Question: What do you consider to be the most common misconception about entrepreneurship?
“Entrepreneurs always worry about finding an incredible differentiation point so they can outwit and outsmart their competitors all the time. The fact is, a niche does not guarantee success and it won’t save your company from failure either. Businesses should be built if they will offer a valuable product or service at a reasonable price.”
“Outside of Silicon Valley and a few other highly entrepreneurial areas, most people don’t believe that it’s possible to start a business at any age—whether it be an eBay selling business as a teen or a full blown startup during high school. With the Internet, anything is possible, no matter what age you are and no matter where you’re located in the world.”
“It’s natural to doubt when it comes to promoting your business, new programs or yourself as an expert. Entrepreneurship is about getting out there and doing it anyway, even if the fear, worry and doubts outweigh your confidence.”
“A debilitating mindset is that overnight success is possible. Young entrepreneurs are inspired to start their own business by witnessing currently successful individuals . They study the success story instead of the origin of the story, which often includes massive struggle prior to the breakthrough. Truth is, it takes 10 years to become an overnight success.”
“I regularly receive calls from friends with the next “big idea” but call it quits when it comes time to start really building something. Entrepreneurship is 10 percent idea and 90 percent execution. Most entrepreneurs’ ideas change and evolve over time; their success comes from being able to execute on their vision and make adjustments as necessary.”
“I’ve lost count of the number of times people have told me how great it must be because, as the owner, I get to make my own hours. What they don’t realize is that since it’s your business, it’s incredibly difficult to ever turn it off—something I’m personally trying to work on. You’re thinking about a thousand different things and are always working.”
“Entrepreneurship is not always sexy; we aren’t instantly rich and we aren’t always in it to take over the world. Sometimes we go from meeting with a client to cleaning the bathroom… it’s ALL our responsibility. Sometimes we don’t take paychecks for years. And often,we don’t want to change the whole world—just improve their industry or make our mark.”
“Many people think starting a business is extremely risky. It doesn’t have to be. The best entrepreneurs I know are extremely risk averse, testing everything to make sure they’re making the best decisions. It’s much more risky to be dependent on one company to give you a “corporate allowance” each month, which can end at any moment. That’s risky.”
“There are two types of entrepreneurs. There are the hard-working founders that live to work and work to live; they are constantly at the office changing the world. That’s great, but it doesn’t apply to all entrepreneurs. Others start businesses to experience the opposite effect. They want more freedom; to work less… they are the ‘lifestyle’ entrepreneur.”
“Mainstream people think that entrepreneurs are like Mark Zuckerburg, Steve Jobs or other tech giants. In reality, the vast majority of entrepreneurs went to college, got started later in life and are not geniuses. They come in all shapes and sizes, just like their businesses do.”
“I’m tired of seeing entrepreneurs preach that you’re not passionate about your idea unless you’re willing to give up everything. Plenty start successful business without ever going into debt. We’ve always run our business as a blend of consulting and software. Consulting made us profitable from day one, giving us the resources and time to build out the software.”
“Starting a business alone is a recipe for failure. Too many cooks in the kitchen is no good, but you have to find that a partner in whom you believe. Your partner will help you fight those inevitable fires, celebrate the little “wins” and keep you sane. A partner will also make sure that the company thrives if you ever need to take a day—or even a few hours—off.”
“When you become an entrepreneur, your business and success become an obsession. You can’t just turn off your brain when you come home from work, an idea that requires quick action can happen at any time (while sleeping, in the shower). There is no wall separating your personal life and work. But don’t worry, it’s still fun!”
“Many people believe you are a born entrepreneur; true for many, but that does not discount those not born with the business skills or desires. Great entrepreneurs are made through nurture, not nature. If you are passionate and have a great idea, you too can become an entrepreneur as long as you never quit and see your idea through to the end.”
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.