What do fishermen and entrepreneurs have in common? Each are surrounded by tall tales that may not be entirely grounded in reality. We asked 10 entrepreneurs and experts to tell us the biggest lies that are commonly told about entrepreneurship.
Being an entrepreneur is glamorous
"The biggest lie or misconception in entrepreneurship is calling yourself a CEO when you are a startup. This represents what I call 'wantrapreneurship.' Too many [newbies] want the glamour but not the work. Being an entrepreneur is harder than a 9-5 job. You must eat, sleep, and dream it. This ain't for the weary or weak."
Duncan Kabinu, co-founder of Gainesville Dev Academy, a software training center, and judge for Get Started Gainesville 2016, one of a nationwide series of high-paced pitch competitions created by Cox Business
All you need is a good idea
"An excellent idea is an important first step, but your business will not take off as a success unless you have a smart strategy and put passionate effort behind it."
Sherry Harnett, a marketing and leadership consultant, professor, and a judge for Get Started Pensacola 2016
Do what you love and the money will follow
"No words have ever created more failed entrepreneurs than the notion that just because you love doing something, it will be a successful business and you will make tons of money. In fact, often times, a person's love for doing something becomes their Achilles heel because instead of running their business, they just focus on delivering the service they enjoy so much, as the business around them crumbles."
Topher Morrison, the executive director of Key Person of Influence, a growth accelerator that has worked with more than 2,000 entrepreneurs
Growth solves any problem
"New entrepreneurs sometimes think greater volume will solve all problems. While there is certainly a tipping point when you can expect to begin to see a profit, your business model needs to be realistic regarding the cost-of-sales and return-on-investment. If you're losing money on your product when you're selling 100,000 of them, you are likely to lose exponentially more money when you sell 1,000,000 of them. Bigger isn't always better."
Susan Armstrong, president and CEO of Armstrong Chamberlin Strategic Marketing, and a judge for Get Started Wichita 2016
Entrepreneurs are lone wolves
"Being an entrepreneur is the most group/community-oriented endeavor you can imagine. It requires support, networking, and connections of all kinds-;among friends, family, colleagues, and peers. Thinking of entrepreneurship as a solo act is the most limiting perspective you can have, and it's an almost sure guarantee of failure."
Michael Frenkel, marketing partner at Thayer Ventures, a Venture Capital Firm in San Francisco
You have complete freedom
"The biggest misconception about entrepreneurship would be that it gives you freedom. It is quite the contrary; running a startup consumes your life. If you do not have the passion for seeing the success through, it will actually be stifling, not freeing."
Allen Vance, owner of Work in Progress, a co-working and meeting space in Las Vegas, and a judge at Get Started Las Vegas 2016.
You need to solve a problem
"There are quite a few success stories about solving a latent need - producing something that people liked but didn't know they needed until you built it for them. You'll hear people scoff at "solutions looking for problems," but there's no guarantee that solving a problem will make you rich or putting out something that no one knows they need (yet) will fail."
Chris Tolles, co-founder of Topix and two other companies
Entrepreneurship is a young person's game
"The storybook version of entrepreneurship too often starts with a founder who dropped out of college to pursue their big idea. The reality is that it takes technical knowledge, a breadth of experience, and a large network to be a successful entrepreneur. Few young people have the life experience required to be successful. Success is much more likely to find a mid-career professional who has identified a market opportunity through their own professional and life experience and has the financial capital and network required to take the risk, assemble the team, and network to advance a new venture."
Garret Westlake, executive director of the daVinci Center, a unique collegiate model that advances innovation and entrepreneurship through cross-disciplinary collaboration at Virginia Commonwealth University
You must be an expert in the industry of your startup
"Not being an industry expert forces me to build real empathy for the users of my product and learn with them. If my company's products or services are not working for me, we are on the wrong path as a company. On the flip side, when it works for me, I go all in and start learning everything I can in the industry to build something valuable. You don't have to be an expert to see an opportunity. In fact, being an expert will prohibit you from seeing the company or product the same way your users do, which will undoubtedly cause you to overlook solutions and make bad bets."
Jason Stirman, founder and CEO, Lucid, an app that provides mindfulness meditations from expert sports coaches
You need investors to be successful
"If you're truly solving a problem with what you're doing, and the market reacts to your solution, there is no need for an investor. In today's world, you have the ability to scale your business and can sell directly to the market yourself. I have customers around the world buying my educational products. I think investors have their place, but overall I've seen investors destroy more companies than help."
Melissa Corbett, creator and founder of GrammarSongs, a single grammar plan that integrates songs and activities into one easy plan, and finalist for Get Started Gainesville 2015
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