Entrepreneurship myth: Top 5 lies they tell you about entrepreneurship
What is your vision for entrepreneurship? Did you imagine jet-setting around the globe to hit various stages to impart your vast knowledge? Maybe you clung to images of invitations to the chef’s table, exclusive parties, and award shows? Did you see yourself motivating your team of twenty or so 20-somethings hanging on your every word? It’s very not that. Don’t these Insta CEOs make it look easy? The path to becoming a liberated entrepreneur is paved with lies.
Entrepreneurship Myth #1. “You’ll have so much free time to focus on other things.”
I haven’t had a moment to think since I got my EIN. As a mom, wife, community member, and business owner, I’m constantly playing in more than one arena.
Once you establish your business, you can’t just start selling. You have to establish your brand, do your research into your target audience, the product market, the need you want to fulfill, your competitors, and so much more before you can launch your product or service. This can take anywhere from six months to one year of dedicated time.
You are the marketing director, accountant, customer service agent, and CEO until you can hire for the roles you don’t wish to fulfill.
How to free up some time:
- It takes a lot of self-motivation to make entrepreneurship work. To combat this harsh reality, be sure to set S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals.
- Break your annual goals down into quarterly, monthly, weekly, and even daily intentions.
- Be aware of the family dinners, girls’ nights out, and PTA meetings you will sacrifice in order to bring your dream into reality. Plan smaller acknowledgments of the people closest to you to keep in touch and to show gratitude for the space to do so.
- AUTOMATE! I can’t stress this enough. Tools for email, customer relationship management (CRM), finances, and appointment scheduling can all be automated. Some tools will handle multiple tasks while others are dedicated platforms. Either way, it can save you plenty of time.
Entrepreneurship Myth #2. “You’ll be making 6 figures straight out the gate!”
Unless you are a queen at the stock market, making 6 figures in your first year is rare. It’s not impossible, just highly improbable.
Considering the capital investment required by the entrepreneur, the profit that remains will likely be under six figures. And please understand that grossing 6 figures, and netting 6 figures are not the same thing. For the average entrepreneur, it is rare to pay yourself a salary for the first several months if not 1-2 years, based on the size of your vision. And if you can manage it, choosing to delay your salary while you are in the start up phase, is smart business. After maximizing use of your personal reserves, you may have to turn to personal or bank loans, grants or additional funders to stay afloat if you have not already built in these capital resources when writing your business plan as part of the financial strategy and projections.
Here are a few tips to keep costs low:
- Don’t spend before you have to – Are you pretty good with numbers? Be your own bookkeeper/accountant. Free bookkeeping apps like Wave and Freshbooks make it easy to keep track until you have the revenue to hire a professional.
- Barter for services – Join industry/business groups where other professionals are lurking. Ask if anyone needs/is willing to accept your products or services in exchange for the product or service you require. Even if there may not be someone in that group, they may know someone willing to barter. (Tip within a tip: Draw up a contract stating what each party is offering, and the monetary value of each offering.)
- Don’t underbid yourself– I have a coaching client who was charging an average market rate for her V. A. services. She failed to take into account her education, location, and years of experience. Remember, you are a hot commodity. Price your services as such.
Entrepreneurship Myth #3. “You can work from anywhere, so you can live a nomad lifestyle.”
The freedom to do this is not as simple as it looks on Instagram and TikTok. These influencers likely have a few things that a new entrepreneur may not:
- A team to handle things while they are in flight
- Sponsors covering their lodging and/or transportation
- Additional income from other sources (a side-hustle to their side-hustle) aka multiple streams of income
- An international data plan (cuz let’s be real)
- A full support system that can cover home life (kids, pets, plants, etc.)
How can you live the nomad life?
Start by building a team that can help you create multiple income streams including a few passive ones. Once you have that figured out, consider the lifestyle changes and support you would need to make that happen (See home life support bullet above).
Entrepreneurship Myth #4. “You’ll have a full support team to help you along the way.”
In the beginning, it could just be you and your laptop in a coffee shop sketching out ideas as best you can.
As you wear many hats, you’ll learn where your weaknesses are. Juggling everything, you will be forced to let some things fall. A support team is not automatic with entrepreneurship unless you Jerry McGuire your way out of the office and take an assistant or two with you.
The hurdle: In order to grow you have to delegate. Delegation means staff. Staff means you need money to pay them. Money means revenue. Revenue means growth. I think you see where I’m going here. “Need money to make money,” yeah, that’s the barrier that halts new business owners often.
Take the leap:
Start small – Once you have built a small amount of revenue (by bartering services, bootstrapping, etc.) hire your most needed team member on a short term, hourly or basis. Build momentum with a short-term contract until you reach your revenue goals that will allow you to expand even more.
Entrepreneurship Myth #5. “What you did in your 9-to-5 is totally transferable to a full-time entrepreneurial effort.”
Nope! Just because you were a barber doesn’t mean you know how to run a salon. Knowing your Zone of Genius is one thing. Staying in you Zone and then managing all of the other departments that come with being a CEO. . .that’s another.
As a cog in the corporate machine, one may not be privy to the full breadth of the business needs and operations. But all is not lost.
How to level up your skills
- Keep learning – Join an intensive, a workshop, or find videos on YouTube (we love running lean here).
- Join networking groups to find out where and what others are learning – utilize your network as a resource. They are full of information. Search these groups/spaces for the topic you wish to explore. Ask questions about what you don’t understand or about the pain points your clients face. Let others’ knowledge be your guide.
- Get a mentor – See someone in your networking group a few paces ahead of you? Ask them if they’re willing to be your mentor. A little online stalking and a virtual coffee date will help you determine if they are a good fit.
While the lies we’re told might cause us to stumble in the beginning, our magic always wins out. Black women are still the fastest growing segment of business owners in the United States. While we carry communities and babies on our backs, we open doors to generations with every product and service offered. Moral of the story? Keep going.
Keep that vision strong in your mind and watch as we turn myths into that magical reality everyone craves.