5 Myths About Your New Business: A Reality Check for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
13 May 2015
When I left my job, I didn’t get the memo. As someone trying to get out of the 9-5 rat race in hopes of living my entrepreneurial dream, I made a number of wrong assumptions about what owning my own business would be like. So I'm going to set the record straight on some myths you may have about starting your business in the hopes that I can help you avoid the mistakes I made.
Myth #1: Build it and they will come.
For as long as I can remember, I was a bright-eyed dreamer of possibility. I knew that one day I would be an “entrepreneur” of something powerful, and when I built it, they would come. Boy was I wrong! The truth is more like when you build it, help them to come. When I first started my coaching practice, with a twinkle in my eye, I thought, “Set up everything and very soon I will have lots of clients." This was not the case. Now don’t get me wrong, people were happy for me and had great inquiries about my services, but they did not always come. I had to create a plan to introduce my new business to the marketplace and consumer.
Myth #2: You don’t need a Plan B.
Some people say “I don’t need a Plan B because I will do all I can to make plan A work.” This makes sense from a mindset of confidence and commitment. However, Plan A may take a detour, or just take longer than expected to come to pass, and you just might need a Plan B. I still remember the moment I boldly declared it was time to free myself and fly. I naïvely thought that once I started my business, I was an “entrepreneur.” I didn't realize how important it was to shift my mindset from employee to entrepreneur. The truth is, your mindset needs to change and the unlearning/relearning could derail your process.
Myth #3: Having a start-up makes you an entrepreneur.
After two years in business, I realized that I was thinking more like an employee or self-employed person, and less like an entrepreneur. Both are very different from an entrepreneur. Often seen as one and the same, an entrepreneur and a person who is self-employed may both own businesses, but beyond that they begin to stray down very different paths. A self-employed person, in many cases, has consistent income from only one or a few sources; while an entrepreneur generates variable income from many sources. When you're self-employed, you are the business, whereas an entrepreneur operates a business. A major factor in your success will be your time management skills.
Myth #4: The success of our business is solely dependent on our efforts.
My experience as a coach with independent, talented Black women, has shown me time and time again that we think "We got this…all of it!" We are not used to asking for or accepting support. Supporting a business requires a team; a team of mentors, advisers and specialists. Although as business owner, you are the main source of greatness, you are not the only source. A common mistake we make is thinking that in addition to being the CEO, we have to wear all the hats—all by ourselves, instead of asking for support. I learned this lesson very late (and sometimes still have to remind myself to get support). A savvy entrepreneur seeks support early in their efforts to build a successful business.
Myth #5: You need a lot of money to build a business.
We live in the age of social media and inexpensive online companies like Fiverr (a freelance market where labor starts at $5.00 per project). Despite the fact that it is now less expensive to start a business than it has probably ever been at any time in history, many people are still afraid to take the leap. It is not uncommon for me to meet people who give me a litany of reasons for why starting a business is expensive. The reality is that it will take some money to start a business. Exactly how much is up to you and your creative genius.
Starting and running a successful business is hard work, but the rewards—if you stick it out—are well worth it!
What are some of the myths you discovered about being an entrepreneur once you started your business?