ENTREPRENEURSHIP MYTHS: Debunking The Big Fat Lies

As a child, I picked up the ideology that entrepreneurs are a special breed; a privileged few. They were the richest, and the most available. They had it all going for them. That rich uncle was the entrepreneur, and he had time to party and even stay at home as he pleased.

Source: valiantceo.com

This gave us, the little children of the time, wings to dream. To dream to become entrepreneurs too, so we could live the best life available. My parents were employees. My father was a civil servant, a staff of the now defunct telecommunications company of the Nigerian government. Mom was a nurse. She worked for a nearby hospital whose chief medical doctor had the leisure and control of time and money. He was living the life, and we all wanted it too. I remember mom feeling disgruntled about her job at some point. She felt cheated and used. She felt she had been putting in so much yet getting little in return. She determined that none of her children would have the same experience she was having at the time. That was the beginning of my journey into entrepreneurship.

In my years of entrepreneurial experience, I have found a lot of the beliefs that led me in here to be untrue — big fat lies. This is an opportunity to debunk them, and show you why you should ignore them. Believe them at your own peril. I will debunk the top five myths, in my estimation. In a future post, I hope to touch on a few more. Let’s get into the myths.

Entrepreneurship Myth 1 — Entrepreneurship gives control over time

Source: Allbusiness.com

Perhaps the most notorious of the myths known to mankind about entrepreneurship. It is a silly illusion that has been propagated to many people in employment. Entrepreneurs do not have control over their time. The truth is that work controls the time of entrepreneurs. Where an employee has a right to state categorically that a task falls outside their work hours, and may choose to not work overtime, an entrepreneur doesn’t have such luxury choices — except the irresponsible ones. I am yet to meet that entrepreneur that shuts down client calls and requests at will, especially after official work hours. In reality, entrepreneurship takes away your control over time from you, at least in the early stages. When the business has scaled, and there’s a functional team that is seasoned to take on the demands of growth and operations, then the entrepreneur may be able to find a little opportunity to structure their time to deliver on what’s most important to their functions. On the outside, it appears to employees like the boss strolls in whenever he likes, and leaves earlier than everyone else. They don’t realize that the mental weight the boss carries is beyond what they can bear.

Entrepreneurship Myth 2 — Entrepreneurs make a lot of money

This definitely is one big illusion that drives a lot unsuspecting people into entrepreneurship. They troop in with the vain expectation that they will make a lot of money. The problem with this illusionary approach to entrepreneurship is that the money is question is assumed to be for the entrepreneur. Unfortunately, it’s not so. The business’ money is not for the entrepreneur, and that’s why the entrepreneur cannot spend as he so pleases. Many don’t realize that the entrepreneur, just like employees, has a salary. The difference is that she also has equity in the business, which is the extra that makes him an entrepreneur. But that only has any value if the business performs well over a fiscal year. So, entrepreneurs do not, in the wild sense of it, make a lot of money. For an entrepreneur to make a lot of money, they have done ten times more than the average employee exploiting opportunities in the marketplace.

Entrepreneurship Myth 3 — Entrepreneurship makes you powerful

Source: safevoip.co.uk

This myth is quite interesting because of the depth of the belief behind it. On a social level, entrepreneurs are generally respected and believed to be fortunate to OWN their own company. And that fortune of owning a company translates to being powerful — at least, as most people perceive it. Owning a company doesn’t confer any more power on you than having a job. It’s all in the mind. There are so many employees who live better lives, have more money and are far more powerful than many entrepreneurs out there. The fact is this: depending on the size and value of the company an entrepreneur owns, an employee may be far more powerful than they are. I understand the powerful outlook attached to being an entrepreneur. I also believe it is primarily because the earliest entrepreneurs have magnified their office so well, and done some of the most mind-blowing things with their enterprises. Entrepreneurs often have demi-god status in the minds of employees. Employees generally consider entrepreneur to be in a position of power because they call the shots on many things including approval for how company money is spent. What is termed power is nothing but RESPONSIBILITY. In other words, entrepreneurship gives a lot of responsibilities. Before you run off thinking about how powerful you would be if you became an entrepreneur, please know that you are getting into a world of massive responsibilities and thankless work.

Entrepreneurship Myth 4 — Entrepreneurs are the most intelligent

Source: linkedin.com

I cannot lie, entrepreneurs are quite intelligent people. But what I can confidently say is that they are definitely not the most intelligent. You see, the reality is that most experienced entrepreneurs have subjected themselves to broad learning experiences and undertaken the most daring educational challenges. While an employee narrows their focus to their core function in an organization, to become an expert in that specific field, an entrepreneur has to embark on a learning quest that transcends what the average employee knows or has experienced. An entrepreneur gets broadband exposure to finance, administration, leadership, management, communications, sales and marketing, and without saying, the core operational area of the business. Think about it: when a person is served learning in all and mostly more of these, wouldn’t they appear to be super intelligent? It’s without a shadow of doubt. I would rather say that entrepreneurs are widely read to deliver effectively on their role as CEO of the business. It’s almost similar to the difference between an MBA and an MSc. Where an MSc narrows into a specific field, an MBA captures many different parts of what makes a business work. That is the edge an entrepreneur has.

Entrepreneurship Myth 5 — Entrepreneurs don’t do any work

This is a big delusion. Entrepreneurs are definitely not the laziest of humans in the workplace. They are the ones who don’t have weekends and who hardly have a closing time — unlike employees. Even an entrepreneur happens to proceed on leave, they are never truly on leave. In my experience, the first time I went on leave after three years of running my business for 80% of my day awake and 365 days a year, I found myself spending a good deal of my time away thinking about how to get the business to the next level. I was drawing ideas and inspiration from my environment to create innovative action plans for my business. I can’t tell of how many nights my night dreams were as though I was at work. Many employees work really hard, but mostly not without regulation. But entrepreneurs work unregulated. The work entrepreneurs do has no time limit, and perhaps no appreciation from anyone. So, when you see an entrepreneur taking that power nap in the afternoon, or walking into the office at 11AM, do not for a moment think that they had 10 hours of sleep and strolled in at their leisure because no one would question them. More than likely, they spent the better part of the previous night or early that morning working. And that’s typical.

Now that I have touched on the top five myths, I would be writing in a later post about work transitions. That post will address the peculiarities to note of employees who transition into entrepreneurship. Another post, in the same vein, will address peculiarities to note of entrepreneurs who transition into employment. The latter isn’t as common, and that’s the very reason I wish to write about this.

A quick request: hit the follow button to get notified of my next writeup. Looking forward to building this community with you as a part of it.

Have a very superb day!

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Adeleke David Adekunle

Economic Strategist. Business and Management Consultant. Leadership Expert.