The dawn of a new era.
We are living in an era of creativity, innovation and an abundance of “revolutionary idealists” who seek to change the world.
The fact that anyone from any race, ethicnity or background has the access to create and build something from the ground up is astounding to me.
More times than not, I think we all take it for granted.
We are living in a time period that can be categorized as “The greatest time in human history.”
There hasn’t been a moment, other than right now, in which we been able to learn anything we want, find anything we seek and access anyone we admire.
As the rapper Drake once said: “What a time it is to be alive.” And what a time it is indeed.
While there are enormous pros to the era that we are living through, it also leaves room for a lot of misinformation, misinterpretation, and misunderstandings.
Particularly around the topic of entrepreneurship and what it actually means to be an entrepreneur.
Information has been commoditized, therefore, “how-to” guides can be found everywhere.
But discovering the accuracy of anything is a method that either requires you to actually get your hands dirty and experience it on your own, or have someone who actually has done it to tell you like it is.
Staying on the topic of entrepreneurship, I’m here to give it to you straight about my experiences as an entrepreneur and what I’ve been told about it which happens to not all the way be true.
What people tell you entrepreneurship is about and what it actually is can be two very different things, always understand that.
Here are 5 common myths about what it takes to be an entrepreneur in the modern-day world.
Myth 1: You Gotta Raise Money To Start Or Grow A Business
I’ve heard a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs talk about how they need money before they start their business or even early on in the business to keep growing.
This is one of the biggest myths and honestly, biggest excuses that anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur can have.
It’s also probably one of the worst things that you can do when you’re starting out, 8/10 times.
Here’s what usually happens…
Someone has a so-called great idea. They start telling people about and people start taking an interest. They design a prototype or model, start selling, get a few customers in a few months and now they want to expand.
Here’s the thing, there are two main ways of scaling a business.
- More People
- More Money
Usually, people aren’t ready for either when they are just starting out, but many entrepreneurs think they are or that they don’t want to wait so they go out and look for investors.
The reason why this is not good is that more money equals more responsibility and when you bring other people, like investors, into the picture, you’re not just worried about making the business work; You’re worried about paying people back.
I always cringe when I see an entrepreneur start by raising money or jump too early into trying to scale their business.
Start small. Bootstrap as much as you can. Give it time and gradually grow. Analyze and adjust every detail of your company that needs tweaking. You’ll know when you’re really ready to scale.
Myth 2: You Need To Just Work Hard, Everything Will Workout
False. You need to work hard and you need to work smart.
Hard work is a huge variable to success, but I’m sorry to tell you that if you’re working hard on the wrong things, you simply won’t build a successful business.
You won’t build a successful business or brand, by just turning your wheels in the same place. You have to actually be going forward.
A lot of the time people confuse being busy with being productive.
Busy: Doing things for the sake of doing them.
Productivity: Doing things in order to accomplish something (working towards a goal).
For most people, working hard usually means they’re just being busy and working smart is usually being productive, but not getting enough done at a fast enough rate.
It’s the combination of volume and quality that gives you the results you want long-term.
Don’t just be busy. Don’t just be productive. Be busy being productive.
Myth 3: Just Build It! They Will Come
In the movie Field of Dreams featuring Kevin Costner, the most famous line in the movie is:
“If you build it, he will come.”
He interprets this as an instruction to build a baseball diamond in his cornfield so that past baseball players would come to his field.
Unfortunately, this analogy doesn’t always apply to entrepreneurship.
The best thing you can do as someone who wants to become an entrepreneur but doesn’t know how to start is to go out and see if there is an actual want or need for your product or service.
I’ve made the mistake of having great ideas (in my mind) and starting companies only to find out that there wasn’t really a need or want for what I was offering.
To build a real business you have to make money and in order to make money, you have to have customers and to have customers they have to want what you’re selling or offering.
If you build it, they might come.
But if you know what they want first then you build it, they definitely will come.
Myth 4: You’ll Be A Multi-Millionaire One Day!
Let’s get one thing straight.
Being an entrepreneur is hard work and by being practical from the beginning, you’ll be able to have realistic expectations for how successful you’ll be despite the amount of work you put in.
Not everyone will become a millionaire entrepreneur. In fact, the majority of people won’t even come close.
(Sorry to burst your bubble)
If you’re becoming an entrepreneur to make millions, you’re probably better off trying to become a venture capitalist or a broker on Wall Street.
Entrepreneurship is more about creating freedom and a lifestyle that you love than it is about making a lot of money.
The Elon Musks, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerburgs of the world are few and far in between.
Not saying that it can’t happen for you, I just wouldn’t get my hopes up too high because it’s unlikely from a practical sense.
But hey, practicality has destroyed many dreams so who am I to talk.
In my opinion, if money is really what you want, the best thing to do would be to aim for creating the best product or service that you can and adding the most valuable in the most efficient way possible.
To me, if you do this the money will follow whether that’s hundreds of thousands or multi-millions.
It might sound counterintuitive, but if you constantly focus on the money, it’ll be much harder for you to actually achieve your financial goals.
Focus on value, people and serve. Money will always follow that.
Myth 5: Anyone Can Be An Entrepreneur
One of my favorite sayings is “Anyone can become an entrepreneur, but entrepreneurship is not for everyone.”
This means that although there aren’t any barriers preventing from starting your own business, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.
Entrepreneurship is really hard.
It takes a lot of time, effort, energy, attention, sacrifice, grit, persistence, skill, talent, delegation, patience and even a little luck.
It can be lonely a lot of the time, but most entrepreneurs choose that life because they couldn’t see themselves doing anything different.
Entrepreneurship like a force that pulls you and holds you in.
It’s a game that brings out the greatest of competitors.
It’s a process that eliminates out the people for aren’t made out for it.
It can be ruthless. It can be cutthroat. It can be discouraging.
Only the strong survive and if you that’s you, then it can be everything that you ever wished for.
But you have to love it. You have to give it your everything.
As I said, anyone can do, but everyone won’t do it because of these reasons.
I’m only here to give it to you straight.
I am a someone who has learned what it takes to be an entrepreneur throughout the years.
I’ve read hundreds of articles about entrepreneurship, watched hundreds of videos about business strategies and listened to hundreds of interviews with successful entrepreneurs and still have so much to learn.
But it’s not about that.
It’s about getting in and actually doing the work.
It’s about not just talking about business, it’s about being a practitioner.
Talk without action is meaningless and a lot of people do it.
It’s about having the right mindset and not falling into the myths or misinformation that people might give you.
The simple truth is that entrepreneurship is not fun a lot of the time, it’s very tough and it takes a hell of a lot of work.
The other simple truth is that it’s now easier than ever before, it’s very exciting and if you do the right things it can change your life forever.
I urge you to go out, take the leap, and chase your dreams today. Don’t wait for life to come to you..
Make this your call to action to start that business, or goal that you’ve always wanted to achieve.
Don’t just talk about it, be about it.
Everyone can tell you what an entrepreneur is about, but not many will tell you what it actually feels like.
Which side are you going to choose today?
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Malcolm Lemmons is a former professional athlete turned entrepreneur, author, and speaker. He has been featured in the Huffington Post, TVOne, ABC & WJLA. To check out more from Malcolm, visit his website at www.malcolmlemmons.com or connect with him on Twitter & Instagram.