Becoming an Entrepreneur: Expectation vs. Reality

Working your own hours and working on projects that you care about is ideal for those who want to be their own boss, but it does not come without its own challenges. Some may say that being your own boss is even harder than working for someone else, as it requires your full attention, focus, and dedication every single day. Committing yourself to a dream and a vision makes entrepreneurship all the more attractive.

Below, we’ve put together just some of the things you need to take into consideration before you make the leap. We also bust some of the most common expectations of entrepreneurship that are often untrue.

I’ll need to spend lots of money in order to succeed

One of the most common expectations is that you’ll need to spend thousands of dollars to make a success of a new business, and whilst that’s true in some industries, it’s possible to run a business on a shoestring budget, or no budget at all in some circumstances. If you have the right idea, the skills and determination to work hard and reach your goals, then the chances are that you’ll make it happen, whether it takes you a month or three years.

The key to making a success of your venture is to know how to be resourceful with your money and do everything on your own where possible. Outsourcing the recruitment of your staff, for example, is a nice-to-have rather than a necessity, as is paying someone to market your business. There are many skills you can pick up along the way when launching your own business, so be prepared to work hard and cover all bases. This approach can save you money and allow you to grow at a much faster pace, provided you’re sensible and don’t get burnt out.

I should go at my own pace

When starting your own business, it’s easy to come up with excuses not to take the jump and stay in your existing role for just a little while longer. But the truth is, markets are becoming increasingly competitive and hard to crack, so entering into them sooner rather than later will afford you added flexibility and give you the best possible chance of success.

It is common for entrepreneurs to “wait it out” for the right moment for their expansion, and while there are certain cases in which this makes sense, oftentimes jumping in as soon as you can is the only way to guarantee your survival. You might have spotted a gap in the market, but if you’re not quick to react, a competitor will likely get there ahead of you.

As business owners and investors find major new opportunities for a return on their investment, entrepreneurs like you will find it hard to make an impact and claw some market share, so there’s no excuse to go slow.

Customers will come to me as soon as I launch

Even with the world’s best brand and product, customers aren’t going to buy from you until they know you exist. That’s why marketing your business from day one is crucial to your success, not only to build brand awareness and drive sales, but also to position your business as a leader in your field and to ensure your long-term stability in the market. It’s easy to get lost in the crowd of other businesses and brands, so find new ways to keep your name in your customer’s minds and don’t overlook the power of networking and relationship-building.

I’m going to make a fortune

Entrepreneurs are brimming with passion, and financial gains are only a secondary reason for wanting to start a business. You’re likely to spend more than you make, at least in the early days of a new venture. It’s easy to assume becoming an entrepreneur gives you the freedom to make unlimited amounts of money, but you need to work hard and keep customers happy, and even then there’s no guarantee you’ll be successful. According to the Small Business Administration, 30 percent of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 50 percent during the first five years and 66 percent during the first 10. Don’t let those dollar signs blind your view, and remember that hard work is the key to revenue.

I won’t need to do much work

Some entrepreneurs choose to take a step back from their hectic lives and employ a staff to manage the everyday running of their companies. It is certainly possible to start a business and hand over the reigns, but there’s no guarantee that your team members will share the same passion or determination for success that you do. If you want to ensure your growth, then you should take a hands-on role until your business is turning a profit, otherwise, you could be throwing money and resources down the drain.

It’s hard to expand into a new market

It may seem daunting if you’re considering expanding your business into a new market or becoming an entrepreneur overseas, but the truth is that you’re more likely to succeed in a market that has limited competition.

It’s a common expectation (myth!) that expanding into a new territory is tough and expensive, and while you’re never guaranteed smooth sailing as an entrepreneur, you’ll find that starting a business overseas is a pretty straightforward process. Yes, you’ll need to work hard to get to grips with local culture and learn the language, but you’ll soon realize it’s possible to do business anywhere in the world with the right mindset.

Becoming an entrepreneur is no walk in the park, but being your own boss can be incredibly rewarding. Take the time to weigh the pros and cons of committing yourself to the work, and take the first steps to get started. Good luck!

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