I love how you can make the following decisions and nobody bats an eye. In fact, you’re encouraged to do them:
Spend tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars on college
Buy a house and enter a 30-year period of being in debt
Swipe your credit card like no tomorrow after driving to the mall in your leased vehicle
Work a job where, by the simple nature of how employment works, you’re paid much less than you’re worth
Most people are sitting on top of a giant barrel of dynamite.
The average person is at the mercy of their employer and in a situation where losing their job would bury them in debt.
But that’s totally fine.
Let this same person decide to spend some money on a business course, start freelancing, or take a stab at a business in any shape or form, all of a sudden the word “risky” pops up.
There are a ton of myths about entrepreneurship and freelancing. Myths that need to die. Now.
Let’s slay them together.
Entrepreneurship myth #1: Most businesses fail
You’ve seen different statistics out there that say the vast majority of business owners fail. Those numbers would be true if you simply defined business failure as going out of business.
There are times when a business truly fails. It goes out of business because the owner doesn’t have enough capital to keep it going, not enough sales are rolling in, and the costs exceed the revenue so much that the business has to shut down.
But there are other business owners lumped into this category that aren’t necessarily failures. Many people try to start a business and simply quit before they make it to the promised land. Should that fall under the definition of “most businesses fail?”
It depends on who you ask, but if you ask me I’d say the number of true business failures is much lower than the statistics say.
If I were to create a measure for business failure, I’d define it as a business that failed even though the owner did everything they could to succeed, gave it a full effort, and still fell short.
This does happen and business entails risk. But it’s a myth to believe that businesses are inherently set up for failure. Often businesses fail because of the people who run them, not because the business model itself is flawed.
Entrepreneurship myth #2: You need tons of capital to start a business
People often cite lack of money for the reason why they choose not to start a business, but there are tons of business models that don’t cost a bunch of money to make.
There’s even a book about the subject of businesses that don’t require much capital called “The $100 Startup.” As long as you have an internet connection, you can start a business that doesn’t require you to pony up a bunch of cash upfront.
Service businesses often fit this model. You can build a business as a freelancer with nothing more than a simple website/landing page, an email address, and access to people who might want to buy your service.
You can search for potential customers on social media or visit freelancer sites like Upwork. I recently hired a freelancer to do work for a project of mine.
She did design, code, and a few automations. She doesn’t need to carry inventory for this service. I found her on Upwork, which freelancers can use for free. She just needed skills that people wanted to pay for and a place to find those people.
Many online businesses are like this. Even if you are in a business that requires inventory like e-commerce, you can buy small batches of test products and try to sell them.
If they sell, you stock up your inventory again for a new launch. If they don’t sell, you get to eliminate a bad product idea and try a new one without losing your shirt.
Even if you can’t afford an internet connection you could technically go to a library and use their free computers to conduct business.
Why the random example? I used to do this when I didn’t have enough money to pay my internet bill. I went from dead broke and using free internet to building a six-figure business. If I can start with little to no resources, so can you.
Entrepreneurship myth #3: Entrepreneurship is risky
Entrepreneurship does involve risk, but it’s a myth to believe that it’s much riskier than being employed. Either way, you’re at risk.
Entrepreneurship teaches you how to properly analyze and assess risk. Working a 9 to 5 job can easily lull you into complacency and set you up for a ruinous situation.
How many employed people would start having serious financial problems if they missed a few paychecks in a row? Most people fall under this category.
Yet, they walk on a financial tightrope living check to check, saddled with debt, and working at a job they could lose at any moment.
Living this way creates a fragile system, meaning it works just fine the vast majority of the time. But when the system breaks? It totally collapses.
Contrast this with entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship makes you antifragile, meaning you can thrive from chaos and use volatility to your advantage.
Also, as an entrepreneur, your lack of certainty keeps you on your toes and heightens your awareness because you can’t afford to fall asleep at the wheel.
When you learn how to hunt what you kill, you’ll never go hungry for too long. Since you’re not domesticated and complacent, you’ll always know how to get cash if you really need it.
Even if I were to lose everything today I could set up shop and have a new agency running in less than a month, easily, because I have skills and adaptability that can’t be taken from me.
Entrepreneurship myth #4: You have to sacrifice your life to build a business
Maybe I should put this at number one because it’s the biggest, stinkiest, heaping pile of BS I’ve ever heard.
Do you have to sacrifice some of your time to make a side project come to life? Hell yeah. But this idea that you have to take a second mortgage on your home, abandon your family, and have no social life to start a side hustle is pure garbage.
Life isn’t fair.
If you only have 30 minutes a day to work on your project and you have to do it at 5 a.m., then wake your ass up and do it.
Odds are, you have much more time than that. I spent four and a half years working on my writing career for about 2 hours each morning before I went to work. Some weekends, I’d spend six to eight hours a day working on my projects.
On the weekend, if you start work at 6 or 7 a.m., you could work on your projects for a full workday and still have the entire afternoon and evening to have fun with family and friends. Miss me with the excuses.
You have plenty of time, but you’re just full of sh*t. Admitting that is the first and most important step to making a real run at this.
Entrepreneurship myth #5: Building a business or becoming a freelancer is “hard”
Hard is the wrong word. Building a business or becoming a freelancer is time-consuming. The tedium and minutiae stalls people, not the grand vision.
You’d love to just do the freelancing work itself, but sending 100 pitches to get 10 responses to get 3 meetings to get one client is very time-consuming.
You’d love to become a writer, but setting up the WordPress site and the email marketing software and learning to write copy and creating email opt-in freebies and pitching guest posts and brainstorming headlines and re-writing posts and building connections with other writers and brainstorming book ideas and writing the books and coming up with the title for the book and doing the promotion for the book and hiring freelancers to help you package the book and uploading the book on Amazon and tracking the sales and reaching out for reviews and so on and so forth … takes time.
There’s no way around the tedium. If you make some money, you can start to hire people to take on the grunt work, but in the beginning, you do all the grunting. And, again, it’s not hard, but it’s kind of time-consuming and boring.
Also, when you front-load the work, you don’t have to keep working as hard the entire time. I wrote email funnels years ago that still promote my books today. When you work a certain way and create assets, those assets will start to work for you. Thanks to much of the tedious work I did upfront, I have an army of 0’s and 1’s working on my behalf.
The same thinking applies to non-internet-based businesses. You start a service company by doing the grunt work yourself, taking the profits, and hiring staff who you teach what you know. You use the tedium to replicate yourself. This is the goal.
So, you become successful by realizing that your life is worth spending some time on. Pretty simple. But difficult to pull off.
Building a business is just like achieving any other important long-term goal. You need to work hard, improve your mindset, and follow the necessary steps to get the outcomes you want.
You can’t predict short-term business success, but I can tell you that on a long enough time scale, people who work hard at business tend to succeed at some point.
You’ll never reach that point if you don’t try. If you try, you have to fight through the obstacles, boredom, and tedium that’s a part of entrepreneurship.
You don’t need to be a genius to be an entrepreneur. You just need guts and a slightly above average level of discipline.
I sincerely believe anyone can start a six or seven-figure business if they put their mind to it and work at it for a few years. I hope you’re one of the people who join those ranks.