Everyone has certain misconceptions about what it means to be an entrepreneur – even entrepreneurs themselves. There’s a lot of misleading information in the form of myths about entrepreneurship and starting or growing a business, and it keeps us from reaching our full potential.
Here, we’ll explore 3 commonly-held misconceptions about what it means to be an entrepreneur, some of which you yourself may hold.
Myth: Doing What You Love Shouldn’t Feel Like Work
The saying goes, “If you love what you do, it won’t feel like work.” But as every successful entrepreneur knows, just because you love something doesn’t mean it’s not work – because it is.
Most professional athletes love playing their sports. They can’t imagine doing anything else. Their passion for the sport drives their success and motivates them. But it’s still a lot of work to compete at that level. Players watch film or read playbooks. They spend hours in the gym. They carefully monitor their diets. They focus on the next game when they’d rather be doing anything else. They grit through injuries, setbacks, disappointments, and defeats.
Entrepreneurs are the same. There’s not a single successful entrepreneur who didn’t work hard to get to where they are. They have invested countless amounts of energy, time, and effort into their success, and even though they love what they do, it’s still a challenge.
Do what you love, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’ll feel effortless. True success doesn’t come easy.
Myth: You Have to Make Your Work Your Life
You can go the opposite direction, though, and mistakenly believe that in order to succeed, your life has to be all work, all the time.
Before they succeed, many entrepreneurs think they have to dedicate 80-100 hours per week (which is close to 14-hour days) in order to make it. You do have to invest a lot of time, especially at the beginning, but the most successful entrepreneurs have a work-life balance that keeps them sane and prevents them from being burned out.
If you burn yourself out, your business isn’t going to move forward, regardless of how many hours you spend. Too many entrepreneurs have failed because they didn’t take time for themselves and their families – time to step back, relax, gather themselves, and remind themselves that they control their schedule, not the other way around.
A great saying is, “Work to live, don’t live to work.” Even though some people love to work, they still need to focus on the big picture, which is creating a better life for you and your family. Working all the time rarely achieves that goal.
Myth: Winners Never Quit; Quitters Never Win
If you ever played sports as a kid, you probably heard some variation of this saying: “Winners never quit; quitters never win.” It sounds like a solid saying, but in reality, entrepreneurs know there’s nothing wrong with quitting.
That’s because not every idea will succeed. Not every project will be a win. And not every decision will be a smart one. Successful entrepreneurs have quit many times. They’ve abandoned an idea or project that wasn’t working out, instead of needlessly beating their heads against a wall trying to make a failing idea work.
Your energy is limited. So is your time, and so are your resources. It never makes sense to throw good after bad – to keep trying to make something work when there are better ideas out there. Most entrepreneurs who have found success have quit something at one point or another along their journey. As long as it’s for a good, practical reason, quitting is perfectly okay.
At EO Birmingham, we help entrepreneurs sort good from bad. We supply our members with advice through learning and through peer-to-peer relationships, learning that busts myths and misconceptions and gives practical, battle-tested guidance. Learn more about our organization or inquire about becoming a member.