The idea of a traditional 9 to 5 is seemingly losing its appeal as more people are yearning for freedom to do what they want and when they want. This pursuit of happiness is leading many people along the path of entrepreneurship.
However, because ‘Entrepreneurship’ as a term encompasses many different personalities, businesses and viewpoints; there are quite a few misconceptions about what exactly it entails. So in this article, I will be highlighting and addressing six common misconceptions about entrepreneurship:
1). Entrepreneurs are born that way
One of the biggest misconceptions is that entrepreneurs are “born that way”, usually referring to certain skills they have or the innate need to start a company.
It is true that some people are born with traits that aid their entrepreneurship exploits like being good at public speaking or having a natural inclination for planning but in reality, these natural traits still need to be practiced and it’s possible to acquire the necessary skills to become a successful entrepreneur regardless of what you are born with.
Moreover, the deep-seated psychological need to build a business which people think entrepreneurs are born with, doesn’t necessarily arrive at birth. This drive could easily arise due to a developed passion or circumstances people face in their lives.
Entrepreneurs are not born, they are honed and groomed through determination and diligent work (whether that ‘work’ was initially intended for entrepreneurship or not). Great entrepreneurs are made through nurture, not through nature.
2). All you need is a Great Idea to be successful
Yes, a great idea is usually the foundation of a profitable and sustainable business. But, understand, even the best ideas can end up failing if they aren’t properly supported.
Great ideas are fantastic but execution is by far more important. Quite fascinating, mediocre ideas are profitable if executed properly. Please note that there are no million naira ideas, just million naira executions.
3). Entrepreneurship is an easy way to get rich
This usually goes hand in hand with the misconception that all you need is a great idea. Entrepreneurship can be seen as a wealth-building process, if the variables involved line up to aid success.
However, the money that stands to be made cannot be made the focus or seen as ‘easy’ because it usually takes a lot of dedicated time and effort before entrepreneurs reap the fruits of their labour.
Entrepreneurs who are solely driven by profit are a lot more likely to fail and entrepreneurs who do succeed are focused on adding value to the world. They want to make a difference in people’s lives by satisfying one or more of their innate needs.
4). Entrepreneurship means more personal time
It’s true that entrepreneurial success usually gives people the liberty to dictate their own hours and spend more time doing what they want i.e. more personal time. However, what a lot of entrepreneurs would refer to as ‘personal time’ is usually heavily related to their work.
If you listen carefully to entrepreneurs when they talk about themselves and what they do, you’ll realize their concept of ‘who they are’ is tightly intertwined with ‘what they do’. Their work becomes an obsession that they struggle to turn off for ‘personal time’.
Many of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, artists and athletes have this ‘obsession’ and when countless hours of work stop feeling like hours of work, the distinction between work time and personal time becomes quite blurred.
5). Entrepreneurs are their own Boss
Technically, yes, an entrepreneur is his or her own boss. The problem with this understanding is that many usually misconstrue it to mean entrepreneurs don’t have people to answer to, which is a false notion.
For instance, entrepreneurs have to answer to investors if they get external funding and to some degree. They also have to answer to their employees because they need to be kept happy/satisfied for the sake of the company (this is especially true if the company is experiencing cash-flow problems).
Furthermore, ALL entrepreneurs have to answer to their customers. Customers are the most important asset of any business because the business needs them to stay afloat financially. Customers can be fickle and will continuously assess whether a business is satisfying their needs, it is then up to the entrepreneur to ensure that the customers are provided with the satisfaction they seek.
6). Anyone can be an entrepreneur
Theoretically speaking, yes anybody can pursue entrepreneurship, but quite honestly, not everyone should because not everyone can be a successful entrepreneur.
Becoming an entrepreneur has less to do with what you know or what your experiences are, and everything to do with the willingness to do the work required to succeed, the keyword here is willingness. The narrative that “anyone can be an entrepreneur” is inspirational but sometimes quite harmful due to societal pressure.
Although a lot of people have the skills to be entrepreneurs in their respective fields, a majority of them just aren’t cut out for the tedious and somewhat risky journey of entrepreneurship and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, as long as they apply themselves through other means. It is important to stick to whatever brings the best out of you.
BEWARE: This article was earlier published in 2017 and has purposefully been revamped for public education –on July 26, 2019.