As an entrepreneur, you have probably had many people offer their advice and insights. Mentors, consultants and other sources of support can be crucial to you, especially if it’s your first time starting a business.
However, entrepreneurs should also be wary. Although an individual may not intend to be dishonest, they could tell you lies without realizing it. Watch out for these 5 common lies, because if you haven’t heard them already, you are likely to hear them at some point in your career.
1. “You get to be your own boss.”
Yes and no. Yes, you may have a certain flexibility and you may not be answering to a boss, in the traditional organizational hierarchy sense. However, as you grow and develop, you’ll likely have more stakeholders. Those stakeholders may come in the form of employees, customers or investors.
As a company leader, you are responsible for managing them and to some extent, meeting their demands. If you have venture capital or angel investors, they will have some control in your business. If your customers’ demands aren’t met, you’ll probably lose their business, and if your employees aren’t happy, your overall performance will suffer.
2. “You have to have investors.”
Getting an investment is a huge deal for many organizations. An investment can expand your team and give you resources and support that help your business grow faster. But, some entrepreneurs decide to bootstrap it first or take out loans to launch their business. This is especially common in the very early stages, when seeking investments may not be an option or a necessity.
Most companies eventually seek capital as they grow and their needs outweigh their available resources. But, your business can grow without investments. Sure, as time passes you may want to seek funding, but don’t let the lack of investor funding be the only reason holding you back from starting a company.
3. “You need a million dollar idea.”
There is a misconception that in order to have a highly successful business, entrepreneurs need to have a “million dollar idea.” The reality is that the idea is only a part of it. The real key to success is in the execution.
For example, Facebook may have been a great idea, but there were also other social networks emerging at the time (e.g. Friendster, Myspace). It was in Zuckerberg’s execution of the idea that made Facebook a ground-breaking brand. If you are going to do something, make sure that you do it better than anyone else, and in a way that can’t easily be replicated. That is what will separate you from competitors.
4. “I was a self-made millionaire or billionaire.”
The idea of the rags-to-riches, self-made millionaire or billionaire is the epitome of the American dream. But, the reality is that in maybe one out of a billion cases, this person was truly self-made. Of course, it could depend on how you define “self-made”.
If someone says that they did it completely alone, without any assistance━financial or otherwise, it’s probably a lie. It is possible for people to go from absolutely poor to wealthy, to defy odds and rise to success. But, the truth is: They didn’t do it all on their own. More often than not, they had mentors, funding or some other type of support along the way. It may not have been from family or through a wealthy benefactor, but somewhere along their entrepreneurial journey, someone helped them.
Starting your own business can be incredibly hard, especially if you have little to no experience. Trying to do everything yourself will only stress you out. Learning from other people can actually make you a better entrepreneur and grow your network. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t independent and can’t do it on your own, but delegating can make your workload lighter and your end result much more meaningful.
5. “Starting your own business will make you filthy rich.”
If you decided to be an entrepreneur because you want to get rich quick, you’ve been misled. Despite the hundreds of books published on how to build a business that will make you filthy rich fast, that’s not the norm. In fact, study found that on average it takes 32 years for most to reach millionaire status.
If money is your primary motivation for starting a business, you’re going to fail or give up before you see any monetary reward from your efforts. Instead, focus on solving a problem that you are familiar with and passionate about. You’ll be more likely to see success than those that are driven by financial rewards.