I think there are lots of misconceptions about being a successful entrepreneur.
- You have to have a lot of money saved up
- Your idea must be fully formed before showing it to people
- You need to quit your job to start
- You have to be part of the community your customers are in
For me, the most damaging misconception was that I had to commit all of myself all the time to be successful. There's so much hustle-porn being spread out there, especially in this time when our digital lives are filled with feeds and people on those feeds reinforcing this trope.
As I discovered during the "still working for someone else" stage of my career, none of my success was directly tied to the amount of time or energy I put into doing something. And I've spent many endless days and nights grinding, iterating, making, and hustling. Yet, I saw very limited returns on that grind. Instead, my success was connected to how tenacious I was in doing something when I chose to do it.
This is something that comes up time and time again. My brain doesn't allow me to follow a strict plan. I had to let go of the idea that I needed to finish something for it to be good. I am most able to be creative and differentiate what I do when I allow myself to move in and out of different activities. But the single constant is I need to ensure that I am focused on that one thing while I do it. When I am tenacious in doing a thing while doing that thing, I always see the benefits.
One of the everyday struggles I see would-be entrepreneurs have is that they want to be perceived as providing a quality, unique service, but they place a lack of care into creating something perceived as such. There are good reasons why they might provide a lack of care, like looking for a full-time job, working full-time, taking care of family, or focusing on their mental health.
Whether you currently have a full-time job, you're seeking a full-time job, or something else, exploring an entrepreneurial path doesn't have to come at the cost of doing those things well. But, if you want to be successful in starting a small business or becoming an entrepreneur, you must be present while doing it.
Sign up for Jump Ship!
You’ve worked for others. Now give all your talent, energy, passion, and value to yourself.
No spam. Unsubscribe anytime.
Taking an entrepreneurial path doesn't require your attention 24/7, but you must be tenacious when you give your attention. And the thing about tenacity is you can time-box it, limit how much money you give to it, and schedule it, but if you can't half-ass it. Tenacity is one of the things Greg and I are looking for when we partner with others during Jump Ship.
We know real life happens. We know that some people won't be able to make a workshop, will miss meetings, or won't be able to do the work in between the time with us. Hell, there are many times this happens to us too. It's completely ok when life has other plans. What we know, though, is that success in small business doesn't come if this is the case.
So whether you're all in or just doing some side work, business success requires both feet in, but not permanently so. As you explore entrepreneurship, remember to be tenacious during the time you've given yourself. Whether it's 1 hour a month or 40 hours a week, there will be plenty of moments of doubt and unknowing. Persevering through those moments won't guarantee success, but they will get you closer to it.
What's the most difficult part of entrepreneurship for you? If you've ever run your own business, full-time or side, what misconceptions have you had to overcome?