Dumb Myths About Startups and Entrepreneurs
I love how you can make the following decisions and nobody bats an eye. You're encouraged to do them:
- Spend thousands or lacs of rupees on college
- Buy a house and enter 10 years of being in debt
- Swipe your credit card like no tomorrow after driving to the mall in your leased vehicle
- Work a job where, by the simple nature of how employment works, you're paid much less than you're worth and where the person is at the mercy of their employer and in a situation where losing their job would cause the debt they're in to collapse on them.
But that's fine.
We hear stories about entrepreneurs. How great life it is. And it can be pretty great. But it's not always sunshine and rainbows. There are tons of myths about entrepreneurship and startups that make it seem more glamorous than it is.
Myths that need to die. Now. Let's slay them together.
Myth #1: Not Everyone Can Be an Entrepreneur 😔
I don't know where I heard this from, but this idea hit me like a ton of bricks when I heard it. "Everyone is an entrepreneur, but employees sell their services to one client." Think about it.
You're not guaranteed a job. You have to apply for many of them to land one. How is that any different than having to generate leads in the hope that some become clients? Or promote a product in the hopes a few buy? It isn't.
This isn't to say that the risks of being an employee and going it alone are the same. They're not. But they're similar enough for you to realize that the gap between being employed and working for yourself isn't as large as you think. The dynamics aren't all that different, either.
For example, If you work in a white-collar profession, say accounting, you have all the skills you need to sell your services as a freelancer. And maybe in the future create a company of your own.You have what you need. Just do it .
Myth #2: Premier college degrees alone lure investors 🙍
One of the most common belief systems in the startup ecosystems is that most of the funded startups are run by founders with premier college degrees.
But it is not the only influencing factor to make or break the investors' decision- there are many more factors to it.
For an angel to potentially consider investing in a high-risk venture, the trust you build during your interactions outweighs any competencies you might possess.
I have heard angels giving preference to the character of a person, ability to adapt, decision making in the adverse circumstances etc over any skill-based competency which can be acquired through training or by hiring human resources.
The premier college degrees alone do not lure the angels.
Myth #3: Success = Great Idea + Determination 🤩
A determined entrepreneur working on a solid idea to develop an effective product that solves a real market problem — these are crucial to the success of a startup.
However, a new company requires far more than mere commitment and smart ideas to generate revenue, become profitable, and scale.
90% of all start-ups ultimately fail and if you examine the remaining 10% that succeed then you'll notice that few of them begin with a "great" idea.
- Evan Spiegel, the founder of the ultra popular app Snapchat, was reportedly laughed at back when he first proposed the program.
- Similarly, the co-founders of Airbnb (i.e., Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk) were supposedly told by their only investor at the time that he thought their innovative hospitality service was an incredibly stupid idea.
Against the "success = great idea + determination" myth, then, rather than needing a revolutionary idea you need to get started, to jump into the market, test out your minimum viable product, collect real feedback from real consumers, and tweak your product and operations as needed.
Myth #4: I have to focus 100 percent on my startup from the day it's founded 🥺
But the Truth is, You don't have to quit your day job just yet.
When you view your startup as a side project, you don't have to worry about keeping your head above water while you work out the kinks.
Plenty of successful startups like Craigslist, Trello, and Product Hunt began as side projects that teams and individuals developed to solve their day-to-day struggles.
Their founders didn't quit their day jobs until they knew these side gigs could be self-sufficient.
Startups that have enough income to play the long game are ultimately successful. They can focus on increasing value and profit instead of their bank balance.
Myth #5: You Need to be Smart to Become an Entrepreneur or Freelancer 🙋
When you think about entrepreneurship, you probably think of people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, etc. Super geniuses. I blame Inc Magazine and Forbes for lionizing this view of entrepreneurial success.
Drawing from my experience reading about business owners, let me tell you, many of these individuals were not rocket scientists. They owned carpet cleaning franchises, landscaping companies, health and wellness consulting firms, e-commerce stores, home improvement rental equipment companies, the list genuinely goes on.
Get it out of your head that you have to be a genius who builds this sexy lifestyle business on the internet. That's only one of many routes. Like I always say, build a business or freelance based on something you're good at. Writing makes me money. It's one of the few things I'm good at, so I build all my income streams around it.
You don't get to choose your natural talents and strengths, but you do get to decide whether or not you tap into them fully. If you do, odds are, you'll do well. And you don't need to be a genius to figure this out.
Myth #6: You Have to Sacrifice Your Life to Build a Business 😞
Maybe I should put this at number one because it's the biggest, stinkiest, heaping pile of bullshit I've ever heard.
Look, do you have to sacrifice some of your time to make a side project come to life? Hell yeah. But this idea that you have to take a second mortgage on your home, abandon your family, and have no social life to start a side hustle is pure garbage.
It's pretty crazy how people will hide behind their circumstances, especially their kids, to avoid the truth — they're just not willing to do the extra work.
Life isn't fair. It will never be.
If you only have an hour a day to work on your project and you have to do it at 5 a.m., then wake your fucking ass up and do it.
You have plenty of time, but you're just full of shit. Admitting that is the first and most important step to making a real run at this.
Myth #7: You'll be your boss 😁
One of the most common reasons for wanting to start a business is to "be your boss." But generally, if you take on investors , you lose control of the company when you accept the venture capital money . And even if you don't have to take on investors, your customers become your new boss — and they're likely to be much more demanding than your old boss ever was. I'd argue that there's less freedom and more responsibility involved in starting a business versus having a regular job.
Myth #8: Raising a big round means you have achieved success 😺
In the last three years, the number of funding rounds over $100M have tripled. Drop into any coffee shop and you will surely hear, "That company just raised a $100 million-dollar round; they're crushing it!"
I am here to remind you that round size is not necessarily correlated with business success; there are countless examples of companies that have raised hundreds of millions of dollars, only to fail spectacularly.
Besides the fact that large, late stage rounds often mean significant dilution for founders, companies that raise too much capital can get distracted by their scale and miss obvious market opportunities. Too much capital can also result in irresponsible decision making involving hiring, spending, and scaling. It's not over until the fat lady sings (or the market bell rings), so founders who are worth a fortune on paper are still just that — on paper.
Just Focus on building real value, not paper value.
Myth #9: Quitting is for losers 🙂
The final myth is that entrepreneurs have to hustle to the end — no matter what. Quotes such as "Tough times never last, but tough people do", tend to give the misconception that as long as you work hard, success will come eventually. But the fact is that not every idea works. There are times when hard work won't solve your problems. Knowing when to walk away could save you a lot of time and money, which allows you to move on to the next idea.
The simple truth is that entrepreneurship is not fun a lot of the time, it's very tough and it takes a hell of a lot of work.
The other simple truth is that it's now easier than ever before, it's very exciting and if you do the right things it can change your life forever.
So I urge you to go out, leap, and chase your dreams today. Don't wait for life to come to you..
Make this your call to action to start that business, or goal that you've always wanted to achieve.
The startup path is about the journey, not the destination.You won't arrive at success immediately, but you should buckle up for one hell of a trip.
I challenge you to create your very own definition of what an entrepreneur should be like.
We are all unique. We all have different aspirations and dreams. Fulfillment only comes from a deep understanding of who we are, what we want to be, and a willingness to take a leap and learn and grow along the way.
So rather than asking yourself why you should be an entrepreneur, ask yourself, "Why not?"
Keep hustling ❤️