4 Myths About Entrepreneurship You Need to Stop Believing

Psychology has a phenomenon called the “Galatea Effect,” which states that people’s self-perceptions about themselves can influence their performance. This means that we make self-fulfilling prophecies.

Everybody starts a business for different reasons. Perhaps we want to be independent. We might have an idea that could make us rich. Maybe we are looking for a better work-life balance.

Galatea effects only go so far. A positive outlook makes it more likely that we will do well in a presentation. However, data shows that many entrepreneurs start their businesses with unrealistic expectations regarding the benefits and rewards. They think they will automatically be happier, healthier, and make more money.

Realizing the truth can be hard to swallow. If we don’t see success as quickly as we expected, we are more likely to give in. I advocate for realistic expectations and dispelling myths.

Myth #1 – You must follow your passion

It was not something that I had in my childhood to dream about. When I was working in New York, customizing web forms as part of my job. It was tedious work. JotForm, my company, was born out of this idea.

JotForm boasts more than nine million users. While I may not have had a strong passion for online forms, I believe strongly in creating quality products that make people’s lives easier.

I would recommend that you avoid following your passion and instead follow Paul Graham’s advice.

It’s not easy task to find the perfect combination of these three characteristics. However, once you find that intersection, the results will be more reliable than if it was just your passion.

Myth #2 Success is achieved overnight

Most of the “overnight wins” stories you hear resulted from years of hard work. Bill Gates is often the most famous overnight success story because he became a multimillionaire just as Microsoft went public.

Gates, however, had been growing his business for 11 years before that moment.

We live in an age where instant gratification is a norm. It can be pretty distressing to see things not happen right away. Many “overnight successes” can be viewed as fads that quickly fade.

Jim Collins has written Great by Choice. He examines how companies thrive in volatile market conditions. He finds that companies that prospered over the long-term moved consistently and didn’t stay in one place too long. He asks readers if they can imagine themselves walking 3,000 miles from San Diego, California, to Maine. The first three days, you will walk 20 miles each. Although it’s hot, you prefer to walk 20 miles each day for the first three days.

He wrote, “You have to keep going — 20 miles, twenty miles, 20, 20 miles, then you cross into plains. It’s glorious Springtime, and you can run 40 or 50 miles in one day.” You don’t. “But you don’t. You keep your pace, marching for 20 miles.” Eventually, Maine is reached.

Imagine someone leaving San Diego the next day. He’s excited to start the 40-mile journey and is fresh. He is hot and exhausted the next day. He decides not to go, but he does continue, moving in irregular bursts, covering 40- 50 miles in one day, before eventually crashing. He ultimately finds you waiting, battered and weak. The journey wasn’t easy. After all, you both walked more than 3,000 miles. You were able to persevere, despite the hardships, and you were able to overcome your compatriot’s near-death experiences. Consistent improvement wins the day.

Myth #3: Independence is the key to happiness

One of the reasons entrepreneurs become entrepreneurs is because they have the freedom to work for themselves. Unfortunately, independent living is not as easy as it appears.

Leon Schjoedt (management professor) conducted a study in 2009 among large numbers of founders and non-founders. He found that entrepreneurs had a greater sense of autonomy than non-entrepreneurs. However, they also value feedback and variety. This is something he didn’t realize they needed.

The lesson was that entrepreneurs could not be satisfied with their autonomy on their own, despite what they might think. While autonomy is an advantage, it doesn’t make you happy. Schjoedt provides some ideas for entrepreneurs to achieve the other two qualities they most care about: variety and feedback.

To increase variety, Schjoedt recommends looking for new opportunities to expand the related business but not distract from the original purpose. Schjoedt suggests that founders keep an open dialogue about their progress. The key is not to ask big-picture queries such as Is this business doing well? But instead to concentrate on more minor issues with concrete answers.

Myth #4 – Success is guaranteed when you work hard

I don’t have to tell you, but a large percentage of startups fail within their first year. It can be demoralizing to invest all you have in a business and then watch it fall apart before your eyes.

Successful entrepreneurs realize that failure is inevitable. The fact is, things don’t always go as planned. Adapting to changing circumstances and having a winning plan is as essential as having a winning one.

Despite being painful, failure can be a necessary part of learning. It can help you grow, teach you from your mistakes, and give you a thicker skin. Many people let their failures get them down. The people who can bounce back are more likely than others to accomplish what they set out for.

Entrepreneurship can be extremely rewarding and thrilling if you know what to expect. You will not be the first to achieve instant fame and earn more money than you could ever imagine. It’s unlikely. However, it is possible with luck, hard work, and perseverance to build a proud business.

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Samatha Vale
Samatha a senior writer for HC's entertainment team. She is an entreprenuer, mother and an excellent writer. She's also an avid reader, music enthusiast and all around inquisitive person - which is just a nice way of saying she's nosy.

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