There are a lot of misconceptions about entrepreneurship that most people, looking from the outside, think are generally true about business. In my entrepreneurship journey, there are eight myths I have come across which I have learned in the time I have been in business.
Myth #1: Entrepreneurs don’t quit
We have heard or read this many times: Entrepreneurs don’t quit, that quitting is bad. Quitting is what makes an entrepreneur. First, most entrepreneurs have to quit their day job in order to become an entrepreneur. That’s a crucial quitting point.
Successful entrepreneurs need to quit sometimes. If an entrepreneur starts a business and along the way sees it’s not working out, he or she quits. Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal quit. Steve Jobs quit. These people are rock star entrepreneurs, but they stepped in and out of jobs.
This completely shatters the myth of the entrepreneur who never quits. There’s nothing wrong with quitting something that is not working. Let go of it.
The measure of success is knowing what to quit on and when to quit. Let’s get rid of this stigma that ‘entrepreneurs never quit!’ and maybe we will see some serial entrepreneurs break free of their shackles and start some companies that succeed.
Myth #2: Entrepreneurs know exactly what they want, and how to get it
Maybe some entrepreneurs have a laser-focused goal and a clear plan for getting there. But that’s not normal; In fact, many entrepreneurs have no clue how to achieve their entrepreneurial passions.
Entrepreneurship is a process of trying, failing, trying again, experimenting and succeeding, trying again, changing, adopting, adapting and trying again. Many times, entrepreneurs just don’t know what to do. They follow their gut, but that’s hardly a plan.
Myth #3: Entrepreneurs are their own boss.
Nobody is their own boss. Everyone has someone they report to. Let’s dispense this idea that someday you’ll be an entrepreneur in complete charge of your entire existence.
In many cases, your business becomes your new boss. It’s ruthless, demanding, heartless, requiring 18-hour workdays, and zero-holiday time. If you are running a consulting business, your clients are your bosses.
If your startup gets funded, you report to your investors. If you go public, shareholders demand a return on investment. The bigger you become the more people you are accountable to.
Myth #4: Entrepreneurs have to be connected
Have you heard this saying? “It doesn’t matter what you know, it matters who you know”
To succeed as an entrepreneur, do not believe that.
There are countless examples of people who moved to foreign countries where they knew no one and built huge businesses. Let us illustrate this with the example of Mr. Kammal Budhabatti, the founder and C.E.O of Craft Silicon, a software company based in Kenya.
Kammal was born in India and came to Kenya after a friend informed of a data entry job in Nairobi. While working as a data entry clerk, Kammal learnt that a local bank was in desperate need of clearing house software and Kammal decide to write the software at his spare time.
When the employer discovered that he was using company resources for his personal endeavors, he was sacked and deported to India. He raised money and came back to Kenya. When he returned, things were worse. He had very little money on him, so he stayed with a friend in a dinky apartment, spending many sleepless nights perfecting his software. He ate only once a day as he struggled to save money.
Kammal did not have connections but through persistence, he has built Craft Silicon to a company valued at over $50 million. Entrepreneurs who realize that connectedness is a myth are forced to rely upon their grit and determination, not some star-studded safety net. This pushes them forward to start companies, and successfully run those companies.