Startup Misconceptions: Why Everything You Believe In Might Not Be True
When you are starting your business, you’re constantly bombarded with entrepreneurial advice everywhere you turn; whether it’s from well-meaning friends who don’t see you as often as they used to, concerned family members who think babysitting wild cousins makes them an expert on the matter, or just Facebook algorithms that recently found out they can target you with “10 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Know” articles.
It can get overwhelming, especially that we all go in with our own assumptions too...which is a whole other story.
The latter is perhaps the hardest thing to deal with as an entrepreneur. Much like growing up, we all learn that a lot of the things we used to believe were as true and unchangeable as sunrises in the east are prone to speculation. But when you’re behind the steering wheel of a whole business, these revelations don’t always come cheap.
We’ve learned a lot of things in the last couple of years, but the first advice we can give you about this is the following: every startup is different.
As an entrepreneur, you have to find your own balance, and adapt a world of information, advice and sound reasoning to your own personal set of rules that work with your company. We cannot offer you a list of do’s and dont’s, no one can. What we can offer you, though, is the 5 biggest assumptions we found along the years that turned out to be a total sham.
Misconception #1: You have to put in 9 hours a day for a business to work.
WRONG. You cannot clock in and out of your startup journey; it is a continuous process that takes everything out of you, and asks for more. It’s not about how much time you put into the business, your mind always has to be in the game. You take your work with you everywhere you go, and you think through everything all the time, which is why it’s more important than anything to make sure that you are following your passion. If your work doesn’t double as your personal hobby; you’re unlikely to catch the little things that make it all worth it.
Misconception #2: Working at a startup is easy. After all, you’re your own boss.
WRONG: You are your own worst boss! Startups are a lot like having a baby; you spend your time changing diapers, making sure to keep it fed and when it grows up a little; you teach it how to walk, then read, then be its own individual. The first half of a startup’s life is a huge effort of flexibility, resourcefulness and mountains of hard work. In the second half, your startup goes off to college and brings home a nice girl on Christmas.
Misconception #3: You have to keep your employees in check.
WRONG. Your employees have to care enough about your concept to keep themselves in check. Startups are a lot of work, and your employees are required to leave their comfort zones 8 hours out of 9 to get things in working order. You cannot make them work, but you can make them care and inspire them to try. A successful startup is one where everyone is trying to do something on their own, and it all fits within the bigger picture.
Misconception #4: You don’t have to communicate everything.
WRONG. The more people know about what you’re trying to build, the better they can integrate their work into your goals; even if it isn’t directly related to their field. Things pop up everyday, and 25+ heads are better than one. Communication also helps with morale; which is the biggest factor of startup success to date. The more your employees know about the progress, goals and measures taken to fix problems and overcome obstacles; the less likely they are to be frustrated and the more they feel supported within their fields, teams and objectives.
Misconception #5: You’re on your own out there.
WRONG. Your network of support extends past your employees, friends, family and loved ones to your present and potential partners and on to all the people who haven’t heard about you yet. Everyone has something to offer, and help comes in a variety of ways. Inspiration doesn’t just happen in the shower, it can happen over dinner, and often times it happens when you least expect it. Our advice? Keep an open mind, and interesting things will find their way in.
What are the biggest misconceptions you faced starting your company? Let us know in the comments!