Five Myths About Starting A New BusinessWilliam Gadea 04.18.2017
We live in a country that extols entrepreneurs. (I sometimes doubt whether we deserve the admiration.) Even though that is the case, there are still some myths about starting a business that are pervasive… and not grounded in fact. These are all things that I believed at one stage, so I assume others might share these misconceptions. So let’s dispel!
1. Entrepreneurs work crazy hours.
Entrepreneurs can work crazy hours. Some of them are in situations where they have to, perhaps because they have a limited runway of funding, or they need to secure first-mover advantage. But many have more flexibility than that. For me, the beauty of being a business-owner is that you can design your work situation to fit your life. There are compelling reasons to have work-life balance: family, for one. The strongest consideration in my case is that I cannot do my best creative work when I’m running myself ragged. I owe keeping reasonable hours not just to myself, but to my clients. I write more about this here.
2. Entrepreneurs risk everything.
Again, some do, and some need to if they are going to get their business off the ground. But there are ways to limits your personal liability with the legal structures you create, and the legal options you have. You can also share the risk of the initial investment with investment partners, if you can find them. A conversation with a lawyer can be enlightening and calming, letting you draw a line beyond which your assets will not be at risk. It will let you sleep better at night.
3. Entrepreneurs have to drop their jobs.
It is very feasible to keep a business going as a side hustle for a long time. Before it became IdeaRocket, our studio was called Homebaked Films. I taught 3d computer animation and took freelance jobs with studios for four or five years before I developed marketing channels that provided a steady flow of leads for us. Starting a business is an exercise in learning; it’s good not to have to learn everything at once in order to survive.
4. Entrepreneurs have access to funding.
There are many businesses that do not require a big upfront investment. Our field is like that – pretty much anyone with a computer can say they are an animation studio. (And of course, that is a problem with this business… low barriers of entry means a ton of low-end competition.) But even if your business does require funding, there are unconventional ways of getting it. For some, friends and family are the first stop. Others make a leap and put their nest egg in, or use credit cards to get the business off the ground. It has worked for some people; you have to decide if it is right for you.
5. Entrepreneurs are slick, outgoing salesmen
Being able to sell is a great skill! But you can hire somebody else to do it. (A salesperson was my first hire, and turned out to be a very good one.) Also, you should discard the notions you have about who a salesman is. The best ones aren’t high on the extroversion spectrum, because extroverts don’t listen as much as a good salesperson needs to. I’m an introvert, and I might not be a natural salesperson, but I sell well enough because I’m passionate about listening to and solving our clients’ problems. When people see that, they usually recognize it.
Entrepreneurship is a great journey. What I love best about it is that it taxes every part of me. In the morning I can be deep in a creative problem, at noon I might be nerding out on some marketing data, and in the afternoon I could be solving a problem of human communication with my employees. Variety is an intoxicating drug.
Starting a business is not for everyone, but don’t let things that are not necessarily true stop you!