12 of The Biggest Misconceptions About Being An Entrepreneur
From salaries to ping-pong tables to sky-high valuations, there is a long list of misconceptions about startups and entrepreneurship. It’s not surprising really, since entrepreneurs grace the covers of magazines like rock stars, and Google employs an executive chef to fuel innovation with free food. But are these fantasy perks and culinary benefits, just virtual workplace reality?
Consider this. During the recruiting process, the perks that matter most to potential hires are healthcare insurance, paid vacation days, and performance bonuses. Nope — ping-pong tables and 24/7 free food don’t even make the top five list for recruits. As for employees, a recent study indicates that culture and values rank higher for job satisfaction than compensation. Workplace culture is often reflected in the office layout and surroundings, so maybe (just maybe) that ping-pong table contributes to work-satisfaction purpose after all!
With all these misconceptions swirling in my mind, I reached out to twelve entrepreneurs to ask them what they thought were the biggest misconceptions about entrepreneurship. Here’s what these entrepreneurs had to say:
“The biggest misconception is that there is any glamour in it, or that everyone should do it. One of the things I like most about events like Startup Weekend is that some people are able to discover they don’t like the stress, pace or close interaction of a startup — before they’ve walked away from a stable job. I love what I do, but it is not easy or glamorous.”– Lisa Abeyta, Founder and CEO of AppCityLife.
“That you get to be your own boss! In reality, it’s more like “Boss of no one, bossed by everyone.” – Lenore Horton, Managing Partner of L.F. Horton Law Group, P.C.
“Most people don’t realize it’s an all-consuming way of life.” – Brenda Coffee, Founder and CEO of 1010ParkPlace.com
“For me, the biggest misconception is that success comes overnight, and that you need to be in your 20’s or 30’s. It takes time, perseverance, and experience is a plus, as it is a constant process of iteration and learning: about the problems you are trying to solve, how to best solve them, your customers, your company, your peers and yourself.”– Barbara Hanna, Founding CEO of cyant.co.
“That you get to do whatever you want to, anytime you want to. Sort of true, but you still must be responsive to your clients/customers and stay engaged with your team.” – Colette Ellis, Founder of InStep Consulting LLC.
“That it is, in any way, glamorous! Entrepreneurship is thrilling and somewhat of an adrenaline rush. But it is tough. You have to worry about everything big and small, especially as you’re building the business. There are massive benefits of that – although it’s hard to remember as you’re cleaning toilets!” – Erica Wassinger, Managing Director and Co-Founder of the Omaha Startup Collaborative.
“The biggest misconception about being an entrepreneur is that it’s all fun, all the time. You typically have to learn to embrace some elements of work you don’t particularly like or aren’t necessarily good at. Especially when you’re just starting out.” – Lauren Fritsch, Co-founder and Chief Goals Officer of LifeShifted Media LLC.
“That you have everything figured out.”– Jennifer Johnson Scalzi, Founder of J. Johnson Executive Search, Inc.
“For me, the biggest misconception is that you can make your own schedule. Just because you don’t have a boss doesn’t mean you lose a sense of responsibility to your company, employees, investors and overall vision for where you want to be.” – Caroline Pugh, Chief of Staff at NavHealth.
“There isn’t any one broad misconception to debunk, because how entrepreneurs work is one hundred percent idiosyncratic. Working in pajamas? Sure, some do. Working insane hours? Sure, some do. Passion-driven? Sure, some are. Losing sleep over being successful? Sure, depending upon the person and the night. Aren’t many of these stereotypes just as likely to be true of anyone? I have entrepreneur friends who can’t bear to work from home, others who can’t imagine working any other way. Some dive in with passion for a product or service, others simply see a wise business opportunity and go for it fueled by their love of a good challenge. Who we are, what drives us, how we work, what our fears are and how we manage them is as individualistic as we each are.” – Tevis Trower, Founder and CEO Balance Integration Corporation.
“The misconception that it’s a lonely pursuit. I think there’s an amazing community out there just waiting to support you, if you just invest the time to find and nurture relationships.” – Cynthia Schames, Vice President, Sales & Marketing at Sourceeasy.
“For me, the greatest misconception is that there is a well-trodden path to success. In fact, you create your own success, and it’s not by following other peoples’ formulae or roadmaps. It’s by being tenacious, passionate, diligent and carving your own path.” – Claudia Batten, serial entrepreneur.