There are thousands of new covid-preneuers right now according to the US Census Bureau. If that’s you, know this: Entrepreneurship sucks sometimes. Yes, it’s an incredible journey and can be insanely fulfilling, but someone needs to be honest with you.
My first entrepreneurial endeavor started when I was fired in 2007. It was exciting at times, but also terrifying, depressing and a source of major anxiety. One reason was the massive failure hypocrisy I witnessed, but the other reason I struggled was 5 myths of entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship sucks sometimes, but if you know why—it’s easier to stomach.
Five Myths of Entrepreneurship
The reason I say entrepreneurship sucks is because my journey led to depression, anxiety, fear, and throwing up in the basement. That was over a decade ago and it was worse than it needed to be because of the myths I bought into. I didn’t start to realize how normal I was until I opened up to a few others about how entrepreneurship sucks, and immediately I felt better.
Myth 1: Everyone’s Crushing It
An alarming number of entrepreneurs put on the “crushing it” mask and stretch the truth. I confess—I’m guilty. If someone asked me how business was, I acted more confident than I really was, telling only good stories. I found out much later this is quite common.
I learned that “doubling business this quarter” usually means you were only making a meager income of $300 per month to begin with. What I didn’t know, is truly successful entrepreneurs see through this facade fairly easily.
Today, when I speak with an entrepreneur, it’s obvious. Honesty, humility, and vulnerability create far better business connections. (It’s also how to get a journalist’s attention.)
Lesson: Judge success by achieving your own deliverables and goals. Period.
Myth 2: This Thing, Is The Thing, Of All Things
In college, I dreamed of starting a design agency and I was living that dream. But the fear of failure was hard to cope with. I believed failure would end my professional life—who would hire someone who failed their first startup?
I didn’t know how malleable life goals are, therefore, as the business failed I stuck with it. I bought into the “never give up” lie and fear kept me trapped in my own dream. I didn’t know when to give up. The second I did end it, however, was the moment a giant burden fell off my shoulders.
Covid-preneuers need to know, your first business is not your one shot. It’s only your first shot, and there’s a good chance you will miss. I know hundreds of entrepreneurs who only became successful on their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th startup. Failure always hurts deeply, but failure is fuel too.
Lesson: Failure brings new clarity to our true passions in life by providing an insane amount of data. Write down your failures to refine your next goal.
Myth 3: The better idea wins
If I had a nickel for every entrepreneurial dufus who told me they opened their doors and BLAMMO, profit came their way, I’d have a gazillion dollars. It doesn’t happen.
The best idea doesn’t win and no one is “discovered” or just falls into success. It’s BS. Mr. or Mrs. BlAmMo may have a well-connected friend opening doors for them, a rich relative giving them funding, an existing relationship with their first client, or something else they don’t want you knowing about. Entrepreneurship sucks when people aren’t honest. So, now you know the secret: there’s nothing wrong with you.
Lesson: You have to communicate with others and patiently explain the value you provide. Sales and marketing are vital. It can take years to even make revenue. (It took me two.)
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Myth 4: Be your own boss
Whenever I’m told “it must be nice to be your own boss” I laugh to myself. Then I immediately explain “well, at any given time I have 10 bosses.” Even CEOs of giant multi-national corporations report to boards, and boards report to shareholders. I asked Howard Schultz, how he convinced Starbucks’ board to follow his vision.
If Covid-preneuers like yourself aren’t getting the freedom you thought you were promised—guess what: you’re normal. You will always be working for others, and that’s completely ok.
Entrepreneurship really does choose you! If you know your startup will likely fail, but something inside of you has to try anyway, you’re an entrepreneur. (for now)
Lesson: There is NO scenario where you don’t have to work for a “boss.”
Myth 5: Riches! Riches everywhere!
You aren’t going to strike it rich. If you do, you should absolutely hire me, but the odds aren’t in your favor. The average entrepreneur makes $70k or less, so don’t feel discouraged, and never ever ever ever ever, compare yourself to others.
My former guest Chris Hogan, author of Everyday Millionaires and Retire Inspired often talks about “fake rich” folks. They buy cars and houses they can’t afford all to impress their friends. What you don’t see is that they can’t cover a simple financial emergency and later in life have to work into their 80s. If there’s one thing Covid-preneuers should know, it’s this: save your money, and don’t bother keeping up with idiots.
Lesson: Don’t become an entrepreneur to get rich.
Entrepreneurship Sucks Sometimes (And that’s ok!)
Covid-preneuers like you will find out soon enough entrepreneurship can be great, but it also has its problems just like any other job. You will work your ass off to be ignored. You will be backstabbed. You will be lied to, but now you know something big: it’s normal. Entrepreneurship sucks sometimes, but know this: you’re not alone and you’re going to be ok.