If you have spent any time working in a traditional corporate environment, you’ve certainly thought about how much you wish you could just break free from “the man” and work for yourself. After all, entrepreneurs have it made with more freedom, higher income potential and the ability to do things their way. Everybody knows that, right? The truth is that there are plenty of myths about what it means to be an entrepreneur. Until you’ve jumped into the ring yourself, it’s impossible to fully understand what both the risks and rewards are when launching into the business world on your own, and you won’t have your most significant entrepreneurial success until you are familiar with the challenges you’ll face along the way.
- There’s So Much Freedom
It’s true that an entrepreneur has the power to direct his working day, but many new business owners fail to look beneath the surface to understand how that actually looks. While an entrepreneur doesn’t have a boss to answer to, the fact is that most have even busier schedules and experience a higher demand for their time than do their peers with a regular 9 to 5 job. As an entrepreneur, you are the go-to person for not only your employees and their problems but also for the suppliers and clients. There is never a time when an entrepreneur lets go of their responsibility for the success of the company, so expect to be on the clock pretty much all the time, especially when your company is new. Things usually settle down after awhile, but most entrepreneurs continually fight the urge to become a workaholic.
- It’s Easy Money
If you’ve ever watched someone else run a business and thought “I could do that so much better,” than you probably buy into this myth. After all, doesn’t everyone know that if you build it, they will come? You just have to put the time, effort and work into your venture and the money is bound to follow. Unfortunately, this is another top myth about entrepreneurship. Plenty of people put everything on the line and still don’t find success as entrepreneurs. As an employee, you likely didn’t put much thought into how much effort your company put into advertising, marketing and management. Business owners are responsible for these aspects of their company, and they are critical to success. Being an entrepreneur is hard work, and no one with any experience would consider it easy money.
- Taking Risks Always Pays Off
There is definitely a level of risk involved in managing a business, but being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you’re throwing resources around willy-nilly, contrary to what seems to be the popular belief. The truth is that successful entrepreneurs manage their risk and only play with big stakes when they have a high assurance that the investment will result in a return. The hard fact is that not every gamble pays off, especially when it’s not well researched. The real trick to turning this myth around is to understand that the most important thing for you to do is to control the risk environment. Follow sound business practices like spreading your eggs among multiple baskets and never risking more than you can afford to lose. The risk you pass up will often be as defining as the big payoff when you do decide to take the plunge.
- Knowledge is King
As an entrepreneur, you are the cornerstone of your business. After all, you only have yourself to rely on for success, so you have to know what you’re doing, be smart and be on the ball at all times. Surprisingly, the most intelligent executive in the ring isn’t necessarily the most successful, and you don’t have to know it all to win in the margins. In fact, understanding that you have a full spectrum of resources available to fill in the gaps gives you an edge over the competition. Simply put, if you already know that you don’t know it all, it’s easier to think outside the box and consider a wider variety of potential solutions. While there really is no substitute for hard work, it is relatively easy to learn as you go and find answers to unknowns on the fly. The ability to learn and adapt is critical to any entrepreneurial venture, but you certainly don’t have to know it all up front.
- Get Investors, or You’re Sunk
Running a business requires capital and resources. After all, if you can’t pay suppliers or cover payroll, you’re pretty much out of the game, so it makes sense that many budding entrepreneurs immediately look for investors. However, the majority of new companies get up and running without every seeking financial partners, so it’s a myth to think investors are essential. Working with investors is almost always a trade-off, and you will probably find that you lose control of your business model, creativity or vision when you have a partner. When you grow slowly on your own dime, things might not happen as dramatically, but you will stay in charge of the process. In addition, following a model where you work only with available resources and put all profits back into growth often leads to a more disciplined and financially savvy management style.
About Sawyer Howitt
Despite his young age, Sawyer Howitt has already made his mark in the spheres of business and entrepreneurship. Born is 2000, this motivated millennial is currently a project manager with the Meriwether Group and has also worked in customer service and as a business strategy analyst. Sawyer Howitt has published several pieces on entrepreneurship and serves as a mentor for other young people seeking to develop business and management skills.