The lifestyle of an entrepreneur is a tempting one. It’s a great life, but it’s a life full of misconceptions and myths.
I took the step of moving away from a safe but dull, full-time job and into the world of entrepreneurship. I created my own leadership development business, and I started travelling around the Asia Pacific region delivering workshops showing people techniques and strategies to become inspirational leaders.
Based on my personal experience here are a few myths about the life of an entrepreneur.
Myth: You no longer have a boss
One of the most appealing aspects of entrepreneurship is that you get away from a boss who tells you what you do yet the idea that you no longer report to anyone is a myth. As an entrepreneur, you may not have someone who tells you what to do every day but you are still accountable to people and their needs, in this regard you still have a boss, in this world your client is your boss. In many ways, your clients are much more important than a boss because your business is nothing without your customers it’s them that will determine whether or not your company is successful.
Myth: If you have a strong product you will succeed
If life were fair then the best product would always be the leading product but life’s not fair. When I started out on my journey as a Leadership Coach I had full confidence in my expertise, I received incredible feedback from my workshops and I was listed on websites as one of the world’s top 100 leadership experts. Yet business was tough and there weren’t many enquiries coming into my inbox. The truth is being the best is not always enough. Each and every year awards are given out to the best tasting burger, McDonalds never win the award but they win the biggest share of the market. Success is not just about having the best product it’s about having the best marketing, promotion, systems as well as a good product.
Myth: You will have more free time
This is true but the good news about entrepreneurship is that you set your own working hours. The bad news about entrepreneurship is that although you set your hours, success and hard work are connected; you can’t have one without the other. You can work as few or as many hours as you want but the truth is that the harder you work the greater chance there is that you are going to succeed. There will be a temptation especially at the beginning to work every hour possible, but you need to be conscious of your own wellbeing because, without you, your business is nothing.
Myth: You will automatically be happier
There’s no doubt that the life of an entrepreneur is an amazing one, and I can testify from personal experience that there’s no job that comes close to the satisfaction you will get from building your own business. Yet this life is not for everyone, the highs are higher than a normal job, but the lows are lower. One of the best descriptions I’ve heard about the lows described the role of the entrepreneur as waking up every day unemployed with the aim of creating a job for themselves by the end of that day. You need to be mentally strong to enter a profession that has a 90% chance of failure and not everyone possesses this mental strength and will find this path a miserable one.
Myth: You need to do everything yourself
Again this is true in some circumstances but not all. The majority of entrepreneurs fail because they do not have all round skills. They may be good at sales but poor at budgets. The key is knowing your weaknesses and putting in plans to address them. If you are poor at bookkeeping, then approach an accountant, if you are not confident at website design then approach someone who is. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you are a one-man show, an entrepreneur needs to be a leader, they need to be able to lead themselves and just as importantly be able to influence others to share their passion and to contribute toward their goal.
The life of an entrepreneur is an amazing one but is not to be entered into lightly. Like everything in life, you have to be fully prepared and fully aware of what’s ahead of you. With preparation cones confidence and with confidence comes success.