There are undeniable perks to entrepreneurship. Whether you are just beginning to nurse an idea through the nascent stages of a business or you’ve already launched your own endeavor, it’s important to recognize that entrepreneurship is also really hard.
Consider this quote from Jeff Bezos, “All overnight success takes about 10 years.” Right. Even those entrepreneurs that seemed to have caught lightning in a bottle labored for years to get their business off the ground and thriving. Before you decide to rethink the risk vs. reward of launching a start-up, let’s unpack a few important truths that may help set a more realistic (and successful!) course.
Myth: “If You Build it They Will Come”
If you didn’t think your idea had merit, you wouldn’t be investing the time, energy, and money into launching it. Surely everyone else will see its value, right? They may, but it may take time and lots of work to get them to see what you do. In the film Field of Dreams, Shoeless Joe Jackson (aka Ray Liotta) tells Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner), “If you build it, he will come.” Some entrepreneurs hit the market thinking this quote about baseball-playing ghosts in a corn field applies to their start-up. The reality is, it doesn’t. You need to build it, market it, nurture it, establish relationships with your partners and your clients, and do all that with patience and determination to see it through the long haul.
Myth: Dream Big and Conquer
Let me preface this by saying something very important: there is nothing wrong with dreaming big…as long as those big dreams aren’t fantasy. Dream big, but be realistic. Do your research. Understand the potential market for your idea. Be realistic about the time, effort, and money it’s going to take to breathe this dream to life. Recognize the sacrifice your dream may require in order to become a real, tangible asset.
If your dream is to launch that overnight success and enjoy, well, overnight success, you might be embracing the fantasy. If you dream of birthing a multi-million dollar company with a product that has a potential for a half-million in profits for the type of product or service you’re selling in this target market, you may want to re-evaluate your goals. Dream big real dreams.
Myth: Your Idea is One-of-a-Kind
Once in a while, someone comes up with a new, bold, fresh idea that takes the market by storm. The reality, however, is that most new businesses aren’t all that unique. If you’ve dreamed up an idea that you think is totally revolutionary, you may want to take a little extra time to research its viability. The issue your product or service is addressing may not be the big issue you think it is, or someone else may already be addressing it in some other way. In other words, you may have dreamed up a product for which there is little to no market or you may have more competition than you realize from businesses that approach the consumer need from a different angle. Do your homework and understand your market.
Myth: There is Freedom in Being My Own Boss
Yes. There is freedom in being your own boss, but that freedom may not be all that you think it is. Entrepreneurs work long hours. They work long weeks. They wear many hats – sometimes even hats that push them outside their comfort zones because there’s no one else to do the work until the business is up, running, and established enough to bring in outside help or a team of employees. The income they begin to generate is often rolled back into the business and so their income may be smaller than expected at the start (and until success hits). You may not have a boss to report to, but you will have investors and partners and clients and staff.
Here’s the good news: when you move beyond the myths and enter this process with a healthy dose of realism and determination, you will ultimately be successful. It may not be this business endeavor. This one may fail (or it may not). It may not be the next one (or it could be). Your grit and hard work, however, will pay off. Need a hand shaking free of these myths and getting started on your true path? I’d love to talk with you about it. Get started here.