There are many myths about being an entrepreneur and launching your own startup business. Yet, the more prepared you are for the reality of entrepreneurship, the more likely you are to succeed and actually enjoy the journey.
So, what myths about being an entrepreneur may be holding you back, or could cause you to fall into dangerous pitfalls?
Here are some of the most common?
Being An Entrepreneur Is Easy
It’s not. For those who can’t bear working for someone else or grinding away creating someone else’s dream while seeing their potential go untapped, there may be no other choice than to become an entrepreneur. There are many, many benefits of entrepreneurship and starting your own business. An easy ride and four-hour workweek probably isn’t one of them. Expect to be hitting it hard from sun up to sun down or longer every day. You may do this for years, even if your company is very successful. You’ll have to make many tough decisions and deal with endless challenges. It is definitely worth it, and once you taste it, you’ll never want to work for anyone else.
You’ll Be An Overnight Success
You might be heralded as an overnight success in the media one day. Only, like everyone else that may be a couple of years from now. Overnight success is really the culmination of just doing the right small things consistently every day. It may be gradual or come like a waterfall overnight, but there’s always a lot more to the story behind the scenes. Be prepared to buckle in for a ride that could take at least 10 years.
All You Need Is A Great Idea
Many outsiders see the media and get the impression that all you need is a genius idea, which no one has ever thought of before, to make it as an entrepreneur. There are two big problems with this myth. The first is that there are few if any completely unique ideas. Sometimes being first and trying to create a whole new market is even a disadvantage if you could find one. This also frustrates entrepreneurs who are searching for such a mythical idea.
What experienced entrepreneurs and investors know is that ideas are cheap and easy to come by. They are rarely unique. A nice product or service idea has almost zero correlation to success. What makes all the difference is having the right team who can execute on it. They can take a mediocre idea or terrible product and build an amazing business with it. Or, executed poorly, they can take the most awesome idea and all the funding in the world, and run it into the ground in a matter of months.
You Need To Know A Lot Before You Start
A lot of hyper-successful entrepreneurs have Master’s degrees from enviable universities. Many others didn’t go to school. Many use education as an excuse to not start anything. Or, they hope it will be a crutch that helps them through and earns them a seat at a table.
College can be a great investment. One of the best benefits being the network you build while you are there. Aside from that, you may get your best education in a few months in a startup. You’ll learn practical knowledge at an incredibly fast pace.
It is wise to get a good handle on what you are in for, and the fundamentals of different parts of being an entrepreneur. Like fundraising and financial modeling. Yet, it is impossible to learn everything. Just when you think you know it all, everything will change anyway. It’s best just to get started.
In fundraising, you will need a killer pitch deck and for this to avoid starting from scratch you will need the best pitch deck template.
You’ll Be Your Own Boss
Many are inspired and motivated to become entrepreneurs to be their own bosses.
You might be for a little while. You might have some flexibility in setting your own schedule. You may be able to have your say in some decisions. Though, if you are going to raise money and your company is successful, you’ll be accountable and responsible to a lot of people and different types of parties. You may even end up with very little say in major decisions.
You’ll have investors with big equity stakes in your company. Team members to take care of, and your customers, which it is all about. If you make it to going public, then you’ll be responsible and accountable to many, many shareholders.
It’s All About Raising And Flipping Your Company For Billions In A Couple Of Years
The prospect of raising hundreds of millions of dollars in funding and selling companies for billions in very short periods of time can be very exciting. A few serial entrepreneurs seem to have gotten this down to a science, and seem to be able to do it predictably every couple of years.
In reality, fundraising is normally a lot of work. It can take years, and face many rejections. You may get offers to acquire your company in just 24 months. Or, you may have to grow it and develop real revenues and profits over the span of a decade.
When you actually listen to the case studies of the most successful startups in the founders’ own words, you also realize that it is rarely about the money. They are doing it to solve a problem, have an impact, and to do something worthwhile.
You Just Need To Be Smart Enough
A lot of very smart people eventually take the leap to try to be entrepreneurs. Yet, IQ and being a technical genius isn’t always relative to success in startups. In fact, it is quite often a disadvantage. It can mean you overthink things, over-spec everything, and go far slower than you should.
Just because you are number one in the world in your field of technology or science also doesn’t mean you’ll make a great entrepreneur or business owner. It can certainly help. Though, there is a lot more to it.
You also not only have to be great at juggling the numbers in this environment and networking and negotiating. You also have to be the best at sales and marketing. All of these talents rarely overlap in one individual.
What is far more important in reality is the willingness to hire other people who are very experienced in all of these different areas, and the discipline to let them do their jobs to the best of their ability, without getting in the way.
Failure Is Bad
There is still a lot of negativity and fear associated with ‘failure’. It freezes people. It means many never end up starting. Others fail to take the action they need to try new things, even once they’ve started.
Yet, many might argue there is no such thing as failure. Only learning experiences. The truth is that it might not work on your first try. Or, you might do good on the first, but not the second. There will be many constant daily ‘failures’ in the meantime. It’s just about learning from them and moving forward.
Alejandro Cremades is a serial entrepreneur and the author of The Art of Startup Fundraising. With a foreword by ‘Shark Tank‘ star Barbara Corcoran, and published by John Wiley & Sons, the book was named one of the best books for entrepreneurs. The book offers a step-by-step guide to today‘s way of raising money for entrepreneurs.
Most recently, Alejandro built and exited CoFoundersLab which is one of the largest communities of founders online.
Prior to CoFoundersLab, Alejandro worked as a lawyer at King & Spalding where he was involved in one of the biggest investment arbitration cases in history ($113 billion at stake).
Alejandro is an active speaker and has given guest lectures at the Wharton School of Business, Columbia Business School, and at NYU Stern School of Business.
Alejandro has been involved with the JOBS Act since inception and was invited to the White House and the US House of Representatives to provide his stands on the new regulatory changes concerning fundraising online.