There was an interesting statistic recently on inc.com. It suggested that almost two-thirds of people under the age of 30 wanted to start their own business. Many people see business ownership as the best route to financial and career freedom, so it’s no surprise that the number is so high.
However, only a small portion of that number will ever succeed in making their dream a reality. Why is that? Well, many people equate starting a business with risk, complexity and potential financial ruin. In other words: it’s too scary. So here are five common myths about starting a new business, and the reality.
Myth one: You need to sell your heirlooms and re-mortgage your home just to cover the start-up costs
The reality: You can start a business for less than $100
The reason would-be entrepreneurs think a start-up is going to be expensive is because they often have a grand vision about what their business will look like. A strong vision for a company is a fantastic thing, but to succeed in starting you don’t have to realize that vision on day 1. Instead, why not narrow down your ideas into a simple, easy format that you can start on a limited budget, and grow it from there? You might be embarrassed to launch something so simple and unexciting, but it’s going to help you build a loyal customer base and it will help you to grow.
Myth two: You have to know everything about everything
The reality: you will tap into unlimited creative potential you never knew you had
One of the most common things I hear from would-be entrepreneurs is this:
“I’ve got a great idea, but I know nothing about marketing or selling!”
“I don’t have a head for math, so I just can’t do the numbers”
There are two things you need to understand here.
1: ‘Departmentalizing’ work responsibility is something you’ll have adopted from years of working in a corporate environment, where you are a little cog in a big machine. But your own business doesn’t require the same amount of specialism. In fact, it thrives on the lack of it, because without all those corporate rules and procedures, you have the freedom to be creative and original. And that will get you further than any perceived specialist skill.
2: It’s really easy to outsource a few tasks once you’ve got your business running. You don’t have to have everything perfect from day 1, but if you do need help, there are plenty of contractors around the world you can hire to give you the support you need. That’s a far cheaper (and flexible) option than employing someone full-time.
Myth three: If you quit your day job, you are potentially giving up a promising career
The reality: Your career will never be promised to you
When you work for someone else, you naturally dream about applying for promotions, climbing the corporate ladder, and moving in the direction you want to in your job. But there are no guarantees. A so-called promising career doesn’t come with any promises. When you work for another company, your future will always be controlled by the decisions of those around you. Your seniors might decide you aren’t suitable for promotion, your company might make you redundant, or your job role may change over time in ways you didn’t expect (or want) it to. The only way you can really have full control over your future career is if you take matters in to your own hands and become your own boss.
Myth four: Working from home on a new business can be lonely
The reality: There are thousands of solo entrepreneurs out there, waiting to connect with you
On paper, working from home and staring at a computer screen means you lose the buzz and life of a noisy office. But that doesn’t mean being an entrepreneur has to be a lonely business. The beauty of the internet is that there are hundreds of online networks you can join to make contact with other entrepreneurs just starting out. And don’t forget, there’s probably a networking business group local to the area where you live. So how you handle life as an entrepreneur really depends on how you approach it. If you form relationships with other entrepreneurs early on, you can find it as rewarding and fun as working in an office.
Myth five: Starting a business needs incredible amounts of discipline, and most people don’t have that
The reality: Successful entrepreneurs don’t rely on stamina; they are just really efficient with their time
There’s a mythical picture of the entrepreneur who works 120 hours a week, doesn’t see family or friends, and has the word “driven” as a headline on their CV. Many would-be entrepreneurs often ask themselves if they could be that type of person and often the answer is no.
However, a successful business is made up of something far more important than just working every waking hour. Success is a result of creative thinking and solid decision making, two things that you’ll never be able to achieve if you are tired and overworked. A truly successful entrepreneur knows how to compartmentalize their time efficiently so that when they do work, they make significant progress, rather than relying on sheer stamina to get through the day.
Are you having doubts about starting a business?
It is easy for would-be entrepreneurs to focus on the negatives and the risks of starting a business. And of course it does have its risks, which is why so few people actually make the leap into business ownership. But don’t let doubts get in the way of your dreams. Sometimes you just need to think about the reality of what being an entrepreneur actually means. It might surprise you.
So how many of these myths have been in your thoughts lately? Have any of them stopped you from making that leap in starting your own business?