I recently saw an article about Mark Zuckerberg’s visit to Harvard University, his not quite alma mater. The title of the article was “It’s never been sexier to be an entrepreneur,” and while I completely agree with the sentiment, I worry that some people may think being an entrepreneur is sexy because of the myths they have bought into, not because of the wonderful lifestyle entrepreneurs enjoy. Today, I’d like to address three of these myths and show you why it’s still never been sexier to be an entrepreneur.
Myth 1: All I need is that one big idea. While it may be true in Hollywood that a big break can make your career, being a successful entrepreneur means doing a lot more than just having one great idea. If Bill Gates only had one great idea, Microsoft would have never been able to grow beyond the first build of Windows. Even Zuckerberg has to get bigger, better ideas, or else Facebook would never have added much of the functionality that keeps people on there every day. That first big idea gets you started in a business, but you need to be work on getting more to keep up with the rest of the world.
Myth 2: My venture needs to become the next Apple/Facebook/YouTube. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: though these successes are fun to talk about, they are the exception, not the rule. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean your business will be on the cover of Time. It means taking direct control of your career and day-to-day life. It means building something that makes you money and does something great. While entrepreneurs often make revolutionary products and services, most only revolutionize their respective fields, not the way the entire world works.
Myth 3: I need to quit my job and drop out of school to succeed. Once again, this is not necessarily the case. Indeed, quitting your job before having a solid source of income established to replace your job is financially dangerous. And though some decide that finishing school is not a good use of their time, colleges have many fantastic opportunities available for students, including the chance to earn an education. I not only got a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree, but I have spent time working for other people as my situation needed, even after building several businesses.
Being an entrepreneur is a great life, and I encourage everyone to try it. There has never been a better time for it. Though building a business requires hard work and stressful sacrifice, it is the best life I know.