With the digital boom, entrepreneurship has now become a pretty romanticized profession.
It’s now possible to start a career as an entrepreneur in virtually any industry overnight, with little more than a few dollars to your name.
And great as that may be, it has also proliferated certain misconceptions. Misconceptions that can throw you off or hold you back when you make the jump from employee to entrepreneur. These are things that can make a real difference in your success, some of which I fell victim to myself when I was starting out. Things I don’t want you to have to deal with.
The truth is that entrepreneurship is more like a roller coaster ride than a cruise.
– Vivek Wadhwa
Entrepreneurship offers so many incredible benefits, but it holds several dangerous and damaging misconceptions as well, misconceptions that I feel need to be cleared up, whether you’re a budding entrepreneur looking to pursue your passion or build the next great Silicon Valley tech giant.
When it comes down to it, there are three misconceptions that run rampant about entrepreneurship and they’re the most damaging of all. Heed these warnings and you’ll have the opportunity to craft a life that’s unlike any other opportunity available to you in the world.
1. “Passive” income isn’t really passive
Look, you’re never really going to just sit around on a beach all day. No matter what anyone says, that’s the truth.
There are two reasons for this:
a) Most of the purported “passive” income streams are only semi-passive: This means you’re maintaining some basic system, like a lead generation and email marketing system, but the rest of the system does generally work itself.
b) Passive (and semi-passive) income streams aren’t indefinite: You might be making semi-passive income, but if you stop now and do nothing else but maintain this system, it’s virtually guaranteed to die very quickly. This is just the nature of the world. Everything is always moving, always changing, and your business needs to be moving and changing quickly as well to keep up with the changing economy if it hopes to stay around.
Ready for some more truth? Don’t worry, I promise you’re going to like this bit. Here’s the thing: if you picked the right business, you’re not going to want to be sitting around, drinking margaritas on a beach anyway.
I find it funny when this “dream” is sold to people because, the truth is, what we want most is to find something that drives us and gives us passion and then to apply ourselves one-hundred-percent to that cause to see how far we can take it. If this is you, you don’t want to stop because you’re loving what you do far too much.
A semi-passive income is great because it allows us, as entrepreneurs, to create more and more effective streams of income. However, the reality is that the dream of sitting on a beach all day isn’t a dream at all.
2. All you need is the next big idea
Again, I hate to break it to you, but your ideas aren’t worth much.
The truth is, we probably all have at least a few great, potentially billion-dollar business ideas during our lifetime. What is the real difference maker then? Execution. That is, how effectively you can take action on that idea and make it happen.
It’s all about taking action. Entrepreneurs are some of the hardest workers around – weeknights, weekends, holidays, 24/7, you name it. The reality is, in many cases, it’s what is necessary to make these dreams and big ideas come true.
If you’re questioning entrepreneurship at this point, don’t misunderstand. There’s a silver lining to all of this: you love what you do. Being an entrepreneur breathes life into you. You’re going somewhere and you can feel it.
This isn’t, “ugh, I need to work tonight”, it’s, “I can’t wait to finish this project to see how things turn out.” The difference, on the outside, is indiscernible. On the inside? It’s huge.
3. You need funding
A lot of small startups can get by without funding and bootstrap, however, they fall prey to the glitz of Silicon Valley and want to be one of the big kids right out of the gate. This convinces them that they need to acquire investors to play with those big kids.
The truth is, not every entrepreneurial effort needs investors. In fact, if you can bootstrap (meaning you’re starting the business on your own, personally funded without any investors), then that’s often preferable because it’s a much more financially healthy route to take (among other things). Having investors pull out when results were slow has been a big reason for many startups failing.
However, if you didn’t have that pressure on your back and knew you could just put your head down and focus on growing the business on your own without investors hanging over you (or trying to dictate how the business is run, let’s not forget), you can enjoy the process and run your business more effectively.
Entrepreneurship in the 21st century is like a “design-your-own-dream-job” machine: you get to pick something you’re interested in and build a business around it (and, most of the time, you can make a nice living doing so).
But no matter whether you have dreams of building the next social behemoth or just want to be a solopreneur living out your passion, it’s important not to fall for these misconceptions about entrepreneurship as a whole. If you can heed these warnings, you’re in for a wild and incredible ride.