With all the buzz and enthusiasm circling around entrepreneurship, one question I always ask someone who has launched their own venture is, "What is the biggest misconception about being an entrepreneur?" The notion entrepreneurship is glamorous or that everyone should do it are common answers. So are the crazy ideas that entrepreneurs make their own hours and work less than a 40-hour week. However, what comes up more often that not, is the misconception that entrepreneurs don't have a boss. The reality is you always have a boss. As one entrepreneur said to me "...it's more like "boss of no one, bossed by everyone.""
Just who does an entrepreneur have to answer to?
If your venture has taken in outside funding whether from friends and family, angel investors or venture capital, you now have someone to answer to, regardless if the paper it is written on is a convertible note. Getting funded isn't decision-making freedom: you've now tethered your venture to a whole group of people with opinions on what you should be focusing on and how you should be running what was previously your business.
2. Advisory board members
If you're a smart startup CEO looking to scale, you've likely recruited a group of experienced individuals who provide guidance and connections to your growing venture in exchange for a little equity. Guess what, your advisory board members are your boss too. Advisory board members attach their reputations (and rolodexes) to ventures they believe in and can add value to. If you don't consider yourself beholden to them, then you're not maximizing the value they can add to your venture.
3. Users, customers and clients
Even for must-have product and services, there is no "hockey-stick" traction without satisfied customers. The customer is always right and in the on-demand economy, the always-right consumer has high service expectations 24/7.
Talent, not the product or service will make or break a company. While media headlines are filled with warnings over the looming technology talent shortage, the reality is that skilled talent and valued employees have always had career options. Those employees are boss - treat them like it.
5. Collaborators and marketing partners
More often than not, new ventures launch or gain traction with a little help from some friends, whether it is a mention in a blog or newsletter or sending a Tweet or sharing the expense of a pop-up store or combining forces for an online contest. If you don't consider yourself answerable to those partners, think again.
With all those bosses to report to, it shouldn't come as a surprise that entrepreneurs are working on a weekend, even a long one. If you're an entrepreneur, how are you spending this holiday weekend? Leave your comments in the section below.