October 9, 2019
We all think we know what entrepreneurship is about. After all, we’ve seen movies, read biographies, and glanced at glossy magazine cover photos in the checkout line at the supermarket. But the truth isn’t as clear or straightforward as we assume. Sometimes it’s hidden behind lies and misconceptions. And with that in mind, let’s debunk a few of the most common myths the general public ties to entrepreneurship.
Myth #1: Most Successful Entrepreneurs Are Young
When you look at the Mark Zuckerbergs and Steve Jobs of the world, it’s easy to believe that all successful entrepreneurs are young. However, the data doesn’t support this idea. In fact, it tells a completely different story. Just ask researcher Pierre Azoulay, who published the results of a groundbreaking study for Harvard Business Review just last year.
“Our team analyzed the age of all business founders in the U.S. in recent years by leveraging confidential administrative data sets from the U.S. Census Bureau,” Azoulay explains. “We found that the average age of entrepreneurs at the time they founded their companies is 42.”
In other words, it doesn’t matter if you’re 22 or 62, it’s still possible to venture into the world of entrepreneurship and launch a business.
Myth #2: You Have to Be a Digital Marketing Expert
There seem to be a lot of misconceptions about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. In particular, there’s confusion regarding the mandatory skills needed to succeed. (Hint: There are few “mandatory” skills.) People assume that you have to be a marketing whiz kid.
“But in reality, you don’t need to be an SEO professional or online marketing expert to succeed with your online marketing initiative,” SEO.co mentions. “In fact, if you have the skills to start a business, you already likely have all the skills necessary to exponentially increase your website traffic while building your brand equity for the future.”
If you wait until you’ve acquired all of the necessary skills to launch a business, you’ll never launch. Many of these skills will be acquired when you stick your hands into the fire. Other skills can be strategically outsourced to people who already have the talents you need. Sometimes you just have to go for it!
Myth #3: Entrepreneurs Take Massive Risks and Hope for the Best
Have you ever listened to interviews with founders of successful companies and heard tales of blind faith where people made ridiculous decisions and everything miraculously worked out in their favor? Well, no matter how many times you hear these stories, make sure you understand that they’re few and far between. Entrepreneurs take risks, but they don’t do so without first balancing the reward.
“You won’t have much luck getting high returns if you’re not willing to take some risks. If there weren’t any risk – everybody would be doing it,” digital marketing expert Neil Patel writes. “ [But] entrepreneurs aren’t gamblers. Gambling implies there’s luck involved. Sure – entrepreneurs may have some good or back luck over time. But ultimately, you can’t rely on luck to run your business.”
Intuition only takes you so far – especially when you’re an inexperienced entrepreneur. Make sure you’re also relying on facts, statistical analysis, and guidance from those with firsthand knowledge of the situation.
Myth #4: Starting a Business Means Unlimited Freedom
A lot of people go into entrepreneurship with the assumption that starting their own business means unlimited freedom. They’re sadly disappointed when they discover that they have less free time than before.
While starting and owning your own business can mean greater flexibility, you have to create systems that allow for this. And, in all honesty, it’s not going to happen in the first few years. There’s more risk and more responsibility. You’ll also have to face the reality that nobody cares as much about your business as you do. Therefore, everything falls on your shoulders at the end of the day.
Take a Dose of Reality
Once you peel back the layers of the myths and misconceptions that permeate popular culture, you’ll discover the real truth of what it means to be an entrepreneur. This includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. Only then can you make an educated decision regarding whether or not you’re cut out for entrepreneurship. Take your time to find out what it’s all about!