Sage Advice US

Do you really want to be an entrepreneur?

We love to read articles about successful entrepreneurs. They inspire and encourage those of us who are on the fence—waiting for the right time to take that leap of faith.

If you’re dreaming of launching your own small business, make sure none of these common misconceptions are giving you unrealistic expectations:

1. Starting a business requires a huge capital investment

Not always. Some have started with under $10k, with most starting with $25k, on average. Brian Morgan, Founder of Adventure Life, started his company with $3k in 1998. By 2008, the company was making $11 million.

2. Entrepreneurship is going to make me rich

Sorry, but not all entrepreneurs have the same kind of success as Brian Morgan. Entrepreneurship is not a get-rich-quick scheme. In fact, it typically takes 1-3 years for a startup to turn a profit. According to a study from American Express, the average salary of the entrepreneur was $68,000, which is nothing to scoff at but still perhaps not the six figures you might have envisioned.

3. My product/service is the best out there, so I know I’ll have instant success

If you don’t have right sales, marketing and connections in your industry, your business will likely struggle, no matter how great your product/service might be.

4. Being an entrepreneur will give me more control over my schedule

Maybe a little, but keep in mind that the first few years will take lots of your time, requiring long workdays, and little or no vacation time. Also, depending on your industry, you’ll often have to schedule meetings around your client’s availability, not your own. If you are flying solo, your time will be tight.

5. Entrepreneurship = no more boss

Guess what? The BUSINESS is your boss. Everyone has someone to report to—in one way or another—even if you are the CEO of your own business. If you are funded, your investors are your boss. You will always be held accountable by clients, potential clients and partners.

6. The more clients, customers, etc., the better

Not always true. All clients and customers are not good for your bottom line. Some are very high maintenance, haggle too much on your prices, carry unrealistic expectations and are just not worth the investment in your time. Also, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin. If you can’t take good care of your client base, you could jeopardize your credibility, quality and overall brand. To learn more, check out our post, How do you know when it is time to fire a customer?

7. Entrepreneurship is fun

It can be, but it’s not always a walk in the park. There will be lots of ups and downs, with highest of highs and lowest of lows. It can be a monster of a roller coaster at times, so buckle up and be prepared for the ride.

8. Anyone can be an entrepreneur

Self-employment is an unrealistic goal if you are the kind of person who can’t get work done without external pressure and direction from others. You’re the one making big decisions—the one that has to follow through on all of them. To be successful, you need discipline and confidence in your abilities. Oh, and did I mention: patience, perseverance, and a sense of humor?

Think you can make a great entrepreneur?

Successful entrepreneurs are hardworking, determined and are laser-focused on their pursuits. Being an entrepreneur can be challenging, but it can also be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. The feeling of accomplishment you get as you watch your business grow and prosper is unmatched. Remember, “Love what you do. Work hard. Have faith in your dreams—and success will follow.”