes often assume that starting a business is as easy as coming up with an idea, making the product, and advertising it, but in the business world, it is not as simple as “if you build it, they will come.”
First, you have to think about the legalities. Businesses are regulated by local, state, and federal laws, so if you start selling products out of your home without the proper licensing, you could find yourself in a world of expensive legal trouble.
Second, you have to consider how you are going to make your products or services. Do you have the money for the startup, or will you need to ensure you have good credit and get a loan? Can you create the product on your own, or will you need to find a way to pay employees before you have solid profit coming in? Forgetting these types of important components of a successful business is part of the reason that only about 33 percent of people actually start a company within seven years of saying they will.
Myth 5: You Must Succeed Right Away
There aren’t many entrepreneurs who succeed right away, but those are often the ones you hear about most, which leads many people to feel discouraged if they don’t succeed just as quickly. In the real world, however, success if almost never immediate. If your business fails using one method of financing or advertising, dust yourself off and try again. Success is not a linear path.
Myth 6: You Can Do It Without Help
The most successful entrepreneurs did not go it alone. Whether they had partners, family and friends, or professional business advisers to back them up, most of them have a system of support from people who are already successful entrepreneurs. Even if you don’t have anyone physically in your corner, it helps to educate yourself. People such as David R Kiger, the successful founder of Worldwide Express, has a blog that details ways people can make their businesses better and talks about other trends in entrepreneurship.
No matter what type of business you’re starting, it helps to have confidence in yourself. Don’t feel you need to do it all at once or all alone, and don’t get down on yourself if things don’t progress as quickly as you’d like. Building wealth by being your own boss is a marathon, not a sprint.