“You have to jump.” This is the single most important piece of advice I have ever received about entrepreneurship.
It comes from Steve Harvey, known as one of the original ‘Kings of Comedy’ and numerous other ventures, such as becoming the host of several talk shows and the game show ‘Family Feud’. Steve jumped, and it paid off.
He worked in many professions, such as selling insurance, cleaning carpets, mail delivery, and he was even a boxer. And, despite being homeless for a while, he still decided to pursue a passion for stand-up comedy. While I will spare you the details, he tells you all about it in his book: Act Like A Success Think Like A Success. He took a leap of faith that is now paying off big time.
I took a jump about a decade ago after standing scared stiff on the cliff of entrepreneurship. I got lucky as it paid off for me as well. So why didn’t I jump sooner? For the same reason why many others don’t: fear of failure.
However, there are many reasons why people don’t become entrepreneurs. Here are the four fallacies about entrepreneurship that hold people back.
1. Fear of Failure
Of course, fear is one of the main reasons why most people are scared to take the jump into entrepreneurship.
Fear of failure:
- Fear of failing to provide for your family by not making money.
- Fear of failing to succeed and being embarrassed if you fail.
- Fear of failing to live up to expectations
The problem with fear of failure is that you will not know if you don’t try. Simply thinking about being an entrepreneur will drive you crazy unless you either give it a try or make a conscious decision to give it up and not pursue it.
“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
Failing can be a good thing. According to Gary Vaynerchuk: “the more you fail, the less you’re afraid of it.” But don’t just try to fail to gain experience. Be careful, as Gary adds, “But not all failures are equal, some could totally destroy you.”
So don’t be scared of failure. You will either learn and get stronger, or you will find out that entrepreneurship just isn’t for you.
But, if you don’t try, you’ll never know, and regret is something that you can’t afford to weigh you down later in life.
2. Most People Don’t Have the Money
Money for what? You don’t have to pay to be an entrepreneur. There is no entrepreneur store where you go to buy success. It all comes down to the most valuable assets you already possess: your knowledge, willingness to work hard, and ability to listen.
According to Doug and Polly White, lack of funding is not typically an issue; it’s a “symptom.”
“Typically, the issue is that the would-be business owner either doesn’t actually need funding (in spite of what he or she thinks) or doesn’t have a complete business plan that lays out clearly why prospective investors should plop down their hard-earned funds.”
They are absolutely correct. Most businesses either don’t require large sums to start or can be started with little funding out of their own pocket. For me, it cost less than $100 to subscribe to a few freelance websites where I eventually grew into my own marketing firm (using the profits I made from these sites).
I will admit, though, sometimes you need funding. Don’t get discouraged if you do. There are many forms of business financing including banks (secured by the SBA), equity financing, venture capital, debt financing, and alternative forms of funding.
3. Lack of Education
This one really makes me laugh. Twenty years ago I would tell you that education is the key to get through any door, but we no longer live in those times.
Our education system is a failure when it comes to entrepreneurs. The system simply is not set up for that. Higher education is a business itself; so you are paying others to get rich off their business idea while assuming you need it to be successful.
Why is it a failure? Quite simply: it teaches everyone the same thing, so potential entrepreneurs are not getting the special education needed to push them over the top.
“School is the status quo of learning,” writes Steven Li. He also adds that the education system is too detached from the real world.
Richard Branson and Henry Ford are just two of the most famous (and successful) entrepreneurs to drop out of high school. And they are a drop in the bucket compared to the successful entrepreneurs who dropped out of college.
I am not saying you need to drop out of school, but I am saying that you should NEVER let the fact that you don’t have a degree (or are too young to even graduate high school) hold you back from taking that jump.
4. Lack of Time
I dare anyone who thinks they don’t have time to tell this to a successful entrepreneur. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you will make the time.
There are 24 hours in a day and I am willing to bet you spend more time watching television or playing golf than you do towards entrepreneurship. I am even betting you are reading this on social media, which is an addiction you need to overcome.
Take note of how much time you spend doing everything each day. Include the time you take to:
- Spend with family.
- Check social media.
- Watch television.
You will be surprised at how much time you actually have. Sleep less and shop faster. Give up Facebook (or cut your time in half). You will soon see that this time you “don’t have” is actually the time you spend complaining that you don’t have enough of it.
“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four-hour days.” – Zig Ziglar
And again, I dare you to find a successful entrepreneur and tell them you want to start a business but don’t have time. I guarantee the results are going to be similar to covering yourself in raw meat and walking into a lion’s den.
Need help with time management? There is plenty of advice out there; you just need to get off Facebook and find it.
If you really don’t want to be an entrepreneur, there are many reasons you can find to hold yourself back. Who knows? Maybe it’s simply not for you and that’s okay.
But, if you want to see if it is truly something for you, you need to take the jump. At least you won’t have to live with the “what if.” Regardless of success, at least you’ll know you tried.