The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organisation comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. Nine of its members shared some of the biggest misconceptions people have about building a company.
Question: What is your favourite lie that you’ve heard about starting your own business?
You’ll be your own boss.
“Not only will you not be your own boss, but more people than ever will have a critical stake in your success, including customers, vendors, and staff. If you think your boss makes unreasonable demands of you now, just wait until a good customer calls you to handle a major issue at 2 a.m. — and you have to be the one to resolve it.” — Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work
You control everything.
“You don’t — your customers control everything you do. You will realise this when you see $US0 in the bank account. That is the day you learn to listen and adjust to their demands. Remember that if customers don’t pay you, you can’t pay rent, staff, insurance, office supplies, etc. The customers are your bosses, and they control everything.” — Derek Capo, Next Step China
Most businesses fail.
“I’m always hearing these statistics that show a huge number of businesses must be failing every day. But while I’ve seen plenty of companies evolve, change names, pivot, or otherwise change, I don’t see that many entirely shut down. I love hearing these statistics so I can poke holes in them.” — Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting
Companies run themselves.
“‘My company pretty much runs itself these days.’ If someone ever says this to you, he is a liar. [Wannabe entrepreneurs] also ask me a lot how detailed my involvement is in Speek these days — ‘Does it pretty much run itself?’ Only someone who’s never done this would ask that question.” — Danny Boice, Speek
You’ll have complete freedom.
“The biggest lie is that running your own company allows you to set your own hours and gives you total freedom. In reality, I have virtually no control over my own hours or schedule. If you want to start your own business for freedom, think again.” — David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services
You’ll eventually succeed if you work hard.
“Actually, it’s the small business owner who works smart — and not just hard — who will improve his or her chances for success.” — Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
Customers will flock to great ideas.
“‘If you build it, they will come.’ Sure, it’s a great quote (from a great movie), but I think it’s also dangerous. You shouldn’t expect customers to flock to your business, even if you think you have the greatest idea in the world. It’s crucial that you adequately plan and leave some budget for marketing — just in case a few people have a hard time finding you.” — Nicolas Gremion,Free-eBooks.net
You’ll work a 4-hour workweek.
“Starting your own business will not let you ‘travel’ and make your ‘own schedule,’ at least at first, because you will be working 80 hours a week. If you love what you’re doing, it might not feel like a grind, but it will still be work. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not being honest. There are plenty of great things about starting your own business, but working fewer hours is not one of them.” — Jim Belosic, Pancakes Laboratories/ShortStack
Everyone will be supportive.
“To say everyone will be supportive at the beginning of a new business venture is like saying the Yankees will win the World Series before they throw out the first pitch. Be prepared in the beginning for the negative comments and fear from loved ones about the cliff you’re about to leap off. They will come back around — the good old bandwagon effect — but it takes a few months of success!” — Kim Kaupe, ZinePak