Common Misperceptions about Entrepreneurs

Early on in my career as an entrepreneur, my company managed to land a meeting with a potentially huge client. The only problem was that our office was not up to snuff. At the time, we couldn’t afford a great space and hadn’t had a spare moment to spiffy it up. And so, my partners and I had to stay up the entire night painting a conference room.

Most people focus on the cool part of being an entrepreneur. They glamorize sleeping under desks and imagine themselves confidently celebrating an IPO. I won’t lie, entrepreneurship is amazing. But if you’re planning on launching a company, you should know the process comes saddled with some major misperceptions. I’ve compiled a list of the top ones I see in would-be entrepreneurs. If you can avoid them all, you’ll be set up for success.

Your startup is about you. Not true. Rarely is a startup about the person who founded it. It should always be about the customer and the product. Always. 

You can partner and get along with anyone. Actually, you should choose your partners as seriously as you would a spouse. It’s that important. Ever since I’ve been in business, my college roommate has been one of my partners. The logic there is that if we got along sharing the same dorm room, we’d get along anywhere. 

You need the most talented people you can find. Instead, surround yourself with the right people. Startups are like fish bowls. You have a few people working in a close environment with too much to do. That can quickly turn south. If you have a choice between the most skilled person in the world and someone who is great and thinks like you, choose the latter.  

You can do this part-time. Absolutely not, you have to go for it 110%. Starting a company is an all-consuming task. You need to make it the only thing you’re doing.

You have a single road map to success. No, you need options. Have multiple, parallel tracks going so that your success does not depend on one thing.

Investment is always good. This is an often overlooked part of entrepreneurship. Equity is expensive, and cash is cheap. Investors always want to take as big a share of a business as they can. Be extremely careful about giving up equity, and have a serious plan in place for success.

You know what you’re doing. Nope. No matter how smart you are, no one is born knowing how to launch a company. You need a mentor — someone who’s done this before. Find the right person or people, and never hesitate to ask them for advice. 

One final thought. If you’re thinking of launching a startup, absolutely do it. You may make a lot of mistakes, you may even fail, but that’s OK. There’s value in learning. Whatever the outcome, you won’t regret it.

Original article posted on LinkedIn here.

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