The Untold Realities of Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is the embodiment of the American Dream. With the emergence of giants such as Apple and Microsoft, society has undergone a major paradigm shift—where previously entrepreneurs were seen as misfits; today they are viewed as leaders and innovators. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, America’s 28 million small businesses create two out of every three net new jobs, and half of all working Americans own, or are employed by, a small business.

What many may think entrepreneurship entails, however may not be true. Here are 13 of the most common misconceptions about entrepreneurship according to The Young Entrepreneurship Council, an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs.

You need to be niche.

"Entrepreneurs always worry about finding an incredible differentiation point so they can outwit and outsmart their competitors all the time. The fact is, a niche does not guarantee success and it won't save your company from failure either. Businesses should be built if they will offer a valuable product or service at a reasonable price."

- Danny Wong | Co-Founder, Advisor and Lead Evangelist, Blank Label

How old are you?

"Outside of Silicon Valley and a few other highly entrepreneurial areas, most people don't believe that it's possible to start a business at any age—whether it be an eBay selling business as a teen or a full blown startup during high school. With the Internet, anything is possible, no matter what age you are and no matter where you're located in the world."

- Ben Lang | Founder, Mapped In Israel

You have unlimited confidence.

"It's natural to doubt when it comes to promoting your business, new programs or yourself as an expert. Entrepreneurship is about getting out there and doing it anyway, even if the fear, worry and doubts outweigh your confidence."

- Kelly Azevedo | Systems Expert , She's Got Systems

You’re an overnight success!

"A debilitating mindset I see is that overnight success is possible. These young entrepreneurs are inspired to start their own business by witnessing individuals that are currently successful. They study the success story instead of the origin of that success story, which often includes massive struggle prior to the breakthrough. Truth is, it takes ten years to become an overnight success."

- Josh Shipp | TV Host & Bestselling Author

It’s all about the idea.

"I regularly receive calls from friends who have the next "big idea." But they call it quits when it comes time to really start building something. The truth is that entrepreneurship is 10 percent idea and 90 percent execution. Most entrepreneurs' ideas change and evolve over time, but their success comes from being able to execute on their vision and make adjustments as necessary."

- Bhavin Parikh | CEO, Magoosh Inc

You make your own hours.

"I've lost count of the number of times people have told me how great it must be for me because, as the owner, I get to make my own hours. What they don't realize is that since it's your business, it's incredibly difficult to ever turn it off—something I'm personally trying to work on. You are thinking about a thousand different things and are therefore always working."

- Justin Beegel | Founder & President , Infographic World, Inc.

You’re sexy, rich and taking over the world.

"Entrepreneurship is not always sexy, entrepreneurs aren't instantly rich and they aren't always in it to take over the world. Sometimes they go from meeting with a client to cleaning the bathroom because it's ALL their responsibility. Sometimes they don't take paychecks for years and sometimes, they don't want to change the whole world—just improve their industry or make their mark."

- Therese Kuster | Owner, TargetClick Marketing Solutions

You’ve gotta risk it all.

"Many people think starting a business is extremely risky. It doesn't have to be. The best entrepreneurs I know are extremely risk averse, testing everything to make sure they're making the best decisions. It's much more risky to be dependent on one company to give you a "corporate allowance" each month, which can end at any moment. That's risky."

- Andy Drish | Founder, Referral Squirrel

You work all the time.

"There are two types of entrepreneurs. There are the hard-working founders that live to work and work to live. They are constantly at the office changing the world. That's great, but it doesn't apply to all entrepreneurs. Others start businesses to experience the opposite effect. They want more freedom and want to work less. This type of person has been called a "lifestyle entrepreneur."

- Logan Lenz | Founder / President, Endagon

You’re the next Zuckerberg.

"Mainstream people think that entrepreneurs are like Mark Zuckerburg, Steve Jobs or other tech giants. In reality, the vast majority of entrepreneurs went to college, got started later in life and are not geniuses. They come in all shapes and sizes, just like their businesses do."

- Nathan Lustig | cofounder, Entrustet

Debt is absolutely necessary.

"I'm tired of seeing entrepreneurs preach that you're not passionate about your idea unless you're willing to give up everything for it. Plenty of people start successful business without ever going into debt. We've always run our business as a blend between consulting and software. The consulting made us profitable from day one, which has given us the resources and time to build out the software."

- Allie Siarto | Co-Founder, Fare Oak

You’re gonna make it on your own.

"Starting a business by yourself is a recipe for failure. Too many cooks in the kitchen is no good, but you have to find that a partner in whom you believe. Your partner will help you fight those inevitable fires, help you celebrate the little "wins" and generally keep you sane. A partner will also make sure that the company thrives if you ever need to take a day—or even just a few hours—off."

- Aaron Schwartz | Founder and CEO, Modify Watches

You can still separate personal from professional.

"When you become an entrepreneur, your business and success become an obsession. You can't just turn off your brain when you come home from work, an idea that requires quick action can happen at any time (while sleeping, in the shower). There is no wall separating your personal life and work. But don't worry, it's still fun!"

- Eric Bahn | Advisor, Webflow

You’re born with it!

"Many people believe that you are a born entrepreneur, which is true for many people, but that does not discount those who were not born with the business skills or desires. Great entrepreneurs are made through nurture, not through nature. If you are passionate and have a great idea, you too can become an entrepreneur as long as you never quit and see your idea through to the end."

- Louis Lautman | Founder, Supreme Outsourcing