18 notorious myths of entrepreneurship debunked

February 19, 2021

Myths of entrepreneurship debunked

Entrepreneurship this, entrepreneurship that… So many myths of entrepreneurship have been circulating around for years it’s hard to keep track. Some of them are so often repeated that we started believing them.

On top of that, it looks like many found a way to earn money by preaching these myths, which further complicates the situation. Take Grant Cardone or Gary Vee for example – they’ve made millions by selling entrepreneurship myths (hint: you need to grind 24/7 in order to succeed).

That entrepreneurship became a global cult is not helping at all to debunking these entrepreneurship myths. These days, it looks like Tai Lopez and Entrepreneurship is what Tom Cruise and Scientology were in the 2000s.

 1. Entrepreneurs are narcissists

 2. Living care free

 3. You must start young

 4. All entrepreneurs are extroverts

 5. No more bosses

 6. You need a lot of money to start

 7. You should hustle day and night

 8. Accept every advice 

 9. You must be an expert

 10. You need completely new idea

 11. Money has to be the main motivation

 12. Entrepreneurs must innovate

 13. You need to do everything yourself

 14. Outsource and automate everything

 15. Being VC-funded is the only way

 16. Hard work equals success

 17. Venture capital and hip office space

 18. Entrepreneurship is incredibly risky

18 myths of entrepreneurship that paint the wrong picture

Since it became impossible for the mere observer to tell myths of entrepreneurship from facts we took it upon ourselves to debunk the worst entrepreneurship myths and misconceptions and strip off all the lies that have built up during the years.

#1 Myth: Entrepreneurs are narcissistic people with no connection to the real world

Building your own business or creating a product or service requires hard work, long hours and sacrifice – but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sacrifice your life or relationships to be successful.

Many entrepreneurs have families at home who are counting on them. For some, this might even mean a spouse is taking on additional work while their partner builds the business. The majority of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs decide to take on major lifestyle changes, not because of their own self-interest or ambition, but because they believe their idea can change the world for the better. It’s a noble cause that is often misunderstood as narcissism.

David Wright, Executive Director of Practice Development at M&O Marketing

#2 Myth: You will live a care-free, autonomous lifestyle

For me, the biggest myth about entrepreneurship that I hear repeatedly is that being an entrepreneur must mean you are living this care-free, autonomous lifestyle. For some reason, folks seem to think that becoming an entrepreneur means you are enjoying 20-hour workweeks while doing business from your laptop on the beach in Bali. 

Simply not true. Oftentimes, entrepreneurs leave behind a 40-hour workweek, only to find themselves putting in 80-hour work weeks for the first few years. As for the autonomy, entrepreneurs are very much still held accountable, even more so as they continue to build a team.

DeeAnn Sims-Knight, Founder of Dark Horse PR

#3 Myth: Successful entrepreneurs all start young

While the media loves to glamorize the college dropout turned tech entrepreneur (Mark Zuckerberg, anyone?), the truth of the matter is that most entrepreneurs achieve success much later in life. In fact, according to Entrepreneur magazine the average age of entrepreneurs in the United States is 40. Blockbuster companies like Twitter, HTC, Intel, Wal-Mart, and countless others were all started by entrepreneurs well into their 30’s or beyond. 
Data even shows that success is more likely the older you get as an entrepreneur, undoubtedly due to the experience and connections gained as you grow older. While it may feel like entrepreneurship is a young person’s game, in reality, it’s never too late to start.

Kelly Bertog, Founder of YOURS Non-Alcoholic Drinks

#4 Myth: Only extroverts can succeed in entrepreneurship

This is because we commonly associate entrepreneurs with being outgoing and adept at networking. However, this is an entrepreneurship myth for many reasons. 

For example, introverted entrepreneurs don’t mind working alone during those long hours in the early stages of their business. They are more likely to enjoy working and making decisions independently. Introverts are also more likely to prefer one-on-one meetings and listen carefully to the suggestions of others. They are also likely to be successful as entrepreneurs because they tend to be low key and deliberate in their decisions.

Kathryn Schwab, Head of Content at Bobbie

#5 Myth: You no longer have a boss

Sure, you don’t have to deal with a corporate manager anymore – and you can fire terrible clients. But every client or customer you enlist becomes your supervisor. In order to stay in business (i.e. keep your job), you need to meet their needs and expectations. Otherwise, you’ll get fired – plus potentially earn a negative reputation that will dog you forever.

Laura Gariepy, Owner Before You Go Freelance

#6 Myth: You need a lot of money to start a business

All you need is an idea and motivation to test it out. If your idea is decent, you’ll start finding customers or users quickly and the money will start flowing. Real entrepreneurs find problems and come up with solutions. Being short on funds is just another problem in the long line of problems you’ll have to solve to start and grow your business. 

I started with $1K to my name working from a cell phone and laptop of a dining room table and now run a $5M/yr business with 7 employees disrupting an industry. Anything is possible with enough determination and grit to solve the problems you’re presented with and make it happen.

Kyle Sharick, CEO of TracksNTeeth, Inc  

While it’s true that you will need some sort of capital to fund the early stages of your business, growing it initially doesn’t always have to revolve around chunks of cash.

Entrepreneurs typically finance startups from their own pockets. And because not all entrepreneurs come from a wealthy background, capital isn’t always as accessible.

Take my startup story for example. We founded EarlyBird, a financial gifting platform, in 2019. We weren’t fully funded when we had just started. To make up for it, our small team developed strategic partnerships with investors who helped raise our capital, and marketers who increased awareness and online authority of our brand.

Different business operations like growth hacking and raising funds through investments are some of the tactics that worked for us. Our driven team members also played an important role to achieve our success.

Caleb Frankel, Co-founder and COO at EarlyBird

#7 Myth: You should hustle day and night

On the contrary, to succeed you need to work smarter, not harder! If you apply systems and processes to real problems and make sure you live a healthy and balanced life you will have a better chance of success.

Why hustle and grind your way to success, and risk sacrificing your health and relationships along the way?

If you work smarter and better, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor in good mental and physical health together with the people you love. That, to me, is the very definition of success.

Thomas Sorheim, Founder of Leisurehiking.com

#8 Myth: You should heed all of the advice you’re given

There is no shortage of advice coming at you when you are starting a business. While some of it may be exceptional for the most part, I’ve always found it too general to be useful. It more often than not comes from someone well-meaning but usually comes from someone who really doesn’t understand your concept and idea. So, use your time wisely and only seek counsel from those you believe will move your business forward. Although this seems obvious, it is amazing how others can influence your thinking.

Geneva Long, founder​ and CEO of Bowlus

#9 Myth: You need to be an expert before starting

People learn best by taking action and making mistakes. Begin with trial and error then assess, adjust, and keep moving forward. Do not allow yourself to put off your entrepreneurial journey because you’re not yet an expert. If you wait until you are “ready” you will never start. People who are successful are not worried about the failures as they understand that failure breeds success.

Jake Irving, Owner of Willamette Life Insurance

#10 Myth: You need a completely new idea to be successful

My favorite myth about entrepreneurship is that you need a completely new idea to be successful. It makes me chuckle a little bit every single time I hear it. If that were the case, why are there hundreds of project management or email marketing software applications out there?

Bringing a novel idea to market is hard, time-consuming, and has the highest chance of failure because it’s likely that it’s too early for it. When you improve on an existing idea, there’s an established market and you can quickly become profitable and expand the business.

Daniel Ndukwu, Co-Founder of UsefulPDF

#11 Myth: Entrepreneurs are only motivated by money

One entrepreneurship myth is that all entrepreneurs are only motivated by money. Businesses aren’t built overnight. Being an entrepreneur takes dedication and not everyone can do it. Those who can aren’t solely motivated by money. 

Many entrepreneurs, like myself, are motivated by the need for personal freedom and the ability to spend time doing the things we love to do. My favorite thing to do is to spend time with my family. Through starting a business I am able to do that.

Laura Rike, Founder of LauraRike.com

#12 Myth: Entrepreneurs must innovate or create new ways of doing things

Entrepreneurship is not all about innovation. There are differences between being an innovator and entrepreneur. An innovator is a creator and a problem solver who is passionate about making improvement. An entrepreneur is someone who takes action to build a business that turns innovator’s ideas into products or services and sells them to customers. Innovator is a thinker. Entrepreneur is a doer who makes things happen. 

Nicola Tesla and Thomas Edison are great examples. Tesla created bright innovations, but never found a paying customer. On the other hand, Edison created many useful innovations for the world and held over a thousand patents. He also found a way to commercialize his inventions. Someone can be an innovator and an entrepreneur, like Edison was, but not always.

Vivian Chan, Leadership & Team-building Expert at Sette

#13 Myth: You need to do everything yourself

Of course, you will be the sole decision-maker for the most important things, but you can also have others do smaller tasks to move things along. There are ways to outsource or hire freelancers to help you with the less-risky responsibilities so you can focus on building your brand. 

By doing this, you’ll end up still retaining creative control but have more time to focus on the bigger picture and growing your business. Letting others help you along the way is extremely crucial because it saves you a lot of time, energy, and, most importantly, sanity.

Chris Lieu, Founder & Editor at The Distillery Groove

#14 Myth: You can outsource everything and automate

One of the most significant myths about entrepreneurship I often hear is that you can just outsource everything and automate your whole business. Basically, just come up with an idea, hire experts, automate everything, and then just sit back and relax and watch the money rain.

As an entrepreneur, you need to manage and package everything that happens in your business. Definitely not going into the details, but always keep a finger on the pulse. The entrepreneur is the person with the vision, and it’s his/her job to transfer this vision to the rest of the team – to the extent that they see it just as clearly.

Johannes Larsson ,CEO and Founder of Financer.com

#15 Myth: Being VC-funded gets you to the goal faster than bootstrapping

One of the biggest, but less talked about, entrepreneurship myths is that being VC-funded gets you to the goal faster than bootstrapping. Entrepreneurs forget that getting VC funding can take months, if not years, and it’s a full-time job during which you do *nothing* else. Imagine what you could achieve during that time if you actually tried to get customers and not investors.

Erdin Beshimov, Founder of MIT Bootcamps

#16 Myth: Hard work equals success

This is one of the most damaging entrepreneurship myths there is. Hard work gets often promoted as the only way to success, but I’ve found this isn’t the case. Real success is a state of mind, how you experience your life. Often the people who look the most successful on the outside, feel like a complete failure on the inside. 

If you keep working hard and hustling all day long focusing on the wrong things, success won’t come, because being busy and being productive are entirely different things. What it will get you is sleepless nights, overwhelm, burnout or worse! 

So what can you do? Get clear on what you want, prioritise properly, learn to say no, stop multitasking and most of all, prioritise a good night sleep.

Susanne Grant, Business Coach & Consultant at Grant Method 

#17 Myth: Entrepreneurship is about venture capital and hip office space

The tech world and the meteoric rise of startup culture has created a picture of entrepreneurship that is misleading and unrealistic. Entrepreneurship is simply about finding an unfulfilled demand and fulfilling the demand. It is not about venture capital, PowerPoint slide decks, or hip office space with a ping pong table and a beer tap. In fact, the local entrepreneur that starts a window-washing business is overwhelmingly more likely to succeed long-term than the tech entrepreneur trying to disrupt this or that.

Entrepreneurship is not a pipe dream, nor is it a get-rich-quick plan. A dedicated local service provider can build a huge business and secure a very comfortable life. Tech startups can be profitable, but take much more luck and money than your local junk removal truck requires!

Anders Helgeson, Co-Founder of Time Now Hauling & Junk Removal 

#18 Myth: Entrepreneurship is incredibly risky

For an entrepreneur, it may take a little time to start generating revenues. However, once you have started making money you have the ability to be much more flexible with how you make it. Entrepreneurs can change their product offering to adjust for a changing market and are limited only by the number of ideas they have.

On the other hand, employees have almost no ability to control their destiny. Oftentimes, if the company is failing or the entire industry goes south, then employees can be let go through no fault of their own and their only recourse is to find another job (which can take months).

Omer Reiner, President of FL Cash Home Buyers

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