The illusion of entrepreneurship

I’ve said it before; this is the best time to be an entrepreneur. This doesn’t mean everyone should be an entrepreneur.

All of us at one point have considered owning a business. Some of you reading this already do. It can be liberating, fulfilling and empowering. However, it’s crazy hard work. Here are three common myths of entrepreneurship:

1. If you build it they will come.

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This isn’t Field of Dreams. It doesn’t matter how much passion you possess or how effective your product is at solving the consumer’s problems, if you are not moving inventory off the shelf you do not have a successful business. As an entrepreneur you have to be willing to sell—not only your product but your ideas, vision and yourself. A successful business takes more than a product. It requires a sound strategy and effective marketing campaign. Adam Braun, Founder and CEO of Pencils of Promise, an organization that builds schools and educational programs in developing nations, struggled with the same issue.  “I’m not a fundraiser,” I repeated to anyone who would listen…The problem is fundraising…is a pivotal part of leading a non-profit organization… Yet, I avoided it completely.” His solution: he recruited business advisers to teach him how to approach large donors. For the longevity of his organization, Adam realized that fundraising/selling was now an expectation he had to fulfill.

2. It’s what I love to do, it won’t feel like work.

do-what-you-love-what-you-do“Sometimes you have to do what you don’t like to get to where you want to be” – Tori Amos
After working 70-80 hours a week, week after week—let’s face it, it’ll start to feel like work. It will be fulfilling, but it will be grueling nonetheless. As well, no matter how much you love it, there will be certain aspects of your business that will feel mundane, boring or simply you will hate to do. As a new business owner you might not have the resources to outsource some job functions. You’ll be expected to go far beyond your comfort level and perform tasks out of your wheel house. Not only will you be the designer or inventor, but you might also be the accountant, business developer, and marketer. Be prepared to get your hands dirty, learn new things and deal with uncomfortable situations like customer disputes or supplier/vendor issues. Here are some great strategies on how to approach those mundane tasks from Entrepreneur.com.

3. Being my own boss will be awesome!

boss-blocksAre you sure about that? It all comes down to your level of self-awareness. As an entrepreneur, there won’t be someone giving you kudos on a job well done or provide assistance or support when it goes wrong. Eric Thomas, well-known motivational speaker wakes up at 3 am every day and refuses to take any personal calls while he is working. He is ruthless with his focus and dedication to his company. Do you have a thirst for knowledge? Do you keep yourself accountable? Do you keep raising your game? Are you decisive and confident? Are you a self-starter? All of these traits and more are required to be an entrepreneur. Be honest with yourself. Some people thrive working for others and prefer to be given direction. And that’s okay. That just means you shouldn’t be an entrepreneur.

As an entrepreneur, be prepared to:

  • work harder than you’ve ever worked before
  • hear the word no over and over again
  • sacrifice time with friends and family
  • give up the lifestyle you are used to…for now
  • be a Jack or Jill of all trades

If you still think you have what it takes—go out there and do it!

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